How to Change Ride Height

With the market flooded with shocks, springs, coil-overs, spacers, leveling kits, and everything else, it’s difficult to achieve the “ideal” ride height. Utilizing an air suspension system is one of the choices. Air ride systems provide the optimal answer for having a vehicle with minimal sacrifices to its aggressive appearance at the expense of its drivability. Drive down the road with the oil pan and undercarriage clearance of a current OEM car and park it aired down to a height generally reserved for automotive culture artists’ imaginations. As assumed, there are a few fundamental necessities linked with an air system. You will require a compressor, a tank, airlines and connections, and airbags, of course.

How to Change Ride Height

When it comes to the back of your project, one of the possible solutions is a “bag over axle” method, in which the airbag is fastened to a plate atop the axle. Additionally, the system can be integrated into an existing triangulated 3-link or conventional 4-link configuration. Depending on the vehicle’s suspension, a Panhard bar may be necessary to maintain the rear end centered in the frame and prevent “walking” from side to side. Existing coil-over suspensions can be simply changed to employ air springs. These air-bag-encased shocks are exact replacements for ordinary coil-over shocks and use the same mounting hardware.

If you have an IFS-style front suspension, you can transfer the shock mount to the side or rear and replace the spring with an airbag. This phase may need quite a deal of creation; therefore, you should assess your skills before doing it. If you have a fully stocked workshop and ample time and tools, go for it. If you, however, are like me and work on your project in your backyard when you can, you might consider having a business perform the installation. Typically, the main labor entails welding a plate across the open spring pocket on the lower control arm to create a flat mounting surface for the bottom of the airbag. Typically, the upper plate of an air spring is coupled to an adaptor cap that screws into the spring’s upper pocket. It is relatively simple to manufacture using circular steel tubing with the same outside diameter as the springs being removed. A round disc is welded to one end of the tube and is attached to the air spring’s top. This cup fits into the space in the frame that formerly contained the coil spring’s top. It works as a spacer for the airbag, keeping it away from potential rubbing spots and allowing the vehicle’s ride height to remain unchanged when inflated. This spacer is used to choose the range of available ride heights for extended airbags, which are typically 3 to 5 inches shorter overall than compressed coil springs.

Mounting the compressors and routing the airlines is subjective. There are both standalone electric compressors and engine-mounted belt-driven compressors. Both have their perks and disadvantages. Although electric devices are less expensive than belt-driven units, they are louder, and while engine-driven units provide a consistent air supply, they are significantly more expensive and complex. You can get a huge tank and exhibit it, or you can purchase a smaller 3 gallon, 4 gallons, or 5-gallon tank and conceal it. The higher the volume of the tank, the fewer times the compressors will need to replenish it, although smaller tanks are easier to conceal.

The air ride system is controlled by a handheld controller and electrical solenoid valves. The controller determines whether the valve is open or closed, allowing air pressure to enter or depart the air spring. There are a range of controller designs, from simple to complicated. The system regulates the solenoids using a computer that can repeat preset heights and place the car at the same ride height repeatedly. This system monitors the vehicle’s height using data-recording sensors. This implies that you may set the car to a specified cruise height, load it with five passengers, and the air system will automatically add air pressure to maintain the car’s position without requiring you to click a button. Air suspension has gone a long way since its conception, and the system delivers the user interface and sensation of a modern luxury vehicle, as opposed to earlier systems that regularly broke down or moved abruptly like a carnival ride.