Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Air Suspension FAQs - Choosing the Right Air Management

Adding air suspension to your car or truck is a huge investment, and you probably want to get it right on the first try!  We've got systems to suit every taste and budget, and all of them are built with quality and reliability in mind.  So, which setup is right for you?  Read on, as we explain the different "Levels" we offer for each vehicle...

LEVEL 1 - Good, cheap fun

Our Level 1 systems are designed for people who don't plan to play with the switches a lot.  Lift your ride, drive where you're going, then drop it down when you park- that's where Level 1 shines!  This setup uses 1/4" lines with manual valves, so it won't win any hopping contests- this one's all about easy operation and absolute simplicity.
You'll still have complete control over your ride height- we give you one switch per corner to make it easy to dial in the pressure at each wheel.  Dual-needle gauges on the panel allow you to make adjustments on the fly.
Lift or drop time is approximately 6-8 seconds, depending on the weight of your ride.  We give you the same size air tank as with our other kits (28" seamless aluminum), but a single Viair 480C instead of a pair of compressors- no need for the extra cost and clutter if you're not going to be playing around with the switches much!

LEVEL 2 - I feel the need... the need for SPEED!

Level 2 is kind of the polar opposite of Level 1 - designed for the guy that just HAS to show off at every stop light!  We include eight 3/8" electric valves and lines with a handheld switch box that will have your ride bouncing around QUICKLY - we're talking split-second lifts and drops.  Some cars will even get the wheels off the ground when lifting up!
All of this speed is backed up with a 5 gallon aluminum air tank and dual Viair 380C air compressors- a good combination that won't take up your whole trunk.  If you're going to be SUPER switch-happy, we can definitely swap the compressors out for something larger and throw a second tank in the mix...

While Level 2 kits are fun, they are the most complex to set up due to all of the individual valves- lots of plumbing and wiring.  As with all of our kits, we include diagrams to help ease that pain, but you'll still want to set aside some quiet time alone to get everything installed cleanly.

LEVEL 3 - Clean and simple

The Level 3 system is by far our most popular air management option.  It strikes the perfect balance of speed, simplicity, and cost for most people.
Instead of the Level 2's eight individual valves and all of their associated wiring and plumbing, Level 3 uses an Accuair VU4 valve manifold.  You give up a bit of speed, but the trade-off is a nice, compact valve block that has one inlet from the tank and four outlets to the airbags.  Additionally, a single plug connects all of the wiring from your switch box- it doesn't get much easier than this!

This kit comes with a 28" seamless aluminum air tank and dual Viair 380C air compressors- optionally, you can swap for larger 480C compressors and another tank if you feel like you'll be playing with the switches a lot, but for most people the standard setup works great without sacrificing trunk space.
The Level 3 system costs a couple hundred dollars more than a Level 2, but you may actually SAVE money if you're paying someone to install your kit as the time to install is much lower!

LEVEL 4 - Ride height at the touch of a button!

Alright, NOW we're entering the "baller" category!  Our Level 4 systems all feature digital height control, meaning you'll be able to program and select pre-set heights that your ride will go to with a simple press of a button! 

These kits use pressure sensors, physical height sensors, or a combination of the two to set height. 
We offer packages from Accuair, Air Lift Performance, and RideTech - all have their own unique feature sets that make them unique and special, so you'll want to do some research before choosing which one's right for you.

All of our Level 4 systems include a 28" seamless aluminum air tank and dual Viair 480C air compressors as standard- only the best for the Level 4!  Adding a second tank is always an option, too, if you want to play a little bit more.
We'll be covering the various Level 4 options in another blog post- there's a lot of information to cover there!

I hope this helps make your decision as to which air suspension is right for you.  As always, you can visit us at www.bcfab.com or call the shop at 916-944-3916 for more information!


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  2. I bought the level one for my 1966 Caddy. All the parts are quality and the system works well. The car has been aired up without moving or powering up for 3+ months with only the slightest LF sag. I wish there was a provision for a tank gauge, shrader valve and instructions with the kit!