Our F-150 has squatted in the rear end since we started pulling our travel trailer. Even when using either the Equalizer 4 Point or ProPride 3P weight distribution hitches I wanted the front end to sit a little lower. I never felt that the front end was overly light but I knew that the truck could sit more evenly.
Prior to install with trailer picture
To solve this issue I decided to first purchase the Air Lift 5000 Ultimate (88200) and try it out. Air Lift has a guarantee with their products so I really had nothing to lose. I decided on the 5000 Ultimate version over the other two available models for my truck. The smaller model I thought was not strong enough for what I wanted and the regular 5000 model did not have a jounce bumper which I feel is needed on the F-150 because the install calls for removing the factory bumper.
Air Bag Installation
I started the installation of the airbags by jacking up the truck and removing the tires. After having a problem removing one of the tires and having some missing parts (grr) I decided to try without removing the tires from under the truck. I put the air valves to fill the bags though the lower license plate holes which has a clean look. I was able to perform a 24 hour pressure test without any issues. The install was easily done from underneath the truck and took me about three hours.
Passenger and driver side installs
Valves in license plate
Decision on the compressor
The install of the air bags had two separate air valves which can create an uneven fill between the two sides. Also, I may not always be in a place with a air compressor available. I could have gotten by with carrying a remote tank with us when pulling but the on board compressor is very convenient.
I selected the Air Lift Load Controller Single Heavy Duty Compressor (25854). I felt that this model had a reasonable cost and had the heavy duty compressor which could be exposed to the elements versus the standard duty compressor which I understood should be installed inside the cab.
After reviewing options for locating the gauge, connecting power, and routing the wires and air tubes I started the installation which took about 4 hours. I took my time and double and triple checked many points of the installation. I located the compressor under the truck bed in the center. The pressure gauge and compressor controller is located on the left side of the driver side dash.
Post install picture with trailer
For comparison – Prior to install picture with trailer
The air bags @ 0 PSI with no trailer weight versus 60 PSI with the trailer weight results in no height change in the rear and only a 1/4″ raise on the front with trailer weight. Prior to having the air bags installed, I was down multiple inches in the rear and 1″ high on the front.
I am very happy with the products that Air Lift offers. I was a bit frustrated with the missing parts but Air Lift quickly sent them out after a phone call. The truck is much more level and I no longer feel that I am leaning back in a recliner when pulling. I have some more pulling to do to be sure but my first experience with wind while pulling with the bags has felt like I am not pushed as much with wind or tractor trailers passing. I would recommend these products to anyone.