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Thread: Restoration of 30 year old air suspension setup

  1. #1

    Default Restoration of 30 year old air suspension setup

    Hey everyone,

    New to this forum, and new to air suspension in general.

    I've got a very interesting air suspension setup that I'm hoping I can get some help on.

    I own one of the very few surviving Trans Ams from the 1980's television series "Knight Rider". A true childhood dream come true. I am working to restore the car to its as-used appearance on TV.

    What makes this car interesting is that the factory suspension has been augmented with an air suspension. Here's a picture of the car today, and you can see how low it sits:



    After much research, it was determined that this car was outfitted with this air suspension for a specific episode where K.I.T.T. can lift his body to clear some terrain. Here are the screencaps showing the car before and after the suspension lift:




    I have yet to get underneath the car to take a good look at the suspension setup, but I can easily see these cylinders in the engine compartment, one near each of the strut towers:





    The air suspension setup is not currently operable, and I want to repair it without replacing any of the vintage parts.

    There's no markings on these, so I'm wondering if anyone recognizes this setup, or can help me to identify it in any way. What connects to the fittings on the tops of these cylinders - compressed air, or...?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Nashvegas, TN
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    4,201

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    This is really, really cool. Kudos to you for owning such a unique piece of automotive history!

    I'm really going out on a limb here, because I have no idea without looking at it or without researching, but I'm going to guess that this car was never equipped with any time of on-board air system.
    Instead, I'd assume these cylinders were filled from a remote air source (air compressor on set, presumably).

    I don't know how they're hooked up to the suspension. I'm assuming the car rides and drives normally right now, and has a normal set of shocks in it?
    I think it's important to get a wheel off and see what we're working with.

    My current assumption is that this is less "air ride" and more of a pneumatic ram that simply pushes against the LCAs and lifts the car, rather rigidly. It'd need very high pressure to do that. So maybe it was operated with HPA.

    Mike

  3. #3

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    Thanks, Mike! I hope to take a better look at it this weekend.

    However it worked, I know it was portable. The scene above where it is used shows the suspension raising and the car driving off, all in one take without any cuts. So that tells me the air source came from within the car...maybe a guy inside with a portable compressor? I don't know...this would have been late 1983.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Temple, PA
    Posts
    4,296

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    Very cool. I hope you can get some pictures of this, would love to see how it works.

    All I can tell with those fittings, and weird there are no lines hooked up, but they are flare fittings.
    97 M3 GT2
    2018 SIERRA TOW RIG

  5. #5

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    So, here's what I've found so far. They do appear to be some sort of a pneumatic ram. It appears that the front ones push against a plate welded to the top of the springs in the lower control arms. I was able to peel back enough of the rear area carpet to see that those rams are gone, but the holes where they once were remain. I look down the hole and can see the metal plate welded to the top of the springs, but that's about it.

    I'll see if I can get some pictures later today. I'd love to figure this out and get the setup operational again, but now I need to find the correct 1980's era pneumatic rams for the back.

  6. #6

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    it seems like you are sitting in a monster truck after the upgrade its changes the look from the way you want it. I still the first screenshot better although it does seems to me that its impossible to get one like that.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by firebirdta84 View Post
    So, here's what I've found so far. They do appear to be some sort of a pneumatic ram. It appears that the front ones push against a plate welded to the top of the springs in the lower control arms. I was able to peel back enough of the rear area carpet to see that those rams are gone, but the holes where they once were remain. I look down the hole and can see the metal plate welded to the top of the springs, but that's about it.

    I'll see if I can get some pictures later today. I'd love to figure this out and get the setup operational again, but now I need to find the correct 1980's era pneumatic rams for the back.
    Based on the fittings, and you mentioning that the cylinders push a plate welded to the top of the springs, it is most likely a hydraulic system, not an air suspension system. Can you look through the trunk and see if you can find some type of frame for the batteries and the hydraulic pump?

  8. #8

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    buncha spammers pulling these dead threads back out.
    the last post was from a year ago

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