Is Air Suspension Worth It?

5.0hopeful

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I wanted to hear from those of you who have chosen to go with air suspension on your cars. Was it worth it? I know air suspension is about $3k. Do you think it was worth it versus the alternatives like lowering springs and coilovers? What made you justify the price difference? Are your cars daily drivers? Is there something that you would do different if you had to do it again?





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Performance nut

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My research showed it depends on what you want. From what i gathered.
Pros:
Can be adjusted easily for height and stiffness
Can be used for racing competitively

Cons:
It is more expensive and heavier due to all the extra components.
Certain component failures can make simple tasks like towing more difficult (some of these can be mitigated)
 
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5.0hopeful

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What would make towing more difficult?
 

Performance nut

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What would make towing more difficult?
I spoke with a guy who had a compressor failure. He allowed his car to drop down really far when his car was turned off. He had no way to raise the vehicle up without a compressor. Car was too low to get a tow truck to move the car without damaging it.

The easy fix for this would be to install shims that limit how far down your car can go without a compressor.
 
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5.0hopeful

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I spoke with a guy who had a compressor failure. He allowed his car to drop down really far when his car was turned off. He had no way to raise the vehicle up without a compressor. Car was too low to get a tow truck to move the car without damaging it.

The easy fix for this would be to install shims that limit how far down your car can go without a compressor.
Hmm, I hadn't even thought of that. I should've, because now that you've mentioned it, it seems logical but that's something I'll have to consider.
 

FlowForm_Wheels

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For $3k? Sounds cheap doesn't it? I had an airbag system on my S197, absolutely hated it. Could have been the brand that just made it cheaply but I really hated the ride.

For $3k, I'd go with KW V3's and call it a day. I've used KW's on 3 different cars, and I've never ever been upset with the quality of the product or the ride.
 
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5.0hopeful

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For $3k? Sounds cheap doesn't it? I had an airbag system on my S197, absolutely hated it. Could have been the brand that just made it cheaply but I really hated the ride.

For $3k, I'd go with KW V3's and call it a day. I've used KW's on 3 different cars, and I've never ever been upset with the quality of the product or the ride.
That's interesting. I haven't heard that sentiment much at all. What did you hate about it?
 

FlowForm_Wheels

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That's interesting. I haven't heard that sentiment much at all. What did you hate about it?
Well let me preface this by saying I'm like 99% sure it was just a crap brand/cheap parts. I have nothing against using airbags, but the system I used just wasn't for me, wasn't comfortable for daily driving. Because I'm a bit vocal on how bad they were, if you're interested in knowing which brand I used, PM me, I don't want to publicly shame them.

One thing I want to note though, I have driven cars with Accuair before, and they're legit. Accuair systems, or at least the ones I've driven, have always been very comfortable and user friendly. The brand that I had, I think their downfall was that they used crap shocks. The rebound/compression settings on the shock were not right for the car whatsoever. Rears were way too over boosted and the fronts were soft, when in reality it should have been the other way around. Seemed like they just pieced together a kit that just happened to work on the S197 chassis.

I would have no problem putting Accuair on my car today, though for $3k I don't know if that'll cover it. $3k should get you into a set of KW V3's, arguably the best coilover system on the market today for daily driving (my opinion, based on having 3 or 4 sets of KW's in the last 10 years)
 

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Are you looking for performance, or just the ability to raise and lower the ride height with the push of a button? From what I have seen, driver adjustable ride height is the only advantage. I have never seen an air ride system in a serious competition application. If you are looking for performance, there are lighter, easier and cheaper ways to get there.
 

gixxersixxerman

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Unless you are trying to build a track rat or be ultra competitive at time attack, (which actually has a couple air ride cars competing just fine) coilovers are what will give you the best performance. If you have a DD and want to have some fun in canyons/mountains/twisties slam it when parked or want the adjust ability then air ride is awesome. I had it in my last car and it rode better, handled better and gave me the look i wanted. yes for a track app you can buy better coilovers that will give you better times at $3k then bags. People that say it "ruins" you car or it doesnt handle either hasnt been in a modern air ride car, or one that was properly set up. It was a tough decision to sell the air ride from my last car since i couldve bought the struts and bags to fit the GT, but id lose the magride and right now i want it. down the road i will most likely go back to bags though


Also i dont know of a modern kit that doesnt have a "T" with a schrader valve for a emergency backup. you just fill the tank from that if you ever have a compressor go out.
 

fast88fox

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I had an air kit on my SN95 and it was great but I also never tracked the car with it. It rode great as a daily and it was great to be able to raise the car and be able to pull into a step parking lot or over a large speedbump and then lower it down to drive height or even slam it down for a show or parking. My kit had 2 pumps for speed of refilling the tank and also if one died...I had the other one so I was not stranded. I also had a T valve so that any compressor could fill the tank in an emergency if needed. I guess it depends on what you want to do with the car. If your just going to drive it to shows and such then yes it is great but if tracking the car is your top priority then I would probably look at a good coil-over kit or even drag specific springs/shocks if drag racing is your thing.
 

SiMuL

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I love how so many people that have never had air chime in here to give you advice. While I appreciate that people want to help, if you don't have experience with it, it's best to just be quiet and let those of us that HAVE experience with this speak up. You're just wasting thread space and misleading the OP.

I have the Air Lift Performance kit on mine with dual 444 compressors and it is HANDS DOWN the best mod I've ever done to any of my performance vehicles that is not a power mod.

I do not track my car, but I drive it like I stole it all the time. It handles better than it did with upgraded springs (Eibach Sportlines), no body roll, and it's the most comfortable suspension I've ever experienced.

You will absolutely LOVE IT!

One thing to note, the compressor and bag systems are separate, meaning, even if your tank lost all air and your compressors quit working, so long as you have air in the bags, they're not going to lose pressure (so long as there are no leaks in that part of the system, of course). Just don't air out every time you park. ;)

If you have any specific questions about running air, ask away! I'll answer any questions I have direct experience with.
 
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5.0hopeful

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My biggest question is how did you guys justify the expense from say traditional springs to an air kit? I also want to know if you guys adjust the height a decent amount once the "novelty" wears off, if that makes sense.
 

gixxersixxerman

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My biggest question is how did you guys justify the expense from say traditional springs to an air kit? I also want to know if you guys adjust the height a decent amount once the "novelty" wears off, if that makes sense.
same way someone justifies a decent coil over kit compared to just springs. Why spend 1500-2k when you can lower your car for 200$.... adjustability. And i dont know what you mean "novelty" i didnt get bags to drive at a insanely low level. My ride height was about what most would have for a coilover set up. not to low not to high. it was parking or "cruising" i could drop it when i wanted. but my DD height wasnt but maybe 1.5" drop if that. the ride was always better then stock, so it wasnt a novelty to me
 

gixxersixxerman

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Also, shop around, there is a decent markup for air kits, so they can make a decent price reduction. I paid 2k for my my 3P setup, then bought a dual compressor kit and sold the single chrome for 100$ everything all in i didnt have 2.5k in it and sold it for 3k since it was a 4300$ kit basically and only a couple months old. you shouldnt be paying over 2500 new for a base kit with a single comp and 5 gallon tank and 2k used unless they have upgrades like i did and a prefabbed box.
 

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