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- How Reliable Are Load Leveling Systems?
- To put it simply: incredibly reliable! The load leveling setups that we carry assist your vehicle's original suspension (instead of replacing it). In the rare event that an issue occurs, your vehicle will still be able to function normally. The reliability of air suspension is highly dependent on the quality of the installation, just like any vehicle modification. If you rush your install, or cut corners to “get the job” done this may come back to bite you. Truth be told, the bags themselves will outlive the life of the vehicle. If you won’t be installing the load leveling system yourself, be sure to bring your vehicle and load leveling components to a qualified and experienced shop!
- Can Load Leveling systems be used in the winter?
- Absolutely! Bag Riders is located in northern Vermont which tends to get very cold and snowy during the winter months. That doesn’t stop any of us from driving our air ride equipped vehicles year round, or prevent us from trailering our snowmobiles to the various trail networks found throughout the state. Tankless systems like the Air Lift WirelessOne and the Air Lift WirelessAir don't require any special preventative maintenance during the winter months other than the periodic operation of the system to ensure that everything is flowing correctly. For managements and onboard air systems that use an air tank, we recommend adding about two caps of air brake antifreeze to the tank as soon as the temperatures start to drop around freezing at night. This helps prevent the condensation that builds up in the tank from freezing inside of the air lines, valves, and fittings. It is always a good idea to empty your air tank and water traps more frequently duing the colder months - typically once a month.
- What kind of maintenance is recommended for my load leveling system?
- Load leveling setups don't call for much in regards to maintenance. If you have a tankless setup like the Air Lift WirelessOne or Air Lift WirelessAir systems, there is virtually no maintenance required. If you are running a tank with your load leveling system or onboard air setup, we recommend emptying your air tank every couple of months. If you have a water trap(s) in your system we recommend draining those at least once a month. Both of these procedures are recommended to drain any moisture from the system, making both of these procedures less mandatory in dry or warm climates.
- Will Bag Riders install my kit?
- We do not perform installations on customer vehicles. If you are a shop and you wish to be added to our network of recommend air ride install locations, shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your information!
- How much does it cost to install a load leveling system?
- As with any type of vehicle modification or maintenance, rates will vary depending on the shop you go to. Furthermore, since the various management systems for load leveling involve different degrees of complication and labor required, your type of kit will generally impact the cost of installation. An air ride installation can range from $100 - $500+ depending on where you go and the type of system you’re having installed.
- How do I apply Teflon Tape?
Although a relatively simple process, it is kind of hard to explain clearly with words. That said, watch this video!
- How do I drain my tank?
- We recommend draining your tank every couple of months to release water and debris that may have collected inside. Draining your tank can be done in numerous ways. The first thing to remember when draining your tank is to always exhaust all the air from your system before beginning to remove any fittings! That said, the most straightforward method to drain your air tank is to remove it from your vehicle and unscrew a fitting from the tank to drain any water out that has collected inside. We’ve seen creative setups that utilize an elbow fitting on the bottom of the tank connected to an electric valve which is actuated by a push-button as a tank drain. There are plenty of possibilities, but the general idea is that water will collect at the bottom of the tank, so if you plan on draining your tank without removing it be sure that the “drain” is located on the bottom of the tank!
- I think I have a leak... Help!
- Don’t worry! Leaks are very normal, especially with a new installation! That doesn’t mean that you should ignore a leak though, since they are very easy to track down. Grab any squirt bottle and fill it with a bit of soap and water, then begin spraying down any connection in your system. Even the slowest leak will cause bubbles to form. If the leak is audible and coming from a PTC fitting, be sure the air line is pressed firmly into the fitting. We have found that Alkon and SMC fittings are very reliable for PTC connections due to the inner “sleeve” that hugs the inside of the connected air line.
Specific Part Related Questions
- What is the difference between air line size?
- Air line comes in a variety of sizes, each with a different inner diameter which affects the amount of air that can flow to/from a bag when lifting/dropping your vehicle. Simply put, ⅜” air line allows air to flow faster than ¼” air line. ¼” air line is slightly easier to route than ⅜” air line just because it is smaller in diameter and thus bends a bit easier. Keep in mind that if you have ⅜” air line and decide that is too fast you can always control the flow of air via inline flow controls and dump controls.
- Do I need to buy a “Power Kit”?
Maybe! A power kit serves to provide power to air compressors and other electronic components in your management (e.g. ECU, Manifold and other accessories). All of Air Lift's load leveling systems that we carry come with a power kit (wire harness) so there's no need to pick up anything extra! If you are piecing together your own onboard air setup, you'll need to purchase a power kit to power your air compressor.
For your convenience, we offer a range of power kits, many of which are assembled in-house and are intended for use with air ride setups.
- What is a water trap and should I get one?
A water trap serves two purposes: 1) to filter moisture of the air that passes through it and 2) to filter out debris from the air that passes through it. Water traps are not required but they are ideal for those who haul during cold winter months since they will help to prevent condensation from building up and potentially freezing in your air lines. Some of Air Lift's Load Assist managements come with water traps so be sure to check the "includes" section in the product description to help determine if you need one. You can also contact a Bag Riders Air Ride Specialist for more information at email@example.com.
You can view our selection of water traps right here!
- How often should I drain my water trap(s)?
- We recommend draining your water traps every couple of weeks, depending on your climate and the recent weather (i.e. if it has been very humid, check your traps more often). We find that emptying your water trap(s) while filling up your gas tank is a good habit to form. If you’re worried about water spraying everywhere, take a plastic baggy and slip it over the water trap before engaging the drain. It is a good idea to relieve pressure from your air tank before draining your water trap(s) to avoid busting an O-Ring in the trap’s drain seal.
- What size water trap should I get?
- In order to minimize potential leak points in your system, we recommend choosing a water trap with NPT port sizes that match the male NPT connection at the end of your compressor(s) leader hose(s). For reference, both 400C and 444C compressors have 1/4" NPT male connections. The size of your water trap will not slow down your compressor(s) output!
Air Ride Lingo
- Push-to-Connect. A type of connection that allows you to easily plug in an air line. This is measured in fractions and should match the size of your air line if you are ordering fittings.
- National Pipe Thread Tapered Thread. Yes, there are a few more “T’s” than the acronym, but this is indeed the correct definition of this acronym. “NPT” is the measurement for the threaded side of your fittings and ports throughout an air ride setup. Often overlooked is the very important word tapered. When threading fittings into a tank or any other port, it is important to remember that since the threads are tapered the fitting will not be able to thread “flush” to the port.
- AN (Fitting)
- A type of thread standardized by American Aeronautical and Navy engineers (hence ‘AN’) and is typically used with “hard line” setups.
- Short for Electronic Control Unit, the ECU is what gives digital management the possibility of presets and other cool features. You can think of the ECU as the "brain" to the system. ECU's receive a digital signal and translate that into electric signals to send to the manifold/valves.
- Solenoid (Valve)
- Technically this term refers to electromechanical solenoids found throughout analog and digital air ride systems, often built into the manifold. Simply put, the term solenoid is often times interchanged with valve, which refers to the pneumatic valves that control the air flow throughout your air ride system. Each corner of an air suspension system is composed of (2) valves, one for “fill” and one for “dump” . Therefore, modern “8-way” or “FBSS” systems are composed of (8) pneumatic valves and solenoids to power these valves.
- Similar to how your intake manifold accepts air and distributes it to your engine cylinders, your air ride manifold accepts air from your tank and distributes the air to your bags. In an air ride setup, a manifold is composed of numerous solenoids and generally decreases the installation time of air management systems by reducing the amount of wiring and plumbing when compared to individual valve setups.
- Check Valve
- Sometimes referred to as a one way valve (see: SMC Check Valve), which is a much more descriptive name for this type of valve which only allows air to flow in one direction. These types of valves are found at the end of compressor leader hoses, and are useful for isolating your air reservoir (tank) from your bags. For example, many individuals place a check valve between their air tank and manifold. This allows the user to remove the air tank while keeping air in their air springs, and furthermore provides peace of mind knowing that a tank leak will not cause the air springs to slowly deflate.
- Refers to the travel range of the vehicle’s suspension, typically defined by the shock. This is an important factor to understand when lowering your vehicle significantly, as riding close to the limit of a shock’s stroke is very detrimental to the integrity of the shock. For this reason, we recommend that you install shorter, aftermarket shocks when lowering your vehicle.
- Spring Rate
- Simply put, this refers to the amount of weight required to compress a spring by the given measurement, for U.S. Standards this is typically given in lbs/in. For example, a spring with a spring rate of 140lb/in will compress 1 inch under a 140lb load. When referencing spring rates, a higher spring rate means a stiffer (and usually heavier) spring. In regards to air suspension, the pressure in the bag is the determining factor for spring rate. Therefore, with air ride you have the freedom to define your own spring rate. For applications with threaded struts, you can define your own spring rate without sacrificing stroke by adjusting the length of the strut via the threaded lower bracket.
- A relay is an electrically operated switch found throughout vehicle electronics and a common component in air ride management systems. The basic idea of a relay is to conditionally provide power from a high amperage source to a target via a low amperage signal. The relay takes a very low amperage signal to “open” the connection from the power source to the target receiving power. Relays are commonly used to trigger compressors on and off automatically via a pressure switch, which is another kind of electromechanical device in that a physical action results in an electric reaction.