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Firestone Ride-Rite Rear Air Helper Springs Installation - 2012 Ford F-250

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How to Install the Firestone Ride-Rite Rear Air Helper Springs on a 2012 Ford F-250

Today in our 2012 Ford F-250, we'll be having a look at, and installing, the Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs for the rear axle, part number F2597. Now, here's what our air springs look like installed. This will raise our vehicle back up to the factory ride height to allow our vehicle stock suspension in order to do its job properly. Now, even though these support up to 5,000 pounds of weight carrying capacity, they don't increase your vehicle's weight capacity, or gross vehicle weight rating, by 5,000 pounds. You'll still want to follow, and not exceed, the manufacturer's recommendations for the vehicle. Now, our airbags are inflated via standard inflation valve. As you see we only have one, because we use a union 00:00:42 on this truck, so we can air both airbags up just off one fitting.

This is your standard Schrader valve, just like you have on your tire, so you can measure it with a standard tire pressure gauge too. As you see, we have about 60 psi here right now. If you want to take air out, just like a tire, you can put your . valve on and let air out if you need to. You can add air just like you would put air in your tires.

Put the chuck 00:01:12 on . then put air into it. These air bags are designed to work anywhere between 5 and 100 psi, 100 psi being the maximum rater air pressure, and 5 psi being the minimum that's required to run them on your vehicle. Anywhere in between, and you can level out your vehicle depending on how much weight you have in the vehicle. Get some factory ride height measurements on our truck. This way we have something to compare it to when we have a heavy load in the bed, or are towing a heavy trailer, such as a goose neck or a fifth wheel that has a high pin weight and will lower the back end of our truck on down. We're measuring from the center line of our wheel on up to the top of our wheel inaudible 00:01:59 here and our fender.

We're at 41 and a half inches. Now we're going to get the same measurement on the front. We're at 40 and a half. We're going to record both these measurements so we have something to compare it to. Now for our test, we put about 1,400 pounds of weight in the bed of our truck.

Now that we have our weight in the bed, we'll double check our measurements and see where we stand compared to stock. We're about 39 inches in the rear, so that means we've fallen about two and a half inches. Now we'll double check that on the front as well. Okay, the front we're about 41 inches, which means the front has risen a half an inch. Now we'll take it out on our test course. We still have our 1,400 pounds of weight in the bed of the truck. The suspension travel will be limited. Our vehicle will have an uneven ride hide, and the suspension won't be able to do its job properly because of unlimited travel. It'll give us a much harsher ride and be unsafe to drive. Alright, now that we have our airbags installed and we still have our 1,400 pounds of weight in the bed of the truck, we'll take our measurements again and see where they compare to the factory ride height with no weight in the truck. Okay, we're at 41 and a half, which is the factory ride height with no weight in the bed of the truck. That means our suspension in the back of our truck is going to be able to work properly to help absorb all the bumps as we go over rough terrain, potholes in the road, and we have the travel that we're looking for an everyday comfortable drive. Double check our front again here too. Okay, we're at 40 and a half again, which is the measurement that we we're looking for that was the same as it was with no weight for factory ride height. Now this is an important thing to consider, because before the airbags we're installed when we had the weight in the back of our truck, our back end of our truck started to sag and the front end started to come up. Well we're back at factory ride height, the weight transfers back to the front, and our front brakes are able to help the vehicle stop. Now let's take it out on our test course. The first thing you'll notice as we maneuver in our parking lot making evasive maneuvers or going around corners you'll see how much less body roll there is with the airbags installed. When we go over our speed bumps and the potholes in our parking lot, you'll notice how unsettled the suspension is and how rough it is when we go over bumps without the airbags installed. Once we have them installed you'll see how much more smoother it actually is and you can see that the suspension is actually doing its job properly, giving us a smoother ride and better handling. Now that we've gone over some features we'll show you how to get it installed. To get her installed we remove the rear wheels. You don't have to do that, but it does give you a little more room to work and a little bit more room for you to see. We'll start by removing our jow 00:04:58 stoppers here. There's a 15 millimeter nut on top of it inside the frame. Once you start breaking the nut completely free, you may need to hold the jow 00:05:14 stop in place with a pair of pliers, because there's a tang right here, which locks in the frame. Once you have the nut down far enough that comes out and it wants to rotate on its own, so just squeeze it with a pair of channel locks and then you can remove the nut. Okay, if your vehicle is diesel, you'll have the 13 millimeter bolt right here and you'll need to remove this bolt. Now after we have that bolt removed on the inside of the frame, this is the nut clip where the bolt went into, we'll need to remove this. We'll just use a pry bar to pry it off. Now we'll take our left side upper bracket, line it up with that hole, and take our three eighths by inch and a half long bolt . and we'll stick it through the hole. Now we'll place on our three eighths flat washer . and our three eighths flange nut. We'll just leave it finger tight for right now. Now we'll take one of our half inch spacers and one of our quarter inch spacers. Our bolt holes here. We'll go closest to the center of the vehicle, and we'll just slide those on in above our bracket like that. Now you'll want to try to get two half inch blocks in place versus just one. On some trucks you'll need to have two half inch blocks and maybe one or two quarter inch spacers, but in this particular truck there's no room for that. You just want to have it so your bracket will set flushed up against the frame while your three eighths bolt is pointing perfectly horizontal. Now we'll take our three eighths pan head bolt, go through the bottom of our bracket and the two spacers that we installed. This bolt will go into the stud or into the hole where our bum stop was originally. Okay, now we'll drop down onto the bolt our three eighths flat washer . and we'll thread on a flange nut. Okay, we're using a nine sixteenth wrench to hold the nut in place and we'll use a 732nd Allen key to tighten up the bolt. Okay, now we'll use a nine sixteenth wrench and a nine sixteenth socket to tighten up the top bolt. Now we'll use the torque wrench and a wrench to tighten the hardware, so you mount inaudible 00:08:02 the instructions. Okay, now here's the top of our airbag assembly. This is where it is secure to the upper bracket and our air fitting goes. This is an alignment pin. The air fitting will go through this side, this hole right here closest to the frame. The alignment pin will go to the hole here that is closest to the front of the vehicle. We'll raise that on up. We'll place on our star washer and then a nut to secure it in place. Now the passenger side airbag installs the same way, except we place on our heat shield. You can see how the heat shield is sandwiched between the airbag assembly and our frame bracket here. Now we'll use an inch and one eighth wrench to tighten up the nut. Once we have it tight, we'll torque to the amount specified in the instructions. That we have that tightened down, we'll screw in our airline fitting in the top . and we'll snug it down until we can't see any of our thread sealant using a nine sixteenths wrench. Okay, now we'll take our lower axle bracket. You can see how it has this curve here to sit on top of our axle. We'll slide that underneath the striker place for the jown 00:09:36 stop. Just like that. Now we'll take our lower bracket here and we'll slide this over the striker plate, making sure it wraps around our axle bracket right here. Now I'm going to raise up our axle a little bit with a pull jack to get our airbag closer to our bottom bracket. If you're doing this at home, more than likely you're going to have the rear of your truck supported by axle of jack stands, so you wouldn't have to do this step. We need to relocate our parking brake cable on the driver side of the vehicle because it's rubbing up against our airbag. To do that, you have this hanger bracket right here with a 13 millimeter bolt. Remove the bolt. I'm just going to cut it off using a rotary tool, making sure I don't nick the cable. Now we need to unclip our ABS wire from our parking brake cable and let's take a flathead screwdriver in here to undo the latch. Then it'll open up . and pull the back down to lock it. There's another one over here closer to the airbag. We'll do the same thing. Okay, now we have a lot of slack in our parking brake cable and our ABS wire. On this side of our upper bracket closest to our fuel tank, there's a hole right here so we can zip tie our cable and our ABS wire up to that. With that bed zip tied up it's not touching our airbag anymore and we'll have plenty of clearance around our airbag. Okay, now we'll take our short pan head bolt with the thread sealant on it . lift up our upper bottom bracket . and we'll screw it into our airbag assembly. Okay, with the bolt started we'll now pull down on our upper bottom bracket, so it gets as close to our inaudible 00:12:05 stack as possible and we'll straighten out the airbag so it touches the bracket . and we'll take a paint marker and we'll make a mark along the edge of the bracket and the airbag. It made a paint mark there, so when these marks are touching and line up, when we tighten our bottom bolt, where know we have proper alignment. We're lifting up on our upper bracket, making sure that our marks that we've made line up. This will ensure proper alignment as we tighten down our bottom bolt. Okay, now we'll take our four bolts and we will install them from the inside going out. With a bolt in place, we'll thread on a flange nut. We'll do the same to the other three locations. Now we'll take our U bolt here, wrap it around our factory U bolts and go through this bottom hole on both sides of our upper bottom bracket. We'll thread on a flange nut . on both parts of the U bolt. Now we'll drop down our carriage bolts. Place on our axle strap . and we'll thread on our flange nut. Okay, now we need to start tightening down our hardware. I want to do the bottom axle strap bolts first. We need to make sure we tighten all of our hardware as equally as possible, it's all nine sixteenths. Then we'll do our side ones around our B springs. Now we'll do our four bolts that hold our two lower brackets together. You want to make sure you use an open end wrench to hold the bolt in place. Okay, now we'll torque all of our hardware to inaudible 00:14:39 the instructions. Again, making sure we go evenly on all of it. We went ahead and repeated the same process for our passenger side airbag, just making sure we had our previously mentioned heat shield in place and we have slightly different mounting hardware that holds the upper bracket to the vehicles frame. We have this frame nut here, which pops in the frame and a three quarter inch bolt that goes through with a three quarter inch flat washer and a lock washer. Okay, now we need to find a place to mount our air line fittings that we'll use to inflate our airbags. We're going to be using the no drill bracket that comes with our kit and just attach it right to the side of our trailer hitch receiver on our truck. We want to screw the bow cap off the fitting and the nut. We'll place on a flat washer. Stick our fitting through the no drill bracket, place another flat washer . and then re secure the nut. Now, if you wanted to have just one fitting to control both your airbags you can do that with a union. That's what we're going to be using today. We're only going to have one fitting here. If you want to be able to level your truck independently side to side, so if you have a heavy load on one side of the bed of the truck, you would use both fittings and not have a union. This is the union that we'll be using. It's part number F3025-1. We have these available on our website, so if you just want to have to air your airbags off one fitting, this is the way to do it. The way it works, you would have your lines coming from your airbag go on each side here, and then a line going from here to your fill well. Okay, so we use a half inch wrench on the backside of the fitting. Another half inch wrench on the front side and just tighten up the nut. Alright, that's snug. Now we can replace our cap. We'll just hold this in place right here to our hitch, use the large zip ties that come with it, go through the hole, wrap around the hitch. Got one on there, then we'll get the second one on. Put those on. We have a nice secure mounting ploy for our inflation valve. We'll just trim off the excess zip tie when we're done. Okay, now we'll take one of our air line. You can see how it's a rough cut right here and beveled out. We'd be using an air line tubing cutter, which we have available on our website to make nice straight cuts. It's part number F9009 if you need to purchase one. Once we have that cut, you can see how much of a smoother cut it is. Plug it into the back of our inflation valve. I'll pull back and make sure it's secure. Now we're going to measure off about how much you're going to need, because we're going to hide our union right back here and we'll just zip tie it up to the wiring harness for our license plate light. Right where I have my fingers is a good spot. We'll plug it in to our union. We'll just zip tie this up here out of the way. Now I'm going to do the driver side line first. I'll plug it into this side of the union. Hold that, make sure it's secure. Now I'm going to route it over towards my driver's side airbag, making sure I avoid any moving parts, or sources of heat such as the exhaust. Goes back across where our license plate is on our back bumper, securing it here to a wiring harness, goes over towards our frame well. We go through a hole in the frame well and we secured to the main wiring harness on the truck in a couple locations, making sure that it's not going to rub up against our shock and it comes out behind the upper bracket for our airbag. Now we need to measure off how much of our line we're going to need and we'll cut off the excess. Right about here will be fine. Then we'll just push it on down into the fitting on top of the airbag. Now we'll do the same for our passenger side. I'll plug it into the fitting. Now I'll route it and I'll show you when we're done. Okay, we routed our passenger side line the same way through our frame. We zip tied it to the frame in a couple of spots, and we ran through the upper bracket hole for our airbag. Now this side's a little bit different because of the proximity to the exhaust. Before we connect our hose to our fitting, we're going to slide over some of the protective loom to help protect the air line from the heat from the exhaust. There's one. I'll put two on for good measure. Both those slid on. I'll push the hose down in the fitting. We'll slide our loom on back . so it protects the line, just like that. Okay, now we're going to air up our airbags and check for leaks. Okay, now we use some soapy water and spray down all of our connection points for our air lines and check for any large bubbles and that will show an air of leak. We have our airbags inflated to about 70 psi right now. That one's good. We'll check the other side. Okay, we'll check our union as well. That's good. Now we'll check our inflation valve. That's good too. That completes our look at and installation of the Firestone Ride Rite Air Helper Springs for the rear axle. Part number F2597 on our 2012 Ford F-250.

Info for this part was:

Employee Joe V
Test Fit:
Joe V
Employee Brent H
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Employee Shane H
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Employee Ryan G
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Employee Jeff D
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Employee David F
Installed by:
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