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Customs To bag or not to bag?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotrod54chevy, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,590

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    Ok, guys. On my '54 Chevy I'm runnin 4 inch blocks and the ride is to be expected. Terrible. I'd like a little more drop and a smoother ride. I'm already looking into a Gambino notch kit, but I have some questions:
    Do I need bags or can I expect any ride quality increase from just installing a notch and keeping the 4 inch blocks? Does it make sense to notch it and then save up for bags or just do it all at once?
    As far as welding the frame is concerned, I'm leaving that to my father-in-law who is a professional welder that I know is more than capable! Anyone with any experience on this feel free to chime in! Thanks, everyone! Here're some pictures of the subject.
    ImageUploadedByTJJ1360007946.960334.jpg ImageUploadedByTJJ1360008049.087738.jpg


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  2. Edelbroke
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 770

    Edelbroke
    Member

    I say bag it. And be prepared to be flamed by almost everyone on this site but hey who cares its your car
     
  3. tudorkeith
    Joined: May 10, 2009
    Posts: 454

    tudorkeith
    Member

    as stated, it really is your decision to make. were I going to bag it though I would get everything I needed first and only tear it apart once.
     
  4. FiddyFour
    Joined: Dec 31, 2004
    Posts: 9,007

    FiddyFour
    Member

    a notch kit only gives you room to lower the car more, it does nothing to improve or deteriorate handling... that said, if you are going to notch the car and bag it, do it all at one time
     

  5. BAREOOT
    Joined: Mar 15, 2006
    Posts: 895

    BAREOOT
    Member
    from CALIFORNIA

    Well i read this post about 20 minutes ago, went off the hamb thought about it and had to come back and put in my two cents. 65 years old been doing customs all my life. The last few customs ive done were bagged. They were done rite and not one really rode that good, but damm they looked good layed out. Other than looking good layed out they were a basic pain in the ass. So i went back to old skool, cut a coil or half a coil in the front until i got the look i wanted, no blocks in the rear took the leaf springs had them dearched a full four inches and it sits good and rides like a cad. Im not telling you what to do because its your car and remember everyone has an opnion and there like assholes everyone has one and all of them stink. But for the cost and looking good only when down and the hassle with them for me personally you can stick a fork in my ass and turn me over im done with bags. Again its yours do what you want, just one old mans opnion.
    Foot
     
  6. Edelbroke
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 770

    Edelbroke
    Member

    Not trying to open an air bag debate, but when you say it was "done right" and it sounds like you didnt like the ride. How was it done?
    There's many ways to hang bags in the rear. The worst in my opinion is with the bags mounted directly on the axle and to a "bridge" on top while retaining dearched leaf springs. I've had a few done each way. (Bought them already done) The best ride of mine were where the bags were mounted on bars like a 4 link. And with shocks. Some guys dont take the time to make shock mounts for the front. (Then unless the bag is filled up to the max it will bounce like a basket ball going down the road) So if done "correctly" a bagged car or truck should ride just as good or better then factory
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  7. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,812

    Squablow
    Member

    Like Fiddy said, the notch isn't going to improve the ride, unless the bad ride is caused by constant bottoming out.

    And like Edelbroke said, bags only ride nice if they're set up right. My Olds has trailing arms and it rides nice, but I've ridden in a couple cars with a bag over leaf system and at least in my opinion, the ride was much poorer. If you're doing the bags to improve the ride, I would suggest a four link to eliminate the leaves.

    If you just want to get a bit softer ride out of what is there now without any major mods, try removing a couple of the smaller leaf springs and going to a 2" block instead of the 4". That would soften it up considerably. De-arched springs like Bareoot suggested is even better if you plan to keep the leaf springs and can afford the cost.

    Also, if your bump stops are the originals, they're probably petrified rock hard by now and also too tall for a lowered car. A new set of shorter, softer bump stops (or cut-down some new soft ones) might help a bit, although if bottoming out is a constant problem, the notch is a must.
     
  8. BAREOOT
    Joined: Mar 15, 2006
    Posts: 895

    BAREOOT
    Member
    from CALIFORNIA

    no debate here, all of mine were done by the same guy here in town, he has done tons of setups. All had rear 4 links, nice shock setups front and rear, a couple rode pretty good, im just saying for me and me only with the cost, leaking down, and all you have to do to install them and for me when i liked them the best was at ashow sitting down. Its not worth it to me to do them again, if i bought a car with them done i could live with that.
    Foot
     
  9. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,728

    GassersGarage
    Member

    I run de-arched springs in the rear and it rides real good. I had a shoebox with bags and it was a pain. It always leaked, granted, it took awhile. Once the compressor quit working, I had to leave the car in the street. It was too low to get in the driveway. But buddy lost a bag on the freeway and he didn't have suspension stops. You can imagine the damage done to the undercarriage. He had to be flatbedded home. Now, he won't own a car with bags.
     
  10. I bought my 'bags and valves, and build my own 4 link setup.

    I don't mind them at all, shocks are VERY important for a decent, controlled ride.

    When set up correctly, they are very safe.

    I have broken more springs, than I have blown 'bags.

    I believe the Ala Kart had airbags round about 1957, or so, I would consider them traditional. JMHO
     
  11. rrayne
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 77

    rrayne
    Member

    Im as traditional as it gets. AND...l have stated before and proved it. THEY BAGGED CARS IN THE 50's. Maybe not everyone but it was being done. SO....if your worried about that....dont. If I was you I would bag it and get the most comfort out of the ride while getting the desired look your going for.
     
  12. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    53sled
    Member
    from KCMO

    bag size, placement, pressure, shocks all will contribute. what worked over here will not perform the same over there. longer arms with bags on them seem to be the trend vs bag over axle. angled shocks have an increasing resistance curve. then you get into panhard vs watts vs triangulated.....
     
  13. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,590

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    I'm just trying to consider my options. A notch and bag and a 4 link all sound really good, but it's all at a cost. Time, money, and taking my car off the road. I've had it on blocks since I've owned it and like I said, it's driven as expected. I just want to weigh everything out before I go way over budget for a ride that's not any better and end up tearing my car apart twice.

    Would different leaves make a lot of difference? I could call Jamco or go to a truck shop, if it'd be worth the time. As it drives now, I BADLY want to drive to KY for Carl Casper's, but I fear driving it that far. Thanks for the advice y'all!


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  14. JakeDW
    Joined: Sep 30, 2012
    Posts: 580

    JakeDW
    Member
    from Missouri

    The way they look all the way down is worth what ever hassle the bag set up causes you after all a custom car is all about looks/ fun.

    Bagged cars ride really nice as long as they have shocks and each bag has its own valve ect so there not bouncing and transferring air side to side.

    The young guys are growing up soon the I don't get bags why would you want to lay frame my friends bag blew out at 100 on the freeway mentality will disappear well at least I hope.

    Caddies,Lincoln's,land rovers ect ride around on bags every day all day they can't be all that bad.

    Jake
     
  15. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,764

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co


    not saying they're all bad, but I want to at least be able to limp my car home and not die if my bag/spring blows. Hopefully the "i dont care" mentality will die with the rat rod trend and people will remember if your car lays on the frame at a show, it could lay on its frame on the highway!
     
  16. JakeDW
    Joined: Sep 30, 2012
    Posts: 580

    JakeDW
    Member
    from Missouri

    I hate to do this to my self but we use to set out trucks on the ground At 60+ mph for fun I will say we use to T our set ups so if a bag blew in front or back they both go down.Most cars that have air ride only set 4 or less inches off the ground driving its not like they are doing a nose dive from two foot up.

    I use to drive my ----truck from KC MO to Austin TX for texas heat wave no shocks in the front Set up with T fittings 80 mph never a hick up 14 hours every year no hick up along with at least 3 or 4 others done the same way.Never a bag blow out had some flat tires motors not running well shocks pop off ect.

    It could and has happened but shit anything could happen your wheel bearing could seize and your wheel could fall off.You should always check them for rubbing and not ride with them extended all the way.

    Jake
     
  17. Pinchecharlie
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 72

    Pinchecharlie
    Member
    from Montana

    Just did my 49 ford notch and bags. If you want to be real low and have handling you gotta put your top plate up as high as you can. Don't like the trade off between low and loose. Deffently need a sway bar but its tight back there. And the work for the floor and tunnel is substantial, fun but a lot of it. And last but not least air management is expensive. Don't know if I'd do it again but I must admit it looks badass
     
  18. JakeDW
    Joined: Sep 30, 2012
    Posts: 580

    JakeDW
    Member
    from Missouri

    Oyea air ride has nothing to do with rat rods or I don't care mentality to say you are going to DIE from air ride is a bit extreme.

    If you don't like it don't use it.

    Jake
     
  19. Winmon
    Joined: Oct 6, 2012
    Posts: 46

    Winmon
    Member

  20. mikes51
    Joined: Oct 4, 2001
    Posts: 2,195

    mikes51
    Member

    If you have pictures showing the space between the axle and the frame, you will get better, more technical answers. That also applies to the front suspension if that has been modified.

    Before bags were widely used, "C-ing" or notching the frame was often done. It lets your axle move more before hitting the stops. Pinchecharlie is right, your drive shaft will likely hit the floorboard so the driveshaft tunnel will need raising. You'll also need to cut around the wheel wells in the trunk to make room for the notch.

    For the front, pre bag era solutions that worked were dropped spindles or stepped a arms. These are ways of getting more travel before hitting the stops.

    So you could improve your ride without bags. If money and time were not a factor, it would be more efficient to install the bags now.
     
  21. INTMD8
    Joined: May 13, 2011
    Posts: 82

    INTMD8
    Member
    from Il.

    If you want it to ride nice with air bags one thing to consider is bag size and ratio.

    Don't put the cheapest smallest bags you can find on it as it will not ride nice if you need 150psi to keep it off the ground.

    As mentioned, their were plenty of cars with air suspension in the 50's. Mine came from the factory as such and I decided to keep it that way.
     
  22. yetiskustoms
    Joined: May 22, 2009
    Posts: 1,930

    yetiskustoms
    Member

  23. Dude check out ACCUAIR. I'm sold but a little on the $$$ side.
     
  24. nek635
    Joined: Oct 9, 2010
    Posts: 26

    nek635
    Member

  25. Kustom.Falcon
    Joined: Nov 1, 2010
    Posts: 502

    Kustom.Falcon
    Member

  26. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,904

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The only problems that I have ever seen with air bag setups were directly do to poor quality installation, or just plain crappy components, or both.

    Today, I put bags under the rear of a '61 Impala. Tomorrow, it will get the fronts. When it is done, it will be car 196th that I have bagged. Zero bag failures. Zero line failures. Two compressor failures, and they were used compressors of unknown age/origin. Both gave plenty of advanced warning.

    I don't care what your brother's buddies cousin's sister's boyfriend's bag experience was. There is no context. ALL of these failures could easily be the fault of the installer.

    I install air ride systems, at an Accuair dealer, all day, every day. Done right, there are no issues. I have bagged everything from a '29 Model A, to an electric micro-van, and everything in-between.

    It is not a trend, and it is not going away.
     
  27. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 679

    randy
    Member

    I like old cars because they're simple. Bags aren't rocket surgery, but they are more complicated than a set of de-arched springs and blocks.

    What ever you do, don't make it look broken. good luck.
     
  28. zep058
    Joined: Jan 9, 2007
    Posts: 599

    zep058
    Member

    Go on, bag it!

    x2 on not looking broken
     
  29. rockabilly53
    Joined: Jun 13, 2009
    Posts: 104

    rockabilly53
    Member

    bag it dood..looks like a good foundation and a prime candidate
     
  30. Kripfink
    Joined: Sep 30, 2008
    Posts: 2,040

    Kripfink
    Member Emeritus

    Okay, my opinion is don't. To me it seems the only reason for airbags is to "lay frame" which just makes your cars look broken and abandoned. to me it is not a good look and not at all traditional. When I say not at all traditional what I really mean is I don't deny that they were used back in the day but not to lay frame. This is a recent phenomenon that seems to me to be out of place on this board. However, if someone can provide pre-65 photographic evidence that parking on the rockers so that the car becomes impossible to drive is a look that was used back then, then I'll shut up. So go ahead,tear me a new asshole.
    Paul
     

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