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Air assist suspension installation
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Installation on a 2WD Ram 1500

Subject:   DiRT: Air assist suspension installation in place finally
Date:       Sat, 16 Jan 1999 22:56:31 -0500
From:      "G Richmond" <richmond@fast.net>
To:          "Dodge Ram Forum" <DiRT>

Well, I installed the Hellwig Power Lift Air assist suspension system today...  Besides the very cold temperatures, but clearing skies here in south-eastern PA, I got the system in place....
 
After several weeks of research, and a few Posts to this list for advice or comments...  I choose the Hellwig system...

Why install an air suspension?

Well, if you are wondering why I installed such a system.. Here's why...  I got tired of the rough ride when the bed is loaded with whatever and sitting low... So I purchased the Air assist suspension.. for its Load Leveling Capacity...  With 750 lbs.currently in the bed, and not counting the equipment in the tool box also, the truck was sitting 2 inches off of the rubber bumpers on the frame and bottoming out every time you hit a bump on the interstate highway or city street... It sits that way any time I have over 500 lbs. of Whatever I want to carry in the bed... and during Summer months when I have the motorcycle with me.. the bike, and other stuff in the toolbox will be close to 550 lbs. or so...    Several Service Manager  have told me that the truck is supposed to sit that lower in the back when you have 500 + lbs....  Funny, my other Ram, a 94 regular Cab.. can be loaded with 1500 lbs, and it barely squats!!!...    another funny thing is... the Factory Service!  manual doesn't say anything about sitting low with only 500 lbs. now 1000+ lbs.  I can see sitting low..

I have a 97 Ram 1500 SLT Club-Cab, 2wd.. I loaded my truck as I have done with other pickups I have owned with 500 to 750 lbs. of bagged sand for traction during ice storms, snow driving... (Hey, I can't complain, I've never been stuck when I have that weight back there, nor do I loose control of the truck)... Now that this Southern (Texan) is in PA..  I have had this extra weight there for a month now.. and the ride was getting worse all the time... These road here in PA, are no where near as smooth as back home in Texas or any other state I travel through these days.. and with that excess weight sitting behind me... the ride was bad... Now that I have the Hellwig Power Lift Air assist suspension, the ride is much better, and the truck sits LEVEL....  all the time now..

Details of installation:

It took about 4 hours to install, and a trip to the hardware store for better grade bolts, and a hand full of washers... I didn't like the smaller washers, so I sized them up for better coverage...   and Yes, while following the directions closely, there is always something the instruction don't show or tell you or could give better details of...  the two different problems I had were remedied quickly...   I figure the hardest part of the whole installation was drilling the holes in the frame...  Passenger side was a breeze.. took about 1-1/2 hours to complete.. drivers side took the longest, about 3-1/2 hours..  had to move and put a small bend into the rear brake line of about 2 inches to give good clearance for the bolts through the frame...   and its a good idea to have the spare out of the way too...  that way you can sit-up and see everything up close and personal..  running the air-lines was not bad...  just make sure there isn't anything that can rub holes in them.. the k!

it had plastic tie-wraps with it.. I tossed them, and used coated copper wire hangers.. that way they will stay right where I put them,  I also put the air-lines in black Wiring Loom like you see all over the place under the hood these days.. to better protect them from wear, rubbing, debris and prying eyes when the truck is in for any service visits..     the one thing I would like to do different with the system, is convert over to a better air line someday.. maybe a metal line?? that plastic tubing will give up one day, right when the truck is loaded for that long road trip...

Anyway... that's my two cents with my install....

Gerald

'97 1500 SLT Laramie Club-Cab, Loaded with all Factory options for 97, and a few other Mopar
Accessories, 5.9 V8, 4x2 auto, Posi-Trac axle, HD Service Towing/Travel Groups, Hellwig PowerLift
Air Assist Suspension, RS9000's, K&N Filter, and see adding a few toys here and there...


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Last Update: January 17, 1999