Classic Chevy Truck Air Suspension Conversions - What You Should Know
Chevy purists might scoff at the idea of modernizing a classic, but when it comes to the suspension, an upgrade means a smoother ride and a step in the right direction to protecting your investment. Standard air suspension conversions have become the next big thing in the restoration world, and for good reason. Here's what you need to know:
Benefits of an Air Suspension
There are plenty of reasons to upgrade your classic Chevy truck with an air suspension, whether it’s for a different look or better handling.
Precision tuning. Instead of spending weeks getting those coil springs tuned exactly right, you can achieve the perfect feel in minutes with an air suspension. If you're tired of hit-and-miss tuning, the precision of an air suspension might be for you.
Handling. Is it raining? Snowing? Are you headed down a dirt road? With in car adjustability, improved performance and handling is easily controlled with an air suspension.
Performance. Everyone likes their truck to feel a little different. An air suspension allows you to easily achieve the perfect feel so you can drive comfortably.
Stance. Want your truck lowered for a street-savvy look? Easy as pie. And if you need to go over some rocks or speed bumps, raising it is just as simple.
Heavier loads. Air suspensions help 18 wheelers and SUVs carry huge loads while improving comfort in the cab. For an easier time hauling a variety of loads, an air suspension is just the ticket.
How Air Suspensions Work
With an air suspension, you can tune a classic C/K truck like this with a push of a button.
At their most basic level, air suspensions don't operate too differently from regular suspensions. Instead of leaf springs, air suspensions use inflatable bags called air springs, which are made from tire-like material. Like coil springs, more compression equals a stiffer air spring.
These engineering marvels are so much more than hot air. While on-board compressors are available, they aren't necessary. It's completely feasible to have the bags inflated at a shop and leave that at that level indefinitely.
Should you choose an on-board compressor, you'll be able to raise or lower your truck at the push of a button. Can you imagine adjusting your suspension in seconds based on the type of road you're on? From there, you can choose a variety of interesting options for tuning and adjustment - including smartphone apps!
Types of Air Suspensions
If you decide to switch your truck's coil spring suspension for one of the air variety, you should know what types are out there:
Double-Convoluted. This type has the most load capacity of the three and a shorter stroke best used for front suspensions. It also happens to look like a double cheeseburger.
Tapered-Sleeve/Rolling-Sleeve. This type is smaller in diameter and has a longer stroke. These are best for rear suspensions.
Pressure-Based vs. Electronic
Once your air suspension is installed - and assuming you've opted for an onboard compressor - you'll have to choose a pressure-based or electronic system to adjust your ride height. While the choice is ultimately up to you, there are some discernible differences between the two:
Pressure-Based. These systems rely on pressure sensors that adjust the ride height based on how much weight is in your truck. As the air springs compress due to added weight, sensors compensate and reduce air pressure. This can create unwanted changes and can also be inaccurate.
Electronic. An electronic system relies on - you guessed it - electronic sensors to maintain a steady ride height. It doesn't matter if it's just you in the truck or if you're hauling 500 pounds of lumber down the road - these sensors will keep your suspension steady.
Worth the Investment
One of the biggest knocks against air spring suspensions is the cost. However, once you've installed them, they'll also protect other costly, low-hanging components as well as your chassis. Plus, the noticeable difference in your ride would make it hard to go back.
If you have any questions about how a air suspension would affect your Chevy, don't hesitate to give us a call - we'd be glad to help!