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Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs Installation - 2003 Chevy Silverado

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How to Install Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs on a 2003 Chevy Silverado


Today on this 2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 series we are going to be installing Firestone air ride system part number F2250. Before we actually get started working on the vehicle itself, we are going to do a little prep work to our air suspension kit. We are installing on the passenger side of the vehicle first. And I have the parts necessary for the passenger side laid out right here. The bottom bracket which is this larger piece right here is going to be standard. It will be the same piece on both the driver and passenger sides. The upper bracket, however, is going to be different. If you look on the bottom side of the bracket, there is an R or and L punched in there for right or left side of the vehicle. And you will notice that the part numbers are different as well. So, t he right one is going to be for the passenger side of the vehicle. We will take the air spring and we want to remove the coverings here from the top two studs and for the threaded portion for the air fitting. We are going to start the installation off by mounting the air spring to the upper bracket. What we want to take is one of the 3/8 by 1-1/2 inch bolts and go ahead and it from the bottom of the bracket up on the short leg. If you look at the bracket, you can see there is a higher leg and a shorter leg. You want to feed that onto the shorter leg. Go ahead and take the provided heat shield and it onto the air spring and put the upper bracket on. We are going to align the two 3/8 inch holes over the two studs on the air spring. Then we will take two of the locking hex nuts and go ahead and mount the upper bracket to the air spring. The heat shield here is only going to be used on the passenger side of the vehicle. And what we want to do when we tighten these 3/8 bolts down is to make sure the bracket stays aligned where the larger hole goes over where the air fitting is going to be. The fitting will thread in easily by hand until you get to the thread locker and then it will get hard to turn. Once you get to that point, go ahead and take a wrench and get it to fully seat another ¾ to one full turn. And what we want is the open end of the fitting to face out towards the heat shield. 2:06

We will next go ahead and add the lower bracket to the air spring. And you can see on the top of the bracket here we have two square punched holes. That is for the long carriage bolts that are provided with the kit. We are going to go ahead and put those in first, just like so. And then we have a nice slotted section here, right in the middle of the bracket. That is where the air spring is going to mount to the lower bracket. On the bottom of the air spring, we have another threaded fitting. Now the manufacturer offers you two different bolt options to mount the air spring to the lower bracket. They give you a standard hex head bolt and then a smaller flat headed bolt. They recommend that you use the hex head bolt. But, if you do not have clearance once you get it in position to get the bolt head around the jounce stop, then go ahead and use the flat head screw. This bolt has thread locker on it as well. And I am not going to fully tighten it down just yet. We will make our final adjustment when it is on the vehicle and then go ahead and finish the tightening of it. This is the passenger side and if you look right above the rear axle, this is the jounce stop that we were referring to earlier. We are going to go ahead and remove this from the vehicle next. And there are two mounting studs, one on each side going up under the frame. And there are nuts on the top there holding it in place. So we want to go ahead and loosen those up and remove the jounce stop. So next we will go ahead and take our air spring assembly and get it set into position. The bottom bracket is actually going to sit on the axle, pretty much directly over the jounce stop here. And the upper bracket, where we have the one bolt and where we are going to add another here in a second, is going to mount through the two holes that are left from the removal of the jounce bumper. And that is basically what we are looking for. You will notice here that our lower bracket has notches cut out on each side of the bracket itself and that is where the U-bolts from the suspension system are going to sit. Using these cut outs helps to ensure that you are aligned properly. 4:01

It is actually going to wrap around these large U-bolts on the suspension setup. And the threaded ends of our U-bolt are going to come out through the hole here and then the one on the other side as well. Make sure you do not get any of the lines pinched in between the U-bolt and the suspension setup. And then we will attach the U-bolt to the bracket with one of the flange hex nuts. We are just going to leave these kind of hand tightened. These are actually locking nuts so I am just going to tighten them until the locking portion engages. We will tighten them down fully in a bit. We will next take the provided bale clamp. And you can see it has a radius cut to it. It is going to hug the bottom of the axle and attach to the two carriage bolts that we put through the mounting bracket earlier. Again, we will be using the locking flange nuts and I am just going to get those on just enough to hold the clamp in place. We are going to go ahead next and go back to the 3/8 bolts that were on the upper bracket that are going to mount to the frame itself. Again we already have the one on the shorter side of the upper bracket. So we just want to align it and let it feed through the hole in the frame. And then we will just take another one of the 3/8 by 1-1/2 inch bolts and put it through the hole in the upper, or taller, side of the upper bracket. To attach these to the frame, we are actually going to add one of the large washers that are provided with the kit. Put that one to the threads of the bolt first and then use one of the same 3/8 inch flange hex nuts. We are going to start by tightening the bolts that are holding the upper bracket to the frame first. Before I do that, I want to check my heat shield and see how it is sitting in reference to the exhaust. And you can see the closest portion to the exhaust is right about here and my heat shield is over here, not really doing us any good. So what I want to do is go ahead and rotate it to where it is sitting and offering a barrier between the exhaust and our air spring. 6:05

And then now that I have my heat shield turned, I am just going to go ahead and put the upper bolts back and mount them to the frame. When you get to the point where you are tightening up the bale clamp as well as the U-bolt on the back side, each one of them need to be tightened evenly. So you need to have an equal amount of threads on each side of the U-bolt and each one of the carriage bolts protruding out through the nut. We want to do a quick check of our clearances around not only the suspension system but the brake lines and then our air bag as well. Now that we have everything synched down, we are just going to go back through and take a last look at our air bag just to see how it is sitting. Make sure it is sitting up and down. And when I do that, I can see that my air bag from top to bottom is crocked kind of this way. So that is why we left the nut at the bottom a little bit loose. So I am going to take and make sure it is backed off a little bit. And then I am going to take and slide the air bag towards the center of the vehicle until it aligns straight up and down. Once you have ensured that, go ahead and tighten the nut back up. And then we will go back through and torque each one of our bolts down. With the torque rating, we want to verify the specific torque rating for the bolts with the directions. And then with the bolts torqued down, the passenger side is complete. Go ahead and repeat the same setup for the driver side and then we will go ahead and run out air lines. Now that we have b both of the air springs set up on the vehicle, it is time to go ahead and run the air lines. The kit comes with a large lead of air line here. What we want to do is take and cut it into two equal pieces. When you make your cut, you want to try to make it as clean as possible so that we ensure that they seat properly into the fittings. 7:51

I am going to start over here on the passenger side. And what we are going to do is take one end of the air line and again we want to ensure that we have a clean cut. And just go ahead and feed it into the end of the air fitting here. It is going to be difficult to see here but you want to push it in all of the way and it will actually lock itself into the fitting. We are next going to go ahead and route the air line back to the location where we are going to mount our air chuck. And that is going to be up to you individually on where you want to mount it at. For this installation, we are going to go ahead and mount them into the bumper. So we will take the air line, route it inside of the frame here and back to the bumper. You just want to make sure that when you route your air line that you are not going to be hitting any hot spots or pinch points that could damage the air line. And you want to avoid having any kinks in the air line as well. We have the air line routed back towards the bumper area now. So I am going to next drill the hole for the air fittings. On this particular vehicle, I am just going to mount into the middle section of the bumper here. And again you are going to need to drill two holes, one for the driver and one for the passenger sides. The hole size that you need to drill is a 5/16. If you have an excess amount of line left, you can go ahead and cut it down to an appropriate length. But I am going to go ahead and take the other end of our air line, go ahead and feed it into the open end of the fitting. And again you just want to make sure that that is fully seated. Take the nut on the side with the air chuck. Take the nut off of the threaded side. Slide on one of the provided washers. And we will go ahead and take the threaded end and feed it through the hole we have just drilled. Go ahead and take another one of the washers, fit it on the outside portion. Put the nut back on and just tighten that down. Go ahead and do the same thing for the other air line and then we will go ahead and put some air on it and give it a test. This is what the air bag and the suspension are going to look like when it is deflated. And then when I go ahead and put the air chuck on it, and you can see as I start to add air to it, it is going to rise. Firestone air ride system, part number F2250.


Questions and Comments about this Video

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Slaven D 10/06/2012

I have a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado equipped with quadrasteer and i wanted to add a helper air bag to it. I know there are question about Denalis with quadrasteer and nothing fits, but is there something for the newer quadrasteer system that i have in my truck?Thanks 207

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Patrick B 10/08/2012

I spoke with Firestone and their kits would not be compatible with a 1500 Silverado with Quadrasteer. I got the same answer from Air Lift. Air Lift said that they don't have anything that will work with an GM truck equipped with any Quadrasteer setup. 77




Info for this part was:

Test Fit:
Joe V
Video Edited:
Andrew K
Installed by:
Jeff D
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Test Fit:
Nicholas E
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Video Edited:
Andrew L
Video by:
Dustin K
Test Fit:
Shane T
Test Fit:
Randy B
Video Edited:
Chris R
Test Fit:
Jared G
Installed by:
Shane H
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Installed by:
David F
Video by:
Michael B

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