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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been wanting to do air ride on my car since I got it and I had a hard time finding good information on doing it. I ended up jumping right into it when my wife, mother, and my friend hooked me up with the necessary equipment to do the install.

Here is my experience.

The "stuff" I used is:
4 Airlift D2500 Air Bags
Airlift Autopilot V2 Management 1/4" Kit
Air Bag Cups from www.yourcustomcar.com
Front Shock Relocation Kit from www.airbag-depot.com
Monroe SS Shocks front and back
3CFab Extended Rear Control Arms

Most of the Goods


The first thing I did was get the bag cups powder coated and mounted to the bags.


The wire harness for the air management was run next.
This was pretty easy. Most of the wiring was able to be secured to the body using existing wire holding pieces from the factory.
I ran it on the passenger side, since the battery is on that side as well.

Rear seats were removed. Door sill trim, front and back were removed.




There's a plastic wire valley under the carpet that allows the wire to be run front to back neatly.



There's metal tabs behind the rear seat that were folded down to hold the wires in place there.


To get the wires into the engine bay, I drilled a hole under the passenger dash, below the wire harness there, and protected with a rubber grommet.

Here's the black and red wire coming in under the existing wire harness.


The included inline fuse and connectors were soldered on and connected to the correct terminals on the battery. Another inline fuse was connected to the signal wire and connected to the PCM fuse in the fuse box using a little tab included in the kit.


The controller for the V2 management was setup in the ash tray and the wire was routed to the main harness.




I used some plywood to make a setup for the air management and test fit it in the trunk.


Next the air tank was powder coated and water trap, air line fitting, and air hose connector were added.


Next, the shock relocation brackets were welded in.
This took a while because the fuel lines are run very close to where they were mounted, so care was taken to reduce the heat in that area.
Driver side
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Passenger Side




Painted



The next part was the worst.
Since I was going to have the front end apart, I figured I should replace the 20 year old bushing and ball joints.
My crappy front shocks disassembled as I tried to remove them.


Ball joints disconnected and spring is out. I left the tie rods connected to the knuckle and pushed it out of the way.


Control arms out. The lower was fairly simple, the upper was a pain, mainly because of the bolts that hold the cross shaft to the frame.


The bushings on the control arms are a HUGE PITA! I would not do these again if I needed to. Either a shop or new arms altogether.
Here's a couple of the removed bushing sleeves.


After disassembling the control arms they were sand blasted for powder coating.
Before and After


With everything out of the way, the frame needed to be trimmed a bit for clearance of the air bags. The cut areas were painted later to help prevent corrosion.


The air lines were routed to the front through the frame.
Luckily, on the driver side there was a holder with an open space that the airline fit inside perfectly.


Comparison of old front spring and front air bag


Lower control arm mounted and air bag installed.


After both sides were taken care of, I moved onto the rear end. Apparently I didn't take any pics of the upper control arms on.
I ended up replacing the bolts that hold the upper control arms on, but since they're not produced any more, we used grade 8 hardware and tacked it to the frame to prevent it from spinning.
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Front shock mounted to completed front end.


I had removed the lower control arms, rear shocks, and removed one upper control arm at a time in order to remove the rear end housing bushings.
Removed sleeves


New Upper control arms with new Monroe shocks


The rear air bag was mounted, which was one of the hardest parts of the build. There's not much room up on top of the upper spring mount to get a wrench in there and tighten. I managed to do it with my 3/8" ratchet.
A hole was drilled through the upper spring perch for the air line and everything was secured.


After the rear bags were mounted and the airline was ran, I needed to work on the trunk setup.
I laid out everything the way I wanted


Soldered a connector on the end of the air compressor wires


Wrapped the board in black vinyl


Attached all the parts to the board


Drilled holes in the trunk floor for the bulkhead unions for the air lines


Connected air lines to the bulkheads underneath the car.
I was careful to avoid the fuel lines when drilling.


The trunk setup in and all hooked up.
Not finalized, but working. I still need to route the water trap drain and the tank fill/drain.
Also, I designed a custom logo and had it cut from vinyl for the tank!


Picture right after I had it done, tools still in the driveway.


A couple other pics completed

 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've driven it quite a bit so far.

At first the ride was terrible. I did some investigating and found that the lower cups in the rear weren't sitting on the axle properly and made the ride super bouncy.
Once I got that situated, the ride was amazingly better.
It rides basically like stock now.

Thanks!

I'll try to answer any questions anyone has.
 

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Couple of suggestions to help get the car lower up front.

  1. Replace the bump stop with a shorter one.
  2. Trim the "tabs" on the frame at the rear leg of the front control arms (circled in photo) and increase the notch in the pocket above the front leg of the control arm.

Also, check the clearance between the tie-rods and the frame. They can have an interference when the car is aired out.
 

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My car has a similar front shock setup and I'm very unhappy on how much it limits the turning radius. My shocks have been dented and scraped from the inside of the tire hitting them. Anyone know of a shock airbag combo that will fit the Impalas. I know they're expensive but I can't think of another solution.
 

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Ride Tech has an air-over-shock assembly that will fit the B-Body.

I've had 1st generation Shockwaves installed in a wagon since 2002. Its shortcomings are the bushings used that allow it to be a bolt-in solution, however. The weight of the car really requires the use of the spherical bearing mounts both top and bottom, which would necessitate a custom installation.
 

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Looks like those will require modifying the lower A arm and also the top mount quite a bit.
If you leave the Shockwave as-is and follow the ART installation, it's a bolt-in that will require only trimming of the frame and drilling out the shock-stud hole in the frame. Both of which you'd have already done for the traditional bags.

If you were to go with my suggested modifications, then yes, you'd be in for modifying the control arm and frame. I may be possible to do so without modification to those items, but you'd increase the overall length of the assembly and reduce the amount of lowering achieved by the setup.
 

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airride

Hey guys I have the shockwaves going in front of my SS.I am using the Hq shocks.I have the complete Accuair system going in also.I have heard that the shockwaves are not are not as good as bags but I did,nt want to have the turning radius limit.
If u look up Teamss you will see an SS with the shockwaves in the front.
Paul.
 

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Here is what I see on their website. The lower mount is the through bolt design.
That is a stock photo. Both the upper and lower mounts duplicate that of a standard shock used in a B-Body and bolt in to the same mounting features.

The upper mount is a stud, like this:



The lower mount uses a trunnion like this through the bushing:

 

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Found a pic of Teamss and he's running after market control arms. I always thought the factory LCA's would not support a coil over type setup and that the load would not be supported unless it's sitting in the spring pocket.
 

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