Diesel World - - Contents -

After in­stalling new leaf springs, hang­ers, shack­les and U-bolts in Part 1, prep­ping the sus­pen­sion on our ’97 F-350 for ac­tive tow duty con­tin­ues this month with the ad­di­tion of air springs. While air spring sys­tems don’t in­crease the tow­ing (or pay­load) ca­pac­ity of your truck, they can dras­ti­cally im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence through added sta­bil­ity, bet­ter ride qual­ity and—most im­por­tantly—im­proved con­trol. With their abil­ity to keep the rear sus­pen­sion level no mat­ter the load, air springs al­low your truck to tow ex­actly as it was in­tended. This means your steer­ing, brak­ing and han­dling isn’t com­pro­mised with your most prized pos­ses­sion(s) be­hind you. There’s no more bot­tom­ing out due to sus­pen­sion squat, no more blind­ing on­com­ing traf­fic with your head­light aim, and trailer sway can even be re­duced.

With a rep­u­ta­tion for of­fer­ing some of the high­est qual­ity air spring prod­ucts on the mar­ket, Air Lift was our first choice for a com­plete, bolt-on sys­tem. The com­pany’s lat­est kit, the Load Lifter 5000 Ul­ti­mate Plus, is built for op­ti­mum longevity as well as im­proved tow­ing per­for­mance. The Ul­ti­mate Plus brings se­lect stain­less steel com­po­nents and hard­ware to the ta­ble, along with each air spring in­cor­po­rat­ing Air Lift’s in­dus­try-ex­clu­sive in­ter­nal jounce bumper for ad­di­tional shock ab­sorp­tion. To con­ve­niently con­trol air spring pres­sure, we opted for Air Lift’s user-friendly, easy-to-in­stall and eco­nom­i­cally priced Wire­less ONE com­pres­sor sys­tem. Once again turn­ing to the folks at Flynn’s Shop in Alexan­der, Illi­nois, for a help­ing hand, our old body style Ford was fit­ted with the new air spring and com­pres­sor sys­tems in a lit­tle more than six hours’ time.

This con­cludes our sus­pen­sion up­grades for our OBS Ford. Next we’ll turn our at­ten­tion to re­plac­ing the rusty fac­tory hitch with a Class V unit. We’ll also add a new trailer brake con­troller and sev­eral se­cu­rity ac­ces­sories to help fur­ther im­prove the over­all tow­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

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