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Jack in Norfolk

pnuematic adjustable ride height (air ride) questions

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My wagon did not have this option. I always thought it seemed like a cool thing to have though. But I see that a lot of people choose to swap in normal struts. What was the major flaw with the air ride? Would it be possible to modify the system so that you could ride at a lower height than what came from the factory but then hit the button and still have the extra ground clearance if you wanted to?

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Air shocks are pressurized AND adjustable. Like gas shocks, eventually something will leak. Unlike gas shocks, the pneumatic suspension setup costs $600...per shock. Since all 4 corners usually go out within a couple months of each other, and the average life expectancy seems to be about 60K for a complete redo, it's no longer worth the money to replace even one shock--you could buy a complete Soob for less.

 

I think it was subyluvr2212 that let the air out of his XT6 for autocross once. You might PM him and find out. I do recall that whomever did do it, said the car handled great afterwards.

 

I had an XT6 with a complete, working setup for a while, as well as a GL-10 Turbo (automatic pig) wagon. I didn't really care for the air ride in the XT6 but it suited the wagon well. Don't think you could get it in a manual transmission wagon in the States, though (and in my opinion that's just as well!)

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If you're good at pneumatic controll and such, you could fab up your own air ride system. Just get a set of air struts ( I have the front two from a 1987 gl-10:brow:) and run the lines with a couple of selenoids hooked to switches.

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I just thought that by now there would be a cheaper alternative to $600 replacments like an aftermarket item or something. Anyway, I like the idea of pnuematic adjustment, but I can see the weaknesses.

After seeing the new range rovers though, I think a Subie with the same set up would be sweet.

Has anyone tried aftermarket air bags like thy put on the big monster trucks and the low riders?

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cheaper alternative to $600 replacments

 

You can go used. Other than that...the custom fab work will either take too much time or way too much money to even come close to touching that.

 

Personally, I think it's a great idea. I did like it in the wagon...while it worked...all ten minutes of it. But is it worth the hassle? Not for me. Maybe if it was brand new, out of a Rover...(if they're any more reliable) I'd go for it.

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i have them on my XT6's and will be converting one XT6 from coil over back to air struts that someone before me swapped.

 

they are troublesome at times, but not too bad if you're prepared.

first - with good maintenance the air struts will last longer than you have the car. get a decent set (used) which isn't hard to do since people are always dumping them. then look up my post on reconditioning the air struts. the bags essentially fail to rust build up at the base of the strut/air bag conjunction. the metal lip rusts and the air bag rubs against it. extend the air strut, wire brush and sand all the rust off and paint it. that will protect the strut. i've never had a blown air strut in my multiple XT6's. my now rusted to death daily driver has 215,000 miles and i got it with 105,000. still the same air struts and they are in great condition....they'd go another 100,000 i would suspect, at least the air bag would which is the main failure point.

 

do this maintenance on the struts, replace all the o-rings in the system and they are much more reliable. few people do this kind of maintenance on their air system.

 

the air compressor, tank and drier assembly is the trickiest part. there are a number of leakage and failure points here. the tank solenoid and pressure sender, the air compressor has a weak valve, the piston can fail and the line fitting there crack as well. these are essentially unfixable. some of these can be cleaned, like the pressure sender typically gets clogged internally. remove it and clean it.

 

there are no aftermarket replacements or rebuild kits for these. best bet is to have an extra set of everything around for replacement. troubleshooting is very time consuming and tedious...and results are iffy. easier just to replace what normally fails - air compressor, tank or the suspension computer.

 

the system is maintable, but requires a learning curve and spare parts. in 5 years my 215,000 mile daily driver only failed one time and that was last year after taking the car off the road for a couple months for other work. other than that i don't recall it ever failing, maybe once that i forget. letting the system sit is not a good thing. before that i went 100,000 miles without anything but preventative maintenance - pulled the struts once for reconditioning mentioned above and replaced all the o-rings.

 

the ride height can be adjustable somewhat. letting all the air out and driving is certainly not good or even safe. the car bounces like crazy on any kind of bump. bridge joints are especially painful and dangerous.

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Good info! You are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. I am wondering though if the compressor and sender unit could not be replaced with one of the aftermarket onboard air kits for trucks? There are several available for air lockers and compressors for running tools. Could you get a hold of one of these and modify it to drive the sube air struts?

Just wondering. Bear in mind I have no experience in this arena and very little knowledge.

Thanks for humoring me.

-Jack

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of course it can be done. with time and $ you can do whatever you want.

i've looked into it and haven't found any that would be an easy bolt-on and i have plenty of spare parts so i didn't go to far with it.

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I had this on my Gl-10 sedan. The previous owner had regular shocks installed at some time of the cars life. At least the fronts are changed it looks like the back is still air shock supsention and the back sits higher to. The light for the height switch blinks along with the dash ride height message.

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that's normal for the height switch to blink with the front disconnected. the light blinks if there is a problem. the computer thinks there is a problem because the fronts are not operating. once you convert the rears to coil overs you can unplug the computer and no more air suspension lights. the computer is under the seat. but an easier plug is found by the fuse box.

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Thanks for the pic, I will do this today.

you said your rear air suspension was still in use. this computer controls those, so disconnecting the connector will make it such that they don't work anymore.

 

if you disconnect with air in and they don't leak they should stay there for awhile and you can reconnect if they ever need to air up.

 

this picture is from an XT6 - so im' not positive if it will look the same, but i know other EA82 air compressors and some air components look the same and the canadian model XT6 had air ride height buttons like the EA82, so it could be the same. i'd imagine it's routed the same way, behind the fuse box, down by the handle to pop the engine hood.

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Just a quick FYI on this air suspension. If the height or air suspension light (on the dash) is blinking, the computer (under the seat) will no longer take any control actions on any strut. If you turn off the key to, turn the key back on it will do some control for about 8 minutes, then the light will start flashing again if that BAD condition did not straighten itself out and shut down again. If the fronts are the problem and not coming up to height, the system will shut down before anything has been done to the rears.

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