ArmyofOne's How-To Garage: Total Load Control Install and Review
Got my TLC installed yesterday. Was fairly straightforward, but the instructions could definately be clearer. I am working with John on that and I took a LOT of pictures of what I believe could be a standard recommended install for the 2009+ Ram 1500.
Here is what I started with:
The kit contains pretty much everything you will need for a standard install with little/no modification to your truck. So, with that said, I have to say...
Check your product. TLC does an awesome job of packing things, but sometime's stuff happens. In my case, A fitting got broken off of one of my bags. No big deal, TLC John promptly sent out a replacement fitting and I was ready to go in 48 hrs. He offered to overnight it but I declined as I was not going to be able to install until yesterday and I noticed it last saturday.
To do this, you will need a jack, 2 jackstands, and a pair of 9/16 wrenches. Jack up the rear of the truck from the frame, not from the axle. This will allow the springs to unload. The tires do not have to come off of the ground, but you have to take the weight of the truck almost completely off of the coils. Once your truck is on jackstands, remove these:
Just twist and pull, no tools req'd there. In place you will install the 2 plates with the offset rubber bushings (not shown). You press them into the holes where the bump-stops were held. then, set the airbag onto the plate with the fitting facing the rear differential. Its easy and will only go in one way, so you really cant mess it up. Once the bags are in, leave the truck on jackstands, you will need it later.
Once you bolt the bags in, Decide where you want your gauge/switch/dump valve panel. I put mine inside the upper glove box, using the panel that TLC supplies with the kit. This required ZERO visible drilling into my interior. If you do not have the upper glove box equipped, then you will need to drill 2 additional holes for air lines and electrical if you install here, but if you do it right, it can be done clean and look factory. I loosened the gauge in the panel and rotated it 90 deg so that it sat vertical in the panel and I drilled 2 holes in the side of the panel itself, and used 2 self tapping screws to attach it to the plastic inside the glovebox. Be sure to place the panel far enough back that you can still close the glovebox door.
Now run your air tubing. Total Load Control uses all plastic air tubing and quick disconnect fittings. Easy to work with. As you can see in the above pic, there is a hole in the glove box already, where I ran both the Air tube and the wiring.
Remove the lower glove box entirely by opening it, and pressing inward on the sides until it slides out in your hands. Set it aside. Feed the Air tube through the hole in the upper glove box and reach in from the lower opening and grab it. Feed all but 6" or so through and leave it coiled on the passenger floorboard.
-Remove the lower trim piece (non-center console models) under the cup-holder. If you have a center console, dont worry, you can still do it this way, just takes a little longer as you have to do it by feel. Push the hose through like so:
^Driver's Floor-board to the right of the gas pedal
Pull all of the air hose through, having a buddy hold the other end and tell you when to stop, you still want 6" or so in the glove box, we will get to that in a minute. Once you have the rest of the tubing in a coil on the drivers side floorboard, its time to drill. Don't be nervous, there is a panel for this that is replaceable. Drill your hole here:
Just to the left of the steering column. That little panel there is replacable for $2.50 at your local dealer if you decide you need it for whatever reason...entirely reversible. I drilled 2 holes, the same size, for the electrical and the air tubing. Have a friend pull the air tube through until you have only a little slack. Then, tuck your air tubing under the carpet behind the pedals. Leave the interior of the truck apart and crawl underneath it. Have your buddy feed the tubing down the firewall between the firewall and the brake lines to the outside of the drivers side frame rail. DO NOT RUN THE TUBING ON THE INSIDE OF THE FRAME RAIL, IT WILL GET TOO HOT AND MELT.
Along the frame rail you will see holes already drilled. I used these to run my air lines now stop right here, and install your compressor. I used the middle cab mount bracket as you can see int he above picture. I put the compressor up there, marked where I needed to drill and drilled my holes:
Once the holes were drilled I mounted my compressor:
Be sure to use 2 of the rubber bushings provided with the compressor for the mount, otherwise your compressor will vibrate loose and sound horrible.
Now, you still should have roughly 12 feet of tube. Cut 6-8" off and install it into the compressor, and put a "Y" fitting on the end. Then pull your tubing and cut to fit with some slack and install in the Y fitting. This will operate your gauge and reliefe valve.
With the remaining 12' or so of air tube, you are going to put one end in the other side of the "Y" fitting at the compressor. When you are done it should look like this:
Ok, so your compressor is done for now. We will come back to it later for the wiring.
Now, run your air tubing down the frame, there are a few holes you can run it through to minimize zip-tie use. Here is what I did:
^Rear Cab Mount.
I ran my air tubing through the rear cab mount and the forward bed mount.
On your fuel tank, there is a plastic handle. Run your lines through it like so (to keep them away from the driveshaft and the hot exhuast):
^See the red tubing running through the handle?
If you do not have the handle there are several other ways to route the tubing. Just be sure to keep it clear of spinning parts, suspension components and away from the exhaust.
Now run your tube to the back of the truck, right in front of the spare there is a u-shaped bracket attached to the frame with a hole in it:
Run your tube through it and STOP. Cut it there and add a "Y" fitting.
then run tubing to your bags from each side of the "Y"fitting:
and ziptie to your differential vent tube or your axle carrier itself. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!: **Ensure you leave enough slack for 12 INCHES of suspension travel. The airbags, depending on your setting will allow up to that much, so if you do not leave slack between the bags and that last "Y" fitting, you will yank your air lines out the first time you hit a bump or raise your truck.**
For the electrical, its pretty simple. Just follow the tubing with the wiring. I needed extra wire because of where I put the compressor, it ran me $5 at lowe's.
The install for the electrical:
From the gauge you go:
Once at the battery, the white wire will get the fuse and get installed onto the positive battery terminal. The black wire will continue on to the compressor. Once at the compressor, you will connect the black wire (still a power, not a ground), to the RED WIRE on the compressor. Once you do that, you have 2 options. You can remove the connector thats on the black wire coming from the compressor, and put in a butt splice, then run a separate wire back to the negative battery terminal for the ground. OR you can grind the paint off a spot on your frame near the compressor and ground it right there. I always choose to run the ground back to the negative battery terminal if I can.
Once you connect your ground, the circut is completed and the compressor will work.
A couple of video's-
Inflate to 20 psi from 0:
Deflate to 3 psi from 20:
And an install walk-through :)
On the road, the first thing you will notice is the read end firms up. Pump the airbags to 20 PSI and hit the gas, no weight transfer at all, the thing just goes. My mileage has gotten better and I took a full second off my 0-60 time. She corners much better now too.
A small tip: While under your truck, give it a good once-over. I found my pinion yoke seal on my rear-diff leaking, that could have cost me THOUSANDS had I not caught it. Just food for thought.
Added heat shrink today:
A total of 4" of lift from empty:
^At 10psi, will drop another 2 inches if deflated all the way.
Dont forget, its smart to wrap the air line in electrical tape or even better is fuel line wherever it goes through the frame/any hole. You dont want it rubbing through halfway down the freeway and causing a bit o a problem!
Nice write up Mr, Do all the electrical without Jordan cuz you dont want to wait till Texas!
Jordan, there was hours of head scratching involved, I should have waited for you. Not because there was anything wrong with the kit, but because I am a complete tard when it comes to electrical.
I think I am just going to wrap issue areas in electrical tape when we get to TX, you can help me with THAT Jordan :p
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