air ride suspension info

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What is an Air Ride Suspension?

Air ride suspension systems are available as complete systems, which handle the total suspension requirements of the vehicle, or as an add on system. The add on systems are very popular as they can be configured, and adjusted to cover a wide range of situations.

Complete air suspensions eliminate conventional steel rings, either coil or leaf springs, and handle all of the suspension requirements of the vehicle. Air suspensions most often used compressed air to provide the spring action to dampen irregularities in the road surface. The use of compressed air for suspensions has been applied in almost all types of vehicles. It can be fitted for cars, motorcycles, motor homes, vans, trucks and buses.

Air Ride Suspension Benefits

air ride suspension system

There are many reasons why vehicle owners prefer air ride suspensions to traditional mechanical spring type suspensions:

  • Air suspension levels vehicles almost automatically. You won’t have to worry about carrying too much weight in your trunk; it self-levels any vehicle to ensure the weight is distributed evenly on all tires.
  • Air ride suspensions allow you to have a smoother ride compared to mechanical springs that can wear and tear causing uneven movements as the vehicle moves.
  • Air suspensions can be manually adjusted to fit your type of ride. Should you decide to sit low but still allow your vehicle to pass obstacles on the road.
  • Your vehicles expensive components are better isolated from vibrations being transmitted into the vehicle chassis. Unlike mechanical springs that can rust, crack, lose tension and fail, air suspension kits are made to last and can be adjusted easily be changing the pressure in the system.
  • An air suspension system can bring back the comfortable ride you once enjoyed when your vehicle was brand new.

Most air ride suspensions systems are installed to give more control of the vehicles suspension. Kits are available for many applications. One of the most popular uses is to give a passenger car better towing capability, by adding air bags as a helper system. In this configuration, the air suspension works together with the vehicles OEM system. At the other end of the spectrum are air suspension systems as used motor homes, vans, campers and other heavy duty vehicles. These vehicles usually carried loads which can vary drastically from one trip to the next. Pneumatic type systems allow for altering the amount of support at each wheel, to improve weight distribution and hence ride quality.

Modern technology has produced parts which allow air ride suspension to be installed on most any type of vehicle. Once installed the vehicle operator can adjust the ride height and weight distribution as required. An onboard air compressor (usually electrically powered) provides the required pressure to operate the system.

Air Ride Suspension Components

Kits are available for a wide variety of vehicle types and for a wide range of uses. Air ride suspension systems usually include some, or all of the following components:

  • A two or four wheel conversion kit that is made exclusively to fit a particular brand and model vehicle.
  • An on board compressor system with storage tank that will allow you to fill your air bags anytime. Considered the heart of any air ride suspension kit. Large vehicles like vans and SUVs are often fitted with two tanks to fill bags faster and more efficiently. Modern air compressors are surprisingly compact, light, quieter and more reliable than older models.
  • A controller system to manipulate the compressor and tank. This controller is very easy to wire yourself but most owners prefer an expert to install the system together. Typical controllers are called Solenoid controllers that are made of switches to manipulate the compressor and bags. The main control is often placed within easy reach of the driver.
  • Some systems include, or have available as an option, a remote control to fill the air bag suspension without the driver having to be in the vehicle.

Many air ride suspension parts can be installed by you with a basic set of common hand tools. If you prefer to pay an automotive shop to install the system, there are many businesses capable of installing a kit for you. Whether you choose to install a kit yourself, of pay a shop to do it, you can save a considerable amount of time and money by purchasing your parts online. You can find everything from complete kits, to individual replacement parts in our online air ride suspension store.

 

 More info available on the Air Ride Suspension Wiki

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