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2Gordons

Wisconsin

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Posted: 06/04/09 10:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some of you might recall my earlier questions about the failure of my Ride-Rite brackets. In absence of a better (reasonably priced) alternative, I ordered a replacement set.

My first set was a "No-Drill" application. Remembering how much fun it used to be drilling through truck frames, I wanted to avoid that... I needn't have worried. With 3/8" holes, drilled from the sides, drilling was a breeze, and the time to install the "drilled" set was probably less than the original "no-drill" products.

Anyway, here's what the problem was:

[image]

The brackets between the air-bag and the truck axle had flexed under load, and warped, allowing the bag to baloon out to the side. In fairness to the bladder, neither failed. It was clearly a matter of time, though. I needed to replace this system before thinking of putting the camper back on. Here's the original brackets:

[image]

And the other side:

[image]

The brackets had to be raised to accomodate the jounce stop between the axle and the leaf-spring pack. If the jounce stop was not there, the brackets could have been "clam-shelled" closer together, and might have been more rigid. As it was, the metal appeared to be too light of a gauge of steel to resist the flexing movement of the suspension under load. I do have the factory anti-sway bar installed on my F-350 Dually.

Here is the replacement solution.

[image]

This system offers much simpler bracketing, with less chance to flex and potentially distort. Hopefully it will last longer than the other system, which failed in less than 2 years. Customer service was no help from either Firestone, or Michigan Truck Spring. Neither company even responded to my e-mails for advice.

Hopefully, this will help people to make a good decision on which system might work best for them.

2G

* This post was edited 06/04/09 09:20pm by an administrator/moderator *


2003 Ford F-350 LB DRW 6.0 PSD, Ride-Rites
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Admiral

Upstate Ohio

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Posted: 06/04/09 10:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for taking the time to photo and post the information. I checked mine and found the newer arrangement.


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trapperdick

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Posted: 06/04/09 03:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just added two leafs each side to my springs at the local spring shop,,,,,If it works out like I think it's going to I'm going to remove the air bags.........It's seems real good so far................TD


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BradW

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Posted: 06/04/09 09:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[image]

From the photo, it looks like you did a good job getting your upper and lower brackets aligned and spaced properly.

There are two things you might want to consider:

1) If those are grade 5 fasteners in the upper bracket, I would replace them with grade 8. I have broken a “few” grade 5 upper airbag bracket bolts.

2) Did the installation instructions give you the option of attaching the lower bracket to just the factory overload leaf using shorter bolts and a small cross bracket? With the lower bracket attached to both the overload and regular leafs, I would be concerned that the bracket would be loose when the suspension articulates and compresses the overload leaf. Can your suspension compress that far with the airbags in place?

Brad


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landyacht318

Near a large body of salty water

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Posted: 06/04/09 11:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BradW wrote:



2) Did the installation instructions give you the option of attaching the lower bracket to just the factory overload leaf using shorter bolts and a small cross bracket? With the lower bracket attached to both the overload and regular leafs, I would be concerned that the bracket would be loose when the suspension articulates and compresses the overload leaf. Can your suspension compress that far with the airbags in place?

Brad


Excellent point.

X2.

If your suspension is fully decompressed are the bolts from the lower bracket fighting the torque of the springs.
I know my Ride rites came with '307A' bolts which are about as weak as a bolt can get.

Here's a good link to fastener Identification markings and relative bolt strengths.
bolt marking FYI

Could be a little additional money spent on grade 8's might save you hassle down the dirt road.

Raften

Northern Calfornia

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Posted: 06/04/09 11:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Keep a close eye on your new installation for problems. One of my upper brackets snapped off right at the bend that forms the mounting ear.

And watch the bolts, I have broken a few of those also, Grade 8. Haven't had a problem since I added Timbrens in addition to the bags but I imagine it is a matter of time. Camper just weighs too much and rough roads I guess.

landyacht318

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Posted: 06/05/09 01:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"they instruct you to attach the lower bracket to the upper overload leaf spring and not the entire spring pack"

As the above poster noted and posted proof to,

Your lower brackets are under the entire spring pack.

You want to rectify this.

saggys

WI

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Posted: 06/05/09 07:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have the same brackets as your new ones.


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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 06/05/09 12:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had the lower bracket bolts snap mysteriously on me. I replaced those with grade 8. The uppers I've had no trouble with using the supplied bolts. My installation package included a roll of split loom to put over the air lines for extra protection against rubbing.

I looked at the installation instructions and see they instruct you to attach the lower bracket to the upper overload leaf spring and not the entire spring pack. See image blowu p on page 2 of 4 in the PDF link provided below.

Jeff

Installation instructions for Ford 2071 air spring kit.


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2Gordons

Wisconsin

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Posted: 06/05/09 11:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I see what you mean with the bolts/brackets under the entire leaf-pack. I wondered about that. Good... I'd like the shorter bolts anyway. The long bolts they provided are junk.

I needed to take the driver side apart anyway. There's a bolt end coming through the frame that's uncomfortably close to the bladder. I don't think it would hit, but there's no sense in taking chances.

What's a good source for grade 8 bolts? Any of the national chains or big-box retailers?

Looks like I know what I'll be doing on Monday or Tuesday. I pick the camper up on Weds.

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it!

Don
2G

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