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Discussion Starter #1
I've been watching the Firestone vs. Timbren debate for a couple of years now, and I would like to hear from people who have experience with Firestone air shocks and springs. One of the big draw backs to this type of equipment is that it's prone to develop leaks, have any of you Firestone users had problems with air leaks? The Timbren Aeon springs seem like a good solution in theory, they certainly side step the leak issue, but I have not talked to single person that has not complained about the stiffness of the ride when using these things. My nextdoor neighbor has an '03 F-250, installed Timbrens and then uninstalled them a year later because the ride was so rough. I've got an '08 Chevy 2500HD work truck, and the ride in stock form makes my 1990 Corvette seem like a luxury car. Obviously I'm sensitive to making the ride any worsre than it is.
Thanks,

Adam.
 

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LetsTalkSnow.com - Moderator
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I have both on my F-350, air bags in the rear so I can adjust them and Timbrens up front. Both have been on the truck since fall of 2001. The bags still hold air, but last season I lost one of the Timbrens somewhere, it just kicked out of place I guess.

I got the air bags so I could level up the truck when carrying heavy loads and keep under DOTs radar and the Timbrens for the plow up front. The Timbrens did stiffen the ride significantly, you definitely know it's a truck.
 

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I had Firestone airbags on my old 93 Chevy and hated every minute of them.. Yes they worked the way they were supposed to. Nope they did not leak. But if i wanted to ride like a boat i would have bought a boat.. They are very unstable ride. Plus I felt they shifted too much weight to the front end and i had to basically drop them to almost no air to use my truck in 2wd to plow. I am big on the plowing in 2wd.. I have not done anything to my 2500 dodge but probably should since fully loaded the rear bump stops are about an inch from the blocks.. and when your hitting bumps it bottoms out.. It will be getting timbrens installed on the rear.. I will never recommend or ever go back to air bags again..
 

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Tileman's Boys
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I wouldnt trade my bags for timbrens if i had too. I have a leak on both trucks but im also usin standard line with some metric fittings. I know where my leak is. I also run a compressor and dump valve on both trucks. So I can run down the road and look legal get to the site dump the air plow like a champ. blow the bags back up and look legal again. I know a guy in Erie PA that has a set on a 99 super duty that have 80 lbs of air since the day he put them on check the air form time to time but probably hasnt added 20 lbs in 8 years combined. In a whole if you go with bags get the compressor kit
 

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I've had the Firestone air-bags in vehicles since they were (almost) invented for the passenger market back in ~'90 …… the first time was in an '85 Dodge Ramchicken (Ramcharger Royal SE, but that's another story) it used to look like a Dog Humping a foot ball going down the road …. and the thing handled like a big piece of Doggy dodo, bucking and rocking back and forth all over the road….. I had a spring and suspension shop talk me into installing them ….. all of the issues instantly disappeared (I still have that lil truck) ….the next one was a '92 Ford F-250 4x4 supercab, 460cuin …… we put diesel front springs in and removed the 2" spacer in the rear and replaced it with 4" blocks outta '99 superduty F-350 ….. added the air-bags to adjust the ride height when towing (well that was the plan) it rode and handled so well all of the time with a few pounds of air in the rear bags empty and more air when loaded ……. There were a few more over the years too but ……. Last but not least is my '03 3500 Dodge dually well this thing had a whole new bag of issues …… it rode awesome empty or loaded as is where is, BUT at night those frigg'n new style headlights were so sensitive to ride height that if the truck went down 3" in the rear (which is normal with a heavy load) you could not see a frick'n thing cause the lights were pointing at the tops of trees and not on the road …..
So I put the Firestone ride-rite kit in c/w built in air compressor AND I used "Big truck air-ride technology" with using a neway self-levelling valve …..I set up the ride height with a few pounds air in the bags empty, and that was it … when its loaded it automatically adds air and levels out, remove the load it bleeds off …… so now when I hook up the big 24,000# tandem dually gooseneck with all of my snowremoval stuff onboard 30,500#GCVW (Bobcat,Snowblower,8611 Blizzard, 8' 4-n-1 backhoe bucket) …. it don't matter how I load up the truck ALWAYS rides at the same ride height, best of all the head lights always are dead on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I had Firestone airbags on my old 93 Chevy and hated every minute of them.. Yes they worked the way they were supposed to. Nope they did not leak. But if i wanted to ride like a boat i would have bought a boat.. They are very unstable ride. Plus I felt they shifted too much weight to the front end and i had to basically drop them to almost no air to use my truck in 2wd to plow. I am big on the plowing in 2wd.. I have not done anything to my 2500 dodge but probably should since fully loaded the rear bump stops are about an inch from the blocks.. and when your hitting bumps it bottoms out.. It will be getting timbrens installed on the rear.. I will never recommend or ever go back to air bags again..
Walt,
I've read a lot of your posts over the years and have noticed your fetish for plowing in 2wd, why is that?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to all of you for your inputs. Being a Chevy owner I have to deal with the front ride height that the GM engineers have set, and all of you know what they look like with a plow mounted up. Timbrens seem to take an awful beating when installed in the front of a GM pick-up because they dip down so low and you're really squashing down on them. A lot of GM owners try to help out the Timbrens by cranking up on the torsion bars which is OK, but you're tweaking the front alignment and forcing the shock absorbers to operate outside of their normal travel, well outside depending on how high they crank the bars. The other issue is that this seems like a screaming pain in the butt to do at the start of every winter and then reset everything back to normal in the spring, that is of course if you want to return back to normal. Because of all this those Firestone Level-Rite shock absorbers look slick, expensive, but slick. I've heard a lot praises beig sung to Timbren an their products, but they seem to haver disadvantages as well. I'm researching the down side to the Firestone Ride-Rite products.

Thank you,

Adam.
 

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Walt,
I've read a lot of your posts over the years and have noticed your fetish for plowing in 2wd, why is that?
Reason being is 1. your driveline parts that are a pain in the azz to change out last longer. 2. Its easier to unstick yourself if you get hung up in 2wd because you can add the front end to aid in getting you unstuck, unlike being in 4wd.. in which you dont have 2 extra tires to drive or pull you out..
 

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I have both on different trucks. One truck has timbrens in all four corners and it is a kidney killer to ride in unless you're loaded to the brim and hanging the plow on the front too.

I had airbags on my other f350 and took them off and replaced them with a heavier spring from ATS in PA. It handles the loads as well or better than the airbags and no monkeying around.

I did much prefer the airbags to timbrens as they were adjustable, i even kept a 12v compressor in the truck for adjustments if I wasn't dialed in for the weight. If you do run then, make sure you run seperate lines or they will just push air from the bag with the most weight in a corner to the opposite side and you'll get a nasty rolling effect. I only had one leak in 5 years or so that I ran them, and it was because someone borrowed my truck and took all the air out and it got pinched and developed a small hole in the bag.

heavier springs are my preferred method now, airbags would be a close second. timbrens work very well, if you don't have to be the one driving the truck or if you have a spare set of kidneys.
 

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I had Firestone 5k bags on my dodge with independent controls,and on board air,I loved them,best money I ever spent.i think there's 2 things you need to have when you run airbags,independent fill/ control valves, and good quality shocks because with a firmer but bouncier ride,the shocks need to be well damped.i used bill steins on my dodge loved them.
 
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