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Factory Air Suspension 101: Share your A/S knowledge here

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Factory Air Suspension 101: Share your A/S knowledge here

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Old 07-01-12, 05:39 AM
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CJITTY
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Default Factory Air Suspension 101: Share your A/S knowledge here

CL, I have been doing some research on the LS460/600 Factory Air Suspension on the internet and of course here on CL. I wanted to put this thread together to be a repository of facts and helpful information on how the system actually works. I have a basic concept, but I think there are some other little known facts that some may find interesting.

I'll start off by stating the following things/questions. Maybe others can confirm:


1) At higher speeds, the factory air suspension will lower the car slightly for aerodynamic purposes. True or False? If so, roughly how much?

2) The "HEIGHT HIGH" button on the console will raise the car. What situations is this typically used for? High water, extra comfort?

3) If the car is set to "SPORT" mode, does this mean the car is lower than the other modes or does it just tighten up the dampening for stiffness?

4) There are different ways to adjust the air suspension to your exact desires

- Purchasing the aftermarket Data Systems Module (confirm model#ASC680 with harness #H-087G) This device is a plug and play module that connects to the factory air suspension ECU (computer) that allows you to raise and lower the car basically the full range of the air suspension levels. Except AWD models, may not be able to go as low in the front as non AWD models (confirm). Datasystems makes the actual module, but there are other companies like Prestigious Society that actually buys the module and rebrands it with their name and provides english instructions and a warranty (confirm). It is also more expensive going through them vs buying the module and harness through yahoo japan, YAJ or Rakuten type websites and having it shipped via a packaging forwarding service..may not get warranty or instructions going this route (confirm)

-Skipper Lowering Links - Tricks the sensors to actually lower the car but this method does not allow for remote adjustment and you drive at that one lowered position.

5) Can anyone provide the time it takes to go from normal position to the lower levels using the module?

6) Can owners of the module provide their various settings and describe where you like to set the car for various situations.

7) Do's and Dont's when it comes to the A/ S system. Lessons learned would be great.

Anything else about the Factory A/S, please contribute.

Side note; Props to Charles (Cheez80) for sharing PMs with me about this topic, just wanted to help the masses and add to the great info he has shared with me already.


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Old 07-01-12, 05:45 AM
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Good thread....I've wondered myself just how this setup is meant to work. The FSM gives no information, that's for sure.

I also find it peculiar that with all the choices they don't give you, they give you the option to raise the car and drive around like a spider. Why did they feel it of importance to allow you to do that? I'd rather have a 'slam it in the weeds' option. I have used the 'high' feature when I had to do a little off-road driving due to road work, but I suspect the normal height would have worked OK.
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Old 07-01-12, 06:44 AM
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great questions....I look forward to the replies. The only time I could imagine using the increased height is in snow...where it might be deep or piled up and impact the air dam, etc.
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Old 07-01-12, 09:21 AM
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I think Nat is selling a set of skipper lowering links. Pm him. I like the lowering links for someone who just wants to drop their car without full control of the system. Or that person wanting something for now until they save up for data systems.
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Old 07-01-12, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by lbintab View Post
I think Nat is selling a set of skipper lowering links. Pm him. I like the lowering links for someone who just wants to drop their car without full control of the system. Or that person wanting something for now until they save up for data systems.
Yeah, I like the cool factor of the module because to be honest, i want to ride at stock height most of the time for commuting 8 miles to work, but be able to have control for whenever i feel the need to drop it..especially for meets and just flossin hard in parking lots lol
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Old 07-01-12, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by CJITTY View Post
Yeah, I like the cool factor of the module because to be honest, i want to ride at stock height most of the time for commuting 8 miles to work, but be able to have control for whenever i feel the need to drop it..especially for meets and just flossin hard in parking lots lol
from what i heard the links trick the Height button to lowering the car instead of raising it. on another note my cousin setup a switch on his LS400 to just lower or raise the car all the way up and lower all the way down. all wiring no controller.
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Old 07-01-12, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by mike171333 View Post
great questions....I look forward to the replies. The only time I could imagine using the increased height is in snow...where it might be deep or piled up and impact the air dam, etc.
How about checking your owners manual for an explanation of the system?
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Old 07-01-12, 12:25 PM
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As noted ,the owner's manual gives no information.
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Old 07-01-12, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by lbintab View Post
from what i heard the links trick the Height button to lowering the car instead of raising it. on another note my cousin setup a switch on his LS400 to just lower or raise the car all the way up and lower all the way down. all wiring no controller.
Ive done research on this too. From what I found out, the skipper lowering links adjusts the starting stock height of the LS to a lower level so instead of that stock gap from the bottom of the fender to the top of the tire being so big, it (the fender) sits right on top of the tire so no ugly gap. The height high buttom does one thing stock, it just raises the car from the starting height to it looks like another plus 3-4 chubby fingers higher. After u install the skipper lowering links adjusting the starting height to the top of the tire, the height high button will still raise it the same distance higher.
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Old 07-02-12, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by GregCon View Post
As noted ,the owner's manual gives no information.
Sorry about that. I assumed the LS460 would have the same explanation regarding the air suspension. My 04 UL manual clearly defines the modes of the height as follows:

"This electronically modulated air suspension adjusts the damping effect on the shock absorbers and the vehicle height. This adjustment is automatically made in response to the driving conditions to provide good riding comfort and stability in all driving conditions.

(a) Vehicle height adjustment.

Normal Mode: Suitable for driving on roads with a normal surface.

High mode: Suitable for driving on rough roads which are unsurfaced or continually bumpy. The damping effect is set slightly firmer in the high mode. So you may feel the vibration of the vehicle compared to in the normal mode. However, this does not mean a malfunction in the system. We recommend you use a normal mode in normal driving.

Normal Mode: The vehicle height remains at normal height at all driving speeds.

High Mode: The vehicle height switches between the follow two vehicle heights according to the driving conditions:

Normal = Medium and high speed driving
High = Low speed driving"

To me this implies that if you have the vehicle set at high, that it will automatically reset to normal at high speed driving. However, it does not clearly define what is low speed versus medium and high speed.
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Old 07-02-12, 08:29 AM
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I wish the suspension would drop the car when sitting parked.

One day I had my LS on the lift and did something to cause the air to all bleed out. I don't recall what. In any case, when I lowered it back on the ground, it was sitting super low and looked pretty cool. You could never drive it like that but it looked good sitting there.
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Old 07-02-12, 09:55 AM
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1) At higher speeds, the factory air suspension will lower the car slightly for aerodynamic purposes. True or False? If so, roughly how much?
I believe this is true, though to quantify the measure of how much is negligible because I'm sure it depends on the actual speed of travel.

2) The "HEIGHT HIGH" button on the console will raise the car. What situations is this typically used for? High water, extra comfort?
I have used it twice. Both occasions were when I had a bodykit installed on my car and the driveway to the destination was at such an angle, I didn't want to risk it. There is a thread where someone performed an oil change in his garage and used the "height high" button for more clearance when working under the car.

3) If the car is set to "SPORT" mode, does this mean the car is lower than the other modes or does it just tighten up the dampening for stiffness?
AFAIK, sport mode does not lower the vehicle, just stiffens the dampening.

4) There are different ways to adjust the air suspension to your exact desires.
I have both the Datasystems controller and the Skipper Lowering Links. Both allow adjustability. The Datasystems is for in-cabin adjustability, and the Skipper LInks can be "slightly adjusted" from outside of the car (when being installed). The initial reason I had both installed was because I did not like how long it took for my car to "lower" all the way down.

5) Can anyone provide the time it takes to go from normal position to the lower levels using the module?
Without lowering links, from normal to superlow, I would say it takes approximately 3-5 mins (feels like a long time when waiting)

6) Can owners of the module provide their various settings and describe where you like to set the car for various situations.
With both the controller/lowering links, my controller is set on zero, and i'm essentially at zero wheel gap. I don't toy with the suspension based on situations now, but in a month (when I have my aero installed) my answer will probably change.

7) Do's and Dont's when it comes to the A/ S system. Lessons learned would be great.
The raising/lowering of the factory A/S will definitely have wear and tear on the ride comfort and inevitably strut longevity. The car was not meant to be raised and lowered frequently (particularly with the datasystems) - so if you're messing around with it frequently, I wouldn't be surprised if things went wrong.

The way I see it, If you're not planning on replacing the entire suspension, I would probably not mess with it too much and approach the situation with a "set it and forget it" attitude.
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Old 07-02-12, 11:05 AM
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Brian is dead on with all the answers. I added my comments in RED. The life of a OEM air suspension in conjunction with a Data System is around 3-4 yrs riding real low. This is what I have heard from numerous LS430 owners.

Originally Posted by brianlin87 View Post
1) At higher speeds, the factory air suspension will lower the car slightly for aerodynamic purposes. True or False? If so, roughly how much?
I believe this is true, though to quantify the measure of how much is negligible because I'm sure it depends on the actual speed of travel. I notice during speed of travel in access of 65+ mile, the Data controller lower it itself. When I slow down to 30-40 mph, I notice the Data controller adjust itselt to go back up to the original setting. Again, this is just MY observation

2) The "HEIGHT HIGH" button on the console will raise the car. What situations is this typically used for? High water, extra comfort?
I have used it twice. Both occasions were when I had a bodykit installed on my car and the driveway to the destination was at such an angle, I didn't want to risk it. There is a thread where someone performed an oil change in his garage and used the "height high" button for more clearance when working under the car. I use this feature all the many, many time. Usually at shows or meets, I would use the "L" setting to slam the car for better appearance.

3) If the car is set to "SPORT" mode, does this mean the car is lower than the other modes or does it just tighten up the dampening for stiffness?
AFAIK, sport mode does not lower the vehicle, just stiffens the dampening.

4) There are different ways to adjust the air suspension to your exact desires.
I have both the Datasystems controller and the Skipper Lowering Links. Both allow adjustability. The Datasystems is for in-cabin adjustability, and the Skipper LInks can be "slightly adjusted" from outside of the car (when being installed). The initial reason I had both installed was because I did not like how long it took for my car to "lower" all the way down. The Data System allow you to adjust from inside the cabin. The Skipper Lowering link, you just set it once and use the "Height" button when you want to lower or raise the car

5) Can anyone provide the time it takes to go from normal position to the lower levels using the module?
Without lowering links, from normal to superlow, I would say it takes approximately 3-5 mins (feels like a long time when waiting)Data System and Skipper lowering link in the way to go. Adding the Skipper Lowering link lower the car a little more and it drops/raise the car much faster.

6) Can owners of the module provide their various settings and describe where you like to set the car for various situations.
With both the controller/lowering links, my controller is set on zero, and i'm essentially at zero wheel gap. I don't toy with the suspension based on situations now, but in a month (when I have my aero installed) my answer will probably change.I used to ride at the "6" setting with just the Data Controller...now with the Data and Skipper, it's set at "4". No finger gaps.

7) Do's and Dont's when it comes to the A/ S system. Lessons learned would be great.
The raising/lowering of the factory A/S will definitely have wear and tear on the ride comfort and inevitably strut longevity. The car was not meant to be raised and lowered frequently (particularly with the datasystems) - so if you're messing around with it frequently, I wouldn't be surprised if things went wrong. Find a setting that you like for looks and comfort, then leave it.

The way I see it, If you're not planning on replacing the entire suspension, I would probably not mess with it too much and approach the situation with a "set it and forget it" attitude.
BTW, my Data System and Skipper Lowering link is up for sale at the end of the month. I will post in the classified shortly. Love it's ride quality but its time to experiment something else.
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Old 07-02-12, 12:16 PM
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"The raising/lowering of the factory A/S will definitely have wear and tear on the ride comfort and inevitably strut longevity. The car was not meant to be raised and lowered frequently"

I'm not sure I buy this.

1) There is no warning in the manual telling owners to limit their use of this feature

2) Since, I believe, the system is air actuated there is no particular reason I can think of that exercising it would cause undue wear.


Do you have further evidence of that point?
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Old 07-02-12, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by GregCon View Post
"The raising/lowering of the factory A/S will definitely have wear and tear on the ride comfort and inevitably strut longevity. The car was not meant to be raised and lowered frequently"

I'm not sure I buy this.

1) There is no warning in the manual telling owners to limit their use of this feature

2) Since, I believe, the system is air actuated there is no particular reason I can think of that exercising it would cause undue wear.


Do you have further evidence of that point?
Greg,

I guess it depends on what you want to do. I did not have the intention of keeping the OEM air, therefore I didn't care if the strut blew. Plus, I still have warranty to replace the OEM air. Keep in mind that if the OEM bag/strut went bad, I believe the cost for each corner was like $1100 to replace. If this was the case, after market air is cheaper.

A way to minimize the wear and tear is to find sweet spot for looks and comfort, then leave it there. Only slam it for show.
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