Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs Installation - 2017 GMC Sierra 2500

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How to Install the Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs on a 2017 GMC Sierra 2500

Speaker 1: Today on our 2017 GMC Sierra 2500, we're going to be taking a look at, and showing you how to install the Firestone Ride Rite air helper springs for the rear axle. That's going to be part number F2596. So here's what our airbags are going to look like once we have them installed. Now these are going to give us load leveling support whenever we're hauling a heavy load or towing a heavy trailer. It's going to work in conjunction with our factory suspension, preventing that sagging that's typically found when we have a heavy load in the back, or hauling a heavy trailer.It's also going to make sure that our factory suspension is doing its job properly, and it's not taking on too much stress or unwanted strain. Our airbags can handle up to 5,000 pounds, but keep in mind these are just there for support.

They're not going to increase the payload of your truck, and you never want to exceed the manufacturer's recommended weight.Our airbags are going to be adjustable from five to 100 PSI, so we're going to have a lot of range in the different kinds of loads that we can carry. They are going to work independently side to side, so if you have an off center load, we can compensate that with the air pressure in each bag. Not only are these going to help out with those heavy loads, but they're also going to act as a shock absorber. It's going to give us a lot more stability in our truck and it's going to give us a smoother ride whenever we are towing or hauling something.Our airbags are going to have a double convoluted design, and go in between our axle and our frame. And prevent bottoming out whenever we have those large loads.

Our kit is going to come with everything necessary to get it in place, including the two inflation valves, and airlines to run. Now we can either use the included no drill bracket, or drill two holes wherever we see fit to mount the inflation valves. Now there are compressor switches and engages available so we can actually inflate or decreased the amount of air in our bags without ever getting out of our truck.Those are sold separately and you can find those here at And the brackets that are included in our kit are specifically designed for our Sierra. So we're not going to have to drill or cut anything in order to get it installed.

Now our airbags are going to replace our factory jounce stops. And as you can see, it is going to be a much larger piece that's going to provide a lot more support. Whereas, our factory jounce stop really is just there to prevent the axle from hitting the frame.Whenever you're hauling a heavy load, whether it be a heavy trailer or a big load in the back of the bed, it can put a lot of strain and stress on the factory suspension. So before we load it up, we're going to take a few measurements. If we measure from the ground to the top edge of the wheel well here, here at the back it's going to be right about 44 inches.

Then it we move up to the front, measuring the same location. It's going to be right about 42-1/2 inches. So we went ahead and put a load in the back to simulate a heavy trailer or a load in the bed. We'll go ahead and take our measurements again.And with a load in the back, it's actually down to 42-1/2 in the back here. So it dropped it about an inch and a half. Now on the front it's actually raised it up to 43 inches, so it actually raised the front of a half an inch. So that's putting a lot of strain on the back suspension and also lifting up the front end, which is going to miss align our headlights, and cause traction problems, and wear down our tires.As soon as I take the truck out on her bump course, I can immediately tell that there's something in the back of the bed. Each time I go over one of the bumps, it's a really jarring bump, and it's resonating through the seat. And it's quite uncomfortable. And as I started going through some of the turns, you can really feel that swaying back and forth because of that extra weight in the bed. You go to turn, and the body wants to roll before the truck actually starts to turn.So now that we have our airbags installed, and the same load that's in the back. It only took about 35 pounds of air to get it right back at the factory ride height. With the front and back having the factory measurements, it's going to take a lot of that stress off the rear suspension, also aligning our headlights and making sure we have full context with the tires on the front.So with our airbags installed and load back in there, let's take it out on our test course and see how they handle. Now the airbags are in, and I take the truck out on the test course. Don't get me wrong, I can still feel the bumps, but they're not as bad. And it's a lot more controlled. And it's not so much going into the seat and hurting my back. And as I'm going through the turns, it honestly doesn't feel like there's a whole lot in the back of the bed. It's a lot more controlled, it feels a lot more stable. And the truck genuinely feels like he just wants to go a little bit faster. So now that we've seen our airbags and gone over some of the features, let's show you how to get them installed.To begin our installation, we're going to be starting on the driver side. We're going to come right above the rear axle, where we have our factory jounce stop. We're going to need to remove this in order to get our airbags in place. So you want to take a pry bar, or a flat blade screwdriver, and we're just going to pry out that rubber spring, because these are just press fit in there. We'll just pry it out until we can pull the entire assembly out. So we can grab our upper bracket, and you'll notice that it's going to have these two tall tabs that are going up. Then on the other side, we're going to have these slotted holes. Want to make sure that the tabs are facing upwards and that they're going to be on the inside of the frame.May need to move our emergency brake cable just a little bit. But our bracket is going to be sitting just like this, right on the bottom of that cup that are jounce stop was in. Then we can take our U bolt here, that's going to go around the jounce stop cup, like this. And when it goes through the other side, it's going to be going through the bracket, and through those two slotted holes. And may take a little bit of maneuvering to get everything in place, but typically, if we can get our U bolt loosely over the bracket, just enough so that we can slide the bracket in place, it makes it a little bit easier.And once we have our U Bolt in place, going to make sure it's pushed all the way against the cup. We're going to lift our bracket so it sits nice and straight. Then on the outside, where it comes on the other side of the frame, we're going to take our spacer, it's going to have two holes in it that'll line up with the U bolt. We'll slide it over. Then we're going to place a flat washer, and a lock nut on each end. Then we'll come back with a 9/16 socket, and we're going to snug up our hardware.Now it's important that you tighten down these alternating, so you can even torque on them. And you're going to want to try to get the bracket so it's nice and even, and level going across. Now we can get ready to assemble our airbags. On top here, we're going to have this threaded section, with a threaded hole in the middle and a small metal tab. We're going to take the inflation valve, it's going to have some thread locker on it. We're just going to screw it directly into that threaded section.Now it's important when we tighten this down, that we engage enough of the thread locker into the airbag. So again, we'll take a 9/16 socket, and we're just going to tighten it up until we get enough thread locker in there. We don't need to go over tight, but we want to make sure that we have enough of that thread locker in there so it doesn't cause any leaks.Now we can take our bag and we're going to flip it over. We'll have another threaded hole on the bottom. At this point we're going to want to grab our lower bracket, and we're going to be mounting it directly to the airbag. There's going to be a slotted hole on the bottom of the bracket. And you just want to make sure that those tabs are facing away from the valve we just installed. We'll take the flat head cap screw, and we're just going to loosely thread it in right now, just by hand, because we want to have plenty of movement in this lower bracket here.Then you can grab yourself a 7/32nd Allen socket and again, just by hand, tightened up so we can still move this around and the airbag can move freely on the bracket. Now, in order to get our bag assembly in place here and attach it to our upper bracket, we are going to need a little bit more room than this, so the easiest way to that is if you take a jack or a jack stand and just lift up on the frame, just enough so this space will increase and the axle can start to hang down a little bit. But you don't need to jack it up so high that the axle and rear tires are actually come off the ground.So we can take her airbag and bracket assembly. And we're going to have a small tab, we wanted that to be facing towards the inside. Then we'll have a large section towards the back. That's going to have two holes in it. That's going to be going towards the outside of the vehicle. And again, coming back to the top of the airbag, we'll have that threaded section and that small tab. And if we look on our upper bracket, we'll have a large hole. That's where our threaded section with our air valve's going to go in, and we're going to line up that small tab with one of these two holes in the upper bracket.So we can take our airbag, we'll get the lower brackets started. Now if we just push down, we can compress the airbag enough to get everything in. Just want to watch out for these brake lines and the ABS lines. So we can get the bag in place, and now we're going to want to make sure that that tab is fully seated. And you can use either hole, just kind of depends on which alignment is going to work the best. You want your bag to be nice and straight, going up and down. And try to get even side to side. With the big dry fitted inside the assembly now, we're going to take a marker and we're going to mark our bag in the position that it's in, in a couple different spots so we can make sure that when we go to tighten everything up, it doesn't move on us.And with the marks made, we're going to compress the bag again and we'll pull it out. And we can tighten everything up. So we'll line up our marks, making sure it hasn't moved. We'll take our 7/32nd Allen bit, and we'll tighten that bolt on the bottom. Then we'll come back with a torque wrench and we'll torque that bolt down to the specified amount in the instructions. Again, double checking the marks to make sure it hasn't moved. So we'll reinstall the bag. Making sure that alignment pen is still lined up, and that the lower bracket is pushed all the way against the leaf spring pack.To secure the bag to the brackets, we're going to take our large star washer and go over the inflation valve and that threaded section. And then we're going to take a large hex nut and thread it onto there. We'll come back with a 1-1/8 inch socket and we'll snug that nut up. Now on the bottom bracket here, we're going to have these holes that are going to be on the lower tabs. They're going to be on each side of our axle. We're going to take the large bail clamp. We're going to go around the axle. You want to make sure you stay clear of those ABS lines, and we don't pinch them.We'll go all the way around the axle. And then the threaded section is going to go through the hole on each side. Once the bracket's all the way around, and you check to make sure you're not pinching your ABS lines, or anything else, we'll take a flat washer, slide it over one end, and then a nylon lock nut and secure it down. We'll do that with both sides. Now for the square holes that are on the bottom of the lower clamp here, we're going to take one of our long carriage bolts, we'll drop it down. We have to work it around the airbag a little bit, but it's going to go around on the outside of the axle. And we're going to have one of those on each side.And with both bolts coming down below the axle, we're going to take our axle clamp, and notice it's going to have this rounded cutout section. You want that to go up towards the axle so it hugs it like this. Those are going to have two holes which will line up with our U bolts. Then we'll secure down would that same flat washer and lock nut. I'm going to come back with a 9/16 socket and I'm going to tighten up all my hardware. And again, you want to make sure you alternate from side to side. That way you get an even draw on all the clamps. And with all the hardware snug, we'll come back with that same 9/16 socket and we're going to torque it down to the specified amount in the instructions.They airline tube in our kit's going to be one large piece. So we're going to want to find the center section and then you want to have a nice clean straight cut. So we're going to be using a pair of tubing cutters. Now the passenger side's going to go on the exact same way, with the exception of this heat shield here. That's going to go in between the airbag and the upper bracket, whenever we tightened down that large nut. So we can take our airline tube and the fitting on top, we're just going to take it, we're going to push it straight inside until it bottoms out.Then we'll give it a quick tug to make sure it locks in place. Now we're going to route this airline towards the back of the bumper. You just want to stay away from any major heat sources or moving parts that may damage your airline. So we'll go ahead and run both sides and then show you how we routed them. Now on the passenger side, we are going to have this protective material that we're going to slide over our airline tube. We'll have two sections of it. We'll slide it over one of the open ends. You just pass it down so we have a little bit of airline tube sticking out.Then we'll put our airline tube in the air fitting the exact same way, just pushing in until it locks in. But this is going to help protect against the exhaust so it won't do any damage. With the airline, I just ran it across the frame, going up towards the top, crossing over the cross member, zip tying it to some existing wiring along the way, until I had it drop down right at the back of the bumper. And I did the same thing for the passenger side, except I just jumped across to where it can meet up with the other side on the driver's side of the hitch here.Now we have a few different options of how we're going to mount our inflation valves. We can either drill a couple holes into the bumper or somewhere we see fit where we want them. Or we can use the included no drill bracket, where we're not going to have to drill into anything at all. This'll just fit on the bottom of the hitch here. We use the long, included zip ties. We'll go through the bracket. We'll have them go around our hitch. Then we can secure the bracket down.Be a nice convenient spot for our inflation valves to mount. Out of the way, but still easily accessible. So we're at one of our valves, we'll remove the cap and the nut. We're going to take a 5/16 flat washer, slide it over the valve, we'll pass it through the bracket, place another flat washer over, and then re secure the nut. We'll do the same thing for the other one as well. I'm going to come back with a half inch wrench and socket. And we'll hold the backside while we tighten up the nut.Now these really don't need to be cranked down too hard. Just want to tighten them up so they're nice and snug, and then that's not going to back off. Now we'll take the end of our airline tube, and just like the airbag, we're going to take the one from the driver's side, plug it into the back of our fitting, that's going to be on the driver's side. And the one from the passenger side, into the other fitting. Now obviously we have a lot of excess airline, so I'm going to bundle this up and tie it up with this existing wiring behind the bumper here. That way, if in the future anybody needs to reroute or make any repairs, there'll be plenty of excess line.When you are bundling it up, you just want to make sure that you leave it in loops. You don't want to have any hard bends or any kinks in the line. Just a nice gradual sweeping move. So now I'm want to take some air, I'm pressurized both bags so that we can check it for leaks. Now I'm going to take some soapy water, I'm going to spray it directly on the fitting, and any other connection point. It's always a good idea to go ahead and spray the bag down as well. And what we're looking for is bubbles.Now the soap, naturally is going to have some small bubbles that we can see here, but we're looking for larger bubbles that are expanding and then popping and continuously bringing more and more bubbles. So we're going to spray down all of our connection points at the valves and the inflation valves at the back. And it looks like we don't have any leaks, so we're ready to go.That'll finish up your look at the Firestone Ride Rite air helper springs for the rear axle. Part number F2596 on our 2017 GMC Sierra 2500.

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