Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs Installation - 2011 GMC Sierra

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How to Install the Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs on a 2011 GMC Sierra


Today in this 2011 GMC Sierra Extended Cab were going to install part #F2528 from Firestone. The Firestone ride rite air helper springs. Before we install our air helper springs well take some measurements that will show how the springs help the suspension after theyre installed and weight is added. Well take the measurement from top of the wheel well to the ground first without any weight added. In this case it came out to about 42 inches. Next well add about 2,000 pounds in the bed and take our new measurement.

It looks like its dropped to about 40 inches. Now well take it to our test course and show how it handles. Now that youve seen how it reacts without the air helper springs well show you how it works with them installed. It should be known that we add about 10 pounds of air pressure to the springs. You always want it to be like that when you travel around without a payload in the bed. Again, well add 2,000 pounds to the bed.

The first measurement only with 10 pounds of air weve gained about a half inch putting us at about 40 inches. Now lets add some air to bring it back up to original 42 inch mark. That looks to be just about right. Well get our air pressure reading and it looks like it took 50 pounds of air pressure to raise it back up which isnt too bad. Well now take it over our test course again and show you the difference in performance. Now lets go ahead and show you how it installs. Lets go ahead and do a couple things to get our truck ready.

First off well go ahead and take the spare and get it out of the way. Next thing we want to do is go ahead and temporarily take down the guard for a spare tire. There are two bolts in the back side here to remove. Well be using a 13 mm socket. The next thing to get the truck ready is to go ahead and remove the inaudible 00:02:06 stop right here.

Well take a screw driver, work it up in there and just pry it out. Driver side done lets go to the other side and do the same thing. Now we can go ahead and start with some preassembly of our airbags. First off well go ahead and take our two long carriage bolts and drop them through two square holes. Next well go ahead and attach our airbag, well line up the threaded hole with this slot right here. Then well use this small 5/8 long flat head bolt. We dont want to tighten this up for now because we may need some adjustment front to rear. Well just snug up to take up the gap and thats all we need. Now well go ahead and work with the cup right here. We need to install an insert. This part is called the insert. This will fit inside here and that way our top bracket will bolt to that. These grooves right here will align with these slots. Once we have it lined up lets go ahead and rotate it and we just got to start it. Well take a screwdriver and rotate it the rest of the way. Well take an old screwdriver and well use it to tap on it and rotate it into place. Bingo, once we have it in place you can see theres actually a little bit of play in there. You can see how we have these ridges lined up to groves in the insert. Next on our list is the upper bracket. Lets go ahead and slid it into place, work away around the cup and our cables as well. It looks like theres a cut out for the cables to work it into place. I put our bracket into place. The parking brake cable seems to be giving us trouble. Well loosen up a bracket up here and then well go ahead and put our upper bracket into place. Then well return attention to this and reroute our cable. Our bracket loosened up, well go ahead and just remove it off our cable and then were just going to take it and were just going to zip tie it up to the factory wire harness to keep it up and out of the way. That way it doesnt have to rub any more then it has to. Well just put our bracket straight up into place and then well take our longer flathead screw and install it through our bracket through the center and into the insert. If we tighten this up well keep our parking brake and our wiring in mind and well tie it up as we need along the way. To tighten up our bolt here were using a 7-32nd Allen bit or hex bit. Now we just have it snugged up for now. I like to have this part of the bracket making contact with the frame. Right now its just a little bit away from it so well just take a rubber mallet, just tap it in position then well tighten it down for good. Now well take our inaudible 00:05:30 parts, put the airbag and the lower bracket and well go ahead and put it into place. This part will fit up against the spring pack right here. The U bolts will fit into these slides. We want to squeeze the air bag down too and more it as you need to put it into place. Take your air bag with the large threads and run it through this hole right here. Also you can see this tab sticking out. This will fit in either one of these holes right here. Well use whichever one gives us the best alignment. We want to aim for straight up and down. That looks like in our case the hole from our tab going back to the back of the truck is the one were going to use. Remember the bolts on the bottom here we left loose and we really cant tighten it at this point so we will go ahead and make a mark using a pay marker. Then well take it all back out, tighten the bolt on the bottom and put it back into place now that we know how its going to sit. Well line up our marks and tighten down the bolt. Got it tightened up, lets go ahead and put it back into place. Heres a second look and see how you can see your frame bracket wraps around our U bolts. Now well go ahead and install our airline fitting. This is on our bag thats already been installed. All thats going to happen is were going to thread this on and tighten it down and make sure the sealant is engaged with the threads. After that well install the large inaudible 00:07:18 washer and the large nut. That will tighten the airbag down to the top bracket. Heres our fitting lets go ahead and put it into place. It doesnt take too much; just make sure your sealants engaged into the threads. You could also put the airline fitting in first before you install it into the upper bracket as well. Tighten down our nut. Lets go ahead and install our bale clamp. This will go around outside a spring U bolts and through here on both sides. Now go ahead and draw down our bale clamp, not much room here so a 9 1/6 ratchet wrench works really good. When we tighten down our bale clamp we want to do it even on both sides. Next well go ahead and put our clamp on the bottom. Well go ahead and put our clamp through the carriage bolts and then well go ahead and install our locking flange nuts. Then well go ahead and tighten them down evenly on both sides. For airbag assembly tighten down and install on the drivers side well go ahead and add our airline tubing to it. First well put a fresh end on it using a tubing cutter. Well make sure of its cut is at a 90 degree angle. The tubing cutter that were using is part #F9009 from Firestone. Lets go ahead and take our airline tubing and install it into our air fitting. Well go ahead and put it into place till it gets started then you push it just a little bit more so it seats into place. Now well go ahead and take our airline tubing and measure out how much we need. Were going to just basically follow along the edge of the frame and just to give us some extra well go ahead and measure out to the center of the hitch. Then well use the tubing cutter to take off our excess. What Im going to do just go ahead and run it though a preexisting opening in the frame and well keep it all contained inside there. Were going to leave this loop inside the frame as well. That way incase we have to redo the fitting we can cut it and we have some extra if necessary. Lets go ahead and leave this end alone for now. Basically well repeat these same steps over on the passenger side. The passenger side will get the heat shield which will basically fit between the airbag and the upper bracket. You want to loosely install it and then rotate it the way you want it and then tighten everything down. Its easier to show it here now then it is in the truck but Ill go ahead and put this up in the truck to give a good reference. You put the heat shield between the airbag and the closest point of exhaust. A couple notes about the passenger side is that youve got to really work around your brake cables as well. You have to have some patience with that part. In addition to our heat shield for airbag our airline tubing gets some as well. This comes with the kit. Well just slide it on to airline tubing and then put it into the fitting. Once again well go ahead and route our airline relative to the same spot as our other airline. Next well go ahead and attach our airline valval fitting. This is the fitting right here. Well go ahead and draw our first hole in the bumper right here. Were going to use a 5 1/6th drill bit and drill through the plastic on the bumper. Theres no metal behind it. Now well go ahead and take our valve apart, Ill take the cap for a valve and the nut off. Then well slide on a stainless steel washer, this comes with the kit. Then well run it from the inside back to the outside. Then well install the other stainless steel washer and then reinstall the nut. Well go ahead and tighten it down. You can use a half inch inaudible 00:12:52 socket to tighten it down with. Typically in our airbag set up youll have one of these on each side of a bumper or two side by side for left and right. However, in this case were just going to use one fitting and use a T behind this so our one valve will fill up our airbags and the same time. Heres the back side of the air valve right here. We have a fresh end on our tubing; well go ahead and run it into it. Then well go ahead and cut it to length that we want and then we can go ahead and make our final connections. The T that were using is part #F3025-1 from Firestone. This is a union T for quarter inch tubing. Take this end and plug it into the one line, this is our driver side and then well get our passenger side. At this point well go ahead and take a few moments to go ahead and zip tie our airlines to secure them so they dont move any more then the have to. Cut off our tails and at this point well go ahead and put some air into the airbags and try them out. Well also spray down all our connections with some soapy water to make sure were not leaking. It doesnt look like any bubbles showing up so it looks like all our connections are good to go. Lets go ahead and put back the spare tire and spare tire shield. After our install is complete you can see how our bracket reaches up from underneath the frame and along the sides. This works just fine with this custom bracket that was installed for the fifth wheel hitch. In this case, our tab from the airbag bracket came up about one inch from the bottom of the frame. If you have that kind of room for your brackets you should be good to go. With that that will finish it for our install of part #F2528 and our union T fitting part #F3025-1 on our 2011 GMC Sierra pickup. .


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