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How well do air shocks ride compared to regular shocks?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Louie T, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. Louie T
    Joined: Mar 21, 2011
    Posts: 164

    Louie T
    Member
    from California

    I'm thinking of throwing some air shocks on the rear of my lowered 58 caddy. I'm going to hook them up to a small compressor so I can raise and lower the rear of the vehicle if need be. I was wondering what the ride "feel" was like compared to a regular shock. I know they would be more stiff with higher pressure but I would probably be running with them at a very low pressure unless I needed to raise the car for whatever reason. Also, is there still oil in an air shock that controls the dampening? If I emptied all the air out of the air shock will it perform just like a regular shock?
     
  2. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Cadillac used air shocks on many cars to get that Cadillac ride and adjust for the load being carried. They had vacuum operated pumps and ride height valves.
     
  3. XXL__
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,963

    XXL__
    Member

    Depends on the design. The air component of an air shock isn't actually a shock at all... it's a spring. And springs are made to bounce. The shock is there to manage that bounce. An air shock will often give you a bouncier ride because you're just adding to the springiness of the suspension.

    What you want is for the shock (the hydraulic damper part) to manage the ENTIRE "springy" part, from unsprung suspension component (axle, control arm, etc.) to the sprung part (frame, body, etc.). While some air shock designs work this way, they all don't (see previous paragraph). If you want air-adjustable suspension, I recommend you do it right, and replace the mechanical spring with an air spring, and then hang the appropriate hydraulic shock. This will give you the adjustability you're looking for, and it will properly manage the spring.

    /2 cents
     
  4. WaynesSpeed
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 104

    WaynesSpeed
    Member

    I got a set on the back of my '50 Chevy 2 door sedan, I only run between 20 and 30 psi in them depending on the load and they ride great. I had them on a '73 nova years back and had them hiked up to the max and they rode like shit, so as long as your not running closer to their max psi they will ride nice.
     

  5. Louie T
    Joined: Mar 21, 2011
    Posts: 164

    Louie T
    Member
    from California

    I'm eventually going to throw air bags on the rear of the car but I was figuring in the mean time I can raise it when I need to. I added to my original post about how an air shock works. In case it was missed, I was wondering if an air shock still uses oil valving to control the dampening and if the air shocks performs like a normal oil shock when the air pressure is all the way down.
     
  6. big creep
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,945

    big creep
    Member

    save your money and just bag it if you are going to bag it.
     
  7. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,476

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    The factory type air shocks will dampen the air spring. You will have two different types of springs. The factory springs and the air bags. They will have different spring rates and will dampen each other to an extent.
     
  8. XXL__
    Joined: Dec 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,963

    XXL__
    Member

    Yes.
     
  9. nwbhotrod
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,243

    nwbhotrod
    Member
    from wash state

    I put Air Shocks on my Impala with out a littel lift in the ass my Drive Shaft would hit the floor with the trunkk full of lugage. I only raise it a half inch it rides great
     

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  10. WaynesSpeed
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 104

    WaynesSpeed
    Member

    Yes the shock part of the unit is a regular shock. You should always keep some air in the air spring part of the unit though, maybe 10psi or so.
     
  11. Louie T
    Joined: Mar 21, 2011
    Posts: 164

    Louie T
    Member
    from California

    Ok. Thank you. Like I said. I'm gonna bag it out but right now I just wanna be able to get in and out of driveways without ripping off my exhaust.
     
  12. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,065

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That will work. I've had a half dozen Cads over the past 15 years with the air shock leveling setup and the ride is fine.
    I have had air shocks on both my 48 and the 51 Merc and as long as you don't put a hundred pounds of air pressure in them they ride fine.

    For what you want they should work good.
     
  13. butcherted
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 762

    butcherted
    Member
    from hagerstown

    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style> <![endif]--> I have the same set up you are talking about on my 50 Chevy, Air shock with a on board compressor, It rides great also help with passengers and getting in and out of gas stations.
     

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  14. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,693

    Weasel
    Member

    Often used as a fix for poorly engineered suspension, weak/sagging springs, under rated springs etc....
     
  15. I put a set on the rear of my Merc last month. Like Mr48chev says, as long as you don't have lots of pressure in them they ride fine. I'm running 25lbs with an empty trunk. About 60lbs with the trunk full. It rides excellent. Wish I would have done it years ago.
     
  16. ShortyLaVen
    Joined: Oct 13, 2008
    Posts: 648

    ShortyLaVen
    Member

    I'm getting some for my Buick for the same reason. When its just me in the car there's no problem, but as soon as there's 4 or 5 people in the car and/or a trunk full of luggage or car parts, the suspension bottoms out on every bump or dip in the road and the exhaust scrapes like CRAZY every bump, dip, driveway, even sharp turns.... I'm hoping air shocks will be enough to pick it up an inch or so when fully laden, at least enough to save my exhaust. I'm not planning on onboard air, though it would be convenient.... Gas stations got free air anyhow LOL
     
  17. Louie T
    Joined: Mar 21, 2011
    Posts: 164

    Louie T
    Member
    from California

    I put the air shocks on and they work exactly like I needed them to. Thank you every one for ur comments.
     
  18. Great advice. I had them on several cars in the late '60's and '70's (for a cheap rake) and they rode fine as long as I didn't run the inflation too high.
     
  19. I depends on the shock and how much air you got in it. You have run enough air to keep the bellows from getting a hole rubbed in them, but you don't have to run enough air to lift the car.

    Monroe makes one that rides real nice but you should keep the recommended min pressure.

    There is another solution, Air Ride (the oldest air bag company in existence) makes a helper bag. It is held to your axle with u bolts and can be run flat then pumped up as needed. If you like your ride height and you just want to be able to lift it to get over speed bumps and into driveways this is a very good oprion.
     

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