Air Lift Adjustable Air Spring Kits for 2015 F-150

LANSING, Mich. – Air Lift Company offers three new towing solutions for the 2015 Ford F-150 half-ton pickup trucks. RideControlTM, LoadLifter 5000TM and LoadLifter 5000TM ULTIMATE are high-quality air spring kits designed to improve ride, handling and safety when towing and hauling heavy loads.

To provide additional support for the towing needs of the new F-150 models, Air Lift engineered air suspension systems featuring application-specific brackets and air springs. Air Lift adjustable air spring kits ensure that weight is properly distributed to all four tires to maximize vehicle stability, safety and comfort. Working with the existing suspension, air springs improve braking and steering, eliminate squat and sway and maintain ideal ride height.

For standard use, Air Lift’s RideControl kit (2WD/4WD #59570) features fully-adjustable sleeve-style air springs which work with the existing leaf spring suspension to provide up to 2,000 pounds of load-leveling capacity. For heavy-duty or more frequent use, Air Lift’s LoadLifter 5000 kit (2WD #57268, 4WD #57284) works with the existing suspension to provide up to 5,000 pounds of leveling capacity and features durable, reinforced air springs and Air Lift’s exclusive roll plates that help protect the air springs from sharp edges such as brackets or the vehicle’s frame.

For even more ride support, Air Lift’s LoadLifter 5000 ULTIMATE kit (2WD #88268, 4WD #88284) provides all the benefits of the LoadLifter 5000 with the addition of an exclusive, shock-absorbing internal jounce bumper to protect vehicles with heavy loads and eliminate jarring on rough roads. Virtually maintenance-free, LoadLifter 5000 ULTIMATE is adjustable for a safe, comfortable ride, loaded or unloaded.

All three kits are easy to install and are backed by Air Lift’s exclusive lifetime warranty. For convenient air spring inflation and deflation from inside or outside the vehicle, Air Lift offers a variety of wireless and wired on-board air compressor systems.  Air Lift air springs and related products can be purchased at most truck accessory retailers and online outlets. To find a retailer in your area, visit Air Lift’s dealer locator at www.airliftcompany.com/dealer.

About Air Lift
Air Lift Company, founded in 1949, is a third-generation, family-owned suspension specialty company based in Lansing, Mich.  Air Lift is committed to engineering, manufacturing and selling the highest quality suspension products that fit, work and last.  Air Lift products are available at retailers across the country as well as internationally.  For more information, contact Air Lift Company by calling (800) 248-0892, or on the web at http://www.airliftcompany.com/.

Air Lift’s 2015 Catalog

LANSING, Mich. – Air Lift Company’s 2015 Load Support Product Catalog features the company’s wide range of easy to use air spring suspension products available for towing and hauling use and automotive performance applications.

The catalog describes the towing safety and ride comfort Air Lift load support products provide to half-ton, 3/4-ton and one-ton pickups, vans SUVs and CUVs. Air Lift’s convenient on-board air compressor options, including the exclusive and updated SmartAirTM automatic leveling system, are also included.

For automotive performance enthusiasts, the catalog provides information about Air Lift’s track-proven performance suspension systems for European, JDM and modern muscle vehicles.

Air Lift offers suspension solutions for a wide range of applications, including standard duty, heavy duty, commercial duty and snow plow or fleet applications. To help consumers understand load support technology and choose the best suspension solution, the catalog includes a frequently asked questions section.

“We take pride in providing the highest quality air suspension products and want to clearly explain the benefits and applications of all options,” said Chip Rabey, Air Lift group marketing manager.

The catalog is available at Air Lift dealers nationwide and internationally, and can also be reviewed on the company’s website at www.airliftcompany.com.

About Air Lift
Air Lift Company, founded in 1949, is a third-generation, family-owned suspension specialty company based in Lansing, Michigan.  Air Lift is committed to engineering, manufacturing and selling the highest quality suspension product kits that fit, work and last.  Air Lift products are available at retailers across the country as well as internationally.  For more information, contact Air Lift Company on the web at http://www.airliftcompany.com/ or by calling (800) 248-0892.

 

Husky Towing Products Introduces New WD Hitch

Morgan Hill, CA, November 2014 – Husky Towing Products announced the most comprehensive product launch in Husky history with its innovative new Center Line TS weight distribution hitch system. The Center Line TS combines weight distribution and sway control in a strong, lightweight design that delivers outstanding performance with significantly less noise than competing hitches. The TS has enjoyed exceptional early response from both dealers and consumers.

“The Center Line TS provides an excellent all-in-one hitch system, giving RV enthusiasts increased confidence and safety due to the integrated weight distribution and sway control.” says Steve Holt, Vice President of Brand and Corporate Marketing. “While other weight distribution hitches with sway control can be quite noisy, the new Center Line TS was designed to be as quiet as possible. The hitch also comes with the ball installed and torqued, so installation is quick and easy – all at an exceptional value.”

To make the product both strong and light, Husky’s engineers employed 1035 steel in a single piece, forged top plate complimented with trunnions of hardened 1045 steel – both have excellent wear and fatigue properties. Used in conjunction with the innovative head design, these super strong materials complement each other to provide the right amount of clamping force to assist the spring bars and lift brackets in resisting sway.

The lift brackets, head and spring bars were also designed to work together to promote a quiet and smooth ride. The round, straight spring bars provide a superior fit and appearance. The better fit promotes superior sway control by reacting to trailer and sway conditions earlier than other products. The tapered design of the spring bars improves ride quality.

The Center Line TS is significantly lighter than competing products. Universal EZ Adjust frame brackets are easy to install and easy to adjust. The hitch ball comes pre-installed and the lift tool can load and unload spring bars as well as tighten the lift bracket bolts.

For more information about Husky Towing Products and to find a Husky dealer, visit huskytow.com

Bolt Expands Product Line with New Coupler Pin Lock‏

Lock Fits Couplers from 1/2-inch to 3 3/8-inch for a Variety of Applications

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The only thing that beats staying organized when hauling valued cargo is keeping that cargo well-secured while on the road. To assist, STRATTEC Security Corporation’s BOLT product line has expanded once again with the release of the BOLT Coupler Pin Lock, which features an adjustable pin, making it ideal for many types of couplers and offering travelers peace of mind when leaving hitched vehicles unattended.

The Coupler Pin Lock features STRATTEC’s patented one-key lock technology, which streamlines travel by enabling the lock to be permanently programmed to the vehicle’s ignition key-that means the driver can use a single key no matter how many BOLT locks are in play.

The weather-proof BOLT Coupler Pin Lock fits couplers from 1/2-inch to 3 3/8-inch and is adjustable in increments of 1/8-inch allowing for a snug fit in any size. The lock is designed to slide easily along the stainless steel pin and is engineered with no exposed shackle, helping further deter theft. It features a plate tumbler sidebar to prevent picking and bumping and its stainless steel lock shutter helps keep out dirt and moisture.

“The Coupler Pin Lock is designed for a wide range of coupler sizes, offering towers versatility in addition to the improved level of security BOLT technology provides,” said BOLT National Sales Manager Erika Garcia.

The lock is easily programmed the first time the ignition key is inserted into the BOLT Lock cylinder where spring-loaded plate tumblers move up and down, uniquely coding the cylinder to that specific key.

Additionally, the Coupler Pin Lock can be used with the BOLT Receiver Lock, which is used to lock the trailer to the hitch. STRATTEC offers a 5/8-inch Receiver Lock for most trucks and SUVs with a Class III, Class IV and Class V hitch, as well as a 1/2-inch Receiver Lock that fits Class I and Class II hitches.

BOLT locks come with a limited lifetime warranty. Find a BOLT retailer by using the zip code finder, www.boltlock.com/retail-finder or purchase from the BOLT website at http://www.boltlock.com/shop. BOLT locks are also available at 4-Wheel Parts stores, Action Car and Truck Accessories, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Value, Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts, Canadian Tire, Lordco Auto Parts, Pep Boys, and Summit Racing Equipment retailers. For more information, visit www.boltlock.com.

About STRATTEC
STRATTEC Security Corporation is the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive locks, keys and related access control products, and is the primary lock supplier to Ford, GM and Chrysler.  STRATTEC’s history in the automotive business spans 100 years.  For more information, write to 3333 West Good Hope Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53209; call 414.247.3333; or visit www.boltlock.com

Understanding Axle Ratios

GMC Pickups 101: What’s the Differential?

What an axle ratio means and why picking the right one is important

DETROIT – Technologies like advanced turbodiesel V-8 engines or hydroformed steel frames have advanced the 2013 GMC Sierra to unprecedented levels of capability for fullsize pickups. In just the decade since the 2003 model debuted, maximum towing capacity for a Sierra HD has risen 43 percent, from 16,100 pounds to an industry-leading 23,100 pounds.

Getting that towing force from the engine to each rear wheel is the task of a set of gears located in the center of the truck’s rear axle known as the differential. The ratio of the sizes of those gears is represented by the diameter of the gear that drives the wheels in relation to the gear from the driveshaft. So, a 3.08:1 ratio indicates the drive gear has 3.08 times as many teeth as the gear on the driveshaft.

2013 GMC Sierra A cut-away of the 2013 GMC Sierra rear axle and differential.
A cut-away of the 2013 GMC Sierra HD shows the truck’s rear axle and differential.

Using different diameter gears within the differential affects both towing ability and fuel efficiency. Since pickup owners have varying needs and preferences, GMC addresses different requirements by offering various rear axle gear ratios.

“A numerically lower axle ratio keeps engine speeds lower for better fuel economy, while higher ratios generally yield higher towing capacities and quicker launches from a stop,” said Greg Martuch, energy and powertrain engineer for the GMC Sierra.

Four different ratios are available across the Sierra 1500 ½-ton pickup lineup: from 3.08:1 to 3.73:1. Available ratios vary by cab type, engine and drive type. Sierra HD, including ¾-ton and 1-ton models, uses rear axle ratios of 3.73:1 and 4.10:1.

Each ratio is decided after months and years of testing factors such as acceleration from a stop; performance on a grade; transmission behavior; fuel economy; towing, and thermal management. Keeping engine speeds down allows a vehicle’s cooling to be more effective.

How much of a difference does the choice of axle make? A 2013 Sierra 2500HD with a 6.0L V-8 and four-wheel drive can tow a maximum of 9,900 pounds with a 3.73:1 ratio or 14,400 pounds with a 4.10:1 ratio. Martuch estimates the fuel economy difference at highway speeds would be around 0.2-0.3 mpg between those two ratios, though reduced engine noise is also a benefit of maintaining lower engine speeds with the more-efficient ratio.

Martuch recommends customers consider their everyday needs. “The higher the combined weight of a truck and trailer, the harder the vehicle needs to work. If a customer is going to tow a small boat just a few times a year, a Sierra 1500 with a lower ratio would capably handle the occasional towing duty while delivering better efficiency the other 95 percent of the time. But for someone towing construction equipment every day, I would definitely recommend an HD pickup with a 4.10 axle and external engine and transmission oil coolers.”

GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, and is one of the industry’s healthiest brands. Innovation and engineering excellence is built into all GMC vehicles and the brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. GMC is the only manufacturer to offer three full-size hybrid trucks with the Yukon, Yukon DenaliSUVs and the Sierra pickup. The Sierra Heavy Duty pickups are the most capable and powerful trucks in the market. Details on all GMC models are available at http://www.gmc.com/, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at http://www.facebook.com/gmc.

Tow and Recovery Straps

Where to buy:

Many of our rural areas, the width and condition of the roads aren’t always ideal, especially with multiple contractors trying to figure out how to access and sometimes just get around each other to get work done. Since my work truck isn’t equipped with a winch, two of the best tools I have on board in case my pickup or some other contractor gets stuck, are a tow strap and a recovery strap. I’ve gotten my own pickup stuck where I misjudged the condition of a unfinished driveway, that was water logged and backed into a spot where I required a little pull, lucky for me I had my recovery strap and the general contractor gave me a hand and I was back on my way.

Tow straps and recovery (often referred to as “snatch”) straps may look similar, but they are designed for entirely different uses. Understanding the difference between the two will make them more effective in your arsenal of tools and prevent you from potential safety risks of using them incorrectly.

Bubba_Rope-30Tow Straps

Tow straps are designed to help you move another vehicle that isn’t necessarily stuck. They don’t stretch under load so the force on one end is evenly distributed to the load on the other end with the length of the strap staying relatively constant. These have their purpose, say someone gets their pickup with highway tires stuck in some light mud, they need a pull out but don’t need the focus that a kinetic recovery strap can provide. Cargo straps and tree-trunk protectors have similar characteristics to tow straps. Many tow straps have open hooks for fast hook ups and releases.

Recovery Straps

When you have a vehicle or equipment stuck, however, you need to have some give in your strap to absorb the forces that you’ll be applying when attempting to recover a stuck vehicle. Recovery straps and ropes are designed to have a rubber band-like stretch to them, which not only multiplies the force by storing the kinetic energy in the strap or rope itself, but also allows you to keep momentum making traction of the vehicle being used to recover less of an issue than with a tow strap where the slack must be out of the strap, before you can even start pulling.

Correctly rated for your application

With either type of strap, make sure they’re rated for the load that you’re going to be applying to them. Not only the straps but any component being used to pull could be the weak link so make sure all your gear is up to the task at hand. When you’re going to pull a stuck pickup you could be putting thousands of pounds of force into the straps, and using an unrated strap could be dangerous in terms of property damage but also to injury as well. The size (either diameter or width depend on if it’s a rope or strap) can affect the breaking strength of the rope or strap so pick the appropriate rated gear for your full size pickup.

Check your gear and where you’ll be attaching

Anytime you’re going to use the straps you need to make sure that there isn’t any damage to them, checking for cut, frays or damaged stitching – which could have occurred during use or even while in storage. Check all the shackles or other equipment you might be using making sure not to forget any of the components in use. Check you equipment again after use to ensure it’s still in good condition.

Always check to see that where you’re attaching to both vehicles is structurally sound and are actually the approved towing attachments and not loops that may only be used for holding the vehicle while being transported. If you’re going to use the receiver hitch on your pickup you’re better off using a D-Ring hitch adapter –instead of trying to rig something with the pin or something else where you don’t know the load rating. Never attach a recovery strap with a knot, either loop it around and back through its self or use a properly rated shackleRecoveryStraps

Bubba Rope says they build a tougher vehicle recovery product that was originally developed for military vehicles out of mud, sand or snow. Their kinetic energy recovery rope has the ability to stretch up to 30% to get your stuck vehicle moving. The Bubba Rope recovery rope is coated with Gator-ize, which is a polymer coating formulated to make the ropes water, UV and abrasive resistant. Built in the USA, the 7/8” x 30’ has a minimum breaking strength of 28,600 lbs is and comes with its own mesh duffle bag. Bubba Rope; bubbarope.com; 877-499-8494

The Super Yanker from Master Pull is made in the USA out of nylon double braid rope. It can stretch to 30% when used properly. When stretched the two braids are pulled tighter allowing the rope to absorb energy and lengthen without stretching the nylon fibers. This allows the rope to be used for years without damage. The stretch also provides shock absorption helping to reduce stress on vehicle components and passengers by removing the abrupt jerking action from using other types of straps or chains. Master Pull; masterpull.com; 360-714-1313

Rugged Ridge premium recovery straps are made for off-road, and are available in a variety of sizes to best fit your needs. There straps are heavy-duty, constructed with durable mildew proof nylon and abrasion resistant reinforced eyes. The nylon absorbs the shock of heavy pulls better than polyester and its elastic properties help aid in a quicker recovery. Their recovery straps are available in these sizes: 2-inch x 30 feet for 20,000 lbs. capacity, 3-inch x 30 feet = 30,000 lbs. capacity, 4-inch x 30 feet = 40,000 lbs. capacity. Rugged Ridge; ruggedridgeoffroad.com; 770-614-6101

The TeraFlex 30’ Tow Strap features a 20,000 lbs. rating with red ‘stress thread’ for a visible warning of overstress, and potential strap failure. It features double reinforced stitched loop ends and measures 30’ long x 2” wide. TeraFlex Tree Strap provies a winch anchor for various recovery and prevents damage to Mother Nature. The Tree Trap is 7’ long and 3” wide with double reinforced stitched loop ends and a 20,000 lbs. rating. TeraFlex; teraflex.biz; 801-288-2585

US Cargo Control’s recovery/tow straps can be used for both recovery and towing. They’re made of nylon wedding which is durable and strong, yet has the capacity to stretch to 7-10% at rated capacity. The straps feature loops which have CORDURA on the inside – an extremely durable fabric that resists wear and tear. This is designed to prolong the life of the strap by adding protection at its wear points. Some of theirs straps utilize a 2-ply design which doubles the strength of the strap while maintaining a narrow width. US Cargo Control; uscargocontrol.com; 319-213-9775

Recovery Straps from WARN are made of nylon webbing designed to absorb the shock of heavy pulls, while the elastic rebound energy aids in quick recovery. Their straps are constructed from high quality nylon web encasing a red warning marker to indicate damaged webbing. The end loops are reinforced with abrasion resist wear pads. Some of Warns resover straps include a nylon sliding sleeve to help prevent excessive wear caused by exposure to sharp objects. Warn wants to remind you to use a proper tree trunk protector strap or choker chain in winching operation – never use a recovery strap. WARN; warn.com; 800-910-1122

Spring Tune-up

06 Dodge Ram 1500 With TrophySpring fever is far more likely to hit fishermen than the flu, and when it does the urge to get the boat in the water and a rod in hand is hard to shake.

Invariably the mind focuses on getting the tackle box sorted out, hooks changed on lures, reels lubed and refilled with new line, and missing guides and broken rod tips replaced.

Then attention is turned to the boat making sure the batteries are good, the prop is good to go, the engine tuned up, rod lockers organized, the tag is current, and the proper safety gear in place.

With those rituals handled all that remains is to sit back and wait for the fever to break on opening day with that first hook-set, right?

Unfortunately a number of fishermen will find themselves a little late to the open day party because in the throws of spring fever they forgot to pay the same attention to their vehicle and trailer as they did their fishing gear and boat.

Let’s face facts: If you want to catch fish, you first have to get to the water – and to do so your vehicle (and boat trailer) needs to be in reliable mechanical condition.

Vehicle Check

Make sure you are changing oil at the “severe service” intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Make sure you are changing oil at the “severe service” intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

Any pickup or SUV used by outdoorsmen is considered being used under severe service by the definitions posed in the vehicle owner’s manual. So between 3,000-6,000 miles (depending on the engine) your vehicle needs an oil/filter change. It’s also good to have the engine given a full tune-up. This ensures maximum performance and fuel economy during the rest of the year.

The air filter should be cleaned or changed, and wiper blades refilled. (I suggest replacing the factory blades with silicon-impregnated versions such as offered by Rain-X, PIAA and Tripledge.)

In addition the spring check-up should include close checks of all belts and hoses, fluid levels under the hood and in the differentials, and a thorough check of battery and cable connections.

Jack up and properly support the vehicle. Remove each wheel and inspect the brakes, brake hoses and wheel cylinders for leaks or wear. If this isn’t something you feel comfortable doing, have a good brake shop do the inspection.

This is a good time to check the shocks for any signs of damage or wear. If the shocks have more than 40,000 miles on them, put on a new set.

Inspect the tires for unusual wear patterns and rotate if they are still in good shape. Remember if the tread is below the top of Lincoln’s head when a penny is inserted upside own in the tread, the tire is worn out.

Don’t forget to check the hitch. Look for corrosion, cracks or scraping damage. Make sure all the mounting bolts are tight and that the trailer wiring and connector plug are in good condition.

Take an especially careful look at the towing ball. Is the locknut tight? Is the ball still smooth, or is it worn or gouged? Check for any signs of bending or stress cracks. If any problems appear, replace the ball – they’re inexpensive, but a critical link in towing safety.

While your back there makes sure the taillights, brake lights, parking lights and license plate lights are working properly.

Trailer Check

It’s also wise to take a close look at the trailer coupler inside and out. The “jaws” should be adjusted to clamp securely to the ball and dabbed with a good marine grease.

 

The safety chains should be long enough to allow full trailer turn, but not long enough to drag on the ground. And, the ends that connect to the hitch should be of the snap or clevis variety, not “S”-hooks.

Hand pack your wheel bearings with a good marine-grade bearing grease.
Hand pack your wheel bearings with a good marine-grade bearing grease.

A good spring check-up also includes paying attention to the rest of the boat trailer. This means giving it a brake job, repacking the wheel bearings, replacing worn tires, repairing damaged bunks or rollers, inspecting the axle springs and hangers, checking the winch cable or strap and lubricating the gears.

 

Like the tow vehicle, the boat trailer’s tires and electrical system need to be checked and serviced as needed. (The two most common sources of trailer trouble are electrical systems and tires.) Repair/replace any damaged electrical plugs or wires.

None of the above tasks are difficult to do, but doing is essential if you want to get to the water safely all season long without drama along the way.