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Ray Woo installs the AirLift Rear Air Suspension

By, Ray Woo

AirLift Rear Air Suspension

The weight of the new Bulletproof bumper made JeepThing's rear-end sag badly, compromising it's departure angle. On the last trip to Tellico the gas tank skid plate really took a beating on every rock. Upgrading to 4" Teraflex springs helped, but the rear still sagged 3/4" and dropped almost 1 1/2" with the addition of my wife and kids, cooler, a toolbox and spare parts. I needed a solution that would retain the original ride quality when unloaded but can also be adjusted to accommodate heavy loads. The August 1998 issue of Four Wheeler Magazine showed the installation of an AirLift rear suspension system onto their Project Back in Black TJ, gaining the ability to raise and lower the vehicle height at will.

AirLift specializes in aftermarket air suspension components for different automotive applications, from ground-slamming low riders to auto-leveling systems for RV's and leaf-sprung pickups. They recently began to offer an Outback package for SUV owners primarily for towing and load-carrying use. The Outback package includes all necessary hardware; two airbags, compressor, and the necessary valves, hoses and gauges. The kit includes a safety valve that maintains a minimum 5 psi. of pressure in order to prevent chafing of the bag against the coils. You have a choice of kits that inflate both bags through a T-fitting and a single air line or individually controlling each bag with dual controllers. AirLift does offer an Outback package for stock TJs, but not for lifted vehicles. Tech support at AirLift was quite helpful, and provided me with the proper airbag part number after I measured the distance from the lower spring pad to the base of the bumpstop (8" in my case). I ordered the Outback II kit that allows individual bag control from a local RV shop (AirLift does not sell directly to consumers) - the total cost was $99 for the bags and $200 for the dual compressor setup.

In the Four Wheeler write-up the bumpstop never touched the deflated airbag - riding, instead, in a small depression in the center of the bag. JeepThing already sat low in the rear when empty, so I needed a little boost from the partially deflated bag. To accomplish this I reinstalled the 1" bumpstop spacer originally installed with the Teraflex 3" kit - lowering the height of the bumpstop and restoring JeepThing to a level state.


On to the install

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