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Thread: Air ride!

  1. #1

    B0CKS's Avatar
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    Talking Air ride INSTALL!

    Hello! I suppose this is a rare topic, so I figure I should start documenting my process for anyone else who's dumb enough to spend upward of $3,500 dollars on their $400 car!

    I guess I should start with some context, just so it's up to date and no one gets too confused as to what's happening in this pictures. I bought my first 3gee a year ago, and slammed it, fixed it up, and then drove it into a tree, which led me to deciding that I need to do a frame off restoration and make it the coolest one in my corner of Detroit. So I bought another as a parts car, and did a massive amount of frame swapping all of last year to this year, and figured I should put my restored vehicle on air ride since I'll be daily driving it for every summer for the rest of my life (I mean, if I finish it). But in the meantime, I fixed up my other car because I felt bad for wrecking it, and I'm currently using it as a test bed for my air ride system, so that's the car pictured here.

    With that out of the way, here's the options I considered for Air Ride;
    For management, I looked at;
    Accuair (very expensive, super high quality) Air Lift Performance (good all around, plus their HQ is like ten minutes from my house, but that may not be true for you.) K-Sport (a little lower end, but still kinda' expensive) and Vera Air (very affordable, great way to get bags and save cash)
    And bags, the only ones I know of that fit our cars are;
    K-Sport (a little expensive, but have a sound reputation) and D2 Racing (best price!)

    I chose to combine two companies parts for my setup, Air Lift Performance for the Management ($1500 for; Dual compressor, no bluetooth, 4 gallon-7 port tank, 1/4 inch lines, stealth edition) and D2 Struts ($1820 for all four).

    As of this moment, I only have my management, but I will be buying struts either next week or by the end of this month. So from here on out, Build thread!

    Starting out, I decided I would do a hardline setup, so after some general measurements, I mocked up my setup in Google Sketchup, and hacked that all full of notes so I had a general idea as to what I was getting into.
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    So here's management up on it's arrival, note those dual compressors!
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    I don't know what it's like on a Sedan or hatch, but on the coupe there's a perfect amount of room behind the spare tire that fits both compressors beautifully.
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    I then started mocking up a fake floor out of 3/4 inch MDF, the tank fits between the struts perfectly (the key width for building everything behind and around coupe struts is 33", just an FYI)
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    And from there I made a pair of "wings" so I could still have a flat floor that I could lift up in the center to access the spare/ compressors. I should also point out that I'll be wrapping the whole spare tire well as well as the bottom of all the MDF in Sounds Deadening (Nioco, for those interested in the brand)
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    I'll be bolting the carpet between the MDF and actual lines/tank/manifold, but here you can see how flat it all is once it's covered up.
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    So that's the jist of what I have so far in terms of trunk action, I'll be building a housing for three 10" subwoofers to float over the tank, but that's for a different thread
    But there's also this little feature that I'm relatively proud of, since our dashboards are so sparce, there's really not much of way to install the Air controls in a place that appears factory (my goal is to keep this all quite minimal/factory in appearance.) So, in a moment of "well-duh, you dummy" I popped out the coin tray and realized that it-with a little modification- can house the Air lift control box perfectly.

    So by hacking out the front lip and a little of plastic behind the pull down with a dremel, you get this;
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    And that's all the pictures I'm allowed to attach at the moment! Stay at the edge of your seat for ten minutes while I conjur up the next bit of nonsense!
    Last edited by B0CKS; 04-03-2018 at 11:59 AM.



  2. #2

    B0CKS's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    So, that set of buttons fits in the coin tray near perfectly, and with a little metal bracket behind it to guide the wire and hold the buttons, it'll be perfect.
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    And there's also the very nice feature of visibility, it's easy to reach, and view able between the spokes of the steering wheel! On ya' Honda.
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    And so, I'm currently waiting on more hardware+sound deadening+ free time, so updates will come in spurts, and most likely on Mondays.
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    Stay tuned! That way you can pressure me into finishing this absurd project!

  3. #3
    LX User rushell's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    where u from in detroit i grew up on 6 mile and Gratiot went to denby hi till 10th grade then i moved to lake wales fla in 1987

  4. #4

    B0CKS's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    No way! I'm originally from Lansing- but I'm staying at a place a block off 7 Mile and Livernois!

  5. #5
    LX User rushell's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    my dad lived on joy and livernois im still a michigan fan detroit tigers, lions, pistons ect go blue

  6. #6

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    Re: Air ride!

    Looks like a very cool project. I like how well you're thinking placement through. Any reason you chose MDF for the trunk floor over regular plywood? You could use 1/2" plywood and equivalent strength (especially when wet) for a lot less weight.
    Dr_Snooz

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  7. #7

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    Re: Air ride!

    Because I never think anything all the way the way through , plywood would have made more sense. Although you'd still want to keep it 3/4 of an inch tall, there's a support right behind the fuel pump lids that's exactly that height, so in efforts of keeping it flush, going any lower will add some extra angles and bumps. Just as an FYI! I've been thinking about re-cutting it to add a few updates/keep a few lines, maybe I'll do the switch a little while down the road.

  8. #8

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    Re: Air ride!

    Well hey, the 1/2" is a lot closer than the 1/4" masonite they spec'ed at the factory! LOL. The 1/2" is nice and light and works well for my purposes. Unless you're hauling something really heavy, it's plenty strong.
    Dr_Snooz

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  9. #9

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    Re: Air ride!

    Hahaha, it sure is! I'm happily retiring the wadded piece of cardboard that's been filling my trunk with this project! I'm planning on making a few legs to barely touch down on the spare tire with, so if it does come under load, it'll just rest on rubber.

  10. #10
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    Re: Air ride!

    I had this idea 10 years ago I'm glad it's finally coming true. I also have my tanks installed too instead of air ride it's water ride and when I fill the tanks up it slams the back like I'm in three wheel motion
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  11. #11

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    Re: Air ride!

    Hahahaha, yeah man! Lol I did the same thing with my Aurora, sat real high in the rear, but that was nothing that 400+ pounds of leftover concrete couldn't fix.
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    I mean, I later reverted it, but same concept haha.

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    LXi User Shane86's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    Quote Originally Posted by B0CKS View Post
    Hahahaha, yeah man! Lol I did the same thing with my Aurora, sat real high in the rear, but that was nothing that 400+ pounds of leftover concrete couldn't fix.
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    I mean, I later reverted it, but same concept haha.
    Hell yea

  13. #13
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    Re: Air ride!

    Bags are for groceries!
    Just kidding. It's your ride, do you. In rural Alabama it's more of a thing to jack a vehicle up rather than bag it, to avoid falling into the perilous depths of potholes. My 3gee is alittle lowered, and i can't get down several roads now without almost framing the car.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Air ride!

    Updates! Didn't get a ton done, but here's a quick little recap of this weekend.
    Got the rest of my hardware together for my hardlines, now all I have to do is learn how to bend em!
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    and did a whole bunch of loom wiring, it's the less pretty side of installation, but it still has to be done!
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    I also got the coin tray control buttons permanently (literally) mounted, it feels and looks great.
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    So yeah! I got that wrapped up so I'm clear to start installing the interior on the car this is all going on, and it's looking pretty sharp!
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  15. #15

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    Re: Air ride!

    you bet! Detroit roads are awful as well, and I did coilovers for awhile and the ability to just lift my car over potholes on the go sounds like a dream! But I understand the sentiment I promise!

  16. #16

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    Re: Air ride!

    Time for an update! Spent all of these past few days working on this, and believe it or not, but I actually made some progress! I finally got around to ordering bags, ($1920 later, I sure hope they fit nice!) and so I really wanted to make a lot of headway on management before they get here, and I think I did! Starting out, my goal was to really concentrate on hardlines, as I don't have any real experience doing tube bending. So I straightened out a few sections of my reel of line and made a first few feeble attempts and eventually found my sea legs and got my first two lines bent!
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    Then instantly got very excited and decided to place it in car, and man, I was stunned at how cool I think this looks!
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    I had to do a lot of work under the MDF to start getting things sorted, this was a little bit of a bear, but get the compressors mounted, I had to attach a piece of sheet metal to the ribs as a standoff, and then mount the compressors onto the standoff. I had to drill an easy dozen holes, which I felt bad about, but hey, no turning back now.
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    I also had to sort out the whole wiring harness (there's actually two, since I have two compressors ) and so I wrote some illegible words to show try and convey the idea of what I did. I'm actually really proud of how it laid out.
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    And so I wrapped up last night with bending the tank>gauge>manifold lines, and they are tentatively going to be last hardlines. There might be one more, but that's TBD.
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    So yeah! Actually made some progress! Next week might have this all wrapped up! (Well, don't hold me to that...)

  17. #17
    LXi User Shane86's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    looks awesome I'm curious of how loud the compressors are going to be

  18. #18

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    Re: Air ride!

    Looks super legit! Nice work!
    Dr_Snooz

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  19. #19

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    Re: Air ride!

    Thanks for staying tuned! It's starting to get there, next weekend could be the big one, we'll see!

    Bags showed up last Wednesday, they look and feel fantastic, can't wait to see how they sit in the wells!
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    Over the weekend I did a ton of chores this week on the trunk, nothing crazy visible or jarring, but they had to get done nonetheless. I finished up the center piece of the tank, the gauge and its hardlines. They're not totally perfect, but hey, it's my first time around, and there's not any competition yet, so for now, I'm pretty geeked. I then drilled holes through my trunk carpet and gave everything a good test fit!
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    I then installed netting mounts (and netting) from an Olds' Aurora, in replacement of the Christmas trees to hold the trim in place, which meant redrilling eight holes and buying a ton of nuts and bolts. But with eight attachment points I can move the net around wherever I need to not only fit in luggage, but be a constant divider to protect my hardlines.
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    And some stuff also happened down in the well, I can't remember what, but something certainly got done.
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    I also ran my two front lines through the car, they're both tucked under the running board and poke out near the front of the doors then fly up into the inner wheel well trim. I should have taken a picture, but that'll come next week.

    So for now I'm waiting on a few more lines a few more bits of hardware, if they arrive in time we might be giving this a test run soon!

  20. #20

    B0CKS's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    Time for an update! This might be a long one, so I'll start off with a spoiler; IT WORKS, ITS AWESOME.

    Starting off the weekend, I ripped out the stock struts that were holding up the car as placeholders for air. It only took like 20 minutes, but that's because I left everything loose and removable, thanks forethought!
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    The next thing on the docket was finish up the soft lines. I mentioned in the post above this one that the softlines were very carefully ran in a very cool way? Well take note, here's how where they run, between the wiring harness and inner fenderwell, looks closely, it's there!
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    And so the trick to having the least exposed hose is running it through the seam weld, so that it A)does not interfere with the inner fender well lining B) is protected by the seam weld, so if I do bottom out, my wheels doesn't rip into the line. I ran the hose as far forward in car as I could, so that there's little chance of interfering with the control arm movement. I used two grommets to make sure it doesn't go anywhere!
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    So, an important thing to note when dealing with 1/4" soft line; it will not slide over the AN nozzle (the one that goes to the air strut)! To fix this, wear heat protective gloves and cover everything except for the last 1/4 inch of line, and then point a heat gun directly at that stub for 10 seconds, and you can actually see the ends flare a little as well as the texture gloss up. Then take this hot stub and plug it into the fitting, and it should slide over and then cool, resulting in a solid hold. I had to do this for all four corners, and I would say I'm grateful for it!
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    The spare wheel well was also wrapped up this weekend, wiring from the harness to spade connectors to compressors were installed, so if a compressor does fail, I can remove it and replace without hacking up the harness. ALSO WORTH NOTING; the compressors run 3/8ths line! Not 1/4 inch! If you do go 1/4 inch, you will have to find some SAE spec line (I got my 3 feet from bagriders.com, and that was plenty for my application.)
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    And speaking of compressors, I took them out and laid down some undercoating to protect all the bare holes in the metal I just drilled, came out pretty nice IMO!
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    So, another thing on the list was sorting out the way all the softlines were going to run to the manifold, if they came straight in, they'd pop out under the tank, and look really ugly, so this was my solution. If you are going to do this, USE HARDLINE GOING DIRECTLY INTO THE MANIFOLD. Softline will bend all over and not be fun. Take my word for it.
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    And I think I'm all out of images for this post. Time to continue with more!

  21. #21

    B0CKS's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    Continued!

    So also worth noting is that I made some ugly lil brackets for hose management behind the tank, and I'm grateful I did! They hold the hardline firmly, and grommets in the two lower holes hold the softline right where I want it. The brackets have holes that allow it to bolt in right with the tank.
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    So with all the fun crap behind the tank done, it was time to wrap up the trunk, which meant spray adhesive-ing the carpet down, or at least a good bit of it, and the result is stellar! I haven't ever seen a 3gee trunk carpet so smooth!
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    The side inserts are also now held in place by the netting catches, and work very well, despite a little skepticism, which means I can run a net across the trunk and protect my easy-to-destroy hardlines by getting beat up by luggage.
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    So that wrapped up the trunk, and the front end was an entire other bear altogether, and I can't even tell you all that had to get done, but it was pain! At least now my car has new terminals.
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    But with all the wiring done, tank hooked up, and struts in, it was time to give it a shot!
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    And, as expected, there were a few initial leaks and problems we had to sort out, but within seemingly no time at all, the car was lowering in a mere few seconds and raising even faster!
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    And so with the night wrapped up, we dumped it to 0 psi on each bag, and called it a night!
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    And if you look closely, you can see the coin tray control panel glowing in the interior.
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    So, a few things worth noting; no I haven't measured out how high/low it goes, and this is not the lowest the car can go! If you look at the struts, you'll notice those are coilovers, and they can be adjusted to go lower still if I really hated my exhaust and undercarriage! And I should be buying a new carefully selected set of wheels and tires for the now impressively large amount of camber this car has when dumped, so stay tuned!

  22. #22
    LX User rushell's Avatar
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    Re: Air ride!

    outstanding

  23. #23

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    Re: Air ride!

    Excellent!
    Dr_Snooz

    "I like to take hammers, and just break stuff, just break stuff." - Beavis


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  24. #24
    LX User Fixedit's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
    Vehicle
    1986 LXi Sedan - 1972 F250 C/S - 1987 DX Hatch - 1977 Skylark S/R (Sold) - 2001 Hyundai Accent GS (Sold) - 1981 Suzuki GS450 (Sold)
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    436

    Re: Air ride!

    Cool project, I'm jealous! Not sure I'd attempt bagging a 3g but I'm happy to see someone going to town with it, it'd sure be nice to afford what little things I'd like to do to mine!

    That white paint is immaculate!

  25. #25

    B0CKS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Vehicle
    1988 DX Coupe
    Location
    Detroit MI
    Posts
    334

    Re: Air ride!

    Thanks a ton! I can't say it's the most logical financial decision, but I'm in too deep to bail out now! And thanks for noticing the paint, that's 3 months of hard work to get even those quarters looking like that, and it's my first attempt at painting a car!

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