Air springs are awesome. Air Lift’s particularly so. Air Lift is unique in that they offer air springs for cars, too, rather than just trucks. In fact, they offer springs for over 540 different vehicles. They have the best warranty in the business, and they’ve been in that business since America still occupied Japan. They started in 1949, the same year as NASCAR, making air springs. For NASCAR racers.
But, like that one time when you went to Schlotzsky’s and didn’t have them heat up your sub, if you have just the springs and not a compressor on board, you’re not getting the most out of your upgrade. Here’s why.
Finding an air compressor away from home can be tricky. For the uninitiated, here’s how it works: If you don’t have a compressor on board for your air springs, you can fill them with an external compressor via a schrader valve, just as you would a tire. But that means hunting for a gas station with a working tire pump, then fishing around in the seat cracks of your truck for quarters, then giving up and going inside to buy a Mounds bar just so you can make change. And you don’t even like coconut.
Forget that, you say, because you’re just going to fill your springs at home with your garage compressor. But do you really want to drive 400 miles without your load on overstiffened springs? Nope. Remember, the beauty of air suspension is that you can adjust it depending on your need. Springs filled for a load, without carrying that load, are just as wrong as springs under load not filled for it.
Instead, just use your on-board Air Ride suspension compressor, push a button, and fill up your springs when you get your load.
It’s a quick process. With an Air Ride suspension, you can fill and level your truck in under 30 seconds, rather than the 30 minutes you’d spend looking for that gas station. It’s also precise. With an on-board compressor, you can fill your springs to the exact PSI you need, rather than guessing and checking with a tire gauge.
Now here’s where things get really cool. Air Lift offers two options for traditional, analog pressure control systems, with physical gauges to mounted in the cabin – the Load Controller and the Load Controller II. But they also offer two different wireless, digital control systems. So springs can be adjusted from outside the vehicle. This is pretty handy if you’re trying to level your truck. Or impress your friends.
The digital Air Ride compressor systems, WirelessAir and WirelessOne, can be programmed with presets, so if your boat and your camper weigh different amounts, and it would be weird if they didn’t, you can quickly adjust for whichever you’re towing. Wireless systems are also easier to install, since you don’t have to run a line into the cabin.
If you opt for Air Lift’s flagship, the Wireless Air dual path, or their Load Controller II analog system, you can even adjust each side of your vehicle separately. So you can level your parked truck without jacks.
Compressors are easy to install and durable. They bolt right to your vehicle’s frame, generally without drilling, and many come inside weatherproof casings.
So don’t leave your air suspension system half-done like an unheated lumberjack sub. There are better choices to make. Drop an on-board Air Lift compressor in to complete the picture. Are your air springs by another fine manufacturer? No problem. Air Lift’s awesome compressors still work with those systems.
Your springs want it, you want it. Make it happen with an Air Ride Technologies suspension compressor.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.