SLAMMED! Installing Airlift Performance’s 3H3P air ride system in a 2016 Mustang GT
by Mark Potter
When we started the ground work on deciding how we wanted to build our project car Jekyll & Hyde we knew that we wanted to create a modern day muscle car that reflected the latest trends in design and performance and we knew from the start we wanted an air ride system. nothing suits cruse night like driving up to a stop light between a couple of nice late model muscle cars and dropping it to the tires and when the light is green raise up and roll on down the boulevard.
Air ride systems have been around since the 60’s and have developed into sophisticated air management systems offering the enthusiast many options no matter if their building a show car, a track car or your daily driver, In fact Airlift’s tag line is “Show it, Track it, Drive it” and this system does just that. Airlift Performance uses hi quality material and detailed manufacturing in the kits to aid in making the install as painless as possible and as a testimony to that this system was installed in my garage by myself using jack stands!
The Grand Plan
Because the car is a daily driver (of course) we need to break the install into sections that could be done in the confines of a weekend so the car could drive to work on Monday, so it decided to split it up into 3 builds.
• PHASE 1: Run All Lines & install equipment - Wiring harness, airlines, sensor lines, tank and compressor install.
• PHASE 2: Bag each corner - Replace all the shocks and struts with their supplied counter-part. Replace all springs with air bladders. Finish connection of air lines to bladders.
• PHASE 3: Install Leveling Sensors - build brackets for each sensor as each wheel and set up each wheel into the air management system.
Outside of a few manuals here is what your installing. Remember to take your time and do it in stages to break the job up. Nothing is overly difficult you just need to take you time and pay attention.
Start with pulling the rear seat out. There are two push tabs that release the rear seat for removal.
The wire harness is complete and only needs to be run to the four corners and engine bay on the battery side. Tape up the end so it will pass thru factory grommets without damaging the end. Use original holes and grommets whenever possible.
We started at the front passenger side working back since going from the engine bay to the interior was achieved thru a factory harness pass thru that had a rubber cover that we were abe to modify to our needs. There was these factory sealed pass thru that had a small rubber tip that we cut off to run the waiting harness and air lines. We used a smaller wire taped to the wire harness and used it to pull the harness thru from inside the cabin of the car.
After everything was taped up we used a screwdriver to push it thru to the interior foot well, then simply pulled it thru into the cab and started laying it down on the outside edge where the floor meets the sides.
Here we have the wire harness, passenger front wheel sensor, and master air line. since the airlines will be connected last ample about of slack is left for trimming when each wheel is fitted with the new shock/strut and air bag.
The same basic pass thru is also on the drivers side and we made use of it the same way passing all our lines thru it into the interior of the cabin. Once inside the cabin we can see where the harness and air tubing come into the cabin. Now is a simple matter of running them to the back of the trunk and tuck them out of the way.
Back in the trunk since the harness only goes to the controller we only need to run the airlines and leveling sensors to the rear wheels. We use existing holes to run the airlines thru into the wheel wells.
We chose the mount the air tank to the bottom side of the package tray but to do this we needed to add two new mounting holes.
The tank sit perfect in the trunk, with it tucked up under the package try it still leaves to the interior of the trunk and pas thru into the cab, another plus with mounting like this is that it makes it to where you have to bend down to see the tank making it less obtrusive. We mounted the air management controller just above the tank to keep it out of view as much as possible.
Next we wired the compressor to the harness. A cool side note is that the harness is pre-wried for another compressed and the electronics are already set up to use two pumps if so equipped, simply got to settings in the controller and select 2 compressors - way cool.
Back in the engine bay we ran the harness up along the front of the battery box, At the battery box we used an powered fuse and the supplied add-a-fuse connector to add the are fused power line.
After the harness is connected to the powered fuse and then to the battery it’s a matter of adding the supplied fuses and power the the system up to make sure all connections are good. We finish this part of the install by trimming and connecting the airlines and plugging in the harness to the controller. then reinstall the interior trim pieces, rear seat and trunk lining at the point were done inside the car, trunk and engine bay.
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