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View Full Version : Installed Firestone Ride-Rite Bags


pwabbott
11-22-2003, 11:29 AM
This Firestone Ride-Rite (Air Helper Springs) Kit is a well engineered kit and relatively easy to install. I am pleased with the design and am looking forward to towing my fiver.

I would caution anyone installing one of these kits, there are a couple of mistakes in the written instructions. One is the orientation of the lower bracket. The instructions show one orientation for the 2500 and another for the 3500. The one marked 2500 should read the 10.5" rear axle. The one for the 3500 should read the 11.5 rear axle.

The second mistake is the location of the air fitting in the upper bracket. It states this should be installed in the forward most hole. If installed in that hole the bag would have been misaligned and distorted badly. Since my truck was built in August 2003 this may be different for models built at a later date. I installed mine in the rear hole and the bag is properly aligned. (The writer may be confused when viewing the underside of a truck. Guess it depends on your point of reference.)

Ride-Rite Kit carries a 24 month Warranty.

FiverBob
11-22-2003, 03:24 PM
Phil,
Why did you need the bags?
Bob

pwabbott
11-22-2003, 04:19 PM
After returning from Alaska I noticed that rear suspension had bottomed on that trip. Evidence was marks on axle by rubber bumpers. This I am sure happened at "frost heaves" and sharp dips which can be quite frequent on some sections of road. Needless to say my 3/4 ton 2500 does not have helper springs as the 3500s have. (3/4 tons, 2002 and before, with camper package had helper springs.) I am sure helper springs, as I am loaded, would not be needed under freeway conditions.

It appears to me that in an attempt to improve the ride D-C Engineers opted for the softer spring and not making available the helper spring option. The air bag helper spring allows me to adjust the ride for road conditions and load when towing without sacrificing the ride when unloaded.

After consulting with two different RV shops, both recommending the Ride-Rite, I found a supplier for them at $228, plus $12 shipping.

I believe the bags will result in less wear on the rear suspension, also, safer towing.

We are planning another trip to Alaska next summer, having volunteered to work in July at camp a few miles east of Fairbanks.

:o

henchman
11-22-2003, 09:30 PM
Just an FYI for anyone considering the ride-rite air bags..... I put some on my last truck and I was less than pleased with them. The reason was that they reduced the total suspension travel to about 3 inches. If you measure how tall the bag is (before you install it), then compress it fully and measure it again, the difference is about 3 inches. The stock suspension has about 7 inches of travel, and when I reduced it to 3 with the bags, it made the ride much worse because the bags wouldn't let the suspension do it's job. It didn't matter how much pressure the bags had either. However....... when loaded, the truck did sit level. I ran the truck almost empty for the most part, so I opted to take them back off. My $.02. ;)

pwabbott
11-23-2003, 12:17 AM
henchman,

What was the part number of the Ride-Rite kit you installed?

Your measurements don't match up with the application for my truck as I have at least 6 inches of travel with 5# pressure in these air bags. Since over half of my miles are towing my fiver, the helper springs are necessary to prevent premature spring fatigue. The only other option would be to add a leaf which would permanently firm the ride excessively.

I suggest you edit your profile so your signature indicates the equipment you have.

Mopar_Mudder
11-24-2003, 11:15 AM
Sierra I will bet that you don't have 6" of travel. You mensioned that your bump stops had hit that axles, well think about this now, you took out the stops and put in the air bags so now the air bags are your bump stops :o

I put in Air Lift bags in mine which mount very much the same as the Firestones. Unless I pumped them up with alot of air and had the back of the truck sitting way high they would bottom out. Their is no way I could run the truck level when loaded because their would only be about 1" or less of down travel left before they bottoemd out.

pwabbott
11-24-2003, 09:41 PM
Sierra I will bet that you don't have 6" of travel. You mensioned that your bump stops had hit that axles, well think about this now, you took out the stops and put in the air bags so now the air bags are your bump stops :o

I put in Air Lift bags in mine which mount very much the same as the Firestones. Unless I pumped them up with alot of air and had the back of the truck sitting way high they would bottom out. Their is no way I could run the truck level when loaded because their would only be about 1" or less of down travel left before they bottoemd out.


From Air Lift Kit 57280 Installation Instructions:

"IMPORTANT: The air springs will last much longer if they are not the suspension limiter in either compression or
extension. The air spring compresses to 2.8 and extends to 9.1. Regardless of the load, the air pressure should always
be adjusted so that the Normal Ride Height is maintained at all times."

Normal Ride Height is not level on 2003 Rams. It is approx. 2.5 inches above level. There are some major differences between the mounting brackets for Ride-Rite and Air Lift. Air Lift reduce the travel by at least 2 to 2.5 inches more than Ride-Rite. Rubber Bump Stops occupied 2.5 inches of travel.

If a product is installed and maintained properly the results are satisfactory. Of course if you tried to maintain the truck in a level stance, this you chose to have reduced travel. That was your choice and not the fault of the product.

Others have been more than satisfied with air bags. I intend to inflate as per Firestone's instructions.

http://www.dieseltruckresource.com/yabbse/index.php?board=11;action=display;threadid=22005;s tart=msg205617#msg205617

henchman
11-25-2003, 04:23 AM
hmmm, all I remember is that they were firestone ride-rite dual-bellow air bags. They may have different versions or something, but the ones I had were junk. They had 2 rubber portions and dark green metal disks on each end. They were about 6 inches tall before they were installed (empty bag- no pressure) and 3 inches tall when compressed. I'm sure that if you put 100 psi in them when they were not even on the truck that they would be taller, but that isn't really usable travel. I hated them. They either rode like a rock, or bottomed on every bump. nothing in between.

Mopar_Mudder
11-25-2003, 09:11 AM
Sierra I will bet that you don't have 6" of travel. You mensioned that your bump stops had hit that axles, well think about this now, you took out the stops and put in the air bags so now the air bags are your bump stops :o

I put in Air Lift bags in mine which mount very much the same as the Firestones. Unless I pumped them up with alot of air and had the back of the truck sitting way high they would bottom out. Their is no way I could run the truck level when loaded because their would only be about 1" or less of down travel left before they bottoemd out.


From Air Lift Kit 57280 Installation Instructions:

"IMPORTANT: The air springs will last much longer if they are not the suspension limiter in either compression or
extension. The air spring compresses to 2.8 and extends to 9.1. Regardless of the load, the air pressure should always
be adjusted so that the Normal Ride Height is maintained at all times."

Normal Ride Height is not level on 2003 Rams. It is approx. 2.5 inches above level. There are some major differences between the mounting brackets for Ride-Rite and Air Lift. Air Lift reduce the travel by at least 2 to 2.5 inches more than Ride-Rite. Rubber Bump Stops occupied 2.5 inches of travel.

If a product is installed and maintained properly the results are satisfactory. Of course if you tried to maintain the truck in a level stance, this you chose to have reduced travel. That was your choice and not the fault of the product.

Others have been more than satisfied with air bags. I intend to inflate as per Firestone's instructions.

http://www.dieseltruckresource.com/yabbse/index.php?board=11;action=display;threadid=22005;s tart=msg205617#msg205617




Thoose measurements all sound great but they forget to tell you that they are not counting the height of the mounting brackets in that 2.8".

Also when you put that much air in the bags to get normal ride height it takes all load off the springs and created alot of axle wrap for me.

And with all the problems with people and campers with the back of the trucks being too high that is going to make mater worse if you can't alow the back of the truck to sit level with a load on it.

With my gooseneck I can't have the back end sitting way high like it does empty. If I shorten the hitch that much to get the trailer level then I run a real good chance of ripping my box side off. A couple of inches can make a big difference.

If I try to do something again I will make my own that mount like they did on the 2nd gens, so the bump stops are still the limiter, not the air bags.

What happens when one of the bags blow when you have a load on? Now you have 0 suspension at all.

I just don't like the design, it doesn't leave you much for adjustability and travel. If it works for other peoples needs that is great.