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Firestone Level Command Compressor Installation - 2018 Ram 2500

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How to Install the Firestone Level Command Compressor on a 2018 Ram 2500


Rob: Rob here at etrailer.com, and today you're going to be taking a look at the Firestone Air Command I Heavy-Duty Air Compressor for Air Bags on our 2018 Ram 2500.Now, having an air compressor for your air bags is going to be a really nice thing because let's face it, whenever we're towing a heavy load, those air bags definitely come in handy, helps support our load, keep our truck nice and level and reduce the amount of wear and tear that we put on it from towing those heavy loads. Every time we load up or we change loads, we're going to have to adjust our air bags, which means we're either going to have to get an air truck out, fill them up, an air gauge, lower them down, and have somebody checking the pressure. I don't know about you but I would much rather do it from the comfort of the inside of my truck with a switch rather than having to pull that air hose every time.Our compressor is going to be a kit. It's going to come with the compressor itself we see here along with a gauge and a switch, so we can monitor the pressure as well as adjust it. The compressor itself is going to be a heavy-duty compressor. It's going to work all the way up to 150 psi.

If you have some of those really heavy-duty air bags that go up that high, this is definitely going to be the compressor you want to get because most of them are really only going to go up to about 100 psi, so we're not going to be able to use the full capacity of our air bags.Although our compressor is made by Firestone, it will work with all air bags. You just want to double check the pressure on your air bags because, again, our compressor here does go higher than a lot of the other ones on the market. Our compressor is designed as a single path, which means it's going to allow us to simultaneously fill both bags or decrease the pressure in both bags, so we can get the front and back level.Now, here's the gauge and switch that comes with our compressor. It's analog gauge with a white face, so it's really easy to read, and the adjustments are going to be even easier. If we need to raise the pressure, we just push up.

We can see the needle moving and hear the compressor kicking on, but if we need to deflate the air bags or let air out, we can simply push down. You can hear the air escaping and the needle moving down, very easy, very convenient. Another nice thing about our gauge is that it does have a backlight to it. So if turn on my headlights, the gauge is going to light up, so we can see it even at night.As far as the installation goes, is going to be really straightforward. It's definitely something you can do in your garage.

No special tools are really needed, but there are a few things that you might want to pick up to make your installation a little bit easier. First thing would be obviously the air bags. Those are going to be sold separately. If you already have them on your truck, perfectly fine. May want to pick up a few extra feet of wire, about 10 feet or so, just to make some electrical connections, a fuse tap kit so we can turn on the light on the gauge, some zip ties, some ring terminals.

And if you're doing your air bags at the same time, you'll get air line from the compressor as well as the bags, but if you're adding a compressor to an existing system, you may want to pick up some extra air line just because of how long our truck is. But now that we've seen what it looks like and gone over some of the features, let's get it installed together.To begin your installation, you'll want to find a spot to mount your compressor. Now, we wanted to mount ours on the driver side frame rail, and right behind the rear door, we're going to have this little pocket right here right against the frame rail right by your emergency brake be a nice spot because we can see frame is actually pretty clean because this is actually going to block quite a bit of spray and any kind of debris that's going to be there.We can take our compressor. I'm just going to loosely hold it up there to make sure it's not going to interfere with our emergency brake cable and that we can get the four mounting holes onto a solid piece of metal and it's not going to hit these holes. We can see that it does fit, and in your kit, they're going to provide you with some machine screws and some nuts, but since the frame is so thick, it's going to be really hard to use a nut and bolt to mount everything up. So instead of using a nut and bolt, I'm going to be using a self-tapping screw and it's going to be going directly into the frame right here.I'm going to use a really small drill bit just to make a mark. I'm going to go through the bushing and everything on the compressor. Just drill enough so I can make a mark. Do the same thing up top. Now with both marks made, I'm going to use that small drill bit to make me a pilot hole, so the self-tapping screws will go in a little bit easier. Now that we have our four pilot holes drilled, I'm going to come back with my self-tapper, want to make sure that it threads into the frame and each one of the holes.We can take our compressor and slide our self-tapping screw through. Just want to be mindful of the wires, you don't want to pinch them when you go to line everything up. Line up the hole, make sure your bolt goes all the way through, and then we'll secure it down. We'll go through, put the rest of the remaining screws in place. Whether you're using self-tapping screws or nuts and bolts, you don't want to crank down on these bolts here because inside the rubber there's a brass sleeve. We don't want to crush it because the rubber and the brass sleeve is going to help reduce the amount of vibrations we get from the compressor.Now that our compressor is mounted, we can start focusing on the wires. We should have two wires coming off our compressor. A red one with a spade terminal on it and a black one with a ring terminal. Our black wire is going to be our ground wire. So we have to find a good flat spot of sheet metal that we can attach this to. We're actually just going to route it right underneath that little cubby hole, this box right here, and use another self-tapping screw to go directly into the frame. Want to make sure that ring terminal doesn't start sliding around on you, but you also do want to be careful not to strip out the self-tapping screw itself.Now for our red wire, this is going to be our power. So we want to grab our harness and we're going to start on the end that has the relay. We'll follow it down till we can find the end of our orange wire and this is going to have a male spade terminal on it. We want to make sure we plug the red cable into the orange cable, and this is all going to get routed towards the front into the engine bay. So we're going to plug this in and then we'll show you how we routed everything and how we got it there.I started running my wire along the frame. I wanted to make sure to go behind and above the body mounts, and then once I had my orange wire and red wire kind of run out of room, I zip tied my relay to the bottom of the frame just using a couple of zip ties, so it could reach. Then I continued the red and white wire going, again, around the body mount, and once I got to about this area in the front wheel well area, I actually shot my wire up, shoved it up there far enough that I can go into the hood, grab it, and pull it through. So my wires came up right here on the driver side right behind our fuse box.Now, our red wire, we take all the excess and we get to the end, we're going to notice that we have a fuse holder with the fuse already in, and it's going to come to another end, and this end is going to get hooked up to the battery. However, we want to hook this up last because we don't want any live circuits while we're still installing everything. So for right now I'm just going to take my wire, all the red excess wire, I'm just going to push it over to the side, and we'll come back to that later.Now, the white wire, this is going to need to go into the inside of our truck and get hooked up to the gauge depending on where we mount it. So, we need to find a spot that we can pass our wire through to get to the inside of our truck. Fortunately, for us, if we move everything out of the way so we could see a little bit better, we come to our brake reservoir and the brake booster here, right next to that just the outside towards the drive side, we have this plastic plate right here. Now on the inside we can get to it too, so we want to make sure that we could find this on the inside of the firewall, and we can either completely remove this plug, drill a hole, or we can just drill a hole while it's still in here. You just want to make sure you have a big enough hole that you can fit a few air line tubes as well as a few wires through there.Now that I have my hole drilled, I'll take my spade terminal and my white wire. Just going to reach my hand behind the fuse box till I can get it to reach that plug, just going to start passing my wire through enough to where it won't fall back out. Then I can get inside, grab it, and pull the excess through. So, either wire come through the firewall, you just want to make sure you pull all the slack to the inside and we don't have anything hanging in the engine bay.Now that we have our wiring inside, we want to grab our gauge and switch, and we want to find a general location that we're going to be mounting it. For ours, we're going to be mounting it towards the center right below the little cubby hole that we have here, so you're right out of the way but easily accessible. Now, we're going to wait to actually mount this because we're going to have to make a few connections with some wiring as well as put our airlines in place.Now, it's always a good idea to check what's behind before you drill into anything or mount anything, and since we're going to be drilling into our dash here, want to make sure there's nothing back there that get damaged. So I'm going to come to this corner of this panel, I'm just going to grab it and pull outward. There's just some clips holding it in place, and we could at least get it loose and we could see that there's nothing back here. I can actually get my hand behind this. This is just a plastic panel, so we don't have to worry about damaging anything back here.I took my white wire with my spade terminal on it, and I routed it over to where I want to mount my switch and my gauge. Now you want to make sure you go above the pedals and you make sure you don't tie it to anything that's going to be moving under the dash or that may cause damage to the wire. But if we look at our switch, we should have two white wires coming out the back with two male spade terminals. It doesn't matter which one, but we want to plug our female spade terminal into one of them. So plug one end in.Now the other one, this is going to be our ground wire, so we want to cut that spade terminal off. We'll strip back the end of our wire. You can either use the ring terminal they provide you in your kit. It's really small and it may be hard to find a spot to ground this out at because I would actually like to use this bolt right here. It has a good stud, but you can see that ring terminal is just a little bit too small to fit. So I'm going to be replacing this ring terminal with a slightly larger one. That way it'll fit right over that stud easily. Now, if you need bigger ring terminals, you can find them here at etrailer.com. We'll take our bare end of our wire and we'll crimp our ring terminal in place. Then we can simply just remove that nut and put our ring terminal on a stud. I'm going to use a 10mm socket to remove that nut. Slide the ring terminal over and then reinstall the nut.We're going to have two more wires on the back of our switch and gauge. This is going to be kind of the same idea. We're going to have two wires. One is going to be our power for our light and one is going to be our ground. Now, these are really short wires, so we are going to have to extend them out. For our ground, we may only need maybe about 6 to 8" just so we can reach the same spot. So I'll go and extend this wire, add a ring terminal in place and ground out in the same location. Now, if you need a little bit of extra wire, you can also find that here at etrailer.com.Here you can see I extended my one wire, one black wire. I just ran it over to the same ground, put a ring terminal in. inaudible 00:13:02 the other black wire coming off the back of our switch and our gauge I extended this out, but this one I actually extended out quite a bit, put about 6 to 8' of wire on there because this is going to run back out to the engine bay the same path we took to ticket the wire to the inside. Again, you just want to route it underneath the dash here. Make sure you stay away from the pedals or the steering wheel, nothing moving, and go right back out that hole that we came in with earlier.So I brought my black wire out and I had ran it up towards my battery. Now, right in front of our battery we're going to have our fuse panel, and since our black wire here is going to be providing power for our light, we want to tap into a circuit that only has power when our dash lights come on. That way at night our gauge will illuminate and we can see it along with the rest of our dash. So we're going to open up our fuse panel. Just push these two tabs, lift up the cover, and we're going to be looking through our circuits here finding one that's going to be for either our tail lights, our clearance lights, or something that's going to illuminate the dash up.So we already found one. This is going to be fuse #79. It's a 15-amp fuse, and if we look at the legend here, it's going to be for our clearance lights. Right now, I have my headlights turned off. All my lights are turned off and I got my circuit tester on the fuse. You can see we're not getting any power. I'm going to go ahead and turn my headlights on, make sure the clearance lights come on, and then double check the fuse to see I am getting power. So now with our headlights on, circuit tester is letting us know that this circuit is live. So we'll go ahead and use this fuse, and again that's going to #79 and it's going to be for clearance lights.So now that we have the fuse that we're going to use identified, we want to pull it out. We're going to use the factory fuse puller. To make it easier for us to make our connection, we're going to be using the Firestone Circuit Tap here, and it does come with a few extra fuses. So I'm going to put the 10-amp fuse farthest away from the terminal on the tap itself. Then I'm going to take the factory fuse and put it closest to the terminal. Then we can just simply plug it back in just like we would with the fuse, and there's already a preinstalled butt connector on there. So we want to figure out how much wire we need to reach, and we'll strip back the end, cut the excess off, and crimp it in place. Then we can simply close up our cover and we start to get ready to wrap our air lines.And we look at the back of our gauge here, we're going to have two inlets. The one on the side that's closest to the switch and the black wires. You'll have a very small letter that says "SUP" and that's going to be for Supply. So this air line needs to go back to our compressor, and to make everything as simple as possible, we're only going to make one connection at a time and then route it and then come back and make our secondary connections. That way we won't get confused on which line is what and what goes where.We want to grab the bundle of air line they give us in our kit. We're going to take the end of it, and we want to slide onto that barb fitting to where it's fully engaged on that and it's all the way down. It may be a tight fit, but if you kind of work it back and forth, wiggle it around, it'll move down until it's fully seated. We're going to take this air line tube and we're going to route it along the back of the dash, go back out to the grommet, and go back to our compressor taking the same path that we took with our wiring.So now that we have our supply line back towards our compressor, we want to come to this section right here. It should have a little red cap on it. This is actually a check valve here. So want to pull that cap off, and we're going to grab the 1/4" push fitting out of our kit. We want to thread it in directly into the check valve. Now, this is going to have some thread locker on it. You want to make sure that it fully engages that. We don't need to cram it in there, but we want to tighten it up with a wrench until we know that red thread locker is in the threads and it'll reduce the chance of leaking. Use a 1/2" wrench to tighten this up. Once we have it nice and secure, we can trim our air line and put it into that fitting.Whenever you cut your air line, I suggest using a tubing cutter. That way we can have a really nice clean square cut because you don't want to cut on an angle or have any jagged edges because that's just going to cause some leaks down the road. We'll take our air line. We'll put it in. If you get a little bit of resistance, then you want to push further till it completely bottoms out. Give it a quick tug, make sure it's locked in place. Now we're going to take the excess air line that we have. We're going to go back to our switch. We're going to plug the end into the other fitting on the back there, and we're going to route it along the frame rail the same way we did with this one.So I routed my air line down the frame just like I did with my wiring and my other air line, but once I got to the compressor, I went a little bit farther back. I'm going to actually send my air line tube in towards the center right where the body meets the bed here. We got this crossmember here. That'll be a really good spot to tie everything off to and secure it, but our airline ends right here. Now, this is going to need to go to both of our bags, and they do provide us with a couple of tees in our kit so we can make those connections. But, again, we don't have quite enough air line to reach. So you can either pick up some more air line, or if you already had your bags installed and you're adding the compressor, you can take those air lines out and use them to make your connections.We didn't run our air lines because we did our bags and the compressor at the same time, so we're going to be using the air lines from that kit to complete all of our connections. But for now what we're going to do is we're going to take our air line, and right about this crossmember area I'm going to cut my air line. I'll take one of my tees, I'm going to put it inline. I'll take my end of my air line that I cut, plug it into another tee, the other side of my tee. I'm going to come down a few inches from that tee. I'm going to cut it again, and I'm going to put another tee inline. Right now, we should have three open spots. Two of these need to go to our air bags. So we'll push our air line in, route it over to the air bag and plug into the air bag the same way. The third one is going to be for our manual inflation valve. Just in case our compressor fails, the battery dies, or anything like that, we can still manually inflate and deflate our air bags.Now that I have all my lines plugged in. If we follow the two lines that are going towards the left or the driver side, I went over my fuel tank. I went all the way to the edge of the frame. You can see one line came down right here and attached directly into the air bag. The other line went over this crossmember and that spring support, started following it down. I actually tie up all the excess in a giant loop, and I have the end of it coming down right here at the bumper. We're going to be mounting our manual inflation valve here. On the other tee, the other air line went to the passenger side right along the frame and then hooked in the air bag just like the one over here.Since we have Firestone air bags on our truck, they do provide us with a no-drill bracket with the air bags. So if you have Firestone air bags, be a good idea to use this, so we don't have to drill any holes in our truck. But if you have another brand of air bags, that's all right. You just want to follow the instructions in the air bags to put your manual inflation in.I'm going to take one of the zip ties that come with our kit. I'm going to wrap it around my hitch. Then I'm going to have it go through the bracket and then secure it down. Now, there's two slats, so I'm going to go ahead and use both zip ties in both the slots to make sure that that bracket is going to be nice and secure. Just want to make sure you move your air line out of the way, we don't pinch it or trap it. Cut the tails off our zip ties.Again, in your air bag kit, if you have a Firestone air bag kit, you're going to have an inflation valve like this. Want to remove the cap and the nut, and we'll take the inflation valve coming from the back, feed it through. Now we only have one line that's going to control both bags, so it really doesn't matter which side you go in. You just want to pick whichever one is going to be easiest to get to. Then we'll thread that nut back in place and get it on there hand tight, just make sure it's nice and secure and it's not going to be moving around too much.We can grab two 1/2" wrenches and we'll tighten up that fitting so it's nice and secure. Now you don't really need to crank on it because it's just going into plastic. Just want to make sure that it's not going to come loose and it's not going to fall off. Now we can take our air line tube and make sure it has a clean cut on the end. We'll put it into our inflation valve just like everything else. Make sure it bottoms out completely and it's not going to be moving around. Give it a quick pull, make sure it's not going to come out.We come to our compressor, the very end towards the back of our truck we're going to have this red plug. You want to pull that out. That's going to be the intake, and we'll have a fitting that looks like this. Should have a threaded end and a barbed end. You want to thread this in to the end of the compressor there, we pulled the plug out. I'll get it started by hand, make sure it's threading in properly. I'll grab a 9/16 wrench. We want to tighten it up till it's fully engaged and all the threads are inside.Now on our kit we're going to have this black rubbery-type plastic hose. We're going to plug that into the barbed fitting on our compressor. Make sure it's fully seated. It is a tight fit. You just want to make sure you work it all the way on there. Now, on the other end we're going to take the filter, and this is going to suck the air in to feed the compressor, but it's going to make sure that no water gets inside. So we'll take the filter and put it on the other end of our hose. Again, it's a tight fit because it's a barb fitting, just want to make sure it's fully seated.Now, we're going to route ours towards our fuel tank, and if we look up, we're going to try to zip tie it as high as we can, possibly by the filler neck or somewhere up here, so that water and splashing or any kind of road debris is not going to get to the filter, and when we do, we want to make sure that we leave a loop so that if there is any moisture, it collects at the bottom and isn't going to get sucked back into the compressor.So I went ahead and put my panel back in place. You just want to make sure you push all the wiring behind there, all that excess and slack, push it behind there and zip tie everything up underneath the dash. But now we can go ahead and mount our gauge and switch. Again, they don't provide you with these, but I'm going to be using some self-tapping screws since they're just going into plastic. It's going to be a lot easier just to put these in rather than trying to get behind everything and put a nut and bolt in place. Just take some really short self-tapping screws. I'll line it about where I want it to be, and I'll just go right into the plastic. Now we have that one in, we'll put the other one in on the other side. Again, you want to make sure those self-tapping screws are secure to where that switch and the gauge isn't going to be moving around, but you don't want to tighten them so much they strip out and then you lose the grip it has.Our final step is going to be hooking up power to our fuse holder. Now, I always like to take out the fuse, set it aside while I'm making my connections. I don't have to worry about any kind of arcing. We'll take the bare end of our wire, going to slide one of those larger ring terminals over. Then we'll crimp it in place. We'll come to the positive post on our battery, and we'll have a nut right here on top. We'll use a 10mm socket to loosen it up, so we can slide our ring terminal over. We replace the nut, tighten it up. We'll take our fuse, put it back into the fuse holder, and we can put the cover back on.Now, we'll move back inside our truck, fire up the compressor, fill it up and check for leaks. If we come to the switch, if we push up, that'll increase the pressure. So I'm going to fill it up to about 30 pounds, that way I can check for leaks. Now just watching the needle, you can see that it's not drastically dropping, so we know we don't have a large leak. But it's still a good idea to check with a soapy bottle of water, so we can check all the fittings and make sure we don't have a slow leak.I'm going to spray down every fitting or anywhere that there could be a leak. So I'll spray down the tees and what we're looking for is little soap bubbles to start expanding and continuously growing and eventually popping. We do see we have a little bit of a bubble, but that's just because of the soap itself. They're not expanding and they're not popping, but you want to spray down all the connection points and check for leaks.Again, I'm Rob here at etrailer.com, and that'll finish up your look at the Firestone Air Command I Heavy-Duty Compressor on our 2018 Ram 2500.


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