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UL stock air suspension to steel springs conversion infos

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Old 04-11-09, 08:33 PM   #31
BNR34
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Originally Posted by I6turbo View Post
FYI, you do not have to remove the rear shelf, assuming the air shocks mount the same way as the standard shocks. Just pop out the 2 little plastic rivet thingees near the center of the rear shelf and lift the front of the shelf enough that you can get your hands in there. I propped mine up with a large diameter flashlight laying on its side, which doubled as a light source to see wtf I was doing in there.
I appreciate your inputs

While it is possible to do it without removing the rear shelf, I prefer removing it to give me more room to work with. I hate working on cars, I want to make it as easy as possible. Also even though the air shocks mount the same way as the standard shocks, the cover on top of the air struts is quite a bit taller then the regular cover due to the stepper motor being there, so the rear nut on the air struts are quite a bit harder to get to then the regular struts. I had my stereo shop removed the C-pillar interior panels and the rear shelf, it took them 3 minutes, makes me looks like an idiot

I swapped in the 2 front struts today, zero surprise, everything bolt right in, the top and bottom mounting locations for the air and standard struts are identical.

One thing I learned today, Lexus did a REALLY good job to make sure the air line never comes out of the air struts, it doesn't come off even with me pulling on it as hard as I can, I gave up and just cut the lines!

I'll swap out the rears tomorrow, the rear looks easier then the front, so I'll be done with it tomorrow
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Last edited by BNR34; 04-12-09 at 11:15 AM..
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Old 04-11-09, 08:39 PM   #32
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wow, nice to know, specially since i have the UL n all... thanks for the info.
Yes, now UL owners have a much cheaper option when their air struts die.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:07 PM   #33
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To me, rears are harder, you have to press down the bottom arms to make the shocks in. ;(
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Old 04-11-09, 10:49 PM   #34
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To me, rears are harder, you have to press down the bottom arms to make the shocks in. ;(
Oh really

It just "looks" easier to me, I could very well be wrong, I won't know until I do it, it just looks like there are less stuff in the way.

I could not get the fronts on today until I unbolted the lower ball joint bracket. At least now I know the SS kit is super easy to install

I'll report back tomorrow.

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Old 04-12-09, 11:48 PM   #35
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Steel springs conversion is done, done done done, I am so happy!

I did the 2 rear struts today, my guess was right, the rears are easier for me, you do have to push the lower arm down to get the shocks in, but it aren't bad, easier then the fronts for me. I guess it is personal, not important anyways.

It drives SO GOOD, exactly how I imagine it and exactly the way I wanted. Quite a bit firmer then the air but is still perfectly comfortable. Now I am 100% sure I prefer the feels of steel springs over the air springs, I am so happy!!

The ride height is higher then I expected, but it is brand new springs with brand new struts, so it will settle some. Plus the heavy ultra rear seats are still out of the car, so that will bring down the car some once I put them back in.

No warning light or message what so ever, like I said before, all I did was pull the air compressor's fuse, so the air compressor is disabled now. I am guessing if I unplug or pull the air suspension ECU's fuse, that would trigger some kind of warning light or message. All I care is to disable the air compressor, so this is good enough for me. The air suspension ECU can think all he wants The air compressor's fuse is in the fuse box right next to the battery in the engine compartment. Look in the back of the fuse box cover to see the location of the fuse, it is the 2nd small one from the right.

That's it for now, I need to sleep, let me know if anyone got any questions.

The entire conversion is successful, no surprises
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Old 04-13-09, 12:03 AM   #36
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I will take pics of the car once I get the rear seats back in and also let the springs to settle down some.
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Old 04-13-09, 12:10 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by GS3Tek View Post
Awesome....glad to hear some updates

So, the blue print is:

1. OEM sport struts = kyb gr2
2. Tanabe NF springs
3. You Zealand SS kit
I talked to a technical guy at KYB USA, I asked him if the GR2 are the same as the OEM regular soft struts or the sport struts. He told me the valving between the regular and the sport struts are so close, that is why they only have one kind of GR2, and the GR2 is firmer then the regular struts. But he can't tell me for sure if the GR2 is as firm as the sport, all he kept saying was the GR2 is good for both applications, but is closer to the sport.

So anyone that don't mind taking a chance and want to save some money, each GR2 are $50~$75 cheaper then the OEM sport struts.

And if the car don't get low enough after the springs settle, I will get the You Zealand SS kit.
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Old 04-13-09, 12:44 AM   #38
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funny, when they mentioned the LS in the recent automobile magazine article the only problem they noted was with the upgraded air suspension. I wonder if the problem continues with the newer LS models
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Old 04-13-09, 06:54 AM   #39
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funny, when they mentioned the LS in the recent automobile magazine article the only problem they noted was with the upgraded air suspension. I wonder if the problem continues with the newer LS models
Based on what I've seen over the past 30+ years, I am convinced that most any air suspension (MB, Lincoln, Audi, Lexus, or any other maker) will generally give problems sooner than conventional suspension. I think it's just inherent in the systems.
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Old 04-13-09, 09:05 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by I6turbo View Post
Based on what I've seen over the past 30+ years, I am convinced that most any air suspension (MB, Lincoln, Audi, Lexus, or any other maker) will generally give problems sooner than conventional suspension. I think it's just inherent in the systems.
You took the words out of my mouth

Air suspension is like the rotary engine, it is inherently problematic and don't last long. That is why smart company like BMW try to avoid using it as much as they can.

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Old 04-13-09, 09:10 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by I8ABMR View Post
funny, when they mentioned the LS in the recent automobile magazine article the only problem they noted was with the upgraded air suspension. I wonder if the problem continues with the newer LS models
I think the newer LS's air suspension have fewer problems then the LS430's system, at least they sit even from the factory, but they still have problems. Go over to the new LS section, you can see quite a few threads with people complaining about their air suspension.

Those cars are not that old, and few of those cars have high mileage yet and they are all still under warranty, which means the dealer replace whatever go bad quickly, so people complain less. Wait til they are older, I am sure they are just as problematic as the LS430.

I read one thread where the dealer kept replacing air suspension components on a LS460L and still couldn't make it works right, everything was replaced, sensors, ECU, struts.....etc, the owner was tired of bringing the car in.

Which is why I decided to rip out my air suspension, it is the only way to get rid of all the problems once and for all.

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Old 04-13-09, 09:12 AM   #42
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I am so happy today, my car sit perfectly even, for once and forever

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Old 04-13-09, 01:05 PM   #43
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Hey Jeff, you know what I want.... PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so gald you got it done!
Well, at least my air is still good, so I can worry about the conversion later.
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Old 04-13-09, 02:09 PM   #44
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"It drives SO GOOD, exactly how I imagine it and exactly the way I wanted. Quite a bit firmer then the air but is still perfectly comfortable. Now I am 100% sure I prefer the feels of steel springs over the air springs, I am so happy!! "

BNR34,
Glad to hear that you like the conversion and that you are happy with the ride. Quite a bit of work there but in the end it's all good. Congrats!!!
Does the new system lean/sway when you are going around curves and pushing it a bit? My 05 sport sits perfectly flat when taking a curve and I really like it that way. I would think yours would do the same.
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Old 04-13-09, 02:10 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by blacksc400 View Post
Hey Jeff, you know what I want.... PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yeah I know, I don't want to post pics until I get the rear seats back in, and I want to let the springs settle more, I can see it dropping as times goes by. It sit so high yesterday, it is just a hair lower then a stock one, it is pointless to show pics, it looks almost stock.

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I am so gald you got it done!
Thank you, I am glad as hell, I haven't driven the car in 2 months! Driving my STi everyday is painful

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Well, at least my air is still good, so I can worry about the conversion later.
Nothing to worry about now, all the questions are answered.
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