Airbags and Lowered Trucks – A Love Story April 08, 2013
Any custom truck guy knows that lowering your truck is the best way to give it that mean, smooth stance you're looking for. The question is, how do you lower it? There's more than a few ways out there, including coil springs, drop spindles, control arms, and my personal favorite: air springs. Air springs go by a couple different names. Some people call them air bags. Others call the air springs, while even more people just call them bags. Whatever you call them, they're like magic for lowering your truck. All About Stance Driving a truck lowered to the point you might want it isn't always the most feasible option. An aggressive drop means you will scrape often, and have to deal with an overall tough ride. This can partially be fixed by air springs. By installing these you can control the height of your suspension with the push of a button. The bags inflate and raise your truck to driving height. Hit the switch again and watch it drop as low as you want. You can go with a nice normal drop or install the bags with custom a-arms and rear suspension to get your truck resting on it's frame. This means you can go from a simple replacement of your springs to a fully customized suspension. The choice is yours, as long as you have the cash to go big. When you drop your truck with spring kits, you lose the ability to control the height. Same goes for any other hardware replacement like drop spindles or control arms. These are the best options for heavy use, but if you're going for fun and controllability, bags are definitely what you're looking for. What is an air spring, really? Ok, when I use the phrase "air bag," you probably think about the ones in your dash. The explosive kind that inflate and deflate quickly. This isn't the case with what we're talking about for suspension. It's more of a hard core air bladder. Hooked up to an air compressor, these inflate and actually hold your truck's weight like a spring would. AIr bags aren't just for dropping a custom truck. You can use these on trucks for better rides and a more even stance, too. If you're familiar with bagging a truck, you probably think of a smooth, low rider truck. While this is a great use, super duty trucks that tow can use them, too. In this use, they can help give you the right stance when towing heavy loads. Can I Install Bags? Technically yes, you could install bags on your truck. This is a pretty intense upgrade, so unless you're pretty skilled at tearing your truck apart, I'd probably recommend using a professional installer. NOt only is the install itself intense, but setting the standard ride height and the maximum drop can be tricky. You want to make sure you're not hurting your tires and other suspension parts when you're driving around. With this install, you're basically replacing the major suspension parts with the bag system. This includes 1-2 pairs of air bags, the plumbing for them, and a compressor. The compressor is the heart of the system, and needs to be hooked up right to get the maximum life and use out of your bags. Wrapping It Up One of the best upgrades for the most impact you can do to your custom truck is a suspension drop. it gives your truck a totally fresh look and stance. I mentioned a few ways to do this, but the best way is definitely bagging. You get great suspension while gaining intense controllability over the height of your truck. Raise it up for driving and drop it down for show. This can be an expensive upgrade, but if you do it right the first time, your custom truck will stand out from the crowd. Make it custom, make it yours.