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Air Lift air bags

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by Plow Meister, Nov 4, 2001.

  1. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    I just ordered air bags for the front of my Ford. I am just sick and tired of uneven tire wear and having to install and remove add-a-leafs every spring and fall. Has anyone ever installed them on the Ford TTB front end? Just curious as to the difficulty of the install.

    from NJ
    Messages: 196


    Why do you remove the add a leaves ??? Just leave them in all year round.. It's a Truck it's supposed to ride like a rock.. Orelse it wouldnt be a truck .>....LOL
  3. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    The truck actually rides better with the add-a-leafs installed. The problem with the front end on my style truck is Ford used the twin traction beam suspension. It is a crossbreed of a solid axle and IFS but it really sucks! When the add a leaf is installed the wheels have too much positive camber and wear the tires on the outside real bad. There are no allignment shims available to corrrect this problem as far as I know. If I were to leave the add a leafs out than I get too much negative caster and wear the tires on the inside. The reason for the negative caster is because Ford, in their infinite wisdom, didn't calculate the added weight of the Powerstroke diesel engine when creating the suspension or when creating a spring pack. Factory Ford springs are too weak and to my knowledge there are no aftermarket spring packs that keep the truck at its original ride height. Therefore I am stuck with installing aribags until I can afford to do a Dana 60 solid axle swap.

    Did you get all that? LOL

    1 - Dana 60 front axle, 3.54 gears, brakes, off a 1995 F350
  4. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Actually another option is to install a longer center pivot bracket from an aftermarket supplier. They make them for lifted trucks. Go to a good accessory shop and they may be able to help you out. The better and more expensive option is the axle swap.
  5. DaveK

    DaveK Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    A longer center pivot bracket wouldn't help in both instances (with the weight of the plow -- without the weight of the plow)

    Fords twin beam design is NOT one of their better ideas for sure. I've got a Ranger that I have been thinking about doing an axle swap on. It just eats the tires the way it is.
  6. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Is that a misprint or are you really hanging a 9.5 western off that truck? That is too much plow (weight) for a 250 PSD. IMO. Replacing the center pivot with the add a leafs in should give you a straight axle. Still you will have some sag with the plow in but that is normal. The add a leaves should help there. If nothing else it should bring it closer to straigh and make alignment possible. Or scout the junkyards and do the swap. I did it once. Not that hard to do.
  7. DaveK

    DaveK Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    Must be a typo, Western doesn't make a 9 1/2' Pro. Only a 9 1/2' MVP. Which would be much heavier.

    Not sure if they had a 9 1/2' pro with the older Uni-Mount.
  8. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    Actually it is a 7 1/2' blade with wings. I removed the rubber cutting edge and replaced it with a steel edge and custom curb guards. It works very well. It is a lot of blade but with all the improvements to the truck it handles better than I have ever dreamed of.

    3.54 gears are great for highway and also just right for 305-70R16 tires to put my power band right at optimal plowing speed in 4 high

    ARB air locker in the rear to improve traction.
    Larger injectors for beter fuel delivery.
    5" exhaust for better, well, you know, exhaust.
    Power chip for tweaked shift points and fuel delivery.
    Dual cardan rear driveshaft for durability.

    As for the front end, you would have to see it to understand. I left the add a leafs on for half the summer and totally chewed the outside of the tires off. Installing the center drop pivot bracket will only further lift my truck. It is tall enough as it is. I know that if I change to a solid front axle it will lift tis about 3" but by then I will not be plowing with it anymore. In the summer I pull a large 15,000 pound trailer holding 2 to 3 Jeeps on it. I need to keep the truck at the original height or at least as close as possible. Without the add a leaf the tires are wearing on the inside edge due to the springs losing their 'spring'. I have gone through three sets of them and continue to have the same problem. It all boils down to the pi$$ poor Ford TTB design.

    I am sorry for the long post. I am just sick and tired of my front end and want to change it but do not have the $4000.00 to do it. In the meantime I am going to install the airbags and pray for the best.
  9. DaveK

    DaveK Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    So you weren't happy with the plow the way it was and modified it??? You are my hero. I hope it didn't cause any added stress or pump damage since you probably voided your warranty. lol

    P.S. Where were you a few days ago? J/K
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2001
  10. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    And by the way... I know I am going to get a lot of flack about my claim of towing a 15,000 pound trailer with my 3/4 ton so let me defend myself in advance.

    I know darn well that I am not rated to do so. I know the rear end is no way near capable or the axles, blah, blah, blah.

    Honestly, I only had to do it once. We were in Moab for an off road rally. We were envited to judge a hill climb and rock crawl competition so we brough our big guns out. Three of our best Jeeps. My truck pulled 2 on my trailer and another Dodge pulled the third on his trailer.

    On the way back the Dodge broke down so the driver of that truck stayed to have it fixed. We welded another hitch to the back of my trailer and pulled the third Jeep/trailer behind my trailer. the ONLY reason we did it was to get to another competiition in Death Valley the next day. It was a 350 mile trip and it towed just beautifully.

    The rear end in my truck is a Sterling 10.5" which is equivelant to between a Dana 70 and Dana 80.

    Most of the time if I am not pulling Jeeps around I pull antique fire engines to shows for my wifes cousin. He has a 1926 Ariens Fox pumper that weighs in at 9,500 pounds. Add 4,000 pounds for the trailer and you got a lot of weight.
  11. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    If you're interested in the swap, I have the front axle in 3.55 comeplete for far less than what you quoted. My F-350 was rear ended and totaled. E-mail me for details.
  12. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I didn't see where anyone answered your original question. I installed Timken load boosters on my truck, it took about 20 minutes per side.
  13. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I'll second the Tibren load boosters for a cheap fix.We had a bunch of older Fords,with the TTB front ends,and the Timbren's worked wonders and very easy to install.If you can get a deal on a used F350 solid axle,just do the swap.It's easy as well.Do a shackle reversal (kits are avalalble),and it will ride way better.With all the other mods for power and durability,I don't see why you wouldn't want to swap the front axle.
  14. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    I do plan to swap out the axle but don't have the time or the funds to do so yet. Dana 60 fronts are sometimes very difficult to find for under $2000.00 My airbags cost $150.00. That will last me til spring after all my accounts have paid up.
  15. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Keep an eye out at the junkyards. They can be had for $600-$700 in great shape.
  16. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    I will give anyone $75.00 if they can find me a Dana60 front off of a 95 F350 rotor to rotor with manual hubs for under $1000.00 in perfect working order.
  17. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I said in great condition not perfect working. Seriously though I will look tomorrow at the junkyard. I am going down to pick up a bumper. I know they have some Fords there.

    What ratio are you running?
  18. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    3.54 but I will probably buy new gears for it anyway just to be on the safe side. What I meant by 'perfect working order' was the axle tubes are straight and solid and the housing is not cracked or welded and the axles themselves are not snapped. Otherwise, a teardown and rebuild will take place regardless. Just fewer replacement parts to buy.
  19. KY SNOW

    KY SNOW Junior Member
    Messages: 3

  20. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    When i used to work FT at the repair shop,Fords kept our shop busy,especially the front end's and alignments.There are a lot of fords on the road,and the most popular plow truck afew years ago was the (& and down F250HD.It also happens to have the worst front end design ever .Ford must have made deal with Firestone ,The TBB 's eat tires like mad.10-20)K is about all you can expect from front tires on them,IMO.Even after a perfect alignment,and all new parts the front end doesnt track straight,they still wander,and dart around a little the whole time your driving.