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Cold Winter Air: AirREX Air Suspension & AccuAir E-Level Impress


One of the most asked questions I get in person and online is: “Does air suspension hold up in winter?”  I figured that with the recent spell of brutal winter storms in Montreal, Canada dropping more than 2 feet of snow within a 24 hour timespan and the recent drop in temperature to -23 Celcius (-10 Fahrenheit), now would be the right time to showcase what my AirREX air suspension and AccuAir E-Level managed B8 Audi A4 is made of.  Please note that this is my own personal opinion and your own personal experiences may vary. airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-015I won’t lie, life on the 45.5° parallel during winter can be tough and although years of bitter winters may have toughened Montrealers up somewhat, the same can’t always be said about our cars.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-002The beauty of a fresh coat of winter powder quickly goes away as soon as the salt trucks come out. It’s not uncommon for our cars to start disintegrating into piles of rust and for breakdowns that normally would only occur after years of use hit sooner and more frequently.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-012Naturally, years of unforgiving Canadian winters made me extremely hesitant to drive on air ride, especially considering a chunk of ice, salt or stone could more easily hit and damage one of the E-Level sensors or air lines leaving me stranded on the side of the road while I wait for towing, but this has not happened. My winter experience on air ride has so far been extremely positive.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-004Starting with the management, I’ve done what most air ride junkies would recommend not doing for the sole purpose of testing to see how it would hold up under the absolute worst conditions possible: failing to add anti-freeze or alcohol into my tank & water trap. The purpose of this is to prevent condensation formed by the compressors from freezing and damaging the VU-4 manifold, air lines or any number of sensitive equipment housed in my trunk. Please be a responsible winter air ride user and put anti-freeze in your tank, it will save you loads of headaches during the winter.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-005The E-Level sensors have so far been hit with enough ice, salt and snow to last me a lifetime but have held up superbly. I have noticed an occasional blip in the sensors when we had our massive snowfall dump where one of them would occasionally read as an error when I was plowing through snow that reached to my knees, however this quickly went away as soon as the buildup was freed from the sensor area from simply driving around town. I have yet to replace a sensor due to damage or due to error which speaks volumes to the product as a whole.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-008There has been one minor issue in my management setup and this stemmed from a reverse leak in my system; air was leaking into the system instead of leaking out of it.  After talking with John from Bag Riders, we discovered that the cause of this problem came from debris being lodged inside the VU-4 manifold (either by being sucked up in the ViAir compressor or from install) that once removed fixed the problem and quickly sent me back on my way.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-007Being confident in the management, I needed to make sure that my air struts would hold up just as well. The last thing I needed was a blowout or seized coil to kill my Christmas spirit. Note that I did not coat my coils with grease to prevent debris from getting between the threads, this was done intentionally to simulate a “worst case scenario” type of driving situation.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-019My bags have functioned near perfectly, they have yet to leak air or stop working safe an issue stemming from debris being stuck inside one of the lines (possibly from the same compressor issue that gripped my manifold). Compressed air blown into the line dislodged the debris and I was quickly back on the road.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-010I knew when I first bagged my car that I wanted to drive it all winter long on air and by doing so was taking the risk of being stranded due to failure, but that simply hasn’t happened. I’m running my setup against all preventative care suggestions known to our Online Community and have yet to have my bags or management let me down. The sole issues I seem to be having come from the compressor, but even at that I have yet to find myself in a major emergency.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-014I know that I don’t speak for everyone in this article but I did my best to be an asshole to my equipment and it has simply not returned the favor. With the coming of 2013 and natural improvements in technology, I hope this article helps guide you to two brands that seem to already have the bases covered. airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-001I’d really love to hear your winter stories and feedback on this article, please do so in our forums and help us build up our collective knowledge on air ride so that we can all benefit and learn how to better survive the cold winter. Remember folks, don’t do what I did; take care of your equipment and it will take care of you.airsociety-b8-audi-a4-bagged-airrex-accuair-elevel-air-ride-suspension-winter-013

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