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Performance & Hotrod Business February '14

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HOTROD Let the Air Out Air suspensions for hot rods & classics aren't as daunting as you might think. By S. Kellie Colf A pproximately 96-percent of all semi trucks on the highway use air suspension. That big an industry wouldn't be using them so extensively if there wasn't something to it. Your shop should be offering them as a solution to your customers. But… Myth: Air suspension is not only complicated, but expensive and troublesome. Wrong! The myth continues to prevail around air suspensions that they are mysterious systems fraught with problems and upkeep. This is simply not true. Proper installation of an air suspension system requires no more skill and common sense than working with traditional coil or leaf spring suspensions. This idea sprang up from problems caused by improper installations. There isn't a part or set of parts out there that haven't been installed incorrectly in the past and caused problems. Same thing here. Do it right and you'll be fine. 60 n Performance & Hotrod Business PHBFEB_52-77.indd 60 n Why Offer Air Suspension? If you've been installing traditional suspensions for years; why change? It's not a cut-and-dried answer. No one is telling you to stop installing traditional suspensions for your customers. Air suspension can be yet another system in your offerings. Each type of suspension has its pros and cons; it is up to you to help your customers decide which is the right solution for their vehicle. The main difference to your customers is that air offers an adjustability to the suspension system, which cannot be achieved with a traditional suspension. This allows the driver to more fully explore the limits of their suspension. How to Decide? Performance Goals When considering any suspension, discuss these goals with your customer and decide which is most important: Ride quality Is this a regular driver? Are creature comforts down the road/highway most import- ant? Ride quality is the suspension's ability to isolate the passengers from normal road irregularities. Air offers the ability to change ride characteristics with changing road conditions. Soften it up for a smooth highway ride; stiffen it for more challenging conditions. Stance Is how she sits very important? This means both under driving conditions and when parked. One benefit unique to air is the ability to have multiple stances—one for driving and one for parking. Want her in the weeds? Air can offer that, but you can't keep her on the ground if you ever want to drive her. Air systems offer your customers the ability to drive to the event in comfort with superior handling, and drop her on the ground when they get there. Handling & Performance Is drivability key? Is handling under driving conditions most important? Will she be autocrossed or raced in any way? Air gives your customers the ability to adjust the system for February 2014 1/7/14 2:21 PM A

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