If you own a vehicle equipped with air shocks and wonder whether replacing them with regular shocks is possible, you’re not alone. Air shocks are a type of suspension component that uses compressed air to adjust the ride height and stiffness of the suspension.
On the other hand, regular shocks, also known as conventional or hydraulic shocks, utilize hydraulic fluid to dampen the suspension’s movements. Fluid leaking from the shock absorber is critical for this vehicle suspension system. While both types of shocks serve the same fundamental purpose of improving ride comfort and handling, they have distinct characteristics and installation requirements.
In this article, we’ll explore replacing air shocks with regular shocks, the steps to convert air suspension into regular shocks, the advantages and disadvantages of air suspension, and if you can replace air suspension with coilovers.
The short answer is yes, you can replace air shocks with regular shocks. However, there are several important considerations to keep in mind when it comes to air shocks vs regular shocks:
Before replacing, you must ensure that the regular shocks you plan to install are compatible with your vehicle’s make and model. Manufacturers often offer different suspension options for various trim levels or packages, so selecting the correct shocks that match your vehicle’s specifications is essential.
2. Ride Height and Performance: Air leveling system
It allows for adjustable ride height, and switching to regular shocks will lose this feature. Regular shocks have fixed ride height, so your vehicle will maintain a consistent height regardless of the load it carries.
While regular shocks offer excellent ride comfort and handling characteristics, consider other options for load-leveling shock absorbers if your vehicle frequently carries heavy loads.
3. Towing Capacity
If you use your vehicle for towing, air shocks might have been chosen to enhance towing capacity and stability. When replacing air shocks with regular shocks, confirming that the new shocks can handle the same towing capacity or finding alternative solutions to maintain safe towing capabilities is crucial.
4. Consult a Professional
Suppose you need clarification on the compatibility or suitability of regular shocks for your vehicle. In that case, it’s best to consult a qualified mechanic or a dealership specializing in your vehicle’s brand. They can provide expert advice and ensure a proper installation.
Here is a step-by-step method to convert Air Suspension into regular Shocks.
1. Prepping for Removal
Begin by ensuring the ignition is switched off. Set the steering to straight ahead and disconnect the battery. This will prevent electrical shorts from occurring while you work on the suspension.
2. Raise the Vehicle
Use a lifting platform to raise the body separately from the wheels. Lift the body at the lifting points prescribed by the vehicle manufacturer.
3. Wheel Removal
Continue by removing the wheel lug nuts. Once the lug nuts are removed, carefully take off the wheel. It will give you access to the air suspension components.
4. Disconnect the Air Lines
Airlines will connect the air struts to the air compressor. Disconnect these lines by turning the retaining clips counterclockwise.
5. Disconnect the Air Strut
Follow the short guides below to disconnect the Air Strut.
- Disconnect the strut control cable connector located in the fender well.
- Loosen and remove the two bolts holding the bottom of the air strut to the lower bracket.
- Raise the hood and disconnect the air supply line to the strut assembly.
6. Proceed to remove the Air Strut
Remove the three nuts holding the top mount to the strut, then carefully remove the air struts.
7. Install Regular Shocks
Install the regular shocks in place of the air shocks and air springs. The regular shocks should be installed in the exact location as the air struts. Secure them using the provided mounting hardware or manufacturer-recommended components.
9. Connect the Airlines
Connect the air lines to the regular shocks.
10. Verify Proper Installation
Double-check all connections, fasteners, and components to ensure they are correctly installed and secured. Make sure there are no loose parts that could compromise safety or performance.
11. Test the Suspension
Take your vehicle for a test drive to evaluate the new suspension setup. Pay attention to ride comfort, handling, and stability. If you encounter any issues, address them promptly.
Like all products, one must carefully examine their advantages or flaws before deploying them into their vehicle. The air suspension is excellent at maintaining heights even under uneven loads.
For instance, in air shocks vs. gas shocks,gas shocks use nitrogen that is installed in the fluid chambers to maintain pressure and height. However, air shocks have an air bladder that offers better lift by using compressed air as a spring to maintain heights.
The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of air suspension.
Advantages of air suspension include:
1. Ability to Maintain a Given Height Under Various Loads: Even with uneven loading, the system maintains the correct position of the machine relative to the road surface. The driver can raise or lower the vehicle’s suspension, depending on how they want to drive, how much weight they need to carry, or their preference.
This feature is beneficial for driving off-road, going into low-clearance places, and making the car more lightweight when moving at high speed.
2. Improved Ride Comfort: It is much more convenient for drivers and passengers to ride in a car with Air Suspension than with an OEM self-leveling shock absorber. The airbags absorb road imperfections and shocks more effectively, reducing vibrations and jolt inside the vehicle.
In addition, the air suspension is very quiet. A car equipped with air suspension moves smoothly without jerking. The body of such a vehicle does not sway, and in turn, the role of the car is minimal. All this contributes to good handling of the vehicle on the road.
3. Increase in Mileage: A car with air suspension significantly increases the mileage. Subject to all the manufacturer’s recommendations, such a car can safely cover up to one million kilometers
Disadvantages of air suspension include:
1. Cost: The first disadvantage of air suspension is its cost. Modern systems are equipped with various auxiliary functions such as a pneumatic signal, automatic tire pressure increase Etc. This, of course, does not reduce the cost of construction; therefore, in the modern automotive industry, air suspensions are installed mainly on trucks and Business Class Cars.
2. Constant Care and Maintenance: Air Shocks can’t handle dirt, dust, or sand, so they have to be checked and cleaned all the time. Otherwise, bad shocks will cause unexpected tire wear. This becomes a difficult task, given the state of most roads.
3. Power Consumption: Air suspension systems require power to operate the air compressor and electronic components, which can slightly impact fuel efficiency.
It is possible to replace air suspension with coilovers. Coilovers are a type of suspension system that blend coil springs and shock absorbers into a single unit. This makes the ride height and damping characteristics adjustable.
Switching from air suspension to coilovers has some benefits, such as making the car easier to drive, giving it better handling, and possibly lowering the cost of servicing. Before making the switch, however, seeking professional advice and ensuring you have the appropriate knowledge and resources before proceeding is essential.
In conclusion, replacing air shocks with regular shocks is possible, but it’s essential to consider the compatibility, ride height, towing capacity, and adjustments required for your vehicle. While regular shocks are a reliable and widely used suspension solution, they may provide a different level of adjustability and load-carrying capacity than air shocks.
If you decide to proceed with the replacement, seek professional assistance to ensure a seamless installation and address any specific concerns related to your vehicle’s suspension system. By carefully evaluating your needs and understanding the differences between air shocks and regular shocks, you can make an informed decision that best suits your driving preferences and requirements.