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Old 10-10-2011, 07:12 AM
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question on helper airbags (firestone/airlift)

I have a '08 F350 that I'm thinking about putting some helper airbags on and had a few questions. A little backgound info: I have a 2-1/2" leveling kit on the front so it sit perfectly level unloaded but when you put anything in the bed it sags fast. I also have a B&W turnaround gooseneck ball in the bed that I need to account for when picking a airbag system.

I've noticed that a lot of people say go with firestone over airlift and that firestone bags are a little "heavier duty" and their compressor kits are a lot better than air lifts. I went to firestone's site and found the kit I needed with my gooseneck hitch and saw that it installs inside the frame rails rather than outside like on non gooseneck owners.

This is going on my daily driver, I run unloaded most of the time, and probably tow maybe a few times a month. I usually tow on the lighter side, around 3K, sometimes 6K, and rarely 10K+. So it's not going to pushed to it limit much. In theory, the bags that mount inboard of the framerails will see more "action" than the ones that mount outside the frame rails due to the leverage, so I would like to have a "heavier duty" set just for that reason.

Does anyone have any evidence of the firestone bags being more rugged? What about the compressor kits, anyone crap or better than the others?
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:45 PM
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Well I have almost the exact same setup and I have Firestone air-bags that sit under the frame (they bolt on the inside of the frame but they sit almost directly under it) and they mount to the axle just inside from the springs. I tow a 38' gooseneck of around 12K and with 60psi in the bags it doesn't sag/squat at all. I have the B&W flipover ball. I don't have the compressor so I have to adjust the pressure manually which isn't a big deal, especially if you only tow a few times a month. I would highly recommend the Firestones.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:43 PM
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cool thanks for the response! Do you have the bags on seperate lines or are they tee'd? I think I'm leaning towards the firestone inboard the leafs, on seperate lines. But I want a compressor and was thinking of going with the smartair auto leveling system. Now I have to see if the single sensor smartair system will allow for each bag to be sperate or if I have to go with the duel sensor system.

I assume I'd have to go with the dual sensor setup but at $600 it's hard to swallow!
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:21 AM
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You will HAVE to run them with separate lines. If you run them together, and take a turn they will transfer air from one side to the next, and when you are turning this can cause some serious handling issues.

~Phil
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zambonimaxx View Post
You will HAVE to run them with separate lines. If you run them together, and take a turn they will transfer air from one side to the next, and when you are turning this can cause some serious handling issues.

~Phil
correct. I don't see any point in running them with a tee fitting together. I was just asking 44magnum what kind of setup he has. I want to run a auto leveling setup but would rather use only one sensor instead of the $600 two sensor system. I don't really two with offset weight from side to side so don't know if I can think of some way to make it work. I'm going to call air left and ask some questions
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:46 AM
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The bags are awesome but the mounts are crap. Your truck may have a different setup than mine but, generally, it will be the same. This picture is after one trip down to the coast (Big Shell) for some fishing.


The bracket bowed out which also caused the saddle not to sit on the axle straight anymore.

In the pic below, notice that the tab is bent downward where the bags bolt to the mount. The bolt sheared off and the tab bent downward.


I have a gooseneck and at the point where the upper airbag mount attaches to the frame, the airbag mount bent and dangled my airbags at an angle since they were no longer attached at the bottom, either.


I didn't even notice all of this until I got back from the trip. I had to remove the brackets and weld in supports. They work great now but the mounts that come with the Firestone bags, for me, were crap. I'm pretty easy on my truck and it's in excellent condition so this is not a case of abuse.

I have the Viair OBA sitting in my garage just waiting to be hooked up. Haven't had the time lately.

I highly recommend welding in some additional supports on the brackets due to my personal experience. There will probably be people that chime in and say that they've never had a problem with them so take everything, including my experience, with a grain of salt.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:01 PM
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wow, thats kinda turns me off of the kit. But like you said, it may be a fluke or they had a bad batch. I'm going to call up firestone and talk to them a bit and I may bring you situation up. Did you ever bring it to their attention?

Thanks
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:23 PM
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I did not. I figured by the time it would all finally get settled, I would be upset that I didn't just fix them up myself and make them even stronger than what they manufacture. Understandably, there are channels that companies have to go through in order to fix situations like this and I didn't feel like waiting. Took me about 20 minutes to completely remove the bags and mounts, another hour of welding/cutting support pieces to get it fixed up and zero dollars.

I'm happy now. I would purchase them again but wouldn't put them on my truck without adding my modifications first.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:04 PM
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I hear ya, it usually takes forever to get compainies to fix any kind of a problem! When I call them I'll bring it up to them and see if they had any other issues like this or if they changed the brackets at all.
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Old 10-19-2011, 06:10 PM
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Post up what their response is about the brackets. You are welcome to send them the pics of my truck.
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