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AIR-OVER-LEAF rear suspension...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Famous Tater53, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Famous Tater53
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 55

    Famous Tater53

    Hey fella's...

    has anyone had experience with using the Air Over Leaf suspension on the rear of their truck or car while installing a C-Notch?

    Just purchased this system for my '53 Chevy pu and was wondering about using it in conjunction with a step notch or notch larger than a standard 2" or 3" notch? The problem is the bigger the notch, the less room I will have to mount the bag bracket to the frame? Any suggestions? I would like to install at least maybe a 6" notch and was thinking I will have to fabricate some sort of mount seperately coming off the notch to mount the top bag mount?

    Any help??
  2. touchdowntodd
    Joined: Jan 15, 2005
    Posts: 4,068


    never did a notch, but my ride has AOL... and it rides WAY better than i was told it would... rides out fine, better than a car with just blocks in it! and i get good lift too, about 6-7 inches in back..

    dont listen to the stories, pay attention to setting it all up correctly, use quality parts, and run the correct shocks, and it can ride NICE..

    mine will be lower in back soon, but here it is aired out for now.. second pic shows the lift at 90psi.. sorry for crappy cell phone pic... but shows i have a LOT of travel, most guys only get 3-4 inches... i worked hard to make sure everything didnt bind and it all was correct, the car will go up about 1" more at 120psi or so all around

    you notch can be sut up RIGHT over the axle, and the bracket for the bag can be 4-6" behind the axle which makes for a better ride and gives you room to ge the bracket in there... actually, with AOL you will be fine even if you make the notch longer and put the upper mount on the notch, because you should be using sleeve bags which are taller to begin with

    Attached Files:

  3. c10addict
    Joined: Oct 22, 2007
    Posts: 115


    You can easily mount the bag brackets to the inside or outside (space permitting) of the notch then run your bag to the axle in that location.. Or you can build a bridge off of the notch and get axle brackets for the bags and go that route.. Here are pics of a 67 I am building.. Not Leaf but the same concept will work..

    Attached Files:

  4. Famous Tater53
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 55

    Famous Tater53

    Touchdowntodd...that is a SWEET Galaxie and I am glad to hear the good words on the ride quality.

    C10...sent you a PM response.

    Thanks guys for your help.


  5. lowphat53
    Joined: Sep 30, 2006
    Posts: 229

    from Virginia

    I think you should just notch the rear 12" and bungee the rear to it. That way it will drop real low and yet it will still have travel and give when you need it! You never listen to your little bro, but one day you will learn grasshopper! Obviously, C10's 67 is done the way you were thinking about but not really close to the set up you have now... You will have to have a notch custom built or you will have to go with the 2.5" normal notch due to that top bracket on the mag mount.
  6. Chris 50
    Joined: Feb 1, 2002
    Posts: 443

    Chris 50

    I did my '50 Ford with AOL. Took out all but two leaves and added 3" blocks. Sat great and rode nice, but when you'd drop the hammer it was wheelhop city.
  7. What kind of kit did you use? I've just need a kit to help level my sedan delivery, not looking to slam it and I will be leaving all the leaves.

  8. Famous Tater53
    Joined: Jan 7, 2009
    Posts: 55

    Famous Tater53

    Rad Rob,
    bought the Air Ride Technologies AOL kit. Comes with the brackets, bags and air line.

  9. Chris 50
    Joined: Feb 1, 2002
    Posts: 443

    Chris 50

    When I did mine, we notched the frame, but did not make a "kick up". We basically cut a c-notch out of the frame above the axle tube. Then boxed the underside with half of a piece of 2 1/2" or so tubing and finished boxing the inside of the frame rail. The bag mount went behind the axle and therefore behind the notch. I added 3" lowering blocks as well. It rode nice and sat right with plenty of height adjustment, but would wheelhop like mad. I eventually swapped out the two original leaves per side for the JAMCO dearched leaves of which I only removed one or two. It didn't help. I think those 3" blocks just gave the rearend more leverage to put the leaves in a bind. If I were to do it all again, I would do something like a four link setup, unless your just cruising and never intend to drop the hammer from a dead stop.
  10. There are several air ride kits listed, did you use one listed for an S-10?


    I'm not planning on dropping the hammer from a dead stop, that is what my drag car is for. This one is just for cruising. (I say that now, it's for a 406ci small block in it) :D
  11. reverb2000
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 441

    from Houston TX

    I did this and was super happy..for a month...then realized I should have four linked it from the start. Changed it, wasted some money, but happy now. There was very little movement with AOL. . Are you trying to save money? If your broke like me, just do it the best way possible the first time so you dont regret it later.
  12. fms427
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 864


    I built a 51 Merc with AOL - didn't like how the spring bag mount flexed with the leaf spring - sure fatigue failure down the road - and have heard of broken mounts. Next car I built with four link, and it worked much better. So I guess you'd say I'm not a fan of AOL !!
  13. mikes51
    Joined: Oct 4, 2001
    Posts: 2,195


    I had the same problem, I welded some clamps on the end of that spring bag mount. The end that is just hanging out there. Now it is clamped down on both ends, front by being under the block and rear with a wrap around clamp.
  14. alteredimage
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 202


    Not a huge fan of Air over leaf here. Have swapped out many of them to 4-links because people were having problems with broken brackets, wheel hop, not low enough. It's good if you are tight on cash and want airride but not if you want something dependable.
  15. Same here...Many customers of mine want to save money at the start and despite my advice they have me install an AOL setup promising that they will be OK with this setup. I almost always get them coming back to get a 4-link. I know...I know.. a 4 link is more expensive and more irrriversible and invasive than an AOL system, but if you don't want to break brackets and leaves or don't want wheel hop, then do yourself a favor and get a 4 link.

    If you plan on getting on this car at all from a stop it will be no time before you break a leafspring. It's in our blood to "show off" and it will suck when you break your ride in front of your boys being cool in your newly hammered ride. I know I have done it!!

    If you can't afford to get a 4 link right now for financial reasons, then go ahead and do so. Just make sure you know the setup's limitations. I have AOL setups on my own cars (my 58 Edsel wagon) with no problems and treat them with care and just cruise them low and slow then everything is cool.
  16. Side
    Joined: Feb 28, 2009
    Posts: 157

    from Berlin, OK

    Like it has been said before. Wheel hop city. The air springs and leaf springs seem to fight against each other. Do a long bar four link with bags and it will be money well spent.

    If you are in a pinch and just want it bagged you could weld your factory forward spring eyes to a length of 2x2 box tubing. Then U-bolt them to your axle and install a panhard bar to locate the rear. If you need it I can fill you in with more info. Worked very well on a couple of friends setups for a long time. They just ate U-joints up every six months or so.
  17. HRK-hotrods
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 922


    Same here... This is sorta like the pay me now or pay me later saying. My take is do it once, do it right and get it over with. Your best bet would be a trip to and take a look at thier triangulated 4 link components with the adjustable ends. You can have Jason make you a set of 4 link bars to your specs if you aren't sure on your welding abilities. The lower bars will mount to the frame via your exhisting front spring mounts, the rear of the bar bolts into the tabs you will weld onto the axle tube. For the uppers, make a simple crossmember from a piece of 1 1/2 or 2" tubing and weld the tabs onto that and the rear. No need for a panhard bar or watts link. You can mount the bags either on the axle or off the link bars for a cantilevered effect(I achieved almost 14" of lift this way)... Oh, he also sells precut notches... The minitruckers have built him up a substantial business over the last few years and his stuff is very well built.
  18. Zombie Hot Rod
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,453

    Zombie Hot Rod
    from New York

    I'd say you're better off with a four link. Once you get enough leaves out so that they don't have enough spring action to hold the car up, they also aren't stiff enough to keep the rear axle from rolling under acceleration.

    Do it right the first time so you don't have to do it a second time.
  19. alteredimage
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 202


    I make custom length 4 bars as well the 1.5" that SD uses is overkill and just adds to the unsprung weight. Overbuild to compensate for the lack of planning enginering I guess?
  20. I do not recomend anyone to bag there car this way. I have seen way to many broken leaf springs from bages being installed this way and personally know of 2 show cars that were badly wrecked due to the leaf spring broke on the freeway. If you use this style of bag setup to help hold extra weight they are great but when you try to use them to radical adjust your ride height you are asking for trouble.

    If you are on a tight budget just remove the leaf springs and make a simple ladder bar out of 2x2 thick wall steel tubbing that pivots from the stock front spring mount and make a pan hard bar. If you set your pinon angel correctly your ujoints will even last fairly long.
  21. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,302


    My 40 Ford pickup is a daily driver and at times I have had the need to help support a little extra weight in hauling. Sometimes I pull a teardrop trailer. The truck currently has the bellybutton 350/350 with an 8 Inch out back. I'm not one for burnouts or such but just need a little extra lift occasionally. I'm in the process of building a new chassis with a few up grades involved. The upgrades include a 401 Buick nailhead with 700r4 trans. It currently is set up with a Maverick 8 inch but if a 9 inch would appear, I may do a change. I had this new bag system setting around that I had bought for an 86 Chevy Burb 2wd. I adapted it to my chassis in the 40. I have a pump to mount along with the interior controls. I do have a small air tank but not sure that I would need it in the system. Any comments are welcome.

    Attached Files:

  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,136


    How low you planning on going? I had my '51 unmanageably low with a 2" notch in it.

    Unless I missed it, you did not mention what rear end and suspension you are currently using.

    If you are running the stock drivetrain, then you have a torque tube (enclosed driveshaft, attached to rear axle), and pivoting mounts on the spring perches. This makes the rear like a big swing arm, pivoting on the transmission. The pivoting spring perches keep the system from binding. The leaf springs hold it all up, and locate the axle, side-to-side.

    Whether you put the bags on the leaf or on the axle, you are going to be making some pretty strange suspension geometry. I doubt that you'd be pleased with the results.

    You cannot use a 4-link with the torque tube. The suspension would not move, at all. It would simply stay right where it was when you welded it. Instant, permanent bind.

    If you are already running a different rear axle, and you up for making a step notch, bag brackets, etc., then you can pull of putting in a 4-link too.

    If a cracker-moron like me can school up and pull it off, so can you. And we've all got your back, brother.

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