The Only Way to Ride

Firestone Air Bags

September 2014 Installs Dave Friedli

When my Firestone Ride Rite air bag kit with the compressor and wireless controller first arrived I must admit, I tore into the boxes like a kid on Christmas morning. Even after doing all my research online and getting a good feel for the system, I was just excited to see what I got. One thing I must note, I was very impressed with the way everything was packaged and labeled. I’m a visual, hands-on kind of guy and it made the install that much easier.

I found the instructions to be well written and easy to follow. This wasn’t my first Firestone install; I have put air bags on before so that helped with the overall process. However, I’ve never installed a compressor or used spacers for lifted trucks before, but I figured this was as good a time as any to start.

I recently added Superlift’s 6-inch lift to my 2003 GMC LB7 and wanted the new Firestone Ride Rite system to be my next project for my truck. I followed the instructions and did some preassembly of a few parts and this was very helpful. But when I tried to do things ahead of the instructions I found out the hard way that you just need to be patient. If you follow along with the instructions then you’ll only need to do the assembly once, not twice like I found myself doing a few times.

One quick tip were noting: After you install the bags on top of the axel housing you can’t tighten the bolt that holds the bag to the bracket until after the whole assembly is in. Otherwise you can’t center the assembly to insure the correct alignment. On my specific truck I did need to modify the allen wrench that comes with the kit because it was too long to fit between the bracket and the axel housing. But after a trip to the grinder it worked great.

Look Ma, No Drill

I was then on to the no-drill mount for the compressor and control board that mounts to the frame of the truck. Once again I found the instructions to be very helpful and correct in the steps that I needed to take to insure a proper fit as well as function. I was a little worried about the part in the instructions that says to mount it in a place that was away from water contact. This will be very hard to make happen unless you mount it in the bed with a cover. I mounted it in a good dry place and that would probably be enough, but I then made on my own a stainless vented cover to protect my investment from water as well as snow since I live in the mountains. I did have to drill one hole to mount a ground wire into the frame, but that was the only hole that I had to drill for the entire install.

Down The Line

The wiring was very easy to follow and install. There were only a few connections that needed to be made and after that it was on to the air line install. I routed every line first and then made all the cuts. Next I mounted the tubes into the manifold next to the compressor. I then powered the system and checked for leaks and was thankful when none were found.

The highlight of this entire system and the one feature I was the most excited about was the wireless remote. It truly makes things very easy to operate, plus it’s nice to adjust the amount of air needed for what is being hauled at that specific time. With trucks without an onboard compressor you have to guess the amount of air needed for the load and hope your right. With this system, you can add or release as needed to find the perfect air level to fit the load.

The kit also came with an accessory port in the back of the truck to connect a 25-foot air hose to fill whatever you need. This has been very helpful in many cases since the install for things as simple as inflating the tire on my son’s bike.

One key piece of advice I would pass along is make sure to check the clearance of your garage in relation to your truck height. With my 6-inch lift and 35-inch Mickey Thompson tires mounted on 20-inch wheels from American Force Wheels, my truck only cleared by an inch before the bags were installed. After I put the bags on I found my truck could raise around 6-inches or more so just be careful not to smash the cab on low doors.

This is a well-built kit and I would recommend it to anyone. And because it really is easy to install, everyone should have a Firestone Ride Rite air bag kit if they do a lot of towing like I do for work. Just follow the instructions and you’ll have miles and miles of smooth rides in your future.

 For information regarding products used in this article, visit our Aftermarket.

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