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9 Myths About Mustang Air Ride Suspensions

9 Myths About Mustang Air Ride Suspensions

What are Mustang Air Ride Systems?

A dropped Mustang looks badass, and up until recently the typical way to slam your ‘Stang has been with a set of lowering springs. However, you can only drop your Mustang so far with springs before sacrificing utility. Also what if you need to raise your car again? You couldn’t – the only way you could was to replace the springs with larger ones.

An air lift suspension system gives you nearly infinitely variable suspension adjustment, all at the touch of a button. Special air struts and air shocks replace the stock units, and are able to raise and lower the car instantly just by changing the air pressure inside each unit. Each air shock and strut is connected to a compressor that is managed by a digital controller, adding or removing air when specified.

Do I Have To Cut Up My Suspension For The Air Ride Suspension?

No you do not have to cut and hack up your Mustang to get these new parts to fit. There is no cutting required and fitment is OEM quality. You will have to run your air lines and the lines for your controller, but there is no real cutting or custom fabrication required for the Air Ride system. Not only does this make your install very smooth and easy but it also makes it very simple for uninstalling should you decided to sell your vehicle.

2006 GT Mustang's Fender Well

Won't An Air Ride System Add Weight To My Mustang?

Adding an Air Ride system will not add weight, but it will actually save you weight in the long run. The Air ride system does not add any additional weight at all, but instead reduces it from your Mustang. On the factory suspension, Ford uses cheap, heavy parts that work fine for what they are supposed to do, but add a lot of extra weight to your Mustang. The Air Bags that replace those pieces are not only high-quality, but they are much more efficient then the factory suspension pieces. The light weight design offers your Mustang reduced weight on all four-corners of your car which in turn offers better handling and performance.

2012 Boss Mustang at the Track

Won't My Mustang Feel "Floaty" And Unresponsive With An Air Ride Setup?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about Air Ride setups there is. There is such strong misinformation on this because of how air suspension setups on older luxury cars and SUVs handled and responded. With that said, they should not be compared at all to an Air Ride Suspension which is a very well designed system that offers your Mustang a well-composed and tight ride. The progressive rate air springs in addition to all of the other expert crafted pieces ensure not only a responsive, tight ride, but also one that offers you comfort in addition to style and performance.

2011 V6 Mustang Ready for a Cone Slalom

How Can My Mustang Drive That Low?

The beauty of an Air Ride System is that they allow you to completely drop your Mustang to the ground or raise it all the way up to 1” over stock ride height, giving you the best of both worlds. You are able to choose and select the height you want your Mustang to ride at, whether it is stanced like a track-ready beast or lifted up for clearance. Given that you are able to raise your Mustang up 1” over stock ride height, you can avoid scrapping going over speed bumps or catching your bumper going up a steep driveway. Conventional static suspension systems do not give you the luxury of being able to ride lowered and avoid the hazards of everyday driving, which in-turn can cause large amounts of damage to your car. One of the most fascinating features of Air Ride systems is their adjustable monotube struts that are specifically tuned to match the progressive air springs. This in turn offers a wide-range of damping and large selection of adjustments to pick the perfect height for your ride, whether it be for show or go.

Project MMD 2014 GT Mustang Rolling

Why Not Just Get Coilover Instead? Don't They Perform Better?

This is one of the most common misconceptions and one of the most reoccurring things said to guys that run an Air Ride Suspension setup. When compared in a non-biased test by, a 2005 Ford Mustang performed better with an Air Ride Suspension than aftermarket coilover springs in every category tested. In a skidpad test, 100 ft. slalom, and road course, the Air Ride system performed leaps and bounds better than the aftermarket coilovers. The Air Ride System are performance oriented kits that does not only factor in performance, but makes it a priority in what it delivers as a final product.

Mustang Coil Over Kit

Are Air Ride Setups Unreliable?

Once again this goes back to preconceived notions and opinions based on the old factory systems found in some vehicles. The Air Ride Suspension systems of today are nothing like that and are incredibly reliable. The Air Ride system manufactured by Air Lift offers a one year unlimited mileage warranty with their kit. Many of their kits are on daily driven cars and have seen a mix of track, cross-country, and commute driving and hold-up incredibly well. These systems get put through a lot of different weather and driving conditions and they still maintain their quality through it all.

2005 V6 Mustang on Gravel

But Air Ride Systems Are Expensive

Air Ride Systems are not very expensive in comparison to other suspension setups. An Air Lift Suspension kit can start at around $2,600 and go up to just above $3,000. When you compare that to doing a proper coil over setup, it is much more cost effective. A complete coilover suspension can run from anywhere around $2,600 all the way up to $5,000. A mid-level coilover setup will run just about as much money as air bags will, but they will not offer the same diverse characteristics that airbags do, which means scrapping and difficulty driving in certain conditions that will ultimately lead to damage on your Mustang.

2010 and a 2014 Mustang on Air Suspension

Do I Need To Go To A Special Shop To Get An Air Ride Suspension System Installed?

Install can be done by yourself or by any mechanic that can install a suspension system. The only tools needed for installing an Air Ride system are basic handheld tools. There is no sort of special modification required to be done to your Mustang with the exception of 4 small holes that need to be drilled in the rear spring pocket area. Besides that everything it an easy OEM bolt-on fitment.

1999-2004 Mustang on a Lift

Air Ride Suspensions Don't Require An Alignment, Do They?

This is a huge misconception a lot of people have about Air Ride Suspensions. Just because your Mustang is on air does not mean that you do not need to have an alignment done. You do need to get an alignment when you switch to an air ride suspension! Typically, you have the one set-height you drive the car at the most, whether that is for daily driving or track driving, and you get the alignment done for that height. This ensures the most accurate and safe alignment for your car.

2006 GT Mustang on a Lift

What Do Air Ride Suspensions Replace On Mustangs?

Air Ride Suspension kits replace a few of your Mustang’s stock suspension parts. In the front of your Mustang, the struts are unbolted and replaced with the Air Ride strut. In the rear of the Mustang, the coil spring is replaced as well as the shock. The factory suspension components are being replaced with what are called Air Bags (also referred to as bags/bagging). The Air Bags are what raise and lower the Mustang. These pieces fit right in to where your OEM suspension parts came off. 

Project MMD 2014 Mustang Front End

What Else Is Needed For The Air Ride Setup?

One of the most critical parts of the whole system is the air compressor which fills and deflates the bags themselves and the storage tank for the air. The storage tank comes in different sizes, but kits typically come with a 5 gallon tank. The compressor and storage tank are usually kept in the trunk with lines that run to the bags. Aside from the air lines and the controller unit, those are pretty much all the pieces needed for an Air Ride Suspension. A kit like the one offered by Air Lift performance gives you every part you need to get your setup running since everything is included in the box.

Project MMD 2014 Mustang on the Street

What Is The Difference Between The Digital And Manual Air Ride Kits?

Digital kits allow for preset values to be saved in terms of ride height, so you are able to adjust ride height very quickly and on the fly. With a manual kit, you still have a wired-in control box, but you are not able to save presets for you predetermined ride heights. With a manual kit you have to plug and play with four different buttons to get your desired height correct. For daily use, a digital kit is typically preferred for its ease and allowance of making changes quickly when needed.

2005-2009 Mustang GT500

Why Are Air Ride Suspension Systems Popular?

Air ride suspension systems are the best of show and go without all the downsides. With an Air Ride suspension system, you can roll up to a car meet or show and drop your Mustang to the ground and then you can make an adjustment and drive it to the track, make another adjustment and be set up to run a road course or quarter-mile. They provide a different, but often more enjoyable experience for Mustang owners. Just remember:

  1. Air systems don’t require cutting or fabricating
  2. Air systems don’t add weight to your Mustang
  3. Air systems works double as a performance adder and for comfort during every day driving
  4. Adjusting the system between daily driving and track performance is easy
  5. Air systems performance better and have more versatility than coil overs
  6. Air systems have been proven as reliable in daily driving conditions
  7. In terms of cost, air rides are comparable to high end performance packages
  8. If you have a full set of tools, you can install an air system
  9. After messing with any aspect of your suspension we highly recommend getting an alignment
2005-2009 Mustang GT Slammed on Air Suspension

What are the benefits of an air lift suspension?

  • Get the low look without the constant scraping
  • Increase suspension performance over stock
  • Get basicly unlimited adjustablility 

The first benefit comes in the form of aesthetic appeal. Want that slammed look, but don’t want to worry about scraping curbs? No problem. The system is able to lower your Mustang by up to 4.75” in the front and a staggering 4.95” at the rear. Furthermore, you can go in the opposite direction, raising your Mustang an additional 1” over factory height (if you like the off-roading look). You can drop your ‘Stang by 4” when you park for onlookers to ogle at, and when you’re ready to take-off, press a button and raise her back up to a proper curb-evading altitude.

It gets better. Due to the variability of the air struts and shocks, you can dial your car in to perform exactly how you want it. Lower the center of gravity and increase cornering stability for track use, soften up the rear for great launches at the strip, then change everything back to comfort mode for the drive home. It sounds too good to be true, but it works exactly like that.

What Modifications Are Needed To Install An Air Lift Suspension On A Mustang?

If you thought this system couldn’t get any sweeter, you better hold on to your chair. There are no major modifications necessary to install such a system. Air ride suspension systems are designed to be a direct fit. Swap the conventional MacPherson struts with the new air lift struts, replace the rear coils and shocks with the air spring and shock, and you’re pretty much there.

The hardest part of the installation will be running lines to each air piece, as each spring and strut is controlled independently by the compressor. The compressor too, will need to be mounted somewhere. Typically, it is installed in the trunk.

With careful planning and some ingenuity, it is even possible to install the compressor in the spare tire bay, hiding it from sight and retaining 100% usability of your trunk space. A regular handy-man can probably accomplish this install in one day. Maybe a day and a half, if you work like me (SLOW!).

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, GT, V6, ShelbyGT500, Boss, EcoBoost, ShelbyGT350