WHY SHOULD I BUY BAGS OVER COILOVERS?
When trying to determine if you should buy coilovers or airbags there are several things to consider. Coilovers are a height adjustable suspension system that requires the ride height to be adjusted manually by jacking up the car and threading the springs up or down. Airbag suspension will allow ride height adjustment just like coilovers but adjustment can be made at the push of a button inside the car, need to make it over a speed bump?? just air up the bags and get over with no worries about scraping! The only benefit to coilovers over airbags is the simple installation compared to an airbag system. Airbag suspension offers easy ride height adjustment and the ability to air out the suspension for the most extreme drop possible when parked. The ride quality of airbags is also subjectively better than coilovers due to the larger range of suspension travel with airbags.
IS RUNNING BAGS RELIABLE?
Yes! When properly installed an airbag setup is just as reliable as any other suspension setup. As with any car modification the quality of the installation will make a huge difference in the reliability of the system being installed. Taking time to perform the installation correctly and not cut any corners will leave you with a reliable airbag suspension system. If your not comfortable with doing the install yourself we highly recommend professional installation with someone that has experience with airbag suspension.
WHICH MANAGEMENT SHOULD I USE?
There are several options to choose from for your airbag management. The most basic systems are called “Manual” which use manually controlled valves to control the air coming in and out of the bags. Stepping up from there is the “Analog” systems which use a controller that electronically controls valves to air up and down. The top of the line systems are “Digital” management setups that use an ECU with advanced features such as height presets, system monitoring, tank pressure changes and even controls from your phone! The pricing for these systems are inline with their capabilities with Manual being the cheapest and Digital the most expensive. The system you choose will be based on the features you are looking for and the budget you have to make the purchase.
WHAT ARE HEIGHT BASED AND PRESSURE BASED SYSTEMS?
Pressure based systems are the most common and rely on bag pressure to set height levels such as Manual, Analog and Airlift AutoPilot V2, and 3P management kits. A Height based system would be the AirLift 3H which uses position sensors mounted to the suspension that sends the suspension level to the ECU to maintain a specified ride height. The benefit to a height based system is that no matter how many passengers or cargo are inside the car the 3H system will maintain the same ride height by adjusting the pressure in the airbags automatically to sustain the specified ride height. Another advantage to the height based system is that you no longer have to deal with the hassle of installing pressure gauges.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AIR LINE SIZE?
Air line size is available in 1/4″ and 3/8″ for most all automotive airbag applications. Simply put the larger 3/8″ air line will flow better and airing up and down will be faster compared to smaller 1/4″ airline. The smaller 1/4″ airline will be easier to route and bend better due to its smaller size. If 3/8″ line is used it is possible to buy a flow control valve that will allow you to fine tune the speed that your system airs up and down.
WHAT IS A POWER KIT AND WHY DO I NEED IT?
The power kit comes with wire, fuses and distribution blocks needed to bring power to your compressor(s). They are similar to power kits used for car stereo amplifiers. We offer a variety of kits depending on the number of compressors you are using.
DO I NEED TO INSTALL PRESSURE GAUGES?
For any pressure based system we highly recommend pressure gauges to monitor the relative height of your suspension. Without gauges you will be in the dark for knowing exactly what height your suspension is at. For Airlift AutoPilot V2, 3P, and 3H kits gauges are not required!
DO I NEED TO REPLACE MY REAR SHOCKS?
While not required to install your airbag kit it is highly recommend to do so. A shorter and stiffer rear shock will give you a much better ride quality and also ensure you will be able to go as low as possible when airing out your suspension. We offer Airlift, Koni and Bilstein performance shocks.
WHATS ARE WATER TRAPS?
While they are not required we highly recommend water traps be installed with your airbag system. Water traps serve as a filter for any moisture or debris in your airtank setup. Due to the high temperatures compressors make while compressing air once in your air tanks moisture can accumulate. Water and debris can lead to a valve failure in your manifold, water traps will help to save you from having to deal with a failure that could leave you stranded. We recommend water traps be installed between your air tank and manifold most importantly, for even more protection installing water traps between your compressor(s) and air tank(s). Its recommended to drain your water traps at least once per month.
THERE ARE SO MANY COMPRESSOR OPTIONS.. HOW DO I CHOOSE?
Compressors are responsible for the grunt work in any airbag system, they are responsible for making sure your airtank(s) are full of compressed air ready to air up your bags when needed. Should you go with 1 or 2+ compressors? You only need 1 compressor for your airbag system to work but using 2 compressors has its benefits. Using 2 compressors will fill your airtank(s) faster and limit the time your compressors have to run. Having 2 compressors will also give you a backup compressor in the very unlikely event that a compressor fails you will still be able to fill your tank(s). There are a few things to consider when choosing which compressor to go with, tank fill times and loudness are the two things of most concern.