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Air over leaf installs

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by usmile4, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. usmile4
    Joined: Jul 28, 2005
    Posts: 700


    I've read most of the posts I can find on air bag installs and one common seems to be that most go with a 4 link in the rear.

    I have a 49 Chevy that I want to install bags but with my skill level I want to make this as simple as possible. I have a 235 with a T5 and open drive to the 56 rear end using lowering blocks with stock 54 springs. In the front I have dropped uprights and discs. I'm working on a driver not a show piece. I want to stay with the stock front rather than a M-II.

    Now the real question of this thread is: have you installed air over leaf on your car and are you satisfied with the ride? What suggestions can you give me?

    Thanks, Bill
  2. usmile4
    Joined: Jul 28, 2005
    Posts: 700


    Isn't anyone running air or leaves?
  3. I've seen it done let me search and see what I have for pictures, I'm sure I can dig up something for ya..but I'd suggest the 4 link they are only $300-$400 and well worth it

    also if you dont have bags, compressors, air line..etc yet let me know my prices beat any website out there
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  4. The problem with doing what you are asking about, is the fact you have to remove al but maybe 2 leaves so they dont try to support the car. That way the air bag takes the weight. Problem is with this, is that by removing the leaves you have taken all the axle control that the leaves give and taken it away. The axle will flop around under the car like its tied to a wet noodle.
    This is why a 4 link is the way to go. The 4 link contains or locates the axle and the bags carry the load.

    I know you want to do it on the cheap, but dude you just cant use the main leaf and mount a bag on the top of it and expect it to fuction correctly.
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  5. metal man
    Joined: Dec 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,948

    metal man

    I have air over leaf on my '40 and am very happy with it . Been that way for 6 years and thousands of miles .That being said , it depends on your intentions . My coupe rode great with just the leaf springs , until I started towing a pop-up camper . The tongue weight caused it to bottom out , so I added the bags for extra support . My springs are non-modified ,new mustang II leaves .
    Air over leaf is not intended , or suitable for "laying frame" or whatever . As stated above , you would basically have to remove leaves or de-arch the springs . If you start removing leaves , the axle will not be supported properly, causing several undesirable characteristics .
  6. StanDaManTX
    Joined: Feb 27, 2009
    Posts: 597

    from The South

    There's a bunch of guys that run air overs on this site. Alot of them like em. You can run blocks with your AOL kit to get low and not have to take out so many leaves. (this is what I am planning very very soon) Maybe Malcolm or Touchdowntodd will chime in to fill you in a bit.
  7. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,593

    from Nebraska

    ^^^ Exactly what he said... I installed an air-over-leaf kit on my '62 Galaxie (now owned by RAZINCAIN) and I was happy with the results.
    Removed one leaf, installed 2" lowering blocks, and the airbags. When driving alone, with not much in the trunk, I could run with just 10-20 psi in the rear bags and just up the pressure when I loaded things in the trunk or people in the car. It always rode great and I didn't experience any wheel hop.

    I think the air-over-leaf setup works the best when they are used as more of a "helper" bag for towing or hauling extra weight, not for actually supporting the car. I see 'Metal Man's' setup was similar and just used as "helpers".

    olscrounger likes this.
  8. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 3,920

    from Ok

    metal man, got any pics of your setup?
  9. RDR
    Joined: May 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,352


    I am running reversed eyes on the main leaves, stock springs otherwise and tapered lowering blocks, 11/2* "nose down" to cancel out 11/2* engine angle, which gave me lots of driveline clearance...this is where she rides...Air shocks to bring it up with a load or full of passengers...worked for me for years and many thousand miles..52 Chevy Nova rear
  10. there are two types of air over leaf install...
    one where you actually mount the bags to the axle housing, the other where you mount the bags directly to the spring.

    in either situation, most folks remove all but 2 leafs.

    we just had a car come thru here with bags mounted to the spring and i can tell you the distortions it caused in the spring were scary. it changed my mind about that REAL quick. it was a broken spring waiting to happen.

    Walton Fabrication makes a nicely engineered airbag 4 link for the 49-54 chevy for around a grand, and you can get a truck arm kit from no limit engineering for around 1600.

    my 52 has dearched springs with 3 1/2" tapered blocks on a nova rear. it sits nice and is scrub line safe.

    however when we bag it we'll most likely buy the 4 link setup from walton's and everything else from kustombuilder here on the HAMB. we'll most likely bag the stock front end.
  11. chop32
    Joined: Oct 13, 2002
    Posts: 1,077


    I built my '49 in 2000 with air over leaf and have had no problems at all.
    I used 2 stock leaves per side. I also raised my spring front mount and shackle pivot points 1 1/2" higher up on the frame to keep the spring from distorting too much when the car was lowered.
    I got away from the stock shocks forward angle and went with a more conventional 15 degree angle towards the center of the car. It all works pretty well and is nice and stable, Ive got only 1/4" clearance at the tightest point between the fender skirt and the tire sidewall and havent scuffed a whitewall yet. The car also has a rear sway bar.
    My airbags are mounted above and forward of the axle tubes. I did this in an attempt to fight spring wrap up under hard acceleration. It seems to be working, but then again, its difficult to do a hard launch on bias plys with a 4" tread width!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  12. StefanS
    Joined: Oct 7, 2013
    Posts: 1,021

    from Maryland

    Have to bring back an old thread here cause nobody's talked about this in forever it seems. I'm keeping the stock 3 speed/torque tube rear in my '54. It seems that all the issues arise from people only leaving two leaves in and having an opened rear. Since I'm keeping my enclosed driveline, think I'll be ok with the aol kit and 2 leaves? Im going for a 4-5" drop but I want to be able to change a rear tire if necessary. As it sits with the stock rear springs, I have to angle the tire to be able to slide it out past the quarter
  13. 72fetter
    Joined: Oct 10, 2013
    Posts: 4


    Also wondering about this. Garage builder on strict budget. 1962 tbird. 2" lowering blocks. Want to add air over leaf and locator bars to keep her in place. Do I need to pay the ride tech overcharge or can I do the math and use the typical brackets and bags used for towing applications?

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  14. aircoup
    Joined: Aug 13, 2009
    Posts: 898


    i have a 56 f100 with 4 leafs and ive moved the hangers up on the frame i want to install air over leaf to improve the ride out back , also what type shocks are recommended , wondering if anyone else has done it on a 56 f100 and how its working ?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  15. I have Air over Leaf on a 52 Chev pickup. Totally happy with it.
  16. aircoup
    Joined: Aug 13, 2009
    Posts: 898


    what type shocks are you using with it ?
  17. KustomKreeps
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 325


  18. Sorry they are too grubby to read the name. Nothing special as I can remember. Probably Monroe, 60/40 rating.

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