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Air over leaf

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Blades, May 4, 2011.

  1. Blades
    Joined: May 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,188

    from Chicago

    How long, on average would it take to put air bags on a 63 Falcon?
  2. air bags and leaf springs dont go together
  3. temper_mental
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,718

    from Texas

    Are you talking about assist bags for towing?
  4. deadtome
    Joined: Feb 2, 2009
    Posts: 12

    from Chicago

    Looking to do a shockwave set up up front and air over leaf in the rear

  5. chop32
    Joined: Oct 13, 2002
    Posts: 1,077


    Damn, I wish someone would have told me this, I guess Ive been driving a car that wont work for the past 10 years!
  6. blacktopbutcher
    Joined: Nov 22, 2003
    Posts: 298

    from Rindge, NH

    Oh no, I have been doing the same thing as well.
  7. el shad
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 622

    el shad

    Hack your leaf pack utilizing the front half as a trailing arm and mount bags. I have read of some folks on here that have got many miles out of this set up safely.

    Shockwaves for the front. Are they going to provide all the drop you are looking for?
  8. 52RustRocket
    Joined: Nov 3, 2006
    Posts: 263


    If you hack the rear of the springs off, what keeps the rearend from moving side to side? Do you add a panhard bar?
  9. el shad
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 622

    el shad

    I believe you would have to in theory.

    I'm no super duper fabricating mother scratcher. Just trying to remember how I have seen others do it.

    Stand by. I'm gonna do a quick search.
  10. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,422


    In reality you would certainly have to.

    Not to mention that wheel hop would probably be totally uncontrollable with a "half spring" setup, if you had enough horsepower to break the tires loose.
  11. Most air-over-leaf setups keep the stock main leaf plate without the added spring pack and just put an airbag between the spring and the frame. The main leaf by itself can't really support the full weight of the vehicle so the airbag makes up for it. The problem with this is alot of stress on the single main leaf, but it's a popular and easy way to lower the car with airbags that has proven to work.

    I've never seen a leaf spring cut in half with an airbag setup. Not saying it hasn't been done, but it's kind of pointless. That's like a ghetto 2-link setup. Just get some heavy wall square tubing the same size as the width of your leaf spring and some round tubing with a bushing up front. Install that at the front spring hanger, clamp it to the rear axle like you do the stock springs, and install the airbags and run a panhard bar or watts link. Done.
  12. Blades
    Joined: May 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,188

    from Chicago

    That's crazy talk! Many cars are set up that way. I've seen it with my very own eyes.
    So... What would the average time be for such a set-up!
  13. FiddyFour
    Joined: Dec 31, 2004
    Posts: 9,008


    my best friends chevy has a "bag over leaf" setup... going on 4 years, no problems that he's told me about
  14. 48reo
    Joined: Feb 21, 2008
    Posts: 299


    sounds kinda like a reverse quarter eliptical....I agree that a 2" square tube with a bushing end up front would work. definatly need a panhard bar. if you clamp the bar to the axle it may bind up when trying to articulate side to when you go over a tall speedbump diagonal like. but I know people with some very nice rides that are doing it that way.
  15. Topper
    Joined: Feb 2, 2010
    Posts: 90


    If you raise the ride height by using air are you not trying to bend the leaf in the opposite direction of it's intended use?
  16. Blk210
    Joined: Feb 9, 2008
    Posts: 185

    from New Market

    if it is leaf under axle you would be going with the arch when going up but stressing the spring the opposite direction of its arch when laying out such as when a spring naturally flatens from a load. Have know, seen, and done many this way but the springs snapping right before the eye is a possibility, its random.
  17. Bull
    Joined: Mar 17, 2006
    Posts: 2,286


    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 3,253


    WTF.... Jack & Coke for me. Depends on who ya ask i guess.
  19. Hackerbilt
    Joined: Aug 13, 2001
    Posts: 6,248


    I've seen that cut leaf style suspension somewhere...
    I think you could actually BUY the setup as a retrofit to...Mustangs maybe?
    Can't remember!
    I'm fairly sure that some 18 wheelers use a version of this as well.

    It would need to have side to side control like a Panhard bar BUT the beauty over just making solid links to replace the front leaf sections is that you would still have normal articulation over uneven road surfaces.
    The remaining spring pack sections would still be able to twist and flex, unlike pieces of square tube which would just allow the entire rear axle to move up and down equally on both sides with no allowance for the body to lean.

    I'd be concerned about wheel hop too as I can't see anything to really control it...but then again leaf Mopars seem to work well with a very short front section spring and no clamps at all on the rear sections.
    You'll often see them launch with the rear leaf sections splayed apart like spreading fingers and they hook up.

    The whole idea of cutting the springs IS a bit weird, but I'm not ready to write it off as unworkable.
    I'd like to see and hear more about it though...
    I'm thinking there's more to setting up the actual pack than just cutting off the back section.
  20. The air-over-leaf set-ups work ok, but the ride is not as good as a full air set-up. The issue in an air-over-leaf system is that the spring rates between the air spring and the leaf spring are not the same, and at higher bag pressures, the ride can get weird. It feels like the bag and the leaf are fighting each other.

    It does work, though, and if you've got that system already, run it. A full air-ride suspension will ride better, but it requires a bunch more fab work and is more expensive.

    Also, DON'T run a cut down leaf spring. That is ghetto, and you're relying on the leaf spring to do a job it wasn't designed to do. Do it a 3 or 4-link set-up with a wishbone or panhard bar for side-to-side stability. I've seen the aftermath of suspension failures at freeway speeds, and it isn't pretty.
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  21. ckunsman89
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 96

    from cocoa, FL.

    yes, air over leaf works, and can be done in a couple hours, or a couple days depending on how fancy you want to be, but that is besides the point. if you want a lowered car on springs do a static drop. If you want bags, take the time to do it nicely with a link setup. do some research and you will find that it is not that hard if you or a buddy are handy with a welder. just my .02
  22. CARLOS8A
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 318

    from waukegan

    I ran aol on my blazer when it had air ride.... and when I took it off I looked at my springs and they had started to show stress cracks so I would take the time and money and do it right... a 2 link isnt all that bad... it beats having a aol system!! as far as cutting leaf springs in half.... consider your self dumb if you do that!!!
  23. Ballageddon
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 69

    from NorCal

    I've had aol on my 53 4dr for over a year. Lays out and no prob. Not the best ride but done. And when I go link next year I wont really be wasting parts. Just ditch the leafs..replace with link setup and walah. I used Gambinos notch and bag plates. Left 2 leafs. Ditched tank, cut tunnel & wells, and used 3" blocks. Almost lays rocker. Like I said...def not the best or proper method...but ez and cheap and I did it myself.

  24. yeah okay,i never said it hasnt been done, but think real hard how the setup works...ive been into air ride for a while,just do what you want,doesnt matter to me

  25. there you go, stress cracks.. like you said DO IT RIGHT.
  26. Blades
    Joined: May 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,188

    from Chicago

    Seriuosly dude, get over it. DRAMA QUEEN!
  27. Larry T
    Joined: Nov 24, 2004
    Posts: 7,661

    Larry T

    I'm gonna guess that would depend on how much you want to change ride height with them.

    BTW I run Air lift bags on all my trucks and I used them on a few hot rods. Yea, I know that's different
    Larry T
  28. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman

    Geezuz Khrist,,,,

    Air over leaf:


    Stock (soft) rear springs (full pack) with 3" drop, bags mounted just inboard so the mounts are on the framerails, 2" shorter shocks relocated to clear the bags and mounted so the shock will top out before the bag.

    add a compressor, tank, a switch, couple seleniods, a gauge, and a mercury switch for auto level.


    If you need a couple inches of lift to clear the driveway or get into that gas station,, flip down the ashtray and hit the switch.


    not gonna make it jump up and down and your not going to get 15" of lift. BUT when you got the trunk loaded down and 10 adults in the cab, it will ride just like its supposed to and not drag important shit on the pavement. It will also provide 3-4" of lift when needed.

    In case of bag failure its not gonna kill you or make you lose control either. I do not use plastic lines for the bags, all hardline so a failure there is highly unlikely.


    AND its not gonna break shit by overstressing this or that. Did this same setup on my OT truck almost 20 years ago,, guess what,, Its still on the road and will still haul more than its 1/2 ton rating and has never busted anything.

    If your looking to jump up and down or lay frame, find another way. Simple as that. oh yeah,, takes longer than 10 minutes to install.
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  29. Merc0Matic
    Joined: Apr 2, 2014
    Posts: 53

    from california

    hey I'm looking into using a air-over-leaf set up but i was looking at using the firestone ride rite kit. does anybody have any experience with that? thanks

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