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

              
   
   
  1. #1
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    Cold Winter Air: AirREX Air Suspension & AccuAir E-Level Impress

    http://www.airsociety.net/2013/01/co...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.



    I 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.



    The 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.



    Naturally, 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.



    Starting 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.



    The 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.



    There 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.



    Being 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.



    My 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.



    I 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.



    I 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.



    I’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.


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  3. #2
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    Great article and photos! I'm still pretty new to air suspension. I just purchased Airlift struts for my integra and will be running the Autopilot V2 system.
    You mention using alcohol or antifreeze in your tank. How exactly should it be used, how much, etc? I live in Colorado and want to make sure my newly purchased gear gives me years of use. In recent weeks temps have fallen below freezing, in the 10-20s F. Also, should any type of grease, protectant, etc. be applied to the rubber of the bags themselves?

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    thanks dude!

    nice write up. I was hesitant too. upstate ny, by Lake Ontario. got e-level as well, and had to plow through a bit of snow, even go stuck, but everything is still solid.

    I added air line antifreeze.

    do you, or anyone else, still air out on snow?

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by phenom3030 View Post
    Great article and photos! I'm still pretty new to air suspension. I just purchased Airlift struts for my integra and will be running the Autopilot V2 system.
    You mention using alcohol or antifreeze in your tank. How exactly should it be used, how much, etc? I live in Colorado and want to make sure my newly purchased gear gives me years of use. In recent weeks temps have fallen below freezing, in the 10-20s F. Also, should any type of grease, protectant, etc. be applied to the rubber of the bags themselves?
    You should add a small amount into the air lines, not too much maybe a teaspoon.

    The bags might wear out over years and years of salt and change in temperature but I haven't seen any sign of it in mine yet. I think I read that you can coat them with grease to keep them moisturized during the winter but I'd like confirmation on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by POMAH View Post
    thanks dude!

    nice write up. I was hesitant too. upstate ny, by Lake Ontario. got e-level as well, and had to plow through a bit of snow, even go stuck, but everything is still solid.

    I added air line antifreeze.

    do you, or anyone else, still air out on snow?
    I rarely air out during this time of year. I've got a ton of ice buildup in my fenders and don't want to add extra stress to the car by doing so.

    Funny thing though, I got stuck in the snow during a huge winter storm a few weeks back and aired out to get myself free. I compacted the snow under my car with the weight of the car which helped me get loose lol

  6. #5
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    Ricky,
    Nice overview of the products
    Air springs are generally very durable when it comes to the climate changes. I do not suggest greasing them. This has the potential to allow debris to stick to the spring and causing more harm than good.
    Last edited by Ian@AirLift; 01-03-2013 at 10:21 AM. Reason: grammar, who needs it?

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian@AirLift View Post
    Ricky,
    Nice overview of the products
    Air springs are generally very durable when it comes to the climate changes. I do not suggest greasing them. This has the potential to allow debris to stick to the spring and causing more harm than good.
    Do you recommend any type of preventative maintenance for winter? Having just received my Air Lift struts for my integra and the Autopilot V2 management, I want to make sure I do everything I can to maintain them correctly.

  9. #7
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    Monthly tank draining. Make sure the manifold is being fed from the highest point of the tank. If you go from the lowest, you're guaranteed to push moisture into the manifold and freezing issues are more likely to occur. Viair check valves can freeze. You can either get a larger check valve or mount the check valve to the head of the compressor. As the compressor head heats up, the check valve will heat quicker and unfreeze.

  10. #8
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    SICK RICK!
    i've foregone line anti freeze and water traps by running an auto purge line from my tank. can purge all day long with my iphone.
    people need to remember that our tires are made up of the exact same material as are subject to much more use and abuse.
    happy travels guys. treat your air setup the way YOU want to be treated and it will last a long time.
    '09 ford flex - bagg'd

  11. #9
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    Ricky do u park outside at night with those temps? Do u have issues with compressor filling super slow or like it is thawing?

    It was 10 degrees here this morning and took three times as long to get 10psi then normal

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    Quote Originally Posted by muzachead View Post
    Ricky do u park outside at night with those temps? Do u have issues with compressor filling super slow or like it is thawing?

    It was 10 degrees here this morning and took three times as long to get 10psi then normal
    I park in the cold every night and I don't have issues with the compressors taking longer than usual to fill up the tank. ViAir and cold weather seem to be a hit or miss situation.

  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzachead View Post
    Ricky do u park outside at night with those temps? Do u have issues with compressor filling super slow or like it is thawing?

    It was 10 degrees here this morning and took three times as long to get 10psi then normal
    I have 2 400's I believe, and mine take a bit longer in cold to fill, 5gal tank and 1/4" lines

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwee View Post
    SICK RICK!
    i've foregone line anti freeze and water traps by running an auto purge line from my tank. can purge all day long with my iphone.
    I would like info on this!
    How can your phone control the draining of the tank?

  15. #13
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    @klibre.............
    i picked up the iphone controller from bagriders made by zaetech which hooks up to my vu4. we then used a 5v relay and connected that to an electronic purge solenoid which is on the drain port of my tank. it normally works with the press of a button. we stuck the 5v relay on that line and under auxiliary section of the app, i press it and it purges the tank.
    '09 ford flex - bagg'd

  16. #14
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    Wouldn't a air dryer be better than antifreeze that seems to turn to gel when cold (-30c) temperature comes ? Could it prevent the valve system from working properly, witch is one of the most valuable part of the whole system ? I know its a 300$ investment but maybe worth it no ?

 

 

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