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Airbagging Question

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  • #16
    Aibagging Question

    I have been in contact with Ride Tech concerning the parts or units to use on a Squarebird for their Air Ride system. As Matt said, Ride Tech does not recommend mounting their system the way it is being done by Performance Car Craft. However, as has been noted, that company has done a number of these conversions with no problems. Ride Tech has yet to do one in their on shop on a Squarebird as far as I was able to ascertain. Here is what Rodney there had to say.

    "On the front they used a 1000 series shockwave. We don't recommend running the shockwaves bolted to the bottom of the control arm, You are supporting the car with 2 3/8" bolts. It looks like if they would have used a shorter shockwave they could have put it in right on top of the factory arm with minimal modifications. The rear isn't an air overleaf. It is a weld in parallel four link with 7000 series shockwaves. I hope this helps."

    So if you want to do this conversion using Ride Tech technology, you might talk with Rodney or one of the guys there regarding which shockwave unit to use up front, instead of the 1000 series unit. I also note that simplyconnected also has some concerns about how they mounted the front section. That might bear further looking into if anyone decides to go this route.

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411


    • #17
      First, I do apologize for contradicting and I don't ever intend on starting flames, BUT I am genuinely fearful for the safety of you and your family, Matt. I wrote these comments in an open forum for everyone to constructively criticize, not for my benefit, but for yours. I hope this thread benefits all who consider customizing their carís suspension.

      Second, I appreciated over 110 pictures of this job. Without them, we could never see the intricacies of this setup.
      Originally posted by c4clewis View Post
      The panhard bar is hard to see in the pictures...
      Matt, can you get some clearer pictures of the panhard rod as it is installed?

      Originally posted by c4clewis View Post
      ...If you look at picture 110, it looks as though the machined piece that was welded to the A-arm allows the bottom of the airwave to sit on top of it, so that it is what the airwave actually sits on. The 2 bolts are just for the rebound of the shock (the pull up)...
      No, Matt... Picture 110 and 105 clearly show the bottom of a lower ball joint in the back. This picture is taken from below the lower "A" arm. It clearly shows two bolts pulling up the spring on a welded plate.

      Your new spring is pulling in the middle of a 'lever' (the "A" arm) and thousands of vibrations are realized over a one mile distance. This is a recipe for disaster because of three problems:
      The plate is welded to the bottom of your "A" arm,
      The bolts are grade-5, not grade-10,
      The spring is pulling down on that stack with thousands of pounds, equally counteracted by vibrating force.

      If the weld fatigues or causes stress cracks (usually at a weld), or if one bolt breaks, the spring will come crashing through and the "A" arm will collapse up into your wheel well.

      Welds can be 'stress relieved' by heat treating the whole part, then the grain structures become one piece of steel. But we never heat treat stampings because they warp terribly.

      One solution is to machine a cup-like perch that bolts to the top of your lower "A" arm, and extends down, so the spring can rest on top of it (or the bottom rod can go through it). The metal needs to be tough, like machine steel. Then, keep all heat far away.

      Finally, it's great that Ray, or anyone, calls for expert advice. Posting this job on our open forum is a great tool to avoid potential dangers, so we can safely enjoy our passion.

      If I am wrong about anything here, I will publicly eat all my words. I would much rather be safe than sorry. That's why I couldn't let this matter slide. - Dave Dare
      My latest project:
      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
      --Lee Iacocca

      From: Royal Oak, Michigan


      • #18
        I will try and get some pictures of the panhard bar this week if I can get off work early enough on Wednesday to get out there and pick up my engine/transmission (it's a 2.5 hour drive).

        The pictures that have been taken are all done by Performance Car Craft themselves and I will receive them all on a disc once they are done. Hopefully, just another month or so!

        I have emailed Greg both to let him know the buzz here over the conversion and the concerns expressed. Knowing him, I should have his answer by COB Monday regarding the concerns.


        • #19
          From Greg at Performance Car Craft
          Hey Matt hope all is well so you can feel better the pictures are for mock up only we are putting the shock on the top side and the bolts we use are for mock up we will be using grade 10 with lock nuts the thick plate we used was tapped.
          I'll try to get pictures of the panhard bar setup on Wednesday when I pick up my engine (if I can duck out of work early enough!).


          • #20
            Sorry guys, I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the panhard setup when I picked up the engine last week. Last minute stuff at work kept me way late. I'll see what I can do though.


            • #21
              Hard to see how they'd mount the shock from up top of the a-arm. With the stock set up, the shock is mounted from below like they have, but the shock isn't supporting the weight of the car, the spring is.

              With the air bags, the shock and spring are integral, right? That means the weight of that front end, and all the cornering and suspension loads, is supported by the welds on the a-arm and, ultimately, by those 2 bolts per side.

              No way I'd accept that. You've got the manufacturer of the parts they are using and other knowledgeable folks (I work as a mechanical engineer) telling you that isn't a good set up. Maybe once it's together we'll all go "Ohhhhh...." and it'll be fine, but it looks dubious to me.
              DGS (aka salguod)
              1960 Convertible - Raven Black, Red leather


              • #22


                • #23
                  Matt, please read my #17 post carefully., an open international forum, is here for the benefit of you and all our members.

                  We all want you to be happy, but safe. Catastrophic failure involving personal injury almost always goes to court. We want to avoid injury at all costs.

                  If Ridetech approves the quality of work on your car with their products, they should assume responsibility since they engineered the system. If they will not be responsible, you need to find out why not. Get it in writing.

                  This isn't about who is right, it's about protecting YOU from hidden danger resulting in injury.

                  Air suspension is usually found in the most expensive luxury/performance cars. Done properly on a Squarebird, the ride will improve dramatically. We're all excited to see that happen on your Thunderbird.
                  - Dave
                  My latest project:
                  CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                  "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                  --Lee Iacocca

                  From: Royal Oak, Michigan


                  • #24
                    Picture of 4 link setup

                    Been awhile, but I got over to the shop and took a picture of the 4 link setup with the panhard bar location. It is out of the car and on the floor, but you can get the idea.