3 Common Types of Air Suspension Systems

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Air Suspension is an important functionality of vehicles. The three most popular air suspension systems are rubber bellows air springs, sleeve-style air springs and coil spring airbags. These air suspension systems can fulfill the unique automotive demands of different customers.

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3 Common Types of Air Suspension Systems The factory-installed coil springs on your 4WD vehicle or muscle car have limited capacities. When this capacity is reached the rear end of the vehicle begins to “sag” which can cause the vehicle to bottom out and diminish driving performance. Air suspension systems – including coil spring air bags sleeve air springs and rubber bellows – are designed to better distribute the weight of these loads as well as provide a greater level of performance controls for the driver. Yet each type of air suspension system provides benefits and it’s important to choose the type best suited for your application. For example rubber bellows have greater lifting capacities which is why they have been used commercially in trucking for decades. Sleeve air springs and coil spring air bags on the other hand provide greater control of driving dynamics while also offering a solution for load distribution. Typically vehicles are built with a factory coil spring. Air springs are bolted directly to the vehicle’s frame and replace the coil spring altogether while coil spring air bags are fitted inside the existing coil spring to provide reinforcement. Here’s a look at each type: Rubber Bellows Air Springs Bellows are a common type of air spring and this type of air bag offers several benefits. First the bellow is typically constructed out of reinforced rubber and has a single or multiple chambers. The shape resembles a coffee can. Due to their larger diameter compared to sleeve and coil spring air bags bellows can accommodate heavier loads. Plus the design allows the air springs to lift heavier loads at lighter PSI pressure which makes it load distribution easier. That’s why bellows are typically installed on towing vehicles 4WD trucks and off-road SUVs. Sleeve-Style Air Springs Sleeve air springs are also cylindrical but they have a smaller diameter compared to rubber bellows. Typically these air springs are built with reinforced rubber or a heavy- duty synthetic rubber compound like polyurethane. The biggest difference is that sleeve air springs are designed for lighter loads and they’re often used for adjusting ride height. For example in hotrod design sleeve air springs are used to increase traction and adjust the height of the vehicle.

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Coil Spring Air Bags Unlike sleeve or bellow air spring coil air bags are fitted inside the existing factory- installed coil spring. Thusly the goal of the coil spring is to provide additional support to the spring which helps to provide better stability and more evenly distribute the weight of the load. Instead of acting like a spring though these air bags cushion the spring. For example if you were towing a load the coil spring would naturally push together and the coils would get closer together. A coil spring air bag though expands outward limiting how close the coils can get together. From trailer towing to track performance air springs can provide a greater degree of stability on the road and help level towing loads. Air suspension can provide a number of benefits for drivers but it’s important to choose the air spring best suited for your application. Information Provided By Polyair Springs Pty Ltd

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