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Touring Air Ride kit

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So I know I always said that I'd never go air, but given the limited choice of adjustable suspension for the E39 Touring that allows the retention of the self-levelling, I'm considering it more and more. 

 

Has anyone fitted air to a touring and been able to keep the oem SLS? If so, how? 

 

The Airlift kit utilises BC struts and replaces the spring with airbags so the R&D is almost the best of both worlds in some sense. I'm not sure how one would adjust the comfort of the ride with an air kit but I would assume that would come with a lower psi setting to allow for flex in the bag. 

 

I have the added hindrance of an LPG tank in my spare wheel well so I'd need to place the tank and compressor in an alternative location. 

 

If anyone knows of a cheap kit being available, please do let me know but for this post, I'm asking for advice on whether I can keep the oem bags, and integrate it into an aftermarket management system. 

 

An alternative to airlift would be a company called "bags by ocd" who use BC struts also (just don't rebrand them) and universal bags instead of the springs. The management they offer is by a company from mainland Europe called "KNTRL" and that stuff doesn't look bad at all. 

 

A four way kit with management works out at around £3000 without fitting, so you're a touch cheaper than airlift and it's almost the same components too. 

 

I've yet to see an air ride bag burst on track so the performance side of a well set up car on coilovers versus one on air ride is similar. 

 

Caraudiosecurity also have air fitted to their E46 M3 track car, as well as nearly all the vehicles that they own (Although they're all 'show' cars). 

 

I'm not looking for the stance effect but adjustable suspension, A comfier ride when driving about and not have to lift the car up, take the wheels off to have to adjust it all the time. Having a lower centre of gravity when driving hard helps so much, but bumps round my way are *not* forgiving and the scrapes on the underside of the E30 are testament to that. 

 

So if anyone is able to understand my late night rambling, and able to impart opinion, advice or guidance, it would be greatly appreciated. 

 

Cheers

NF aka Deepan 

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Hi Deepan,

 

I'm considered the aspect of being able to raise and lower my suspension but not for 'looks' but for my driveway angle, sometimes having to go on roads that are very bad and to clear some speed bumps that are funnier shaped and heights to others. Air Ride has been the obvious choice and I've considered the usual brands and their systems. You do remember my Touring is springs/shocks all round and coilovers have been my favoured choice and 2nd was to have custom springs made up by D Faulkner and to go with either OEM Sport shocks or Eibach & similar, I know these omit the ride height control. 

 

The air ride kit I'd want would be with full electronic management but I'm not so keen on the fitted price tag even with some trade discount ! 

 

I've gone for the KW V1's and they'll be on the car soon along with renewed suspension components where required. Some years ago, a USA based company Fortune Auto made custom coilovers for the E39 Touring and also offered 'Air Cups' which were little units to add to the coilover and with a charge of air from a compressor would simply 'lift' the suspension by 1 or 2 inches. Another button would release and the ride height would go back to normal. They then discontinued making anything for the E39!

 

However, the good guys at Driftworks have the same kind of product now! So I'm thinking later to add this to my KW's - https://www.driftworks.com/stanceparts-air-cup-lift-kit-for-coilover-suspension.html

 

The base kit is £640 and an additional pair of Air Cups are an extra £250 when purchased with the primary kit. Fitting would be extra of course, but from their video, it seems relatively straightforward. I had a quick call with them a week or so ago and seems it should work with the KW's I've just got but will need to check further. I want as small a tank (and compressor) as possible as I want to keep a 5th spare wheel. 

 

Consider converting your Touring to springs/shocks all round and possibly go this route ? Also, forum member 'Richyx' has just DIY installed full air ride on his 540i Touring so he'll know about installation aspects, I don't think he kept any of the OEM bags/compressor etc.

 

Cheers, Dennis!

Edited by DennisCooper

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Attached is the reply I got from Bags by OCD. 

It seems that it can indeed be done but the oem bags may not be up to the task. 

I think for the time being, i’ll Stick to what’s on the car, refresh with stock to start with and do some more research and save some cash. 

Cheers

NF aka Deepan

 

 

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