Air Lift LoadLifter Air Helper Springs Installation - 2011 Chevrolet Silverado

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How to Install the Air Lift LoadLifter Air Helper Springs on a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado


Today on our 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 3500, we'll be installing the Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Air Helper Springs with Internal Jounce Bumpers, part number Al88338. Now before we install the air bags, we're going to go ahead and take a dry weight measurement with nothing in the pickup from the bottom of the wheel well to the ground. Right at 41-3/4". Now we're going to go ahead and add 2750 pounds to the bed of our pickup. With our weight added, we'll now take a second measurement from the bottom of the wheel well to the ground. From the ground to the bottom of the wheel well, and it's dropped it 40", losing 1-3/4" with our weight added to the rear of the pickup. Now we're going to go ahead and run it through our test course.

As we go through the solom portion of our course, you can see the body roll in the vehicle with the excessive weight in the back. We also lose some steering feel, as the rear has taken all the weight pulling the front end up. Now as we go over the alternating bumps that can simulate potholes, you can see the excessive jounce and rebound of our axle caused by the excessive weight. Now we'll go ahead and take our final measurement with our air bags installed, aired up, and our weight back in the truck. From the ground to the bottom of the wheel well, we're back at our original ride height of 41-3/4". We'll go through our test course again.

As we go through the slolom course, you can see we've decreased the body roll and brought back the steering feel because we've corrected the ride height. Now we'll go over the alternating bumps and single bumps. You can see it really helps control the jounce and rebound with the weight in the pickup. Next, let's go ahead and show you how to install the air bags. Now to begin our install, we need to remove the manufacturer's jounce bumpers.

Now they won't all look exactly like this, as this one's already been trimmed. The removal will be the same, as we need to pull the old jounce bumper out of the cup. To do that, I'm just going to use a flat blade screwdriver, get in behind it, and pry it out. Once we have it removed, we'll set it aside as it will not be reinstalled. Now keep in mind that each process we do here on one side is going to get repeated identically on the opposite side. Now that the old jounce bumper's out, we need to relocate the emergency brake cable.

Now this one's already had the bracket taken out that would originally hold it up here against the frame. With the bracket already moved, we're just going to move it down and out of the way. Next, we'll expose the spring seat. To do that, we need to remove the bolt and pull the bracket and brake line away from the spring seat. Be gentle with the brake line, as we don't want to kink or crimp it when we relocate it. We just need enough room that we can get our air bag, lower bracket, and hardware in place. Now with the driver's side done, we'll move over to the passenger side and again repeat the same process. Now on the passenger side, we also have the emergency brake cable that's bracketed to the lower jounce bumper seat. We'll go ahead and remove it also. Now with the vehicle prepped, we're going to move to our workbench. We're going to take one of the air springs and roll plates. You can see it's already been pre-drilled for the air spring. Set it down, cupping the air spring. Next we're going to install the 90 degree air fitting, or elbow, and thread it into the top of the air bag. You can see on the threads where it's already got pre-installed sealant to help it seal, so we don't have any air leaks once our air line is installed. Now to install the elbow, you want to do it hand tight, and then an additional 1-1/2 turns. Now with our air fitting in place, we're going to attach our upper bracket. Now as you can see, they're very similar. The only difference is the inside angle to allow for the air fitting goes in opposite directions. Now the high side, or the longer of the 2 brackets will go towards the front, or the cab of the truck, with the short side going towards the rear of the truck. Also identified here on the bracket is L, for left or driver's side. Make sure our air fitting goes in between the cutout. The pre-drilled holes in our upper bracket will line up with the threaded fittings in the top of the air bag, and the pre-drilled holes in our roll plate. We'll use the cap-headed screw to secure the upper bracket to the air bag. Once I have them installed, I'll go ahead and tighten them down. Now with our upper bracket secured to the air bag, we're going to go ahead and turn it over. We again have the pre-threaded holes in the bottom of the bag that'll line up with the pre-drilled holes in our roll plate. We'll bring in our lower bracket. Now installing our lower bracket, the flat side of the bracket will go against the leaf spring pack, facing out away from the center of the vehicle so that the angled side will also be on the same side as our air fitting. Now to secure the lower bracket to the air bag, we're going to use the same cap-headed bolt. Now with the driver's side spring assembly complete, I'm going to go ahead and set it aside and repeat the same process with the passenger side. Now with both air spring assembled, we're ready to go ahead and install them onto the vehicle. To make it easier, we're going to go ahead and take the weight off the rear suspension to create more distance between the jounce bumper, or the bottom of the frame, and the top of the axle. Now that we have more distance here between the top of the axle and the bottom of the frame, we'll go ahead and put our air spring in place. Note: we need to be careful not to pinch any of the brake lines or manufacturer's wiring not only when we get it in place, but when we install our hardware. Now once it's in place, I'll push the lower bracket back until it's against the manufacturer's spring pack and u-bolt. The upper bracket should sit just above it with the center hole in the upper bracket being about the middle of the frame. Now when attaching the upper bracket to the frame, provided are two possibilities. One, and most likely candidate, will be a u-bolt that'll go down from the top of the frame, then through the upper bracket. Let's go ahead and put the first one in place. We work the u-bolt above the frame, then bring it down between the manufacturer's wiring and the frame so that we don't sandwich the wiring. Line it up with the pre-drilled 2 outer holes of the upper bracket, then secure each leg of our u-bolt with a flat washer and nylon lock nut. We'll just put our fasteners on hand tight at this time. Now the second form of attaching our upper bracket to the frame will be for vehicles that have a previously installed 5th wheel, or gooseneck hitch assembly, and the upper portion of the frame is blocked and we cannot get our u-bolt in place. On those applications, we'll use the center pre-drilled hole in the upper bracket as a template, drill it out, and install the self-threading bolt supplied with the install kit. We're going to use a step bit process where we're going to start with a smaller pilot bit, and then open up to our final size, 5/16", as per the instructions. Now once we have the hole drilled out, we'll go ahead and install our self-threading bolt, and then we'll tighten and torque it to specifications. Now that we have it tightened down, we'll go ahead and torque to specifications. As per the instructions. Now with the top fastener on the front tightened and torqued, I'll go ahead and repeat the same process of tightening and torquing the u-bolt. You'll see that the bottom of the air bag is a little further out towards the tire than the top. To help line it up because we want it as straight up and down as possible, we're going to kick the lower bracket out away from the spring pack. Next, on applications where a u-bolt is installed on the upper bracket forward attachment, we then go ahead and put our clamp bar or axle strap in place. However, because on this application we had to install the self-threading bolt to secure the forward upper bracket position, we need to install the parking brake cable clamp on the front carriage bolt. We'll take the clamp, put it over our cable. I'm going to use my pliers. Squeeze it back together. Line of the attachment points at the clamp and then feed it through the carriage bolt. I'll then take the flange nut provided and secure the clamp. Next we'll go ahead and put the axle strap or clamp bar in place. Securing it with a flat washer and lock nut. Now as we tighten these down, we'll make sure we tighten them down evenly. Next, using the pre-threaded holes in the bottom bracket, we'll go ahead and reinstall the brake brackets. We'll use the new hardware, which will be a flat washer and bolt. That'll go through out brake bracket and thread directly into the lower bracket. Note: there are multiple holes for different configurations, you'll just make sure that you pick one that's not a drilled hole, it's a threaded hole. Now with both air bag assemblies installed, we'll move to installing the air line. The air line will come in the packaging in one piece. If running 2 Schraeder 00:13:41 valves for manual inflation, you'll find the center of the air line and cut it in half. Now to get a clean, square cut without crushing the line, we're going to use the Air Lift Air Hose Cutter, part number AL10530. Now once your line is cut, we can take the end that's going to go into the air bag, line it up with the fitting that we previously installed, firmly pressing it into position and then pulling out to lock it in place. We'll then go ahead and follow the manufacturer's wiring down the frame towards the bumper. I'm going to go ahead and leave it there, because in this application, we're actually going to run one inflation valve and use an Air Lift T to connect the 2 lines together, and then 1 line going to the inflation valve. Let's go ahead and run the passenger side. Now here on the passenger side, we're going to add the air line protector to help prevent the excessive heat from the exhaust from damaging the air line. We'll slide it onto our air line first, then take the air line, line it up with the air fitting coming from the top of the bag. Again, firmly press it in, and pull back to lock it in place. Then we'll go ahead and route our air line down the frame. Note: here on the passenger side, I'm actually going to run the air line forward just a little bit so I have a good attachment point to keep it away from the heat of the exhaust. Then we'll use the zip ties provided with the install kit to secure the air line as necessary. Now once we have them routed here to the back, we'll go ahead and mark our length and use our tubing cutter to cut off any excess. We'll then take the T, push our line in, pull out the lock in place for both sides. Now to install our inflation valve in the bumper, we first need to drill out a hole. As per the instructions, we'll drill out a 5/16" hole. Then we'll cut the line for the length that we need for running to the T. We're going to start with a nut, going in under the threaded portion of our inflation valve, and depending on where the nut is, we'll determine the depth that it'll come through the bumper. We want to make sure we have plenty of room, then we'll install a star washer and feed it from behind the bumper out. Install a rubber flat washer, then a metal washer, and a second nut. Once we have that nut installed, we can go ahead and tighten it down to secure the inflation valve. We can install our cap, and move underneath, and put the inflation valve air line into our T. Now to install into our T, we'll repeat the same process of firmly pushing it into the T, and then pulling back to lock it in place. Now to install the heat shield, we need to create some attachment points. We'll bend the tab down, and then flatten it back out so it'll be creating an inch of air space between the tailpipe and the heat shield. We do that for both sides, and I like to take it and go ahead and bend it a little bit so it'll conform to our tailpipe. We'll then go ahead and use the Worm Gear clamps provided to secure it to the tail pipe. Let's go ahead and get our clamps in place, and then we'll put the heat shield in place. Take the clamp, put it around the tail pipe, bring it back together, and we'll go ahead and take up some of the slack in the clamp. Now that our clamp's on, slide the heat shield into place. Just like that, our heat shield's in place, protecting our air bag here on the passenger side. Next, we'll go ahead and test the new air springs by putting some air to it. Then we can check our connection points for leaks, using a soap and water solution. Now with our air lines checked, we're ready to hit the road. That does it for the install of the Air Lift LoadLifter 5000 Ultimate Air Helper Springs with the Internal Jounce Bumpers, part number AL88338 on our 2011 Chevy Silverado 3500. .


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Info for this part was:

Video Edited:
Joshua S
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Video by:
Joshua S
Video by:
Chris R
Installed by:
Cole B
Installed by:
Brent H
Test Fit:
Jared G
Test Fit:
Brent H

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