Air Suspension VS Suspension Conversion Kit

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The Idea of converting your factory air suspension to a standard coil spring/shock/strut setup is still a relatively new idea. Many people do not know enough about either of these systems to be able to decide. Here we will talk a little about the pros and cons of each system.
There are a huge number of vehicles on the road that come factory with an air suspension. This is not a new technology, air springs have been around for quite some time now. When you have a new and properly functioning air suspension they can be great. Air suspensions provide a smooth ride and many vehicles have the ability to adjust the performance of their air suspension and better fit it to the application that the vehicle is being used for at the time by pressing a button in the vehicle. They also have the ability to increase pressure in the rear when towing loads to provide extra support in the rear of the vehicle at the time. All of this sounds great right, so what are the cons with having an air suspension?
A complete air suspension can be extremely expensive to replace for one. If you only look at the cost of the one failed air bag it may not appear to be so bad at times. With an air suspension you really should be careful with this. There are many cheap air springs out there on the market however they cannot all be trusted.The primary reason that air suspensions fail is the air bags that are part of the air spring are made out of rubber and they dry rot over a period of 5 to 7 years. They develop cracks and start to leak. Extreme heat and extreme cold accelerate the rate of decay, so if you live in the extreme north or the extreme south, your air suspension system will fail faster. There is no way to repair the air bag once it starts to leak, it has to be replaced. With this in mind if you are installing new air bags it is important to make sure that you a buying a quality product made from quality rubber.

After the systems starts leaking, the compressor is usually next to go. Most of the time, the compressor has actually failed before the owner notices there is a problem. The failure of the compressor triggers the check suspension light, but it is already too late. The extent of the repairs required at this point is very expensive. You will not only have to replace your bags but you will need a compressor and dryer which can start to add up very quickly especially if you will need to rely on a mechanic to make the repairs for you. Usually when you have an air spring go bad the problem is just beginning.

You Still Have Other Air Suspension Components That Will Also Need Replacing:

  • Other Air Struts/Air Shocks/Air Springs: All Of Your Air Struts/Air Shocks/Air Springs Were Installed At The Same Time And They All Go Bad At About The Same Rate. If One Is Already Leaking, The Others Can't Be Far Behind. For A Proper Repair, All Of Them Need To Be Replaced At The Same Time.
  • Dryer: Once Your Air Suspension Starts Leaking, There Will Be Moisture In The System. Moisture Damages The Air Suspension From The Inside. You Will Have To Replace The Dryer To Stop This Damage.
  • Compressor/Air Pump: When Your Air Suspension Started Leaking, Your Compressor/Air Pump Started Working Harder To Try To Keep The System Inflated. As The System Leaked More, It Worked Even Harder. The Compressor In Your Air Suspension Was Not Designed To Work That Hard. By The Time Your Air Suspension Leaks Down Completely, Your Compressor Has Failed. Buying Air Struts And Taking The Time To Install Them Only To Find Out You Still Need To Replace Your Compressor Can Be Very Frustrating And Expensive.
  • Ride Height Sensor: Chances Are Your Vehicle Has 100,000 miles On It, Maybe More. The Ride Height Sensor Is A Moving Part, And Like All Moving Parts, They Wear Out.
  • Solenoid: The Solenoid Regulates The Air Pressure For Each Air Strut/Air Shock/Air Spring. Solenoids Start To Leak As They Wear Out Causing Your Suspension To Sag Or To Lean. This Will Cause The Ride Height Sensor To Send A Signal To Activate The Compressor In An Attempt To Inflate The Air Suspension And Level Out The Vehicle. This Excessive Work Load Will Eventually Lead To Total Failure Of The Compressor.
Luckily there are products out there now that will solve many of these problems. There are quite a few companies out there now that offer Air to Non Air Suspension Conversion Kits. Just as with the air suspensions not all products are created equal. You will want to make sure that you are buying a quality kit using quality springs and shocks so as to get maximum performance and longevity from the product that you are purchasing. Take a look at Strutmasters Suspension Conversion Kits. They offer kits featuring top notch Eibach Springs, and shocks and struts from Monroe and Bilstein. All of their kits are designed and built right here in the U.S.A and will provide the best performance of any conversion kit on the market. So what is the difference between the air suspension and the conversion kit.
As far as the ride and the feel, if you read through reviews and forums online especially for the Strutmasters kits you will find that many people say that the ride may be slightly stiffer with the Conversion kit but that the vehicle actually handles better and is more responsive when cornering. Mnay people even say that they do not notice any difference in the ride and feel at all. You will loose the ability to press the button and have your suspension adjust to your application but if you are like most people you never use this function anyway. Also with the conversion kits for many vehicles especially the SUV'S you have the option to purchase manual air springs to for the rear of the vehicle to accompany the shock and spring. With the manual airbags installed you have the ability to inflate it via a schrader valve and add additional support for towing applications. With most light towing applications this will not really be necessary.
The best thing about the conversion kits is the peace of mind that you get from it. Never again will you have to worry about going out to leave for work to find your vehicle is sitting on the ground and stranded. If you have an air suspension and this does happen to you try and avoid driving the vehicle at all cost as it can be very dangerous. The conversion kit will eliminate all of the air suspension parts that are prone to failure like the air shocks, compressor, sensors, etc. The Conversion Kits are simple yet effective and solve many of the issues of having an air suspension.
The Strutmasters conversion kits are also designed to directly replace your factory air suspension. They will bolt directly into place with no additional modification required. You will simply need to remove the air suspension component and replace it with the conversion kit. There are videos on YouTube to help walk you through the process in addition to the instructions that are provided with the kit. They also have a great technical support department to answer any questions that you may have about the kit or the installation process.
In the end it is really up to the customer. Some people are willing to shell out the extra money and risk having to pay even more down the road to keep the air suspension, while others find it much more easy and comforting to just replace it with a conversion kit and not have to worry about it again. If you are capable of working on your own vehicle and have the time and money for the extra maintenance then the air may not be such a bad option for you. If you do not have the time, money or ability to do all of the repairs and maintenance yourself then the Conversion kit is likely a much better option for you.
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