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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
FAQ? ( I copied and pasted from a page, i cannot take credit or answer any questions!!!lol)

Air Ride Suspensions are one of the coolest and most unique types of modifications you can do to a vehicle. It's catching on quite largely in the Import Community. The following is an outlined FAQ on what one needs to know about this suspension mod.


Air bags on a Sport Compact consists of this: Where the stock struts are, there is a custom bracket/strut that has a rubber-convoluted bag modified in the center of it. So basically, if you were take a stock strut, cut it in half, and put a rubber hollow bag in between the 2 pieces, this is what it would look like. This type of suspension was first designed for big Semi trucks. It was then developed for the Mini-truck and sport truck community.


When this type of suspension came out, it was pretty much laughed at because no one could imagine putting little air bags where the lowered or stock suspension was. Most people were using air shocks, hydraulics, or basic lowering suspension to get their ride down in the weeds.


A basic car airbag suspension consists of 4 airbag struts, airlines, a heavy-duty compressor, an air tank, and a high PSI pressure switch to raise or lower the vehicle. When this suspension first started to hit the show scene, it would take anywhere from 1-3 minutes to fully air up or down. The best part about it is the ride quality. It's literally like driving on a cushion of air and you don't feel any bumps what so ever. The other good thing is you can literally lay your frame or body almost right on the ground. The negative parts to this are that if the airbags were installed incorrectly, they would rub on a suspension part or frame, and you would rip a hole in the bag. Alot of times people would be driving, their bags would pop, and the front or rear of the vehicle would slam to the ground, therefore showing an amazing fireworks and spark display! Also, people would get a real cheap compressor and they would run out of air quickly from their storage tanks. They wouldn't have enough power from the compressor or enough air from storage to get their ride back up to driving height.


New Advancements: The old set ups, you had to weld everything in. Newer kits are available as bolt in in case you want to go back to stock or lowered suspension pieces. Some companies have come out with stronger and thicker airbags to help prevent them from tearing or popping. An airbag will still tear or pop if it rubs, but not as quickly as the older ones. Also, people used to hate the idea that it took so long for their ride to air up or down. So people started to come up with new ideas for their air bags to air up faster like installing large scuba tanks (compressed co2) and larger airlines to the air bags. This worked for a while and for the most part, people still use this set up. Companies came out with a true fast bag set up which means they had everything the old set ups had, except they had bigger air tanks for storage, very heavy duty compressors, electric solenoids (like in hydraulics), large air lines, and very high pressure switches. The old set ups used to just have either 1 switch (for up and down) or 2 switches (independent front or back). Now companies have 4 switches (each wheel or front-back-side2side) and just recently, they came out with 10 switch set ups so you can do all the same moves as hydraulics the electric solenoids, it made it very easy for your ride to go up and down just as fast as hydraulics. You can't hop off the ground with airbags, but there have been a few people that not only use the compressed CO2 (scuba tanks) but also they use them with the electric solenoids and they are able to make their ride hop off the ground with an air suspension.


Even Newer Advancements Alot of Sport Compact owners were getting upset because companies were coming out with airbag suspensions for trucks mostly. There really wasn't too much out there for cars unless you either built your own kit or if you modified a truck kit to fit with your suspension. So companies have come out with an air rod kit. What this is is basically a "strut like" air cylinder. Basically an over sized air shock/strut with a connector for an airline. They just bolt right up to where your stock strut goes. These as well have the capabilities to lay your car flat on the ground and they can either have the basic set up (1 minute air up/down) or the fast air set up. Also, alot of people actually ask what the strength is as far as racing goes. It all depends on the welds, and the quality of your work.


Air Suspension is just another form of lowering suspension. Someone would get for the same reason as having adjustable coil overs or hydraulics. They want to be able to have some kind of adjustable suspension where if they want, they can slam their car down in the weeds, or raise it back up for every day driving. It's not just for when you have the car shut off. Lets say you want to take up all your fender gap in your wheel well and be able to cruise down the road being real low to the ground. All of a sudden a speed bump or an incline in the road comes up. The air bags allow you to air up while driving so you can get over obstacles. As of right now, the only options for people who have **** to get their car real low are Hydraulics. The ride quality with juice is pretty harsh (very bouncy). Your other option is lowering springs, but springs usually don't set your car down real low. Just a couple of inches at the most. Airbag and Air Rod suspensions are mainly for show, but they do help greatly when you need to get over something without scraping the underneath of you car. Plus lets say you have 2 cars at a show. One with lowered springs or coilovers, and one with adjustable suspension like juice or air. The one with the adjustable suspension is going to be ALOT lower, it's going to be more custom, and therefore there will be more looks, and more points awarded for you at the show. Also, consider this. Everyone is always talking about how there really are not too many fully modded **** out there and how everywhere you look, you see a modded out Honda or Acura. Judges at car shows and photographers for magazines are only going to look twice at a vehicle that is 100% unique and different from all the rest. Some of you may think having an adjustable suspension like hydraulics or air is stupid, but I guarantee you will get a hell of alot more looks, show points, and even magazine coverage. It's all about being different. Plus the main thing to remember is to always build your ride so that it makes YOU happy, not because of what someone else thinks. But at the same time, if you're going for alot of recognition, you have to see what others are doing, how they're succeeding, and then build your ride around those principles so that's it different, but yet cool.

Will airbags hold up to race abuse of any kind

Some people are able to race with airbags. It all depends on how well of a job you do installing them. If you're really thinking about racing the car or doing some serious speed events with it, then go with an air rod suspension. The rods won't shift as much and your suspension will stay in tact

What is the 'life expectancy' of airbag suspension

It all depends on your installation. If you install airbags improperly, they'll rub against other suspension parts, or your frame, and they'll tear. As far as air rods go, they last a bit longer only because they're an actual hard piece of suspension. On a minor note, depending on how good your airlines, and the airline fittings are...you might have some air loss. I remember doing an airbag set up on a guys s-10 about a year ago and he would get pissed because he would have his truck fully aired up at night, and in the morning when he came out, the truck would be laying flat on the ground. He bought real cheap airlines and fittings so there was some air loss. Nothing major, just more of a pain.

How much weight do airbags add?

Very little. Not like hydraulics where you have the pumps and all the batteries. This is another reason why people tend to go the air route instead of juice. There's ALOT less weight. The heaviest parts to an air suspension are the air tanks themselves. You can get different size tanks ranging anywhere from 1.5 to 5 gallon. If you want a real fast air set up that will allow you to hop the car, you can add a co2 or scuba tank.

Can I change from soft to hard settings for track and street?

No. An air suspension whether it be bags or rods is designed to make your ride very low to the ground while giving you an above average soft ride quality.

Will my aftermarket swaybar still work?

Depends on the set up you have. If you only do front or back, yes. If you want to do all the moves that a 10 switcher or 4 switcher does, then no. Only because sway bars are designed so your car doesn't shift from side2side. If you have 10 or 4 switches and you try to do a side2side move with sway bars...ummm.... well...lets just say you're going to hear a really nasty noise and not going to be too happy with what happened.

Would a quality airbag setup be a viable option over $2000 to $3000 full coilover/strut race setups?

Depends on what you're going for. If you only want to lower your car 2-3 inches and still be able to race, but have a somewhat decent ride quality, then no. BUT, if you want to be able to slam your car to the ground, have an above average ride quality, then yeah. Also, airbags are cheaper than true coilovers..as of now anyway. A full complete fast bag/rod kit will run around $1700. A slow air kit will run you around $1200.

How are camber settings affected when raising/lowering?

Whenever you have an adjustable suspension, you will always lose your alignment when you go down or back up. BUT...lets say your alignment is set when the suspension is at a 2" lowered ride height. Whenever you bring your ride back up or down to that height, your alignment will go back to where ever you set it. So you lose your alignment whenever you change the height. To get it back to where it was set perfectly, change your height back to it.

How does the system work?

You have an air tank that has airlines running to 4 individual air bags or air rods. Connected to the tank you have a compressor that keeps the tank filled up at all times.
 
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