Part II: Bag Install
This installation covers the install once the coil
springs are removed. If you would like to see some pictures that may
help you remove the factory coils, check out the 2wd Drop How-To.
For my install, I use the front upper and lower brackets from
brackets are totally bolt in and fit great and are also very affordable.
They feature bolt patterns for a variety of bag styles, including Firestone
2500 and 2600, and have large dual port holes.
I used 2600 bags with single 3/8" ports for the front.
As you probably have already read, you need to eyebrow the spring pocket to
accomodate the larger sized bags. From what I understand, using 2500#
bags require little or no spring pocket modification.
First, grind out the inner lip on the spring pocket.
This needs to be removed and deburred of any sharp edges that could
potentially rub the bag and pop it. It is extremely important to make
sure metal does NOT come into contact with any part of the bag at any range
of motion to ensure a trouble-free installation.
Inner Lip Removed
The top bracket uses the stock shock absorber mounting
hole with a washer and nut on top to hold it in place. A hole must be
drilled as necessary to feed the airline to the valve. Mount the top
bracket in place and mark where the airline will exit the bag. Drill a
hole about 1/8" bigger than your diameter of airline. Now remove the
top cup and mount the bag to it, then put back into place to get ready to
start figuring out what needs to be cut. The bottom bracket bolts directly to the lower control
arm via the stock shock holes. Remove the 2 clips to expose the holes.
The cup will only fit in one way. Once in place, tighten the nuts to
secure the cup firmly.
Top Cup Bolted Up
Place a jack under the lower control arm and begin to
raise the suspension. Make sure the bag is centered on the lower
cup.When the bag is deflated it will be at its widest diameter. Mark
approximately where the spring pocket needs to be cut.. Remove the top
cup (no need to remove the lower) and begin cutting. Its probably
easiest to use a whizzer wheel. I wouldn't recommend a torch unless
you are good at using one. Note in the picture below the hole that was
drilled for the airline.
Spring Pocket Eyebrowed
Once you have the majority of metal cut out, replace
the top cup with the bag mounted to it and give it another test. If it
rubs or comes close to any point of the bag, remove and cut more.
Remember, the bag will stretch over time, so you want to make sure you have
enough clearance for the future. What may clear today may not in 2
months. I'd say if you can stick your finger in, you are good.
Test Fit for Clearance
Once you are confident that you are totally clear from
contact with the frame/spring pocket, connect your airline, run it thru the
hole you previously drilled, fasten lower bag bolt (3/8"-16x3/4") thru the
cup into the bag with a lock washer, and tighten the top mount.
Connect the airline to the bottom of the brass
T-fitting into your valves. If you are running a gauge for your bag
pressure cut the line from the bag to the valve and install another T, with
your 1/4" gauge line going out.
If you'd like to use shocks, you need to get a Shock
Relocation Kit. Again, I used the kit from suicidedoors.com. It
comes with a 2 brackets and 2 carriage type bolts. I used Gabriel Gas
Shocks from a Ford Ranger. These give me the full range of motion,
from 0psi to full lift. The bracket is welded to the frame and is
reinforced with some flat bar on the side to stop it from flexing, and a
hole is drilled on the lower control arm approximately in the middle.
The shocks really help stop the bounciness from the bags flexing. Some
people dont use them, but I wanted as nice a ride as possible.
Stay Tuned for the Rear!