I finally got around to my spring swap. It has been needed for a year, I've had the springs for 6 months so it was time.
The truck is constantly hauling weight and frequently tows. My last tow was bringing home my newest addition, a 99 1500 4x4 (another story for another day) on Friday and my towing experience hammering the bump stops the whole way home made the swap happen the next day.
With the truck in the shop, loaded with tools and a 300# electric motor I measured 36" from floor to top of wheel well
Crawled underneath and snapped a pic of the oem spring with the inop airlift bag along for the ride.
Heated the cold and stiff bag with the torch to make it soft enough to get it out. Had enough of that and made short work of it with an olfa. As it turns out this was a complete waste of time, it was unnecessary for the swap but at the time I felt there could be a hold-down mechanism of some sort up there. There isn't
With the wheel off, left the inner well in place. i was going to remove it but because it was still cold i did not think i could get it out without cracking it. it is only a minor inconvenience. I lowered the axle as far as the anti sway would allow, the spring easily pried off the alignment cone with a 2 foot bar. Very little tension on it.
Old vs new. Same install height but very different animals. Added capacity and variable rate which is a plus. Going back in is as easy as coming out. Keeping the pry bar level I pried the spring so it sat in the spring pad beside the alignment cone, repositioned bar, pried again and got the spring in place. The second step as long as you get the spring on the flat top of the alignment cone, getting it into place is a snap with your boot or hammer and block or the bar. There is not much tension even on the new spring.
Second spring was completed including taking the wheel off and putting it back on in 15 minutes. Whole job could probably be done with the tire iron, the jack and one jack stand, with basic mechanical skills. I would say its no worse than installing the bags, and probably faster.
After all was back together height at 38". Sitting level with probably about 400# sitting on or behind the rear axle.
Note: this truck has a 2" levelling kit in the front. When I first installed the levelling kit it sat fairly level unloaded. Now unloaded it sits up about 1" or so higher in the back with the new springs. Still rides nice but can tell it is somewhat firmer. And no more hammering the bump stops