THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business February '14

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HOTROD Air Suspensions for Hot Rods thinking to the system. You also have a compressed air system of some kind to run your tools. You use it daily and know how to treat it, diagnose it and probably fix it. Take that same knowledge and reapply it here. Fittings are of course the most common places to find leaks. This is most commonly caused by not using thread sealant when the fittings are installed into the air springs, air valves and tank. Air line routing leaks are the next most common. Keep that tire and compressor knowledge open here. Think about how those lines are routed, and what they may come in contact with from either heat or vehicle operation. Again, just like a tire or air hose, put a hole, nick, or cut in it, and you have a leak. Air lines are plastic. Keep them away from heat sources like headers and exhaust pipes. Melto! Presto! Leak! Keep as much space as possible between the line and any heat source. Four fingers is the general rule, but the more space, the better. Also, be aware of any sharp edges and moving components. Rubbing on a sharp edge or being cut by moving parts during driving will wear through the line. Again, Insta-leak. There is such a thing as DOT-approved air line, and all reputable air suspension manufacturers use it. It is specifically rated for harsh conditions and to stand up to the rigors of normal automotive use. Remember when I mentioned above about not sourcing a cheap mishmash to make a system? Not ...or it can let the car sit on the ground! 62 n Performance & Hotrod Business PHBFEB_52-77.indd 62 n just any old plastic tube will work. But hey, mistakes happen. If you do find yourself with a leak, grab that tire knowledge again. Get some window cleaner or soapy water and look for the leak just like you would on a tire. Spray it, and look for the bubbles. Excessive Body Roll – aka Poor Control System Configuration Voelkel gives us more insight for this one: "It can be tempting to attempt to save some money on the compressor/control system by T-ing the air springs together side to side. Don't do it. When you turn a corner, the loaded air spring will immediately transfer air to the unloaded air spring. The end result is a car that has a huge amount of body roll and is uncomfortable and possibly dangerous to drive. Buy or build a fourway compressor system that has a separate control for each air spring. The added benefit to a four-way system is that you can level up a car that may be heavy on one side (as most are) by simply adjusting the air pressure slightly." Illustrations show how air suspensions perform when compressed, extended and normal driving conditions. (Images courtesy RideTech) Electrical Gremlins Electrical problems in an air system? Huh? Yes. Air systems run via a compressor. That compressor runs on electricity. Often these systems are not being installed on a complete ground-up vehicle build, with a complete nice new harness, which means that old wiring can be the issue. We're not Components to an air suspension system. (Image courtesy RideTech) February 2014 1/7/14 2:22 PM

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