Installing Air Lift’s Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate on a 2016 Titan XD diesel
Air Lift’s Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate
Nissan’s new Titan XD looks good inside and out and the 5.0-liter Cummins diesel lurking beneath the hood looks even better. It’s there because Nissan understands the needs of its enlarged target customer base, those that need a diesel hauler but not a diesel brawler. Therefore, the Titan XD has a 12,500-pound tow capacity, the same as 2500s delivered back in the day. Comparatively, today’s 2500 and 3500s have three times that towing capacity and a price tag to match the capability. But many customers have the same 7 to 12,000-pound trailer and no need for more. That’s why Nissan delivered an all-new truck with a commanding appearance, a modern, fully equipped interior, and a full lineup of single, double or king cabs, and crew cabs into the market with diesel or gasoline engines. There’s the long wheelbase Titan XD with a diesel or gasoline V8, the Titan (no X or D) V8, and soon a V6 gas engine. (For a more detailed review of the Cummins powered Nissan Titan XD see the December/january 2017 issue of UDBG. —Ed.)
Nissan has offered us a long-term Titan XD loaner with Cummins power; it’s a truck that was with us on the original launch, a Platinum Reserve trim model with leather seats and every accessory the company has in its option bag other than a moon roof. Like all Titan XDS, it is equipped with a backup camera that, by switching camera feeds, makes it easy for a single person to drop the hitch onto the ball. It also offers
the novel and wonderful one-person light check system (click a specific sequence on the remote and all trailer lights illuminate sequentially) for peace of mind and legal conformance. We do have the nicely integrated standard gooseneck hitch setup in the bed, plus Nissan’s Utili-track channels in the sides and exclusively in the bed.
At the launch event, we towed a maximum load, perhaps using the same truck we have on loan. Towing at nearly full capacity was uneventful, but we noticed a bit of nosehigh attitude and the slightest hint of porpoising even though tongue weight was set precisely. If you tow, even occasionally, you’ll understand the need for keeping the bed level and headlights pointed where they belong; you understand the need for supplemental air suspension. Thus our trip to the mother ship in Lansing, Michigan, where Air Lift has been equipping vehicles with “air bags” since 1949.
What follows is an abbreviated install; the manual contains every step with clear and extensive photography. We rolled up on Air Lift’s R&D garage early, full of plans to install the Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate system on a day that dumped nearly a foot of snow in the area. That blew our towing report, which will have to wait for better weather. Al Seger, Air Lift Engineering Project Manager, and Ryan Feyer, Marketing Manager for the load support division, met us at the front door, then ushered the Titan XD into one of two lift-equipped bays where they develop Air Lift products for trucks and cars.
Feyer told us the install time should take “about 2.5 hours for an experienced mechanic, a bit longer for a true novice.” Other than a torque wrench, which is truly important, only standard hand tools like a metric wrench or socket set and a tubing cutter are needed. The installation is very straightforward and most novice Diyers should have no problems performing the installation themselves. As always, be sure to practice safe shop techniques when working on your truck, especially when working under it and when routing hoses or wiring around moving/spinning objects.
For the install in our Titan XD we chose to run individual lines to each air spring, following each main chassis member. We zip-tied each line every 8 to 12 inches to prevent any slack that might invite debris, ice or mud to pull on the line. In an upcoming issue we’ll be installing a compressor with self-leveling capability and will be replacing one or both air lines. Your decision is where to put the Schrader-valve fittings for adding air in a manual install like this; we chose to install them below the rear bumper.
With our install complete for now, we asked Air Lift for tips about installing air springs. Seger says, “Hoses must be kept away from heat sources, and don't go through any existing frame holes as vibration, chaffing and movement will eventually wear a hole.” He also says it’s important to zip-tie the air hose
at frequent intervals so ice and snow or mud cannot accumulate and drag the hose down. Another tip, a requirement covered in the manual, is to cut the hose cleanly and squarely. All home stores now sell inexpensive hose cutters near their PEX tube plumbing display. A clean-cut end is mandatory before you insert the hose into the quick-connect fitting.
After we completed running the air lines and leak testing the connections, we were done. Note that unlike some of Air Lift’s other kits, the Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate for a Titan XD diesel does not require a heat shield for the polymer air line as it is not near any exhaust heat source. This is specific to Titan XD; for some kits for other models will need a shield.
We pressurized both springs to the recommended 5 psi and checked the system for leaks with soapy water on all the air fitting connections. One of the features of the Load Lifter 5000 Ultimate is the ability to run at zero pressure in an unloaded vehicle if pressure is lost. That’s due to the internal jounce bumper. But keep your springs set at 5 psi minimum; 100 psi is the maximum. Also, Air Lift says it helps to condition the air spring and soften it a bit so it doesn't feel tight and new. The analogy is a balloon; you’d stretch it before blowing it up. Their recommendation for conditioning is to put 60-80 psi into the air spring and let it sit overnight. In the morning you should feel a difference when you return the springs to 5 psi. Of course, carrying a load with the air springs inflated will also condition the air springs rapidly. They also told us if you’re experiencing porpoising, try reducing air spring pressure to smooth out the ride and make it more balanced front-to-rear.
If you’re wondering, as we did, about longevity, Air Lift warrants their air spring for the life of your vehicle so this truly represents a long-term investment. Of course, you have to follow the pressure recommendations. We’ll soon be installing Air Lift’s Smart Air automatic leveling system, and hopefully a truly innovative control system that’s under development. Shhhh—it’s a secret. UDBG