Firestone’s Air Helper Springs Kit
If you’ve ever spent any time in traffic staring at the back-end of an 18-wheeler looming large in your windshield, then no doubt the block letters proudly spelling “air-ride equipped” has been indelibly emblazoned into your memory; nothing provides more button-busting pleasure within long-haul truckers’ circles than to boast that their crates of lead-laden plastic toys from China making their way across the United States are well cradled in soft cushions of an air-ride suspension. Now you can best any trucker out there, but we’re willing to bet what you’re hauling is a lot better than plastic toys from China.
Although some trucks were built to handle the rocks and trails and provide a pleasant trip back to your driveway (and maybe even to work on Monday), there are some off-road vehicles that weren’t. The Department of Motor Vehicles, not to mention the men with the pointy badges looking to raise revenue for their county, frown on you pushing the envelopes of what they call “street legal” when it comes to crossing the line where the dirt meets the pavement. That being said, loading a 3,000-pound CJ7 onto a 1,500-pound trailer (don’t forget to include several hundred pounds of gear for a weekend out), will increase the tongue weight of your tow vehicle outside that comfy 10- to-15-percent range. The result is an uneven ride, with the front end of the tow vehicle pointing toward the sky; and this could mean reduced front tire footprint and some tricky steering.
The Ride-Rite air helper springs kit from Firestone Industrial is an easy-to-install kit that mounts between the frame and the suspension to provide needed lift to level out the truck (not only from front to rear but also side to side). It is designed to maximize the carrying capacity of your truck, while providing increased stabilization, a consistent ride height, increased control, and a softer ride. The installation is easy to do with tools found in any moderately-equipped garage, but will take up the better part of a day. We took our 2004 F-150 to SoCal SuperTrucks in San Bernardino, California, to watch as Bill Brunner and Nate Rock showed us the right way to install the kit.