Who in the UK/Europe has successfully air bagged their bus

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GOM68

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Right guys, big debate going on in my house at the minute! Wifey and I are prepping up the bus for some proper trips away next year in our original, (bar nice big engine) 71 Dormobile. We love it and always gets people attention when you pull into the campsites, however we have both decided that she looks too 1971 and so we want to bring her into the 21st century, with the reupholstery of the seats and bed and possibly a new colour scheme.

Now the divide is the ride height, I have also decided that I want to lower the beast whereas wifey wants it to remain stock height as she loves sitting high up and taking in the scenery when we are blasting along and to be fair I like that too. However I want to lower it to make it look level also, wifey is only 5' 1" and she does struggle getting in using the front doors. So have been thinking about air suspension and being able to drop it at the flick of a switch and at the same time take it back to standard ride height when we are on the road and loaded with kit.

I have seen the odd post here and there and there was an article in VolksWorld about putting it in a bug, however I have not seen anything specific to the bus. So my question is, are any of you guys actually running fully installed air suspension, if so what are you running, what does it ride like and what were the costs involved. If not can someone point me in the direction of sites that have more information?

Thanks in advance.

Paul
 

ozziedog

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We've had a few that have had them slammed to touch the deck, the trendy name for that is Laying Frame so you can rock up then whoosh and you is on the deck, not many pros and lots of cons. Theoretically it looks the nuts, but and here is the big but, it ain't real. We did have a hydraulic one on here and if you search for threads by John The Horse, that was him, he don't do VWs anymore as far as I know. Spence at the Dub Shop in Bristol has his on air I think, so he sticks it down in the dirt, he's worth a phone call. There is one called the lowly gentleman and it's been sold a few times, I believe it does just about rattle your fillings out as there is little or no suspension. Lowering is an addictive thing and you can start by throwing five hundred at it then it's another hundred here and a couple more hundreds there and on it goes. I think the hydraulic one cost about fifteen K on top of the bus price to get riding reasonable but you still bit your tongue a lot with unexpected bumps. There's a great thread on here about lowering gurus, sort of runs you through the common problems. Anything under two or three inches is ok but once you go past that and you suddenly you start racking up lots and lots. Also worth having a chat with Graham at Midland Early Bay, he fits a lot of French Slammer stuff and it gets quite a good review.
Lowering is disposing of your suspension and your wallet and the thing that usually gets lowered is your bank account. The more you lower and the more it costs and the worse the ride. Mines lowered on THaus spindles that's about five hundred roughly then some add on parts required another hundred then smaller tyres another one and a half, then custom coil overs not sure but I think about three and a half, then we go around the back, lowered a spline or two, not too much cost just new rubbers and stuff, oh can't actually get the wheel off, adjustable spring plates about a hundred or one and a half I think. I can't really remember because I block it out of my mind just exactly how much all this costs. It's as good as it can get without tubbing, and I still get a little squeal every now and then as you feel the rubbers hitting the arch. Read any forum anywhere , and anybody that's honest will tell you the lower you go the worse it rides as compared to stock, but most won't admit it after they've shovelled a shed load of dinara at it. But VWs seem to be fatally attracted to the lowering stick. So think of a real good reason to lower it, make something up, convince the other half, chuck loads of moolah away, grate your teeth every time you even look at a bump and work out the best route home where the speedy bumpers aren't too savage. Buy some ear plugs so you can't hear the Mrs bellyaching and drive through some shopping centre somewhere and look at your reflection in the shops and that is the only time it's worth it. Wow look at me in my super cool lowered bus I look the biz. I purposely drive through our shops a lot just so I can check myself out in the shop windows.

Ozziedog ,, ,,,,,,,, it ain't right is it :lol: :( :shock: ;) :shock: :lol:
 

GOM68

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Damn you Ozziedog, you speak far to much sense! :lol:

I did think about the Red9Design coilover system as it gives you the choice of up to a 4" drop with what I would call an acceptable outlay and not too much mechanical farting about. I then looked at the Empi spindles you can get for £200, would need to change my brake calipers as they only accept late type, again not to much outlay for those, however both do not give me that flick of a switch ride.

It does sound like it is going to be far to silly an amount of money as well as time to research and fit. Plus I get enough ear ache from the boss about my spending habit on toys.

Damn, best not look in any shop windows as I drive past.... ;)
 

ozziedog

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Yeah I know, it's sad but true, but only sometimes. My claim to fame is I got the most awesome coolbox known to man kind, and can keep sixty plus bottles of Stella icy icy cold from Thursday night till Monday. I don't talk a lot of sense when I'm in the middle of that lot and there's rarely many to come home. Not a fan of Red 9 I'm afraid. If you're toying wth that, ask anyone who's had it more than two years. Funnily enough some people inherit that stuff with their van. A lot of money to spend on your machine then to go and sell it a couple of months later. Strange :mrgreen:

Ozziedog ,,,,, sometimes strange things happens. :mrgreen:
 

GOM68

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Dude that sounds like a full sized fridge, not a coolbox, need to see photo's!!

Yes I hear various views about the principles of the Red9Design system. Think I may go down the 60cm drop route, will read into that in a bit more detail.
 

ozziedog

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If I was gonna do it all again I think Id just bang some adjusters in and go down thirty to fifty milliopeters. Maybe just half or maybe a full spline at the ass end so there is no drama with getting his little wheels on and off. They been doing that since christ played full back for Jerusalam . It works, it levels the bus and there is no drama and maybe cost in total is about two or three hundred. Then at a later date you could lower a bit more if your bank account happens to be bulging at the seams, lower it another inch still on the adjusters and unfortunately that don`t cost anything , oh you might be rubbing now so you can bang on some coil overs and some smaller tyres, I mean what`s the point in having a speedo that reads correctly, where the hell is the fun in that :lol:
I`m guessing you came on to get a little truth, if you want to start a different thread, as I`m guessing you hasn`t showed the long haired general this one :lol: Start a new thread, on this one I`ll tell you how wicked your bus will look and it`ll ride like a magic carpet and your love life will reach the heights that were only previously dreamt of and if George Clooney walks past your bus he is positively guaranteed to wink at your long haired general and maybe ask for her phone number too when you aint looking, the neighbours will also dutifully line the street every time they hear the motor start just so they can get a chance to see it and wave you off. Any body that tells you it rides great compared to a decent stock ride has maybe had their brains scrambled a little too much, maybe shaken but not stirred :mrgreen: What area do you live in, ask some peeps locally to take you for a spin for an hour and swap busses, I`d do that for a laugh I`m in Bristol but wouldn`t care about a little drive or meet up for a cuppa . Maybe do the opposite !! :shock: Raise him up front and rear, get them purposefull looking tyres and a winch and drive around with him all muddy or dusty and we`ll all think you just did the Paris Dakar thingy in your bus, that would be ace, also I would love to do that but then I just wouldn`t get him in the garage without cosmetic surgery to the garage, this is what started me on the lowering trail, having to jack up my door at the front and gradually ease him in or out then jack up the back of the door etc etc etc :?

Ozziedog,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Have a real good think bud :mrgreen:
 

moj_dub

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Haha I love your posts Ozziedog! I lowered mine to get under the 2.2m height restrictions in beach side car parks... Only went down 2.5" and it's rubbing like f*** due to increased track, so it's a narrow beam next and then that's it......
 

ozziedog

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moj_dub said:
Haha I love your posts Ozziedog! I lowered mine to get under the 2.2m height restrictions in beach side car parks... Only went down 2.5" and it's rubbing like f*** due to increased track, so it's a narrow beam next and then that's it......


Come on then, all three of us , let's get them up in the air. Beach car parks,,,, so what ! We can get in via the sand dunes and arrivevlike General Lee. Might break our necks if we jump out the window from that height. :lol:
So have you got welded spindles then to you increase your track ? Or THaus ones ? If you are rubbing on THaus spindles, you might get away with a tiny bit of tubbing like just where it touches on the edge and then you don't even disturb your seats. If you got welded,, then I don't know. Have you got a little coil over assistance maybe ?

Ozziedog,,,,,,,,, glad I keep you amused.. :mrgreen:
 

Myvanway

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Mark Barrows (Baz) has successfully had his bus converted to air, running on accuair self leveling 3 stage set up.
Built by Evil Ben its a work of art.
I can't post costs or ill get him in trouble with his missus! Lol..... in fact she would probably divorce him!!?? Lol...

He hasn't done a thread on here due to having 1 million pics of the build!.......... and being a lazy arse! ;-)

Feature in Hayburner mag will give you loads on the build dude.
 

ozziedog

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Well this is Coolio , possibly the best coolbox in the world, has been known to hold in excess of sixty bottles of Stella but not for long as someone keeps drinking them ! Coolio will stay cool to freezing for four plus days and has also been known to look after the pint of milk for the morning coffee.

Ozziedog,,,,,,,,,,, He's going to work this weekend too! :mrgreen:
 

Mags

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Interesting comments on the Red9 Ozziedog. Assume you are talking about the full double wishbone setup?
FWIW I've been running one for about 2 & 1/2 years now and I've not done big mileage but I'm very happy with it now. The first few months were a nightmare with the Red9 made bevel box (there's a thread on here somewhere) but after so many complaints they switched to a pre-made bevel box that has been perfect since with much better steering.
Obviously its an expensive bit of kit but when I added up the cost of a new beam build, dropped spindles and steering box refurb it was getting expensive and you are still stuck with a steering box. So this kit solved a few problems for me including R&P steering. I was restoring my bus at the time so maybe less common that you need to replace so many components.
The only negative I would say is I think its needs an ARB, I'd like to try and fit one (can't be hard to adapt a generic one or build from a motorsport kit) but its on the list along with lots of other stuff. I have read criticism over the engineering of it, using washers as spacers for example but I'm no engineer so can't comment.
I'm not protective over Red9 or anything just saying it worked for me and I'm happy. Interesting to get others views as its been a couple of years since the fuss of the bevel boxes kicked off.
Personally I'd love to go full airbags, I keep watching American TV where they convert everything to bags and go on about the ride quality and adjustment for load etc but that's way down the list and highly unlikely to reach the top, too many other things to do!

Mags
 

ozziedog

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Hiya Mags, I don't want to sound way too negative about someone's product because they're trying to make a living from making and selling them. I'm a big fan of stock or stock ish when it comes to pointing the vehicle and stopping it. I know the Early is fairly primitive in terms of steering and suspension but that's a part of what I like about it. I couldn't be a part of the real ancient vintage brigade where they are oiling bearings and things as they are driving along at two miles an hour but fair play to those that do love that stuff. If you want to chat about stuff, then join me by a campfire where the Stella is flowing and young children are being barbecued on the washing machine drum, plus tales tall and true are rehashed at every event then eventually someone comes over and tells us to shut up ! :shock:

Ozziedog,,,,,,,,,Or the sun comes up and we go to bed! :mrgreen: :p :mrgreen:
 

Bundy

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I've had the Red9design wishbone setup for several years now and yes, the original bevel box was awful and the T25 one was not much better, but the latest bought in one has been great. I think it rides very nicely and handles well, but agree it needs an arb...in fact I've bought an old T25 one to play about with when time lets me (need to sort the Tdi conversion first!). I actually bought stiffer springs for the coilovers that made a big difference to ride and handling, especially when loaded.
The washers allow for plenty of adjustment in all aspects too.
Not trying to big it up, but just my views on it 😉
Cheers
Al
 

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