Is Air Suspension Worth It?

rum_punch_ruby

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I really enjoy my airlift 3p kit. Have played with the dampening and finally have it to how I want it so its a comfortable daily but still feels plenty responsive when I push it. drive height is conservative on mine since the roads around here are crap but I love the adjustability and looks of the car when slammed. There are defnintely more gremlins with things that can go wrong compared to a regular setup but most can be negated with a little extra planning before install. and as stated above you can easily get a full system with everything for around $2500.





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SiMuL

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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.
For me, I've always wanted air on my rides, but couldn't afford it. Last Feb, Air Lift ran a 25% off deal and I had my tax return, so it worked out that I had the money at the time. It was the first major mod for the mustang, so I jumped on it.

I paid retail, but like others have stated here, you can find the same kit for less if you shop around. You might even find a certified dealer for Air Lift in your area and see if they might swing you a deal. The guy I found here in Houston, unfortunately after I purchased my kit, let me know he could have gotten it for me much cheaper.

In regards to the novelty height inquiry, you can only go so low before it's impractical and/or just dangerous for your front fenders. I keep my height as low as I can go without damaging the fenders or rubbing in high speed cornering. Mine is set where the bottom of the fender line is about in line with the top of the tire. There may be 1/4 inch gap there. I'll snap a picture for you here in a bit.

The novelty of it never wears off for me, however, once you find your height you probably won't change it much, unless you're showing off for people.

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Norm Peterson

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It sounds like a wise move to settle on a preferred ride height as quickly as possible, and get your fussy alignment done for that ride height.

Changing ride height messes with alignment settings (and downstream from that, potentially handling balance). On the S550, that means all four wheels if you were to make any significant change to your preferred ride height later on.


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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.
Was there a big difference in ride feel going from the eibach sports to the air ride?
 

SiMuL

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It sounds like a wise move to settle on a preferred ride height as quickly as possible, and get your fussy alignment done for that ride height.

Changing ride height messes with alignment settings (and downstream from that, potentially handling balance). On the S550, that means all four wheels if you were to make any significant change to your preferred ride height later on.
This, exactly! Once you settle on your preferred height, dialed in on your your presets, you'll want to get it aligned and make sure you keep it at that height for most of your driving. At least your spirited driving, anyway. You may want to cruise with it lower than normal for the occasional looks (be careful, if you're too low up front and turn too far, bye bye fenders--ask me how I know).

Was there a big difference in ride feel going from the eibach sports to the air ride?
Oh my, yes!!! The very first experience was literally like floating on clouds. Not in the sense that the body was rolling around, but that you could hardly feel the road surface texture. Even the guy who initially installed it texted me after he test drove it, exclaiming how ridiculously smooth the ride was.

Now, however, I can't remember how it felt with the springs and I can definitely feel everything on the road surface. I'm sure I'm just used to it now and the contrast has worn off.
 

Meraki Autoworks

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Depends what you're going for. If you're super slammed with a lip kit and live in an area with bad roads. Bags may be the way.. Otherwise, if you track your car, not that low, coils..

Contact us for pricing on Airlift.. Having a sale this month.

-Josh
 

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I've had AirLift 3P for a few weeks now and definitely love the improvement. Here are a few thoughts about why I went air over coilovers.

1) I scrape. Even at stock heights I've scraped at a few places locally. I currently have my 3P controller set up with 3 different presets. Above stock (100 PSI all around), ride height (46 front, 68 rear) and low (25 all around). It's simple to hit the switch and be above stock ride height and not scrape or have to do some crazy, extreme angle.

2) Adjustability. The shocks and struts come with 30 way adjustable shocks. You can adjust them 30 clicks Hard to 30 clicks to Soft. The middle of the road, -15, is the base setting. I've gone up 2 clicks toward Hard on front and rear and really helped with the wet noodle feel on "drag racing" shifts. The front comes up on acceleration and back down on shift much more controlled than the -15 settings and even my performance pack set up. You can adjust them however you want.

3) Body roll. Eliminated most all I can perceive from the seat. I'm not getting the dive bomb effect under hard braking nor in semi-hard cornering.

4) Ride. It truly is riding on air. As stated before you can't necessarily feel the road surface which is nice. I can hear it in my tires more so than feel it throughout the car. You don't feel like your bouncing like a 1980's Caddy. You get minuscule bounce by nature of air being compressible but it's still stiff, but not jaw jarring.

5) Price. Catch it on sale and talk to dealers. I got mine for about $1300 less than the retail price which made it easier to justify and came down to about $625 per wheel. Depending on the coilover setup you can be well under that or over that.

6) Racing. At a local track day the 2nd place car in time was on air and first time he'd been there. 1st place was a guy that raced there a few times and was on coilovers. Coilovers are probably lighter in weight but compared to stock parts the Airlift kit is a feather.

Just some miscellaneous stuff:

Pre-plan everything. I changed up my trunk setup twice. The compressor will be loud IF you attach it to any sheet metal of the car. I mounted mine to wood covered in an oil resistant trunk cover from Wal-Mart. It had some padding to it but the wood also isolates the vibration so it doesn't transfer to the car. Inside you can hear the compressor running but it's not annoying and I tend to forget it's there. Outside you can't hear it over the Roush axle backs. Mounting it to the trunk pan will make it sound like a subwoofer vibrating in there and be annoying amplified.

Mine is all hidden in the spare tire well that had no spare tire since I'm a PP. Space is much better utilized :)

I bought an air compressor leader line from Home Depot with a shut off valve and connected it to my air tank. I also bought a 20' rubber air line with air chuck so I can fill tires up if need be without having to use the Ford compressor. This is part of my "away from home" kit I throw in the car.

The Airlift kit comes with a valve that you use to drain water from the tank. This also seems to double as a fill valve so if your compressor does fail and your tank is empty you should be able to use any compressor to fill the tank up with at least some air to put into yours bags so it's not on the ground. As long as you don't let the kit down the bags should hold air as seen in my next story.

I connected the wrong air line to the tank for the pressure relief valve. It was meant for the water/air separator auto drain. Getting ready to get on the interstate the line blew, draining my tank. Here is the benefit to the 3P. Even with no air in the tank, the bags stay up. As long as you don't empty the bags you're good. The Airlift controller detected an issue and disabled the compressor for me so it didn't run the whole time. Got home, replaced the line, started everything up and problem fixed.

Carry extra fittings. I bought about $40 in fittings and extra airline just in case. Push to connect union fittings seem to be the "life saver" if a line bursts as you can cut out the bad and union the two lines back together.

Make sure your wheels are straight. I hit the wrong button for ride height and set the car down on the low settings and came close to crushing my fenders.

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Scott.lester1

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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.
Where did you find it so cheap
 

gixxersixxerman

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Where did you find it so cheap
mine was off a car that was used maybe 3 months. The guy kept dumping money into his car hoping to be satisfied with it and ultimately wasn’t, he traded it for a Tacoma and needed “cash now”.. Then I had it about 2.5 months. I only bought it because it was practically brand new and my friend accepted the 2k offer. I knew I was selling that car but knew I could flip it for more. Since I do my own work it I didn’t lose money there either.
 

Scott.lester1

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mine was off a car that was used maybe 3 months. The guy kept dumping money into his car hoping to be satisfied with it and ultimately wasn’t, he traded it for a Tacoma and needed “cash now”.. Then I had it about 2.5 months. I only bought it because it was practically brand new and my friend accepted the 2k offer. I knew I was selling that car but knew I could flip it for more. Since I do my own work it I didn’t lose money there either.
could you link the system and model you had?
 

gixxersixxerman

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Scott.lester1

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sure,

https://www.cjponyparts.com/air-lif...cus-st-2013-2018-focus-rs-2016-2018/p/SUSK76/

mine was for a Focus ST. It cost more then a mustang kit, but deals are out there. A local just bagged his 18 GT for 1700 from a guy selling it off his 15.
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thats some awesome space management but yeah for 1700$ I would definitely bag my 19, are there any things to watch out for or cautionary things with buying a used system and would p3 be the best one to buy. On my car now I have stock pp1 suspension is it a good idea to go with air and since you had air would you do it again on a mustang
 

gixxersixxerman

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If I didn’t have mag-ride I would’ve sold the bags and kept the base kit and bought new bags and strut kit for the mustang. I loved it. If I could do it again I wouldn’t have mag-ride and I’d get the 3H system. I’ve spent a little amount of time being trained in suspension setup through Penske I’m far from good but know more then the basics. My ST handled better with bags then it did with springs, and then coilovers. But took me some time to get it dialed in.

as far as buying used I’d just make sure the bags are not cut or dry rotted, parts are clean and that everything is there. I’d also buy new air line. I like bag riders, I got my dual kit, emergency kit, electric tank drain kit all from there.. also I’d personally do 3/8ths over 1/4”the tiny price difference makes it all worth it to me.
 

Scott.lester1

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If I didn’t have mag-ride I would’ve sold the bags and kept the base kit and bought new bags and strut kit for the mustang. I loved it. If I could do it again I wouldn’t have mag-ride and I’d get the 3H system. I’ve spent a little amount of time being trained in suspension setup through Penske I’m far from good but know more then the basics. My ST handled better with bags then it did with springs, and then coilovers. But took me some time to get it dialed in.

as far as buying used I’d just make sure the bags are not cut or dry rotted, parts are clean and that everything is there. I’d also buy new air line. I like bag riders, I got my dual kit, emergency kit, electric tank drain kit all from there.. also I’d personally do 3/8ths over 1/4”the tiny price difference makes it all worth it to me.
thank you so much but now I really want air, my car does not have megneride so think after I work this summer I might go air. unfortunately I don't think I'm capable of installing that myself, how much do you think a shop would charge. Also Is there a way to do install without drilling in the car body and would going air void the warranty?
 

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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.

Have you ever driven (it) at the track? Have you ever driven a good coilover setup at the track? I'll be happy to be quiet about air bags if people with no track experiance will be quiet about performance/track benefits.
 

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