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Level Rite?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 042500hd, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Has anyone gone witht the Firestone level rite system as opposed to timbrens? I was going to buy and install timbrens then saw the level rite system it's double the price but is it worth it? Thanks for your input.
  2. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    I have a pair of the firestone level rite 5000# HD on my 04 2500 HD rear axle with timbrens in the front. I like the timbrens, but with the air you can adjust them throughout the seasons. Plus they give you a smoother ride and when you are loaded down. Go with the airbags. I got mine for $240 and it took me about 3 hours to install and run the lines to the back bumper to fill them up. Also easy to adjust pressure. can use a bike pump. takes a couple of minutes.
  3. Q101ATFD

    Q101ATFD Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    Burkart, I think he's talking about the (new-ish) air over hydraulic shocks for the front...

    I almost bought a set but I had some questions for the engineers at Firestone that they had to answer first. The main reason that I decided against it is because you have to have air in the bags at all times. I want something that's fail-safe for the front end - and a severed air line, or even a slow leak will let both bags go empty. I also didn't want to have to adjust them every time I put on or take off the plow.

    I'll be sticking with Timbrens until something better comes along - even though Timbren raised their prices by $40 :-( ...
  4. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Thanks for the input Q. I was thinking the same thing they always need air I wasn't a fan of that. I think I will stick with Timbrens and save the other $250.
  5. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    i know its more money but comp kit to air them up.

    and use a leveling valve from a semi truck or trailer and make your own mounts to have it self level when your plow is on or off. :rolleyes:
  6. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    Gosh , Im such an idiot!:nod:
  7. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Biggest thing I don't care for with these air bag equipped shocks is the fact that it adds considerable stress to the upper shock mount which is wasn't designed for. Your basically asking the shock mount to support the truck. Its sole job is to hold the shock in place...not support the truck.
  8. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    They only add 1000lb capacity, they won't support the whole weight of the truck.
  9. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    No kidding? :rolleyes:

    Perhaps a rephrase is in order...

    The shock mounts are not designed to support ANY weight. Their job is to support the shock...not the truck or any added weight.
  10. aeronutt

    aeronutt Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    How much force do you suppose those shock mounts see when you hit a big bump and the shock does it's job? Stock shocks from the factory can easily apply 1000 lbs of force during a suspension cycle. High performance shocks can apply quite a bit more. The reason the mount is made with big sides tied into the frame is so it can support these shock loads. Steady state loads of a few hundred pounds from a pair of air shocks won't even come close to the stress of driving down a washboard road and nobody gives that a second thought. I have done a bit of stress analysis work for aircraft and using that as a reference, I would bet a case of beer that you could remove the torsion bars, install a solid steel rod in place of the shock absorber, drive down a washboard road with your snowplow mounted, and still wouldn't be able to break the shock mounts.
  11. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    And I've done enough stress analysis and shock mount repairs on these GM trucks SPECIFICALLY to know that the shock mounts are not designed to support anymore additional load than that for what they are intended for. If you take a close look at the mounts you'll see why. The mount reinforcement tabs only extends approx 1 1/2" down the outboard side of the frame..and in many cases have less than a 1/2" of actual weld on the forward side holding those reinforcement tabs in place. So you can clearly see that they were designed to be stronger under EXTENSION conditions rather than COMPRESSION conditions, since as with most suspension systems the suspension is designed to be dampened by the shock on EXTENSION rather than COMPRESSION. With the stock suspension components it's more than capable of handing the stress's that a stock. or similarly valved shock would place upon it under most conditions as shocks are valved to be more resistant to EXTENSION rather than COMPRESSION. So in a nut shell, it takes a great deal of force to tear the mount from its attachments by stressing it DOWNWARD ...but not a great deal at all when pushing UPWARD. These "load supporting" shocks will create far more COMPRESSION induced stress on the mount than EXTENSION induced force for which they were intended for.

    Now I clearly understand your reasoning/example but the stock shock of course will COMPRESS as the suspension does..an air bladder equipped shock will also of course but will be much less easily compressible in the process (entire reason your adding them in the first place), thus the air bag equipped shock will transfer MORE force into the mount than a normal shock since the extra additional compression resistance you added with the use of these shocks has to go somewhere, so if the shock is more resistant to compression in the range of movement where does the stress get transfered into?...right into the shock mount and surrounding structure since you can't delete pre-existing stress, you can only transfer it and/or spread it out over a larger area in order to absorb it without causing a failure in one of the single components thats transferring it. And the shock mounts on these trucks WILL NOT transfer it into the chassis for long. ;)

    Another issue that the stress these load support shocks can create is the fact that these trucks are also known for fracturing the frame right behind the upper control arm mount [when plow equipped] due to that specific point in the front frame section being a highly stressed area to begin with due to the cantilever effect that the plow weight places on the chassis. And by shifting the weight supporting point even further forward than was designed with these load bearing shocks, your adding to that cantilever effect that that highly stressed point in the chassis already see's since you effectively moved the cantilever point into a shorter area over the span of the chassis.
  12. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Talk all the stress analysis you want, I fix the results of air shocks all the time. if you start using mounts designed for controlling unsprung weight and reciprocal motion as a load point you're just waiting to see the welder.
  13. aeronutt

    aeronutt Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    Scoreboard: Airplanes 0, Welder 1

    I guess I owe you a case of beer. :salute: And I'll keep my Timbrens.