How to Install Air Adjustable Shock Absorbers

Written by harvey birdman
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Adjustable air shock absorbers allow you to change the height of the car dynamically. They replace your spring actuated shock absorbers with gas bag shock absorbers that are inflated and deflated via an air tank. Using a remote control you can then make your car go up and down for better ride height. A lower height makes your car go faster on the road by decreasing drag on the underbody while a raised ride height allows your car to handle off-roading better.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Car jack
  • Jack Stands
  • Wrench set
  • Screwdriver set
  • Air suspension kit
  • Power drill
  • Safety goggles
  • Assistant
  • Zip Ties

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  1. 1

    Drive your car into your garage. The process will take up a lot of space so make sure that your garage is relatively clean before you begin. Slide the car jack under the front right of the car frame and jack the car up. Slide the jack stand under the frame at the jack point. Repeat this process for all the corners of the car until it is elevated at all four wheels.

  2. 2

    Remove all four wheels by using a wrench to rotate off the lug nuts on the wheels. Place the lug nuts in a safe place where they will not be lost and then pull the wheel off by hand. Be careful with wheels over 18 inches as they can be very heavy, it is always OK to ask for help when dealing with heavy objects. Remove all four wheels to expose the shock absorber struts and suspension arms.

  3. 3

    Remove the front shocks by first unbolting the top bolt that connects the top of the shock strut to your car's underbody. The size of the wrench will depend on the make and model of your car or truck. Once the top bolt is loose do not take it off. Leave the top bolt on to keep it in place while you unbolt the bottom bolt on the strut. Once they are both loose, pull the old strut off by hand. Repeat this process for the other front shock absorber.

  4. 4

    Remove the rear leaf springs (if your car has them) by unbolting the front and rear of the leaf spring. If your car uses regular shock absorbers then repeat step 3 for the rear wheels. A leaf spring is a layer of three to five steel bars that ride on top of the rear axle. Pull the leaf springs out by hand once the bolts are removed.

  5. 5

    Bolt the top of the air shock strut to the underbody of the car with a wrench. Bolt in the bottom of the air shock strut to the suspension arm over the wheel. Place the air tank in the boot of the car and the air compressor in the engine bay. The air compressor has U-bolts that are bolted down over one of the engine bay struts. Drill a hole in bottom of your boot and run the air line to the air compressor. Hook the power leads from the compressor to your battery. Run the air lines from the pump to each air shock. Use zip ties to anchor the lines in place along the underbody.

  6. 6

    Drill a hole in the firewall of the car and slide the control wire from the air compressor to the passenger compartment. Plug the control wire into the remote control provided with the kit. Put the wheels back on the car and then lower the car with a car jack. Turn the car on and allow the air compressor ten minutes to fill the air tank before you adjust the air shocks.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear safety goggles whenever working with power tools.

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