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Old 11-06-2007, 08:08 PM
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air on a solid front axle?

Anyone done this?
I really want to use a solid front axle, but I want Air since I truely believe it is the best idea for a street rod as it is adjustable. I can set the ride height and keep it there without having to mess with springs.

So how do I attach the air spring to the axle?
think of a tube axle with a 4 bar linkage.

Maybe use a ShockWave 7000on the normal shock mount, and fab an upper mount?

will the lower shock mount take it?

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Old 11-06-2007, 08:57 PM
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Whew, think you might take some abuse for this one, but I'll give it a shot.

What kind of car are you putting this on for starters? Weight? Fenders?

I don't see why a shock mount wouldn't "take it". Yes it will be taking the load of a spring, but when you think of how much work a shock must do between controlling the spring and dampening harsh road conditions, I don't think the mounts will be a problem.

Looks on the other hand might not be too streamlined. A little too bulky for an open wheeled car.

If you want to get trickey you could mount them under the body of the car with a series of push rods and levers to transmit the axle movenent back to the air springs/shocks. (ala John Buttera)

I think someone actually make a cross member that hides a pancake type bag over the axle, then you use plain shocks. Might want to check that out too.
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Old 11-06-2007, 08:57 PM
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You will need a panhard bar to locate the axle side to side..once that is done then the mounting of the air springs is fairly straight forward..Good idea just needs some thought to get it working on your application..

Sam
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Old 11-07-2007, 02:15 AM
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Air bags are not a "set a ride height" kinda thing. You can set your ride height with air bags but you'll be terribly dissapointed. Air springs are sold as having an advertised ride height. It is at that ride height (regardless of psi) that you'll optimize handling and ride. I get so frustrated when I hear about people who use air to "slam" their ride and then complain about ride quality. Air springs are designed to operate at a certain ride height... it doesn't matter if its in a light car that requires 50 psi, or in a heavy car that requires 90 psi... if its advertised at a ride height of 11", then you should use it at 11" regardless of the pressure required to achieve that height. Using it at any other height will degrade performance considerably.

There is considerable information here about air bags, but I suggest you also cruise over to www.ridetech.com and look at the forums there.
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis73
Air bags are not a "set a ride height" kinda thing.
I'm glad curtis73 explained this. Yes, you can alter your ride height with air bags, but when you do it you have to realize you are also (sometimes dramatically) altering ride quality...as in stiffness or softness. To drop the car an inch might mean reducing air pressure in you bag by 15-20 lbs (depending on the car). That change in bag pressure is going to effect ride quality. Bottom line, you need to be as careful with a bag installation as you do with a spring installation in terms of getting the geometry correct. Air bags will not make up for poor engineering.

That being said, here are the bags on my street rod. It's not quite a solid axle front, but close. It's on a twin I-beam F-150 set of axles. Also, it's on a full fendered car. I would not recommend putting exposed bags on a fenderless car...for the visual reasons you can detect from the pictures.





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Old 11-07-2007, 11:33 AM
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I have seen one set up where yjr bsg mounting pockets were welded to the rear of a solid axle and inside the frame of a fenderless car with the grille in front of the axle and hiding the setup. He said the ride was good. I do think you would need the bags to be as far from the cars centerline as possible to work really well though.
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Old 11-07-2007, 01:39 PM
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I should clarify, though that there are thousands of air bags with different configurations, so choosing one with a ride height that provides your desired look should be pretty easy.

But, its not like you can drive it around all day at height A, then choose B or C and expect it to handle, ride, and drive the same way. Tire wear, choppy ride, bottoming out, stiff ride; they'll all be pretty prevalent.
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Old 11-08-2007, 07:52 PM
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Thanks for the responses.
when I said 'set the ride hight and keep it there' I ment that there would be a specific ride height and the air pressure would be used to keep it at that height no matter what the finished weight of the car ( within reason) and load of the car.

You all seemed to miss the keep it there part.

I hate steel springs as they are such a compromise, too stiff when unloaded and not stiff enough when loaded.

I also understand 4 bar linkages and panhard bars...

I don't plan on slamming it!

It will be going on a full fendered 4 door 29 Dodge.
So it will be well hidden.

I am just looking for ideas on how to attach the bags to the axle.
Cboy, how did you mount the bag to the axle??
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:58 PM
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Air bags that I have used attach by means of a plate..in this case I would try and go with the air bags centered on the axle..Just weld a spring perch on the axle and bolt the air bag to that and then do the same sort of thing on the frame..

Look at the overload air bags on most pickups and you will get the idea..

Sam
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 427v8
Cboy, how did you mount the bag to the axle??
Note: Below is the PM I sent 427v8 earlier but figured I'd include it here for others who might be interested.

"On F-150 twin beams there is a 3/4" bolt which goes vertically through the axle and is used in a stock setup to attach the radius rod to the axle and to mount the lower cup for the coil spring above. The lower plates for my bags are welded to the top of that bolt (welded right to the bolt head). Unlike a coil spring (which puts uneven pressure on the lower plate as the spring is compressed) air bags place evenly distributed and centered pressure on the lower plate. As a result, welding the plate on top of the bolt head has worked out fine...although a first glance it may look a little tenuous."
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:48 PM
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Thanks onemoretime and cboy.

It looks easy to mount a shockwave to the lower shockmount of a 34 ford axle, but I don't like the mount sticking outat an angle and being held in by a bolt under tension.

I might have to figure out a way to mount the shock to the top of the axle so things are more in shear and compression.

Seems like more people would have done this by now. I'm suprised.
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:00 AM
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Would something like this work? A "U" shaped bracket (made of 3 pieces of 1'4" flat stock) which slips over the top of the axle and is bolted in place with a hole drilled through the center section of the axle. Lower bag plate or mount welded to the top of the bracket. (Sorry for the quick and crude drawing - hope you can understand it.)

I like the idea of centering the bag over the axle - or over the radius rod. When you hang the spring on a bolt sticking out perpendicular to the axle it always concerns me that you are putting a lot of twisting force on the axle - and trying to take it out of its caster setting.

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Old 11-14-2007, 04:55 AM
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If you are looking to put air bags on a solid front axle, this guy makes one of the coolest kits that I have seen. You can install it on the front or rear suspension. The price is not too bad either. His name is Mike and he can be reached at: 812.212.5845. I think Cen-Pen make a setup like this too.
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Old 11-14-2007, 05:00 AM
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Here is a up close picture of the suspension raised and lowered. I was going to run this setup but went with a more traditional setup instead.
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Old 11-14-2007, 07:48 AM
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Cracker,

Do you have any more close-ups of the hangers/perches...exactly how that unit and the axle are attached to one another? Is there a shackle type joint of does it attach directly to the hanger/perch. I would think there is some arc in the travel of those arms that would want to shift the axle slightly left and right. Id just like to understand a bit more about the geometry and how the thing actually works in real life.
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