Discussion in 'Member Journals & Project Build Stories' started by rsutton1223, May 11, 2011.
Full write up on the install and first impressions coming soon. Here are the interior install pics.
The V2 Digital Controller
Behind the seat...air lines...back of tank.
A couple more pictures from the deck.
What's the plan with front mud flaps? Keeping it as is?
Yeah keeping them. At ride height they are just fine and the car never rolls slammed.
So...my builder came to me last week and asked me to "test the driveway". Apparently...the have noticed how many low cars I bring to the house while checking on construction so they shaved down the driveway more than the rest of the neighborhood to accommodate the cars. He wanted to make sure they did it enough or if they had to do more. That was pretty cool of them.
Ok...so lets get into the more text less pictures part of this switch. This will be the fourth suspension on this car. (stock, RCE yellow/Bilstein, RCE Tarmac 2's, Air Lift Performance). As you can tell, I am a huge fan of RaceComp Engineering and I always recommend their suspensions to people looking for coil over or strut setups. Both of their suspensions performed flawlessly for me during the time I owned them.
Air Lift Performance: The Reason Why
So why did I switch? For awhile now, I have been looking at air suspension thanks to the Air Lift Performance car being at TopSpeed Motorsports. I had talked to several race drivers about the setup as they had driven it on track and it seemed like the best all around solution for performance and looks. Keep in mind...I knew this was not a dedicated track car setup and I don't intend it to be. I am on track several times a year and I love to hit up the mountains in north Georgia and North Carolina. That is my intended use along with photography, car shows, hauling my 2 year old around and working. This is my DD and I treat it that way. No harnesses full time or cages...just trying to make it an all around performer.
While the Tarmac 2 setup is AWESOME. I had ended up setting the coils up for track use and at that ride height...I was having issues with my previous driveway and a couple other areas. That is when it hit me...wouldn't it be cool to raise the car? Previous air suspension setups came at a huge disadvantage in my opinion. You gave up ride quality to have the looks. While riding super low and hard parking the car dumped can be cool, the reality is that I am a function > form guy so I need something that brings something extra to the table. The ability to adjust ride height for gravel roads (I mtn. bike heavily), driveways and other obstacles was a huge draw to this system.
Air Lift Performance: The Install
When they say if you can install a suspension and amp you can install their system…they are pretty much on target. After adjusting the length of the rear struts to make them longer (threaded), the suspension bolts up just like any other suspension I have put on the car has. The struts/bags are almost completely assembled (air lines need to attach) and everything goes on smoothly.
Before I installed the struts, I ran all of the lines. In the hatch, it was really easy to run front lines inside the car along the sides and breach the wheel well through a grommet that located on either side under the dash. This harness grommet leads you right into the fender liner which is perfect for dropping the line down the strut. In the rear, there are two clear vent hoses on either side under the trunk. I just pushed the airline through those with the vent hose and ended up right behind the rear bumper. There are two cutouts in the frame that I used for routing and brought the line down to the strut. As a test, I did the passenger side down and through the control arm to see if that placement of the line would be better. I am going to monitor that over the next week or so and adjust the positioning of one of the other if needed.
The kit comes with a harness that is ready to basically plug and play. It is your typical power, ground and ignition lead. The instructions say the display will not work if you hook it up to an accessory lead. Luckily, there is a delay on my amps in the trunk so I just hooked it up there and everything worked out perfectly. This also made it so I can air up the system without the car running. I have a massive dry cell battery to support all of the audio and other electronics in the car so I would not recommend doing this on the stock batter.
The tank, compressor and controller got bolted to stock floor board for the hatch. I would have liked to put it in the spare tire well but two JL 13.5’s and 3 amps made that impossible. Luckily, the factory floor board is reinforced with metal so everything was super secure and the board doesn’t bend.
If you are using only two jack stands, be sure to air up the system before moving to another corner. You won’t be able to get the jack out from underneath the car.
After I aired it up…I listened for leaks. Right away there was one on a fitting on the tank that I fixed immediately. After that…I left the system aired up over night. The tank lost pressure and the front left strut did as well. As it ended up, a little bit of soapy water found that one more plug fitting on the tank was leaking and the line at the controller for that strut needed to be recut as it wasn’t perfectly straight. After that…everything was perfect and there hasn’t been a single pressure issue since.
Air Lift Performance: Initial Driving Experience
I have my ride height set at 52 psi in the front and 72 psi in the rear. This works out to just about where I was sitting…just a tad higher on the Tarmac 2’s. I haven’t had the time to take it to the mountains yet so this ride assessment is really just around town and going to the new house.
Overall, the car feels great. It is planted to the ground, turn in feels sharp and there seems to be even less body roll than before. However, there are two major differences that I was not expecting.
1. There are A LOT less small vibrations in the car. Even with the solid top hats and camber plates, the bags on the struts soak up all of the little imperfections in the road (small cracks, bumps, holes, etc) making the ride in the car much smoother. Where the previous setups would feed all of that straight into the car, the Air Lift setup deadens it.
2. The car has a more luxury performance feel. I haven’t cranked up the damping yet so it is still sitting in the center…but with the small vibrations gone and a soft but controlled feel…the car feels more like a M3 or other performance car setup. Even my wife (who is a mechanical engineer from GA Tech that is extremely into cars and setups) made a statement along the same lines as soon as we got on the road. I really noticed it while driving 80 on the highway.
So basically…so far so good. I don’t drive for money…so the extra .10ths I was gaining on track with a fully tuned coil over setup really didn’t mean a thing. This setup…for me…seems to be the perfect balance between show and go that I need. I will check back in on the ride after I get it up to the mountains soon.
Awesome dude. Nice writeup.
Let me know when you plan on going to NC for some driving, Asheville / Mt. Mitchell and the surrounding areas are my stomping grounds I would love to go up there and take you down Gillespie gap and back up cox's creek.
It won't be for awhile. In all reality, the car might not see NC with me ever again. The next month is the busiest I have all year with the move, work trips and other obligations. If I get away at all...it will be during the day on a weekday to the NGA area for a quick trip. Come January...the car will be on the for sale block...
GTR next or wut?
Nope. I am sticking with 4 doors.
Does it have a supercharged V8?
I don't know what you are talking about
I thought the next car was going to be a Cobra kit built by your wife?
Building a daily for her first.
Looking good Rob. I laughed at the flaps in the moving slammed pic.
I'm really looking forward to hearing your impressions of this setup in the mountains. From the sounds of it(schedule) you might not get enough time behind the wheel to really let us know.
What kind of price tag does this type of setup have?
MSRP: $4,164.62 (USD)
So the kit of your choice (manual is cheaper) plus a good 2nd battery based on Robb's review.
I'm trying to get an idea of price comparison to a good set of COs like the T2s. If you go manual I think you're looking at a $500 difference between the 2 different routes.
The kit can be found easily for around 3k.
I have to admit, I would totally do that kit if I could, just for the air out sound when I park. sigh, guess I got some rice in me
I'll let you push the button on Friday.
Are you supposed to air out when you park for any particular time in order to maintain and/or extend lifespan?
Not that I know of and the instructions don't say anything. Right now, my car is sitting at the airport at ride height.
So who has the best deals on this suspension setup? I believe I'm sold especially after seeing the slalom, skidpad and road course comparo.
Just poking around the webz I'm seeing 3K + :eek2:
*FAST&FURIOUS* More than you can afford pal */End QUOTE*
Since he has a coupe, http://bagriders.com/modlab/categories/AIR-RIDE-KITS/SUBARU/IMPREZA/93%2d01/
Yeah sorry about that. I put up the wrong link. Kit is the same price though!
Why would the Autopilot kit cost less than the manual unit?
FWIW...that's around the price I paid for my Tarmac 2's when I bought them.
It's on sale. And (purely assumption from what I have heard)...more people want the V2 so they are having to competitively price it to that level. Not as much competition in the manual stuff anymore.
Yeah my old kit was a manual kit and it was a royal pain sometimes to get all 4 corners exact.
I have never messed with a manual kit before but that is what I have heard.
Some of the latest pictures.
how long does it take to go from full slammed to normal drive height?
A few seconds ala Ice Cube
or slow like a turtle?
A few seconds. It's up really quick. Not hydraulics shoot you in the air quick...but not more than a couple seconds.
Hey Rob do you do anything about alignment? Do you just get it aligned for your most used height....or is alignment out the window once you go bagged? You're one of the few that are actually bagged for the right reasons haha.
You align at drive height. The rest is rarely used at all (at least over an distance) so it really doesn't matter.
Yep...more pictures...of my car...in a similar location.
Playing around with something different. Even added an Air Lift sticker in Photoshop. I really like the idea of adding stickers in post.
Where do you ride? You on Strava?
All over. I am but it has been housing my runs lately not rides.
Cool, we should ride some time. (I am rehabbing my second separated shoulder of the year, but ready to get back out there) Chip gets together a weekly ride every now and then. Just sent you a follow...
Your Topspeed sticker is crooked....or so it appears to be.
Headed up to Gran Torismo East today to get an alignment done. These guys align some of the fastest race cars in the SE and have been doing it for years. Not to mention...they are a great group of guys that love to have you back there asking questions and talking about the car. We are lucky to have them so close.
Yeah I saw that one. Clean car with nice mods. I would never drive that low though.
Not digging that exhaust though!
Me either. I would take the clips off the bumper too.
Did Gabe do your alignment or the old man?
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