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Technical Air suspension questions for my 50 chevy

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

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but those two are your project supervisors, right?


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  2. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,146

    jimmy six
    Member

    I use Air-Lift #2000 for load on my OT 2018 F-150 when towing my LSR roadster. 20 psi mt and near 70 when towing. Schrader valves are independent at the license plate. Push in fittings are stock with the kit. I’ve had 3 different kits on my last 3 trucks and no failures.
     
  3. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,449

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    Air suspension was standard equipment on the 57-59 Cadillac Eldorado Broughams, as well as an option on other Cadillacs and Buicks of the same years. Oddly, the 58-59 Rambler Ambassador also came factory with an air suspension driven off a belt driven compressor.

    The idea of controllable suspension to vary ride height is nothing new and easily dates back to HAMB-relevant years. At that time, hydraulics seemed to be the choice of means rather than an air spring.

    The Corvette X-Sonic had hydraulics to control ride height as early as 1957
    400px-Ron-aguirre-x-sonic-kustomrama.jpg

    The Jim Logue's famous X-54 also had hydraulics for the same reasons.
    766px-Jim-logue-1954-ford-kustomrama.jpg

    This obviously doesn't get into the discussion of low riders which also adopted hydraulics in the more commonly understood context.

    That being said, there is a difference between using an adjustable suspension, regardless of means, to "bounce" the car like a low rider or drag the frame like a mini-truck. Neither of that stuff has a place on the HAMB. But the notion that simply having an adjustable suspension that allows the user to drive the car at a safe and comfortable ride height, but show the car at a lower, more aesthetically pleasing height isn't traditional is nonsense.

    The reality is, the hatred is directed at the more modern means to achieve the traditional ends.
     
  4. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,010

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Some people feel better about themselves when they put others down.
     
  5. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,357

    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My experience with air suspension is, it takes alot of thinking , designing and fabbing to make it work as good as or better than a stock suspension. All of this does NOT come in a kit. I used to buy 2-3 kits,for different cars, but what remained of them until I was done was maybe the front bags. Now I only use industrial quality fittings, valves, etc. because the hardware usually included in the kits will leak, period. I prefer FESTO hardware . You will need very good shocks, adjustables won´t hurt, sway bars front and back, get rid of the leaf springs and design a rear suspension setup that really holds the axle where it should be while letting it actuate without any binding. If you have gone through this, the car will handle perfectly and precisely but with much more comfort than a steel suspension. If you can do everything by yourself I´d guesstimate you´ll need a budget 3-4 k in parts. And don´t expect to do it once. You will probably find porblems you didn´t think of and will have to change things after the completion of "version 1", hahaha. Ask me how I know...When my 56 Chevy was at that point that it handled perfectly ( version 3, precisely and comfortably like a 5 series beamer) I changed it from radial tires to bias plys and all the benefits were gone , hahahaha But it looks a lot better on Firestones.
    All said and done, listen to the guys that say : just lower it a bit in the rear. You have a very nice car there and I guess now you can just jump in and drive. Going to an air suspension setup will open a large can of worms.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  6. In B4 the lock...
     
  7. Always makes me feel good. :D

    @57JoeFoMoPar I was aware that the X sonic used hydraulics as did several other show vehicles. I think that when we consider traditional we normally consider what was common more than what was not. We don't consider radials or disc brakes to be traditional for example, yet they were both available within our year parameters and were used on hot rods, just not commonly used.

    it would be interesting if we had a separate traditional forum just for traditional show cars, there were a lot of things done on show cars that seldom made its way to the streets. I don't doubt that with the amount aesthetic work that a lot of HAMB members go to that they would be better suited for show car building or maybe happier building show cars.

    The Cholos were using hydraulics at least in the Bay Area long before the age of the hopper. You could cruise down to the Mission District long before say '64 or 5 and see a Bomba pop a squat. The were not hopping 'em but they were letting them settle out. I don't remember when I saw the first car with a drag plate, I do remember it was on Army street and I was not very old yet.
     
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  8. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,449

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    @porknbeaner I totally agree. I simply make the point that for whatever reason, some new stuff is considered an acceptable deviation from traditional here and some stuff isn't. The guy running the T5 or disc brakes in his hot rod is as big of a hypocrite as the guy running air suspension. Fact.
     
  9. Yup that is a fact that while we cannot ignore yet we will for whatever reason.

    We find some things more acceptable than others. If we were a religion we would find some sins less sinful than others. :D I don't get it but I am not a purest and still know the difference, it grates on me.

    I try to take in an entire build, than go from there. Even with a totally trad build, there are things that I may do different than someone else but I am not going to trash the car over what I don't like, I would ruther see what makes me get Jazzed and get jazzed. ;)
     
  10. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 953

    Nostrebor
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There is a lot of truth in this post.

    I am building my first air bagged car now, and it has been considerably more engineering, thinking, changing, and drama than I had planned for. The off the shelf kits may "work", but to really get things working well... you better plan on more than a few revisions and tweaks. 3-4k? Sounds about right to me.
     
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  11. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Yes, they are the ones in charge! there is a third, I had him in the car at 3 days old lol (not driving just layed him on the seat for a photo)

    To be clear, I AM NOT BUILDING A LOWRIDER or bounce thing or anything... my only care/goal is a very smooth ride and the same 3" lower that stock that I have now. RIDE QUALITY improvement, but the same car otherwise. we love it the way it is. The only "big" change coming is a 2 door conversion once 4 doors aren't as much of a benefit as they are now.

    Also, fab work is my hobby and I am able to make anything I want - a gift I'm grateful for. i''m not interested in kits or anything, i'll be building my own stuff. Cost... i'm seeing bags around $100 for firestone 2500lb. I am thinking for now (IF I do this), I'll have Schrader valves and a portable 5 gallon air tank in the trunk. I would want manual controls and gauges in my trunk at some point, I dont plan to use these for show. Just to glide down the road better.

    Shocks... weather I do a coil or bags, ill definitely be going for an adjustable shock. Worth the money. Can anyone recommend a source for them that will let me shop by end configuration and size?

    as for the rear, I will be doing a 4 link at one point. My own design. Again, not to slam the car or anything, just for the best ride possible.
     
  12. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 491

    brokedownbiker
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Gotta say- I think your car looks great as it sits right now
     
  13. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    thank you much! It will look the same just drive nicer. We wanted (and still want) to keep the car as original looking as possible but more enjoyable to drive
     
  14. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,357

    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If that is your true goal, buy some good shocks, lubricate the hell out of the leaf springs,make sure the frontend is tight ( as a cows ass at fly time) and I mean with zero lash.Yes, it can be done, all of my old cars have zero lash in the steering, because lash ,eans worn out and is my pet peeve and also not acceptable for the German TÜV. Adjust the steering box, get the balljoints and all bushings / kindpins checked and replaced if needed. Even an old car on bias plys won´t go zigzag wandering while driving with a good alignment and zero lash. And forget about the air suspension. That ´s not necessary for comfortable ride at 3" drop .
     
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  15. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Stuck with stock suspension. Rides like a dream after some big projects. Check out the new stance!
     

    Attached Files:

  16. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,010

    gimpyshotrods
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    Excellent choice!
     
  17. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Thanks! Everything is going well. Pretty steady at most speeds. Not clear on the drag link adjustment. The manual says “ tighten plugs snuggly to remove all and play, then back off one complete turn plus Amount necessary to insert cotter pin”

    This seems crazy because the springs are very stiff, so “snug” is pretty much right up on them. Backing off 380° or so seems to add unnecessary play, but I would be afraid to do it “my way” and leave it all the way snug, because drag links from 70 years ago don’t grow on trees if I’m wrong
     
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,010

    gimpyshotrods
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    I go to zero-play, and only back off enough for the split pin.
     
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  19. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Hey thank you for the reply! So pardon me beating a dead horse, but how “snug” do you get it before you back off? I am amazed that the original technical book provided by the manufacturer would be as vague as “snug” haha.
     
  20. fordcoupeguy
    Joined: Apr 26, 2014
    Posts: 113

    fordcoupeguy
    Member

    That car is beautiful just the way it is. When my kids were young we lived in Calgary and I had a 57 Chev 4dr . Had no money but put a used283 auto in it. We decided to move back to Ontario so we loaded the 57 and drove back. Had to put a fuel pump into it in Regina ,other than that a great trip. Great memories. My point is-just drive it and enjoy.Go make some memories. Have some trouble free adventures .Thats what counts.
     
  21. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Hey I really appreciate it! And thank you for sharing! I certainly know about not having much money. When I built this car about five years ago, it was incredible… Parts literally Just came to me. I was gifted the rear axle, the rear lower and leaves, the engine, the carburetor, and probably spent less than $400 on everything else. The car came to me almost exactly as you see it in my photos six years ago for probably a quarter of what it was worth.

    As for your advice, I totally agree. I am so glad that just before I tack welded the new(to me/the car) front suspension, I listened to my gut and went in the house. A few days later, I put everything back to the way it was and have set out on a mission to make it absolutely perfect. I am amazed at how beautifully it right now, with some aligning and some fixing. Also, I am very glad I modified the rear springs, I now have a great stands for everything except speed bumps in the use of my rearview mirror, and it rides way better

    I am very committed to keeping it the way it is. I don’t know if it is frowned upon here, but for the cost to benefit ratio, I may go with a 5.3 LS, but other than that, she will stay how she is. Once I get that front suspension perfect, it will be comfortable for 3000 mile trip’s
     
  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,010

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've always done them by feel.

    The age and wear of the components will make each one feel different.
     
  23. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Yeah, me too. But then I read this in the factory service manual and was shocked. My interpretation is that they wanted it pretty much against the spring, but without it compressed, then backed off a full turn plus some…. That doesn’t make any sense, as it would obviously introduce play into the system. Maybe they wanted a little bit, because of road conditions then?

    I got would be to tighten it just until the spring started to compress, then back off until the cotter pin lined up… I’m surprised how starkly different that is in the factory manual


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  24. JUSTIN PERSINGER
    Joined: Apr 28, 2020
    Posts: 95

    JUSTIN PERSINGER
    Member

    You can do an air ride fairly cheap, they are plenty of people that are upgrading theirs and have compressors and tanks for sale. The expensive part is the electronic controllers, but you could go steam punk and just have manual valves, a 5 gallon tank and a single compressor. In air ride, you get what you pay for.

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  25. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Many thanks! But I’m definitely committed to staying with the stock set up, now. Although, I still have an interest for a future build on a different car. This was my first one, and I want to keep it as close to the way I found it as possible. I am definitely going to address the steering gear, probably a reversed 525 for an Astro van gear


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  26. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 491

    brokedownbiker
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    Glad to see you didn't bag it- it looks great!! You can always bag the next one; you will have plenty of experience on this one figuring out what you like and dislike and that will guide you into the next project.
     
  27. Happydaze
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 927

    Happydaze
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Car is looking great!

    Might be the camera angle, but from the engine pic the alternator looks to be badly out of alignment with the crank - if so you're running an unnecessary risk of shredding or throwing the belt thus possibly leaving you stranded at the roadside. If it is out of alignment it's an easy fix with spacers, possibly requiring longer bolts.

    Chris
     
  28. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Yeah, I’m really glad with the way it turned out. Thank you so much! As for my next project, hoping that that comes sometime soon. Was thinking of a traditional hot rod
     
  29. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Happy daze thanks man! As for the alternator, I’m fairly certain it’s an optical illusion, but you’ve got me going out there to look lol
     
  30. drew1987
    Joined: Nov 22, 2015
    Posts: 620

    drew1987

    Meant to report back. You were right! How you saw that in a photo and I could miss it in person is mind blowing lol


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