Air ride suspension systems for classic trucks have come a long way since the late '90s when most of the setups were similar to what was showing up on some of the more radical mini-trucks. Back then the whole point to having air ride was to be able to lay the truck down on the ground as far as possible when it was parked. When it was time to lift up and drive away, considerations such as ride quality and handling played a distant third to having to worry about reliability issues stemming from air supply failures and erratic frontend alignment. It's taken almost a decade for classic truck enthusiasts to get over the bad reputation air ride systems were famous for in the beginning, and consider them as a serious alternative to static suspension (springs). This doesn't mean that all air ride systems available on the market today are free from defects because there are still inferior products available if one is putting a cheap price above all other considerations. If you are low on bucks the best way to go for your truck is still with a lowered static suspension. Good quality springs, shocks, and drop spindles will outperform and outlast any cheap air ride system ever sold, period.
In 2001, when Reno and Dustin Heon opened the doors to Accuair their intentions were to not only address the basic flaws inherent to air ride technologies of the day, but come up with new, more sophisticated features. The testbed was Reno's '72 Chevy C10 Suburban and we'll tell you a little about how the Accuair system works. For brains there's a compact onboard computer developed by Accuair that reads four sensors mounted at each corner of the suspension, which determines the height of the truck. The driver still has manual control over the airbags, but the Accuair system gives one the ability to save any three of the desired ride heights and then re-obtain them at the press of a button. Next to each of the three height buttons is an LED indicator to let the driver know which of the saved heights the vehicle is currently at. The benefit for those of you who wish to avoid excessive front tire wear and poor handling is the fact that you can have the vehicle aligned at one of the saved positions and then repeatedly obtain that ride height day in and day out. Having a selection of preset heights is especially handy when approaching speed bumps and other obstacles when a greater height can be obtained by hitting a button. A "pancake" function lays the vehicle completely down at the touch of a button for parking. The Accuair has a "lift on start" feature that can be disabled if it is not desired. It allows tapping into the starter solenoid wire with any of the three position wires so when the truck is started it automatically obtains the height it was connected to. The Heon brothers told us "The key to our system is the fact that it bases measurements on height, not air pressure. If you load the vehicle with people or cargo, the system automatically compensates." Perhaps the best part is AccuAir's system is designed to be fully compatible with other air ride systems on the market.