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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I get to work, has anyone done this before? Any tips or tricks you've found when installing these?

Any feedback is welcome, thanks!
 

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Follow the instructions, have good jacks, take your time, use talc to stop the squeaks, don't overfill them
 

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I am installing mine today. Just need to figure out where to place the fill adapter. I have a small bracket on my hitch I may mount it to. We'll see. I'm thinking it may be easier to remove the wheels while jacked up to get around everything. Routing the airlines looks to be the biggest pain. Will let y'all know how it goes.
 

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Not too bad - took about 2 hours. Easiest to jack up each side and remove the rear wheels. Getting the air bag into the spring takes great patience. Use a wooden spoon. The real trouble is the muffler is right in the way if you do the air lines as shown in the instructions. I did the passenger side first and ran the air line from underneath the spring above and along the rear "axle", tying it up as you go. Then I teed it near the driver side wheel and ran it back to the rear bumper. I drilled a 5/16" hole in the plastic below the bumper cover and mounted the valve. Inflated to 30 psi and did a test drive. Installed a cargo carrier and I (250 lbs) stood on it. The van barely dipped (maybe 1/4").

A word - those retainer clips for the air lines are not easy to work with and easy to bend. Use real pliers. Moving them up to secure the lines to the bags is not easy. Patience is required and you will be rewarded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
After trying to figure out how to run the "t" to the rear and avoid the muffler/exhaust system, I found a small hole just in front of the rear tires and on both sides, and really close to the springs.

So something in my mind went "hey", and I sued these to mount the valves and opting for an install with each bag on it's own "circuit".

Pics are below?



 

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Smart idea, I wish I had thought of that
 

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I ran mine up into the cabin to avoid the exhaust. I haven't done it yet 'cause I need more air line, but I plan to add the "T" and tuck the fitting into the jack compartment. The advantage to having them on the same "circuit" is that both will have the same fill.
 

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Is anyone aware of a Canadian on-line distributor of air springs? I've found a couple of US based sites but I've been burned before by customs and brokerage fees. Thanks for your help!
 

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edabbey said:
Is anyone aware of a Canadian on-line distributor of air springs? I've found a couple of US based sites but I've been burned before by customs and brokerage fees. Thanks for your help!
I bought mine @ Hitch City in Toronto. You could call Airlift and ask for a distrubutor near you.
Also, Goldwing Auto Care in Ottawa sells Airlift
Hitch City 5200 Dixie Rd. , Mississauga, Ontario L4W 1E4 905-625-4664 Hitchcity.com
Goldwing Auto Care 48 Colonade Road North, Ottawa, Ontario K2E 7J6 613-727-7000 Goldwingautocare.com
 

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scubajoe said:
I ran mine up into the cabin to avoid the exhaust. I haven't done it yet 'cause I need more air line, but I plan to add the "T" and tuck the fitting into the jack compartment. The advantage to having them on the same "circuit" is that both will have the same fill.
I like RSTANEK's mounting point. I plan to try the install next weekend and I think my plan will be to run the passenger side to the driver side, T-off and mount the bulkhead fitting in that hole. One circuit. One nicely concealed inflation point. I'll try to take pics along the way.

BTW, this purchase was in response to our camping trip over Memorial Day weekend in which we went tent camping with a loaded van, including rooftop carrier and a 5-bike hitch rack that resulted in about 2.5" of ground clearance.
 

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Another trick when inserting the hoses, get soap water and Q-Tips. Wet the Q-Tip with the soap water and wet the inside of the hoses before attaching it to the air bags, T fittings, and valve. It will allow it to slide on better.

I used my son's bubble solution and it worked well.

Just a suggestion.
 

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I ran mine with the line out the top and you can secure the lines easier because you do not have to allow for spring travel. Installed my air valve on the hitch plate that is provided to fasten the trailer safety chains.
 

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This past Sunday, I installed the Airlift kit on my 2008 Sienna LE (FWD). I’d like to claim that it only took me 2 hours or so (seems to be the current time target), but this Fibber would be fibbin’ if I lay claim to anything less than about 4 hours for the job. Probably because I was overthinking every step and redid much of it twice, so that might account for the 2x factor. In the end, I’m pretty happy with the outcome, but a little concerned that part of the routing near the rear left wheel well might leave the lines vulnerable to ice buildup. We’ll see if further mods are necessary as winter approaches. A couple of things I thought I’d post for others considering this:

1) I put the van up on jack stands, and removed both rear wheels. That allowed me to also install the rear mud guards that have been hanging around for several months. It also afforded me a clear & unobstructed view and access. I recommend doing so.

2) I began by cleaning the springs and seats. Metal burrs, rust spots and stuck on road tar are your enemy. The air bladders must slide with minimum rubbing and friction. I buffed the black painted metal clean, and applied a liberal coating of silicon spray. I even had to chisel off one little chunk of stray welded steel on a lower seat that would have surely ripped the bladder with time. I also sprayed the red bladder with silicon and wiped it clean. Yet despite this effort, I still hear some new creaks and groans from the rear in use.

3) I installed them valve up, with the air line entering thru the hole in the top seat, and the supplied red disk on top. When I lowered the vehicle the first time it was quite evident that the bladder fills pretty much the entire spring, and does push against the lower seat with no protection. I found that the round plastic lid from a quart takeout Chinese food container fit within the confines of the spring perfectly. I used some RTV to glue in to the lower seat, and the air bladder nested in place. It might not make a real difference, but it made me feel better!

4) Rather than attempt to make the connection within the spring, I ran the lines down into the spring and out the last coil with two feet to spare, and inserted the line and clamp with relative ease while sitting beside the van. I then carefully folded the bladder and inserted the completed assembly into the spring, making sure the line and disk snaked back up and everything remained unkinked. Again, the advantage of having the tire off. Oh, so how do you keep the bags flat for easy insertion? Snake all the lines first, compress the two bags, and plug them in. If everything is leak free, they will stay deflated!

5) I opted to have separate channels, so ran two lines with individual Schrader valves. Uneven weighted loads could have the effect of forcing air out of the heavy side and actually pumping up the light side. Not what you want! Even in a long sweeping turn the compression on the outside wheel could raise the pressure on the inside wheel, potentially increasing body lean. In our lab we have air suspension tables with feedback sensors and regulators. That hardware doesn’t exist here, so you need to adjust pressures to compensate, and only fully separate lines will allow for this. I thought about getting fancy and putting in a manual valve for easy equalization (I have one for this diameter hose), but figured that with a digital gauge I can fill them close enough to even (or offset if I feel the need).

6) Given the exhaust pipe running out the passengers side, I opted to run the right side line across the van following the hydraulic brake line attached to the body. At first I was going to follow the beam axle, but as the bags are mounted up and the top seat is fixed in place, it didn’t seem to make sense to then tether the line to a moving suspension parts. This does put it a little closer to the muffler, however. We’ll see if this was a good call or not…. I left a few inches of slack above each upper seat just in case I ever need to replace a failed bag.

7) Once over on the drivers side, the two lines run straight back on the outside of the seat well pan, next to the hitch mount, and to the rear bumper area. And that is where I ran out of line, so I ended up put the two Schrader valves in the rear valance a foot in from the left edge. To me, that is quite convenient, and well protected. The panel is reasonably strong, and doesn’t deflect much when pushed. I consider the kit to be a bit skimpy on hose, so be careful with your routing. If you go with my plan, you’ll need every inch.

8) You might notice that there isn’t much to attach the lines to when running along the outside of the van. I fabricated two attachment points. The first site I actually drilled a small hole in a thin metal spot along the weld seam. At the second there was a small hole in the outer sheet of a double layer panel, and I modified a plastic push rivet, added a plastic tie, and RTV’ed it into place. In retrospect, I’m afraid this run might be too exposed, and vulnerable to snow & ice packing. It might get a redo down the road.

9) I let my wife drive it today with 10 psi. Even with this little air, bouncing on the rear bumper produces less deflection. The static height of the bottom of the Curt hitch on an empty van is actually up about a half inch over fully deflated. She noticed no ill effects in driveability, but it wasn’t enough of a ‘lift’ to keep the van from bottoming out on a crude country driveway we regularly have trouble with. I guess I’ll try upping it a bit prior to next week’s flute lessons! We’ll have the van fully loaded in a few weeks, so that will be the real test.

Pictures to follow!
 
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Lets see if these adequately tell the story.

On the food lids - I did trim the little nubs away to provide a completely flat dish.
 

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Installing with the lines up is a smart idea. Mine were installed lines down and the lines were ripped off on a rutted up dirt road!
 

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Ouch..... That bites.
 
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