Register now to get rid of these ads!

Technical Air suspension questions for my 50 chevy

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by drew1987, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    Hey all!

    I've decided (95%) that i'll be going with standard 2500lb airbags first in the front and then in there rear when the gas tank is out and I can comfortably weld under there (4 link time!)

    I have looked and looked but cant find some simple info that I'm sure many of you know; i'd greatly appreciate some conversation on the matter

    For the sake of cost, i'll be starting with Schrader valves and an old portable air tank in the trunk just in case. No money for a pump and controller... so:

    1)I am assuming I cant have a T in the air hose side-to-side so that one valve controls the whole front of the car, rather than one per wheel, right? it would allow the bags to affect eachother side to side wouldn't it?

    2)I am going to keep a reasonable ridge height and aim for a soft ride. But, during long storage or just becuase I feel like it, if I deflate a bag completely, will the bag be hurt from sitting empty with all that weight on it? If yes, no problem I'll put blocks under it for winter storage

    Thank you all!
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. For number one, you have it figured out. With the air lines T'eed together, you will get air transfer when you go around a corner. Air will travel from the bag with the "load" on it to the other side causing the car to lean hard. It's a strange sensation. It has happened to me before.

    For number two. As long as you don't move the car with no air in the bags it should be fine. With the bag fully deflated and you move it, it will cause the bag to chafe or rub on itself causing the bag to get thin spots and eventually leak. With bags, as long as they have air in them when the car is moving and don't touch anything sharp or hot, they are pretty durable.
    Hope this helps you out. Good luck on your project! E
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  3. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 420

    Stooge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    i'd say if your set on air suspension, and I try not to pull out the old adage, ' you gotta pay to play' but if there's no budget for air management, (compressor, tanks, fittings, valves, controller, water traps, pressure sensors, etc.) I would hold off and just keep it static until funds allow to do it all at once, especially if when aired out, (on purpose or not) something important will touch the ground. Components that will be reliable enough to keep everyone on the road around you safe, will add up, and even a basic front/ back/ side/ side air management set up, without the suspension hard parts, can be a very quick grand+ and finishing it can become a financial commitment

    -If you use a Schrader valve, don't have the front air lines tied together, driving around a corner will force air from the side to the other

    -A lot of double convoluted air springs, when new, are packaged compressed/ deflated for packaging and kept that way until someone goes to use them, so I wouldn't worry about that. However, I don't like having the bag being pulled on while I have it up on jacks and the suspension is drooping in the air, so I usually try to have some support under that
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  4. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    It does! Thank you!

    i'm pretty stoked about it. the bags have essentially a 3-8" height; I need them at about 5.5-6 to get the ride height and inherently parallel control arms... I am just hoping the PSI required to get there is similar to the PSI I need for a nice ride. what PSI have you found to give a soft ride?
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.

  5. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    Stooge I didnt see your reply until I sent one to OG lil E. Thanks for the input. I'm starting with only the front out of necessity and am in no hurry. I've also got a show-quality 67 camaro frame and all the parts... when this horrible health crisis is over, i'll be selling that and it should cover the parts for control. I am the safety first type so I was definitely planning on making sure the car is controllable (aka not touching the ground) in an airbag failure
     
    chryslerfan55 and Stooge like this.
  6. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 420

    Stooge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Sounds like a plan! I've been on some other forums where air suspension/ custom suspension was a major focus, and have watched a lot of people get excited and jump into it headfirst, then money creeps up and the project stalls, so I always try to throw that "remember, its going to cost a lot by the end!" out there when someone is starting an air suspension project. I have a fairly high end accuair set up on an off topic truck, and while it rides real nice and looks cool, I try not to think about how much I spent on it
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  7. You can use a T many air ride cars used to do that. The problem with the T in the line is that when you corner it will allow the air to travel to the opposite side of the wheels that is getting the most pressure. You are better off with two separate lines and one way valves.

    This is not acceptable to most but you can use the air conditioner pump (compressor) from an old Ford for an air pump. They can still be found cheap and make enough air pressure to seat a tire bead.
     
    chryslerfan55 and olscrounger like this.
  8. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,114

    jimmy six
    Member

    What’s air suspension doing here on a non originally offered HAMB friendly car?
     
  9. Its pretending to be a Bekins Van lines truck. LOL

    [​IMG]
     
  10. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    Yea I can see where it can get crazy expensive! i'll be making everything to install the actual bags, so thats cheap. I'll also be ok for a while without pumps and tanks but I can see how its going to add up in the end.

    That ford pump is an interesting idea! I'll likely no do it but you've made me curious! i'll check it out
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  11. We used to use them on our off road trucks for an air compressor. there is nothing worse than being 15 or 20 miles out into the rain forest and not be able to repair a flat.

    There used to be a galaxy that ran around the Kansas and Missouri (back in the '90s that I know of) that ran bellows bags instead of the newer air ride stuff. he had it set up so that when he killed the engine it settled down on the bump stops, and it would rise to ride height automatically when he fired it off. he used the original AC pump to make it work. I have never really been an air ride guy but I always thought that his car was cool. it had a park and drive mode. LOL
     
    slim38 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  12. JackdaRabbit
    Joined: Jul 15, 2008
    Posts: 497

    JackdaRabbit
    Member
    from WNC

    The Air Lift Co. dates back to 1950 ( for the Trad cops )
    I have bags on the rear of my 63 C10, mostly for load adjustability with 2 separate lines run to Schrader valves.
    Drew, the rule of thumb is that the best ride quality is with bags in the middle of their min-max height, so your target of about 5 inch should be close.
     
    gimpyshotrods and chryslerfan55 like this.
  13. Never2old
    Joined: Oct 14, 2010
    Posts: 648

    Never2old
    Member
    from so cal

    You hit the proverbial nail when you asked what air pressure would provide a smooth ride. It may or may not be the height that you want for the highway.
    Good luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  14. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    Lots of stuff wasn't available as original equipment in HAMB friendly cars, including any tunnel ram, SBFs in hot rods, etc. Not to mention these street freak "gassers" that couldn't beat my wife's daily in a straight line seem to be A-OK for the HAMB despite literally nobody building that shit for the street until the late 60s and 70s. For whatever reason when the cars go up with custom suspension that consists of a straight axle, these 15-second posers are traditional but when they go down with custom suspension that consists of air bags that you literally can't see, all of a sudden it's not HAMB friendly. But by all means, let the disparate treatment of guys into customs continue. Maybe the OP can start a thread about how he likes dummy spots and non-functional lake pipes so he can get totally buried.
     
    OG lil E, Cosmo50 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  15. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    My personal take before this thread gets locked.

    If you're going to run bags, you should have on board air. Period. End of story. Even if you want manual controls and a very basic system, you should have some way of controlling the air, even if you have to stop do it. There is no reason you should have to T off the lines, which as correctly pointed out is a bad idea to begin with. DOT line is like $1 a foot, we're not talking a big expense in lines. That said, I've come to learn that the hidden cost of air suspension is the price of good fittings, which is one place you will not want to skimp on. All fittings must be DOT compliant, so they're going to run you $6-10 a fitting. That's just safety common sense, not to mention they're far less prone to leaking when you put a sideways load on the fitting. Schrader valves are great and all, but I wouldn't utilize that as your only means of filling the bags, and instead keep them in the car in case of an emergency where you need to fill a line and your compressor is toast. A proper air suspension set up will nickel and dime you. Fittings, lines, water traps, tank, compressors, wiring, terminals, fuses, gauges, brackets.... it all adds up. I'll be every bit of $3000 into my air suspension set up when I'm done, and even not using a management system, I'd incur other costs. If you're really frugal about it, I don't think you could really do it for much less than $1500. But then you'd have a proper system that won't leave you stranded and work the right way.

    In terms of bags, it has been correctly stated that the bag should ride at around half of it's total stroke. This was confirmed by Slam Specialties tech support. The larger the bag, the more load capacity it will have, but also have more volume to run at lower pressure. the lower the pressure, the softer the ride. A 6" bag at 7 inches will ride harder than a 7" bag at 7 inches.

    Good luck.
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  16. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    This is all great info thanks

    I’ve come and gone from this site over the years and and believe the combination of brilliant people, kind people, and those that make their hobby being abusive from behind a monitor. I don’t get it.

    I just got up from where I was sitting and took some pictures of my car and its current state. Nothing about my car is modern, it looks in functions if it’s the early 60s or late 50s. Yes, there are some safety upgrades, and it would take a real dumb person to complain about that. I will pass it to my son just as it is now and he’ll do the same

    There is nothing wrong with my car. I asked about air because it seems to be the smartest way forward for the least money. Unless someone can gift me the money to have coils made.


    I am building this car in my spare time with virtually no money while being a single provider for a wife that stays home three children. Sounds a lot like early hot rodding to me. Young and broke but a dream and welder. Give me some credit


    Adjustments.JPG Adjustments.JPG
    Adjustments.JPG Adjustments.JPG


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  17. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,669

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    Stance wise I think that car looks fine. Maybe you could go a little lower in the back with a bigger block but it's nothing offensive as is. If that's what you're working with, wait to do the job right. It's a good looking car.
     
  18. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    Thank you so much! We’ve had it for a really long time. The “first“ build, and that whole story is chronicled in the link in my signature. That time around, I put in a 1954 front suspension which gave me better brakes and happen to come with 3 inch dropped uprights. As of now, it’s back up about an inch from that. IMG_4419.JPG

    That photo is a few weeks ago. That’s with the 3” dropped uprights
     
    guthriesmith and chryslerfan55 like this.
  19. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    Cosmo50 likes this.
  20. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,843

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    to my eye that car does not need any fixing.
     
  21. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,843

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    reminds me of my 49 sedan I had with a 350.
    people get surprised when a Grandpa car like these has a V8.
     
  22. 296moon
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 654

    296moon
    Member
    from england

    Imho if you want to bounce as you drive do it. progressive coils or leafs made will be less hassle/work and cost far less than a fag set up.........................................
     
    49ratfink likes this.
  23. Stooge
    Joined: Sep 9, 2015
    Posts: 420

    Stooge
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've said it many times before, but 49-52 chevies are one of my favorite cars. Real nice looking car you have, stance looks good, and like 57Joe said, a little lower in the back and it will be spot on, in my opinion
     
    49ratfink and chryslerfan55 like this.
  24. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,603

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

    Your cars stance is great.
    I dont think you'd be able to bag it any cheaper than springs. Unless you're looking to lay it on the ground when parked (and that looks silly) I bet with some sleuthing you'd be able to find a spring that suits your need thats from another application and not expensive.

    Look at all the guys running astro van springs in stuff, nice stance, lowers it a bit and they're dirt cheap
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  25. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    Thank you guys for all the compliments! Yes, it is one of my favorites as well. My all-time favorite is probably a 53 Oldsmobile, but, I know we will end up with more than one of these old Chevys


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  26. Air Lift has been around since the '50s. They originally made bellows bags for load control, especially in old ,moving vans. Hence the photo of the bekins van I posted, one of their selling points was the smooth riding Air Lift suspension.

    [​IMG]

    As far as the automotive industry, in the '50s and into the '60s Cadillac and I believe Lincoln offer a load leveling suspension for when you overloaded your trunk, as an original factory option. Now I do not recall seeing a hot rod or custom using a factory setup. This little truck used coil springs so that it could use Air bags. As far as I know it did not originally use a ride control system, you had to put air into each bag individually. But generally speaking it is not something that I remember seeing commonly on rods or customs.

    [​IMG]

    I personally don't think it is a major issue to me if someone bags one, I probably won't bag on it.
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  27. Rich S.
    Joined: Jul 22, 2016
    Posts: 293

    Rich S.

    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  28. trikejunkie
    Joined: Dec 2, 2011
    Posts: 63

    trikejunkie
    Member
    from Scotland

    Had a wee read through this and as I have run bags (ok i`m a bag fag or whatever the guy that posted that says)on my truck since 98 or 99 one thing I will say is ,do it right or do not do it at all.Picture of my truck below ,I built it so that even at bag failure it misses the road by 2" and welded screwed fittings to the A arms so that if it failed I could jack it up and install 10mm bolts to raise it enough to get on a recovery truck.I run Firestone 8" bags on modified Nova "A arms" and plates mounted on my rear axle ,stainless steel high pressure solid lines all round the frame,stainless steel flexible lines at all flexing points ,stainless solid lines to each solenoid that feed each bag separately ,all worked from buttons that feed relays to do the switching.I run twin compressors and have 60 litres of on board capacity storage at 200psi -I run the front bags at 140-150 psi (standard A arms remember )and rear bags at around 120 but can ramp that up through a regulator to around 180 .It rides ok but nothing like a coils sprung car but I can live with that -remember it will not be a quick install on you car that look great how it is.I open my truck door and if the tanks are full ,press two buttons ,rise and drive off -if not it is a 40 -70 second wait ! I read and see cars with plastic pipe and push in fittings that scare the crap out of me-40 years in the oil industry has taught me one thing .........do it right! sheenas camera.jpg
     
  29. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,603

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

    @trikejunkie , thats exactly how to do it!! Set up for failure, and make it all as best you can. So many people dont do that part.
     
  30. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 621

    drew1987

    Thank you for your reply guys! And hey that truck is gorgeous! I looked at one like that with a long bed sometime ago, before price is really skyrocketed. I think he wanted like 3k. Kick my self. Didn’t have babies yet and could have found the money. My wife wants a post war truck badly. We came close to a 51 F100 and a police crown Vic for suspension/power. Chickened out again over money. We have been a one income family for like half of a decade, this was going to be the first year that we actually got a head to… I started a business, and it started to takeoff. This virus shut down the business and will make for a tough year at best. We’re blessed to have what we have and extra blessed that it includes one old car. More
    Than most have.

    This has been a good conversation… I might at least try Coil Spring‘s… It would be a miracle to find a spring that’s commercially produced that would work for this. It needs a 4.9 inch inner diameter, square ends, about an 11 inch three height, and a rate of under 350lb/in. Certainly not writing bags off, I think if I bought a fire stone brand 2500 pound bag, I could absolutely fit it, and metal crap is my go to skill so making the plates and brackets will be a breeze. To start, I will definitely need to run Schrader valves… Of course I would use high-quality fittings, line, and valves, and I have a portable air tank that you fill with your compressor that I would bring with me for an emergency. Also, I had already planned to install failsafes, most likely generic bump stops so that the car could at least move during an airbag failure and maintain control coming to a stop


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.