Air Lift air springs review after using for a year and 15,000 miles towing

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
We pulled our trailer for about 7,500 miles without air bags. The ride was rough, because of a couple issues. First, the 2500/3500 has a stiff ride, no it's never going to ride like a Cadillac. Second, even with the 3500 chassis, when fully loaded, the overloads were almost touching the stops. With the springs already compressed, the spring rate is very high, hence the rough ride. The 2500 may ride slightly better in the rear, but the only difference between the 2018 Chevy 2500 and 3500 is the rear leaf springs, otherwise the trucks are identical (little known fact), so the front isn't going to ride any better.

I had considered installing air springs per my uncle's advice, but still hadn't. The last straw was a trip to Door County last fall, where we drove through Milwaukee. To say the roads are rough is an understatement. We really got bounced around and so did our trailer. The internal blind rivets don't like when the trailer flexes. We had to replace several rivets.

I bought the Air Lift Air Spring kit and installed it myself. It took about two hours taking my time and being meticulous. The worst part is the undercoating from the truck all over my hands and arms. The actual install is easy. The Air Lift product seems to be an easier install and gets a higher rating than the Firestone air bag product.

We bought the bags solely hoping for a better ride. It should be pointed out that air bags may also be used to level your rig, but never ever to increase your payload, because they don't period.

The ride difference is very noticeable! It's kinda fun to let the air out just so we can see how much better the ride is with the bags inflated. I've read online opinions that truck manufacturers should install air bags at the factory, because they make that much difference in ride and I agree that at least it should be an option.

Air Lift offers a kit with just the bags and a kit with the bags and pump. I figured I would carry a portable air compressor to maintain and adjust the air pressure, so I bought the kit with just the bags. Pennywise, pound foolish. When you unhitch, you'll need to release all of the pressure, then inflate when you hitch. It took one trip to figure out this is a pain in the neck. If you are going to buy air bags, buy the kit with both bags and air pump. Just do it.

I have learned that for our rig, we get the best ride with the bags inflated to 25-30 psi. The best ride seems to be with the springs about half way between unloaded and fully loaded (see pictures below. This is completely dependant on your rig, so take my figures with a grain of salt.

The bags will raise the back of your truck, which will raise the front of your trailer, that is if you have a travel trailer. Pulling your trailer level is important, so you'll have to adjust your hitch.

We found a total winner with the air springs and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better ride.

Air Springs kit:

20200612_000610801_iOS.jpg


Air compressor kit:

20200612_000707951_iOS.jpg


Bracket I built so the system can be inflated externally, which is mounted to the truck frame.

20200612_000737027_iOS.jpg


Springs with empty and unhitched truck - no air pressure in bags.

20200530_193358521_iOS.jpg


Springs with loaded truck and hitched trailer - no air pressure in bags.

20200526_192054362_iOS.jpg


Springs with loaded truck and hitched trailer - 25 psi in bags where we found the best ride.

20200526_192151653_iOS.jpg
 
Last edited:

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
More photos of the installed hardware.

Bracket I made to hold a filler port, so the the bags can be manually inflated/deflated should the AirLift compressor fail.

20200622_165952901_iOS.jpg



Top view showing both the U-bolts that go under the box and over the frame. Box does not have to be loosened to insert the U-bolts. The top bracket fits where you remove the factory jounce bumper.

20200622_150932131_iOS.jpg



Bottom bracket installs over the jounce bumper strike. Note the brake line and anti-lock brake sensor both bolt firmly to the bracket, so you don't have to find a way to secure them yourself - this is a nice detail.

20200622_151053539_iOS.jpg


The kits comes with a exhaust pipe heat shield to keep the radiant heat off the right bag.

20200622_151002580_iOS.jpg
 
Top