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Thread: Air management - Opinions and experience?

  1. #1
    Sidewalk Spectator

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    Air management - Opinions and experience?

    So I think i bought myself into another project ('50 chevy coupe) and i think i'm going to jump into air suspension this time around.

    i'm probably going to 2-link the back and i'm still debating whether to bag the stock front end or put n A-Arm IFS in it, but what i do know is that i'm going to need an air management system. i'm pretty behind the times on air ride so i need to hear what you guys think about whats out there.

    my dually had rocker valves and needle gauges, and the last two i worked on just had toggle switches and solenoids.

    everybody i talk to is screaming accuair e-level, but i'm curious what else if anything is going on an why you like what you like and don't what you don't.

    money is not part of the conversation at this point.
    my main concerns are function and reliability. i'm really most concerned about maintaining front end alignment and ride height. and i don't want to have to keep fiddling with the thing.

    I welcome all your input. thanks.
    AstroMotive Auto Service & Transmission
    www.astromotive.com

    Embers So Cal CC
    www.myspace.com/emberssocalcarclub

  2. #2
    Casual Cruiser

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    I've only done one of my cars in the past with air ride so I can't give you too much feedback that you wouldn't already know. I just did a switchbox with solenoid setup... 8 valves total. I didn't mind the setup, but not being able to control speed was something I didn't care for too much.

    On the car I'm building currently, I'm going to run manual valves. Little Larry's fourplay. I've gotten some good feedback on it, and to me it seems more "period correct" to be running a manual system since the time period I'm trying to mimic is around 1968-1970. Plus the fact that you can run 1/2" lines, and be able to fully control the speed of your fill as well as dump is exactly what I'm looking for.

    The accuair seems nice... pushing a button to jump right to your "pre-set ride height" is cool, and I'm sure it auto fills if you have a small leak or something over extended driving periods. However for me, manual valves and a good set of gauges will do me just fine.

    You may wanna look into the Little Larry's if you haven't already. Also, if anyone on here is running it- or has feedback, please share.

  3. #3
    ♠ LBCC Chicagoland ♠

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    It all depends.... accuair is nice but pricey. In the past I have bagged cars trucks using smc valves. Viair compressors and normally just setup two switches One up One down. On my vehicles I have been lucky enough to score air ride technologies bid red valves for next to nothing. As for controlling speed you can install reducer valves on the end of any air valve to slow it down or speed it up. Allot has to do with what size line, valves and pressure switch you run. Right now I have 3/8's air ride tech valves with 3/8s line and a 145 psi pressure switch. going up is nice and slow and also coming down is slow. Its all about how you set your system up. If you want something that you can just jump in air up and go then accuair would be your best bet. for me I have two switches and one gauge with dual needles... I set my pressures (front 75/rear 25 psi) and go. Again it all depends on many things. If you have specific questions I can try to answer them. I have bagged numerous vehicles.

  4. #4
    ♠ LBCC Arizona ♠

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    you can get an accuair switchspeed setup for far less than the elevel system. The manifold is simple and clean which is the real bonus to the system. The controller allows you to select different speeds to raise and lower the car, different pressure settings for the tank, and an all down feature. I was originally going to upgrade to the elevel but I'm pretty happy with just the switchspeed. I got mine as a kit from thorbros.com with bags and compressors for a pretty killer deal.
    "Knowledge without mileage equals bullshit."
    -Henry Rollins

  5. #5
    Harvey's Front Row

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    In my opinion/experience, for dependability nothing beats valves and toggles. I have 6 3/8" ascos on 6 gallons with two Viair 380s. All my line is 3/8 with mufflers in my dumps. The front dumps are bushed down to 1/4" mufflers while the rear is on 3/8". I have three switches: front left, front right, and rear. The rear tee still allows for hitting sides when I feel like having fun thanks to air transfer, while front split eliminates air transfer sway when cornering. I am thrilled with this set up and it has been a bagged daily for probably 5 years.

    I can go on about Accuair. Yes, it is the fad right now. Is it dependable? NO. First, be sure to run a completely separate, switched power supply to EVERYTHING on the switch speed brain. A low or dead battery, or even extended cranking, will fry the brain. Also, the remotes get hella hot. Be careful with where you put those, and it is probably a good idea to unplug it and put it in the glove box or under the seat when not in use. Having had solder come loose in a remote, I can't help but wonder if it just got too hot. Sometimes the switchspeed will go out and you will lose a corner, sometimes remotes go bad and your car decides to air itself out while you're driving. I have had these things happen. I have installed a ton of these and thought I was just retarded, but other shops have reported similar cases. We are all trying to make this stuff work for our customers because everybody wants this system. I wire all my stuff on a dedicated circuit now and after mentioning it to Accuair, they say it should solve these issues. It has so far. The cool thing is they are great about fixing or replacing bad components. It just sucks having to send them out. I would hesitate putting it on my car because of things i have seen the components do. HOWEVER, the shit is bitchin when it works right! Their VU4 manifolds have a great, smooth operation, and they have two dumps machined in the block so you can plug one and run a muffler or adjustable slowdown on the other to control the drop. They do have different pulse setting for speed control, but if you read the manual it says something to the effect of extended pulsing voiding the warranty...it doesn't seem designed to function that way for extended periods. That is why I use mufflers and/or slowdowns on the manifold block. The neat thing about the dual manifold fill ports is that you block one, then only have one line going from tank to manifold through a single water separator. Overall, wiring Accuair is easier and cleaner than valves and toggles, especially on a battery isolator in the trunk, but as with any electrical component or system, the more complex it is, the more things there are to go wrong. I have not done e-level yet, but I imagine it has it's issues as well. Parts fail. We accept that.

    Regardless of which way you go, Viair is the only conpressor option as far as I am concerned. The 444 dual pack is killer. They make a ton of air and are signifcantly quieter than my 380s. Also, 3/8" line is the best, most controllable size. It isn't as fast as 1/2", but is plenty fast unrestricted (my little car locks up with one tap on 200psi without mufflers. Running 145 switch now). 3/8" line also dumps pretty quick without mufflers. If you want a system that is slightly slower down than up that will pop up in an emergency, not draw unwanted attention, and allow to finesse a gentle scrape height without wrecking stuff, a restricted 3/8" set up will make you happy. Whether you go Accuair or Asco/Parker/SMC...well, that depends on a number of factors worth the research. If budget is a concern as I think it is for most of us, regular old brass valves and toggles have been a staple for good reason.
    Last edited by Chopped63; 10-14-2015 at 11:32 PM.
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  6. #6
    Casual Cruiser

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chopped63 View Post
    In my opinion/experience, for dependability nothing beats valves and toggles. I have 6 3/8" ascos on 6 gallons with two Viair 380s. All my line is 3/8 with mufflers in my dumps. The front dumps are bushed down to 1/4" mufflers while the rear is on 3/8". I have three switches: front left, front right, and rear. The rear tee still allows for hitting sides when I feel like having fun thanks to air transfer, while front split eliminates air transfer sway when cornering. I am thrilled with this set up and it has been a bagged daily for probably 5 years.

    I can go on about Accuair. Yes, it is the fad right now. Is it dependable? NO. First, be sure to run a completely separate, switched power supply to EVERYTHING on the switch speed brain. A low or dead battery, or even extended cranking, will fry the brain. Also, the remotes get hella hot. Be careful with where you put those, and it is probably a good idea to unplug it and put it in the glove box or under the seat when not in use. Having had solder come loose in a remote, I can't help but wonder if it just got too hot. Sometimes the switchspeed will go out and you will lose a corner, sometimes remotes go bad and your car decides to air itself out while you're driving. I have had these things happen. I have installed a ton of these and thought I was just retarded, but other shops have reported similar cases. We are all trying to make this stuff work for our customers because everybody wants this system. I wire all my stuff on a dedicated circuit now and after mentioning it to Accuair, they say it should solve these issues. It has so far. The cool thing is they are great about fixing or replacing bad components. It just sucks having to send them out. I would hesitate putting it on my car because of things i have seen the components do. HOWEVER, the shit is bitchin when it works right! Their VU4 manifolds have a great, smooth operation, and they have two dumps machined in the block so you can plug one and run a muffler or adjustable slowdown on the other to control the drop. They do have different pulse setting for speed control, but if you read the manual it says something to the effect of extended pulsing voiding the warranty...it doesn't seem designed to function that way for extended periods. That is why I use mufflers and/or slowdowns on the manifold block. The neat thing about the dual manifold fill ports is that you block one, then only have one line going from tank to manifold through a single water separator. Overall, wiring Accuair is easier and cleaner than valves and toggles, especially on a battery isolator in the trunk, but as with any electrical component or system, the more complex it is, the more things there are to go wrong. I have not done e-level yet, but I imagine it has it's issues as well. Parts fail. We accept that.

    Regardless of which way you go, Viair is the only conpressor option as far as I am concerned. The 444 dual pack is killer. They make a ton of air and are signifcantly quieter than my 380s. Also, 3/8" line is the best, most controllable size. It isn't as fast as 1/2", but is plenty fast unrestricted (my little car locks up with one tap on 200psi without mufflers. Running 145 switch now). 3/8" line also dumps pretty quick without mufflers. If you want a system that is slightly slower down than up that will pop up in an emergency, not draw unwanted attention, and allow to finesse a gentle scrape height without wrecking stuff, a restricted 3/8" set up will make you happy. Whether you go Accuair or Asco/Parker/SMC...well, that depends on a number of factors worth the research. If budget is a concern as I think it is for most of us, regular old brass valves and toggles have been a staple for good reason.
    Exactly my concerns with those fancy accuair setups. More electronic gadgets, more to go wrong.

    Chopped, do you have any experience with Little Larry's? It's just a machined manifold... one with 4 switches, or you can buy one with two. You run one airline in, you run one dump. Everything operates manually through spool type valves where all the way up or down is full flow, and just a touch is well.... just a touch. No electronics at all. (except your viairs, of course)

  7. #7
    Harvey's Front Row

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    I have no experience with Little Larry's valves. I remember a discussion about them on this board years ago. I think Eryk has manual valves in the '53, but don't remember what they are. I know a few guys were looking into them or had used some type of manual valve like the old MIC deals. I'm sure they work fine. Not a lot to go wrong.
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  8. #8
    Sidewalk Spectator

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    thanks for the input so far.

    i'm not gonna lie, I really kinda dig that Larry's setup, save for having to figure a way to neatly run all those air lines in and out of the cab. looks like it could easily be hidden behind a dash grille or something of than nature.

    looks to me like that larry's set up, a pair of viar compressors, a tank, lines, fittings and gauges would probably set you back around $800.00
    AstroMotive Auto Service & Transmission
    www.astromotive.com

    Embers So Cal CC
    www.myspace.com/emberssocalcarclub

  9. #9
    ♠ LBCC Arizona ♠

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    Interesting stuff about the switchspeed. Mine is running on a dedicated circuit. I've had it for over a year with no issue.
    "Knowledge without mileage equals bullshit."
    -Henry Rollins

  10. #10
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Billy, it is weird. The last one and the one I am currently doing will have a toggle on the ignition hot to the brain. Besides one brain losing a channel and a couple remotes going south, the only times issues have arisen were the result of low batteries. Trying to start a car that has sat at the shop toasted a couple (if I recall, one was with a jump box, one without). One time, a customer's car wouldn't start and instead of figuring out why, he cranked until the battery went low and the brain cooked. As long as your charging system is solid you should be good. Not trying to discredit or disrespect Accuair at all, just sharing experience in case it saves someone the headache down the road. If you are on a separate circuit, do you leave it all turned off until the car is running?

    Yes, I acknowledge there are possible solutions and some noticeable holes in what I am saying. Trying to maintain some degree of anonymity, and also not touch on the subject of the financial priorities of some. I will say this: in addition to "chrome bill before phone bill," bumper bolts and brackets are also a good idea if you dig.
    Last edited by Chopped63; 10-15-2015 at 09:34 PM.
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    MAKE LBCC MESSAGE BOARD RELEVANT AGAIN!

  11. #11
    ♠️LBCC Colorado♠️

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    Switchspeed and e-level aside, one can run the VU4 by itself. This eliminates so many possible points of failure from loose wires or air connections on normal valves. I thought long and hard about the Little Larry setup, what finally made me decide not to use it is the amount of lines to run in AND out of the cabin (don't forget exhaust). Oh, that and the fact that the VU4 is waterproof and can be mounted under the car plus lifetime warranty made it an easy decision for me.
    "Writin' my will on a three-dollar bill"

  12. #12
    Sidewalk Spectator

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    Quote Originally Posted by UGOTD8 View Post
    Switchspeed and e-level aside, one can run the VU4 by itself. This eliminates so many possible points of failure from loose wires or air connections on normal valves. I thought long and hard about the Little Larry setup, what finally made me decide not to use it is the amount of lines to run in AND out of the cabin (don't forget exhaust). Oh, that and the fact that the VU4 is waterproof and can be mounted under the car plus lifetime warranty made it an easy decision for me.
    what does your set up look like? I was talking with a guy at a shop i was filming at over the weekend and i was trying to figure out how to run the VU4 stand alone from the cab. can you just look at the diagram and wire it into a switch box or toggles?
    AstroMotive Auto Service & Transmission
    www.astromotive.com

    Embers So Cal CC
    www.myspace.com/emberssocalcarclub

  13. #13
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Cut the switchspeed plug off the end of the supplied harness, then wire according to this (also supplied with the VU4):
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  14. #14
    ♠️LBCC Colorado♠️

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    Quote Originally Posted by AstroMotive View Post
    what does your set up look like? I was talking with a guy at a shop i was filming at over the weekend and i was trying to figure out how to run the VU4 stand alone from the cab. can you just look at the diagram and wire it into a switch box or toggles?
    Basicaly yes. I have something very much like this: https://www.azproperformance.com/Arc...ss-to-VU4.html

    You'll see it plugged into the right side (gray connector) of the VU4:

    Last edited by Puddin Pop; 10-16-2015 at 12:23 PM.
    "Writin' my will on a three-dollar bill"

  15. #15
    Sidewalk Spectator

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    awesome. thanks.
    AstroMotive Auto Service & Transmission
    www.astromotive.com

    Embers So Cal CC
    www.myspace.com/emberssocalcarclub

  16. #16
    ♠ LBCC Chicagoland ♠

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    Not as Clean as Roberts but here is my setup. thinking about hard lining it this coming spring. We shall see. I know for sure I want to get a aluminum tank like the one Robert has.

    air ride.jpg

  17. #17
    ♠ LBCC Arizona ♠

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    "Knowledge without mileage equals bullshit."
    -Henry Rollins

  18. #18
    Carlow
    Guest
    My Monte has 30k miles of hard use on its air setup and it's still working fine. These preset fancy setups are an unnecessary cost in my opinion. With that said I am A tight ass with money and I just like basic things.

    Solenoids and switches, Standard 7 gal tank, two Viair 480's, Firestone bags and a squareD pressure valve. Budget build that reacts every time I hit the switch. Nearly a decade old.. Sounds like your duelly with rocker valves and needle gauges was my kind of setup��

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