65 Impala with Ridetech Air Suspension - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-29-2018, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
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65 Impala with Ridetech Air Suspension

Hey guys.
I am new to this forum and I am trying to get some feedback on Ridetech air suspension kit.
Before I execute my order and spend an enormous amount of money on suspension, I wanted to know if anyone is experiencing any issues with Ridetech Level 3 air suspension with front and rear muscle bars. Any airbag blowouts or technical difficulties inflating or deflating the air bags?
How about the ride? Does it drive like an old Cadillac or does it have a tight ride that can corner nicely around a turn and not feel like the entire car is swaying or going to lose control? Am I better off going with coil overs and can I adjust the air suspension to drive like a coil over?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-29-2018, 11:34 AM
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You can never compare a compressible fluid like air to the linear motion of a spring. A steel spring is predictable thanks to Hook's law that says that the reaction to force is a straight line. But that said you can not lay the car on the ground with steel springs a
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-29-2018, 11:49 AM
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You can not compare the ride of a steel spring to that of an air ride as they react differently to the forces applied. Air is compressible, so it will become stiffer the more you compress it, but not linearly the way a spring would react. You can compensate by using more expensive multiple valves in your shocks (uses incompressible oil to slow down the reaction rate) but they are bulkier as there are at least two chambers.

Springs are very predictable (Hook's law says so) with a fixed compression rate expressed in pounds per inch. Air starts out being easily compressed so the rate is light but gets progressively more difficult to compress as the pressure increases, requiring more effort. This result in a parabolic loading chart; sort of predicable, but you are not going to be able to do the math in your head or get as predicable a reaction in cornering.

So if you want a low rider you have no choice but to go with an air ride. If you want a road racer then go with the coil overs.

I am not a slave to fashion (my wife won't let me out of the house unless she dresses me). But I do like performance, which is why my car's where actually race cars in sheep's clothing (still looked like a junk car, but drove like a slot car). I had four link rear suspension with coil overs at all four corners, and had the largest diameter sway bars that I could mount.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-29-2018, 12:36 PM
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At a minimum, I can confirm for you that the Air Ride/Ride Tech system is not going to ride like a boat. If anything, it's a bit on the firmer side as compared to a nice coil-over system.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 09:01 AM
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You don't find Air-Ride systems on cars at the race track. At the track a normal spring suspension or for the people with money a coil over setup is how they go. Air ride systems are more for show cars and trucks that want to adjust ride height, some for looks others to compensate for weight.

What is your goal? A G machine that you drive a little on the hard side or a show car that you can put on the ground and cruise around in?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
 
 
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Actually a little bit of both. It will not be a quarter mile car but every once in a while I enjoy hitting the gas and ripping around the off ramp. I will be driving the car on weekends and once in a while on a weekday if the stars happen to line up.
Have you heard of any malfunctions with air ride? Someone was telling me that there are more faults with air ride than enjoyment. Ultimately I am looking to slam it low at a show and drive it when I want to drive without having any issues.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Kotsonas View Post
Actually a little bit of both. It will not be a quarter mile car but every once in a while I enjoy hitting the gas and ripping around the off ramp. I will be driving the car on weekends and once in a while on a weekday if the stars happen to line up.
Have you heard of any malfunctions with air ride? Someone was telling me that there are more faults with air ride than enjoyment. Ultimately I am looking to slam it low at a show and drive it when I want to drive without having any issues.
Off ramps despite saying that you have to stay below 45 mph can be taken at 107 mph (which was how fast I was going when my suspension bottomed out over a pot hole that ripped the bottom of my oil pan off). To really challenge the suspension with air bags you will need to eat cones on an autocross course. That will cycle the suspension fast enough to challenge an air bag system.

As to the quality of the bags I believe they use Firestone bags (same company used by Ford under their luxury cars). If so failure isn't an issue for seven years (at which time both your tires, and the bags have to be replaced because they are made of rubber which rots like any other organic product that is now dead).

Rubber oxidizes (which is why tire stores now use Nitrogen to fill tires), and is subject to UV damage from sun light (why race cars cover their paper thin tires while parked in the pits), in addition to the rubber tire carcass made of tree sap; which starts rotting because the sap is no longer flowing through the bark of a rubber tree.

Big Dave
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 02:45 PM
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I can't comment on Ridetech since I don't have their product.
I have a simple setup on my 67 that I put together my self. Universal Air air bags, ez air ride valves (they are fast), custom made brackets, 2 5g tanks, 2 compressors, 1/2" lines.
The ride with air bags is much MUCH better than stock springs or even some aftermarket. I've had my car sitting on brand new custom made Eaton springs and Bilstein shocks and it still felt like a boat, especially through the turns.
With air bags, the ride is smooth but nice and firm through the corner. I have had my bags on the car for about 4 years now with no issues.

Biggest mistake people make when they install the bags is that they don't provide enough clearance in the front spring pocket and the bag rubs on the frame and eventually blows a hole. If you make sure that bag clears everything you will have years of problem free driving.

Over all if I had to do it again, I would do the bags again on the 67 but I bought my 67 to cruise around with family and not race.

That being said, my 67 is nowhere near as nimble through the turns compared to my 70 Chevelle that has QA1 coil overs on all 4 and UMI suspension, but it's also a different car thats much bigger than Chevelle so I can't really compare the 2.
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