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Air Lift Air Helper Springs Installation - 2001 GMC Sierra

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How to Install the Air Lift Air Helper Springs on a 2001 GMC Sierra


Today on our 2001 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, we'll be installing the Air Lift Load Lifter 5000 Air Helper Springs, part number AL57275. Now here's what our vehicle looked like with the manufacturer's suspension and no weight added to the rear of the vehicle. We'll go ahead and take a measurement from the bottom of the wheel well down to the ground. As you can see, we're at 41 inches. Next we're going to go ahead and add approximately 2,700 pounds of weight to the rear of the vehicle. Now with our weight added, you can see it's lowered the rider height from 41 inches to 37 1/2. Next we're going to go ahead and run the vehicle through our test course.

We'll go through our slalom course, sifting the weight from side to side and as you can see, we have quite a bit of body roll and it changes the feel of our steering wheel. Next, we'll go over the alternating bumps. As you can see, we have quite a bit of jounce and rebounds from going over the bumps. Then we have our single bump, which will simulate a speed bump, and again, we have quite a bit of jounce and rebound coming from both sides at the same time. Now, with our air springs installed and aired up to approximately 70 PSI, you can see there, we've only lost a half inch of our ride height and we can put a little more air in our bags or air up our tires where we're losing at least a half inch. We're going to run the vehicle through our test course again, with the weight in the pickup bed.

As we go through the slalom course with our air spring assistance, it really helps control the roll or sway of the vehicle. Additionally, by keeping the vehicle at a level ride height, it allows for a consistent and more responsive feel from our steering wheel. Next we'll go over the alternating bumps. As you can see, with air springs installed, it really helps control the weight as we go over the bumps. Next, let's go ahead and show you how to install the new air bags. Now to begin our install, we're going to start on our workbench, or cart here.

I've got my parts laid out. We're going to take one of our roll plates, turn it over so that the cone side will sit on top of our airbag and the pre-drilled holes in the roll plate will line up with the two attachment points in the top of the airbag and the air fitting. Next, we're going to go ahead and install the air valve into the top of the airbag. You see it's already got pre-installed sealant on the threads, so we've got to be careful not to over tighten it. We'll go ahead and install it finger tight at first and then as per the instructions, go one and a half additional turns. Then we need to install the upper bracket.

There's four slotted holes in the top of the bracket for securing to the airbag. One side is the slot A for the driver's side and one side is B, for the passenger side. As per the instructions, we're going to go ahead and identify them, so that we keep them straight. Driver, passenger. Once we've identified them, we can go ahead and install them. To secure them, we'll used supplied 3/8ths bolt, split lock washer and a flat washer. Line up with the roll plate, the attachment points in the bag and our identified slotted holes. We'll just install our hardware finger tight this time, because we'll need to adjust it along those slotted holes as necessary, once we mount it in the truck. This is for our driver's side, when we're doing the passenger side we just use the other two holes. Next, we're going to go ahead and turn it over, take our second roll plate, line it up with the attachment points and then bring in our bottom bracket. Before we install the bottom bracket onto the roll plate, we have some hardware we need to install. For the driver's side only, we're going to install a 5/16ths bolt and nut on the corner. This will allow us to add an extra bracket to secure the parking brake cable. We're going to install a second bolt and nut. We'll make sure the bolt goes through the bottom of the pre-drilled hole here in the bracket and then the nut goes on top. We're going to go ahead and tighten this fastener down now. Now this fastener doesn't' look like it's going to do much, however, it does act as a spacer between the bottom of our bracket and the top of the axle. Just gives our bottom bracket a little more support. Next, we need to install two of our carriage bolts. They'll go down through the lower plate and then through the square hole at the bottom. Once we install the airbag, we won't be able to get our hardware in place, so we do it now. Next, we'll bring our airbag back in, line up the attachment points of the airbag with the two pre-drilled holes in the lower plate. We'll secure each of these fasteners with the cap headed screw. I'll go ahead and install both fasteners finger tight and then go ahead and run them down and secure them. Using air or even a battery operated tool, I recommend to go back to each fastener and make sure it's good and tight by hand. Now with our pre-assembly of our bag done, we're going to set that aside and go to the truck. On the truck, we need to disassemble or remove the bump stop. To remove it, there are two fasteners, one on each side. There's a nut on top, and over time the threads of the stud that go up through the frame get corroded and built up with rust, dust, dirt and debris so I'm going to spray each one with a spray lubricant before I attempt at removal. Second nut, pull our jounce stop down and you can see the two studs that went up through the frame. We'll go ahead and remove it and set the hardware and jounce stop aside, as they will not reinstalled. Now we're going to go ahead and take some weight off of the frame of the vehicle, lowering the rear suspension, creating more distance between the frame and the axle. By doing this, it will make it easier to get our airbag in place. Now as we set our airbag in place, the lower bracket is going to go around the jump stop bracket on the axle. Rear I'm going to hook the back side, roll it on an angle around to the front side and in place. Once we get our lower bracket in position, we'll then slide the airbag underneath the axle, lining up the attachment points and our upper bracket and the frame, where we removed the jounce bumper. Now I'm going to go ahead and let the vehicle back down onto the axle a little ways, not all the way, just enough to put a little pressure on our air bag. Next we're going to attach the upper bracket to the frame. We'll use the new 3/8ths bolt and a flat washer that will go down through the frame, through our upper airbag and get secured underneath with a flat washer and lock nut. I'll do this on both sides of the upper bracket. Once we have our hardware in place, we're going to slide the upper bracket towards the inner portion of the vehicle as far as possible that the upper bracket slotted holes will allow, then tighten it down. Now as I tighten down the fasteners, I just tighten down the first one a little ways to hold the bracket in place, then I tighten down the second one fully, then I'll go back to the first one and fully tighten it down. Now with my upper bracket secured, I'll move to the lower bracket. Our lower bracket has our carriage bolts that come down either side. Keep in mind when putting your air bracket in place over the jounce stop bracket, not to smash the brake line when putting it in position. We'll also make sure there's enough clearance between the lower bracket and the brake line that they don't rub together. Now we're ready to go ahead and put the lower strap onto our carriage bolts that come through the lower bracket. Each carriage bolt will then get secured with a flat washer and a nylon lock nut. Once we have our hardware in place, we'll go ahead and tighten it down. We'll make sure we tighten it down evenly back to front. Before I completely tighten it down, I'm going to make sure my lower bracket and airbag is lined up with the upper bracket and frame, keeping it as straight up and down as possible. Then once we've got that secured, we'll adjust the airbag to upper bracket as necessary, so that again, we're lined up from the lower bracket to the upper bracket, as straight up and down as possible. Once we have that lined up, we go ahead and tighten down the two bolts. Now with our airbag installed and secured, we need to adjust the parking brake cable that runs over to the passenger side. That's why we put the bolt and nuts here on the front side of the lower bracket, so we can add our parking brake cable bracket. To do that, I'll just remove the nut that we loosely installed, slide the pre-drilled hole onto the nut and then put my nut back on. I'm going to leave it loose until I get my cable clamp in place. Now with my bracket in place, we'll take the cable clamp, put it around the parking brake cable, I'll go ahead and take the bolt, put it through, line it up with the bracket and install the nut. Once we have it in position, we can go ahead and tighten down our hardware. As you can see, it pulls the cable away from our airbag, so that we don't have any interference between the two. Now with the driver's side done, we'll move over to the passenger side and repeat the same process. Now with both airbags installed, we're ready to install and route the air lines and air inflation valves. Starting at the rear of the vehicle, we're going to mount our inflation valves here in the bumper. When selecting a mounting location, it's best to find an area where there's nothing behind it that will interfere with the inflation valve. Here to the driver's side of the license plate bracket is a good location. By using separate inflation valves, one for each bag, it will allow us to air up one side more than the other, if we have an uneven load. Using a small pilot bit, I'm going to go ahead and drill my first hole. We'll get a little space in between the two, I'll drill my second hole. Then we'll go ahead and open up our pilot hole to 5/16ths as per the instructions. Now, starting on the driver's side we'll go ahead and prep the inflation valve to put into our pre-drilled hole. Take a nut, thread it onto the engine inflation valve and this will set the depth as it comes through the bumper. Then I'm going to install a serrated washer and feed the inflation valve from behind the bumper out. We're going to install a rubber flat washer, a metal flat washer and then a second nut. Once I have them installed, I can go ahead and tighten them down. Now I can go ahead and route my air line over towards the driver's side airbag. Now when routing my air line, I like to leave a little extra here in the back for any adjustments that might be needed later. Then just stretching it along the frame where I'll be routing it, I can take it towards the airbag and get an approximate length. I'll use the air line hose cutter, part number AL10530 to get a clean square cut on the line. I'm just going to run it down the frame. Once I have it routed, we can go ahead and install it into the inflation valve. To install in the inflation valve, we'll just simply line it up with the valve, firmly press it into place and then pull back to lock it in position. Then we'll go ahead and use the zip ties provided to secure the rest of our air line. Now once I have my airline fully secured, I'll use my side cutter, cut off the excess from the zip ties to clean up the install look. Now with the driver's side done, I can move over to the passenger side and repeat the same process. Note, here on the passenger side, we're going to install the air line protector that's supplied with the install kit. This will help protect the air line as it comes out of the inflation valve and runs next to the exhaust. Once it's slid onto the air line, we'll put our air line into the inflation valve. Now with both airbags and air lines installed and secured, we need to install the heat shield here on the passenger side. The heat shield will go between the tailpipe and the airbag to protect the airbag from any excess heat. Now to install the heat shield, we'll first take the two tabs, bend it in and then flatten it back out to create the attachment point between the tailpipe and the heat shield. Now with both tabs bent, securing our heat shield to the tailpipe we'll use the worm gear clamp provided. I'm going to go ahead and put the clamp on and take up some of the slack and then we'll get our heat shield in place. I'll slide the tab underneath the clamp, get my heat shield in position and then tighten down the clamp. Repeat the same thing with our second clamp. Now our heat shield is installed. Now with both airbags and air lines installed and secure, next we'll go ahead and put some air into the airbags and test for leaks. We can spray down each of our connection points and check for bubbles. Just like that, we've completed the install, checking and operation of our Air Lift Load Lifter 5000 Air Helper Springs, part number AL57275 on our 2001 GMC Sierra 2500 HD. .


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Info for this part was:

Video by:
Andrew K
Installed by:
Jeff D
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Test Fit:
Nicholas E
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Video Edited:
Chris R
Test Fit:
Joe B

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