Project TowBoat Gets Ride-Rite Helper Bags

This 2018 season has brought a busy schedule for team Diesel Army, as we have been traveling all around the country to keep you all updated on the latest in diesel sled pulling and drag racing competitions. With that being said, the majority of those events we have hauled our now-known Project DeadSpool to these events to compete in all of the Outlaw Diesel Super Series races.

At the beginning of the season, we realized that our tow rig sure did sag with the weight of the load behind us. Although some people are after the “California lean,” that isn’t a trend we’re trying to follow; our suspension just needs some help. If you’re looking to upgrade the ride of your truck with some helper bags, there is only one company that comes to mind, Firestone Ride-Rite. So, we reached out to Ride-Rite about some helper bags, and we are glad we did.

Everything pictured is all you will ever need when trying to level your truck the safe and reliable way.

Ride-Rite products are designed to maximize the safe load carrying capacity, stability, and overall ride quality. All of their products are designed and assembled right here in the USA and use the same Firestone technology used on many heavy-duty trucks, trailers, and buses that you see every day. Not only will you improve your driving experience, but you will also own a commercial-grade, durable, and reliable part on your truck.

What To Expect And How It Works

With Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs, you’re going to prevent a lot of things that would normally happen on an overloaded truck. With a load behind your truck, the tongue weight will cause the bed of the truck to squat and result in an uneven load. With a more level load, both the handling of your truck and the braking of the truck will both improve.

The bags, when loaded down, increase the stability of the truck by absorbing road shock, which is obviously great for you, your passengers, your cargo, and more than likely, your fuel mileage.

Without these bags, you’re at risk for overall wear and tear on the factory suspension parts when overloaded. These air springs reduce the fatigue by keeping the leaf springs from permanent sagging and reduce the risk of bottoming out the suspension. On top of being better for your truck’s longevity, the bags provide a quality ride like you wouldn’t believe.

What you will receive is two convoluted air springs, the bracketry to secure the parts to the truck, a heat shield, air lines, and fittings to air the bags up, and an installation guide.

These air springs are capable of 3,200 to 5,000 pounds of load-leveling capacity but remember, this does not increase the load carrying capacity of your truck. These are meant to level the truck during tow to ensure a safe and level ride.

Thanks to our go-to shop, Creative Trim And Performance in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, we had a big lift to put our mega cab on to get to the suspension a lot easier. We started by removing the factory V-shaped bump stops from the frame rails on each side. With the new bags going in, we needed all of that room to fit them in tightly.

With the old stops removed, it was time we started pre-assembling the bracketry together and get it bolted up into place. Some of the hardware is hard to get to, but it is certainly doable by a novice mechanic. 

Note that once you get the bracket into place, be sure and slide the heat shield (passenger side) between the top bracket and the bead plate (the top surface of the bag) to ensure the bag is safe from the heat of the exhaust.

With each bracket together and secured tightly, we set the assembly into its final resting place on top of the axle. Once you have the bracket and bags snugged into place, you can use the final bracket pieces and the provided U-bolts to secure the system to the axle tube. Once everything is tightened down, you’re ready to run your air lines.

With the provided 22 feet of air tubing, we uncoiled the line to even lengths and cut it in half to make our plumbing for the bags. Something to remember when cutting the air lines is to make the cut as straight as possible. Cutting them at an angle will lead to not sealing correctly, meaning they will leak.

We installed the lines into the fittings and routed our lines through the frame rails for an easy and secluded area to prevent them from being tampered with or ripped out by debris. When plumbing for your fittings, know you can install them wherever you would like, but Ride-Rite suggests you use the license plate holes for the inflation valve.

With the inflation valves for each bag, we can adjust the pressure in each bag on each side. If there is more weight to one side, we can make any adjustment we want to make our load that much more level.

Some people like to use a fender well, which is fine, but after our installation, we realized that inflating and checking the bags is easier to do from the back. Thus, as you can see, the fittings are fitted outside the license plate holes and are ready for air. Once all of our lines were ran the way we wanted, we used the provided zip ties to secure the air lines to the truck so they wouldn’t be hanging everywhere.

According to Ride-Rite, it’s a good idea to always have at least 5psi of air in the springs. With that being said, if you’re done towing, it’s best practice to air the bags down using the provided inflation valve caps. You don’t have to let all of the air out of the bags, but the ride unloaded with the bags full of air will be slightly rough.

After our installation, we hooked up to our trailer and loaded Project DeadSpool down to take it to its winter home for alterations. With 50psi in each bag, the truck was more level than it’s ever been. The squat of the truck was completely gone and the constant bounce going down the road has disappeared. The ride quality with the bags is over 100-percent better and we are ecstatic about towing now.

Shown here is the before and after when loaded. You can tell these bags have significantly changed the ride height of the truck and made it a much smoother ride.

We cannot thank our friends over at Ride-Rite enough for hooking us up with these new air springs and we suggest anybody who does literally any towing to get a pair. For an incredibly competitive price, why not tow safer, stronger, and more comfortably? For more information about Ride-Rite and to see what products they offer for your truck, be sure and check out their website.

Article Sources

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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