Installing Airlift 1000 Load Assist kits on the MN12 platform - TCCoA Forums

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Installing Airlift 1000 Load Assist kits on the MN12 platform

Installing Airlift 1000 Load Assist kits on the MN12 platform

Written by: Rod Maksimovich (Racecougar)



If you are looking to add a little adjustability to your rear ride height and firmness, prevent the rear tires from contacting the quarter panels, or add a little extra load carrying capacity, the Airlift 1000 Load Assist air bags are the “go to” solution. These inflatable bags are installed inside the rear coil springs and can be inflated/deflated at the supplied Schrader valves via an external source (shop air compressor) or they can be installed along with a Airlift on-board Load Controller compressor kit.

Two kits are offered for the MN12 platform. Kit number 60789 is designed for the 1989-1991 MN12, while kit number 60776 is designed for the 1992-1997’s. The difference between the two kits is due to the factory bumpstops inside the rear coil springs on the 1989-1991’s.


Regardless of the model year of the MN12 you intend to install the air bags onto, I’d recommend purchasing the kit intended for the 1992-1997’s (p/n 60776). The greater volume of the later model bags makes it much easier to dial in the air pressure present in the bags. Installing the later model bags into a 1989-1991 chassis also allows for the lines to be hidden away inside the framerails, as opposed to dangling below the lower control arms.

The air bag on the left is from the 60789 kit, while the bag on the right is from the 60776 kit. Notice the difference in volume between the two.


So let’s move on to the installation process…

To get started, you’ll need to safely remove the rear coil springs and swing the lower control arms down and out of the way. I won’t go into a step by step here, as any good repair manual should cover these steps.

For those working on a 1989-1991 chassis:
With the coil spring and lower control arm out of the way, the factory bumpstop can now be removed. Using either a large crescent wrench (or 2-1/2” combination wrench if you happen to have one) to grab the flats or a pipe wrench to grab the body above the flats, simply unscrew the factory bumpstop from the framerail.






1992-1997 guys can join back in here:
Now, since we’re going to install the air bags inverted from the orientation described in Airlift’s instructions (nipple pointed upward, lines hidden in the framerail), we need to create a space for the nipple and line to pass through the upper spring perch.

Use a 1” holesaw, centered on the small hole already present in the upper spring perch, to create a clean hole for the nipple/line to pass through. Be sure to file and smooth any burrs or sharp edges to prevent damage to the airbag and line. Seal any bare steel with paint to prevent rust.




Now we can route our line. I prefer to locate the Schrader valves in the spare tire wheel in the trunk, as I’ve found it to be an easily accessible location. Using a long piece of fish tape, bailing wire, or the like, route the air line through the framerail from the new hole in the spring perch to the rearmost factory hole in the framerail.


Before attaching the line to the airbag, slip the airbag inside the coil spring, place one of the supplied spring clamps on the line, and apply a dab of RTV or similar sealant on the nipple of the airbag.


Gently pull the excess line through the framerail as you place the coil spring back into place on the upper spring perch. Raise the lower control arm, seat the bottom of the spring on the lower spring perch, and reassemble the suspension.


As mentioned above, I prefer to install the Schrader valves in the spare tire wheel inside the trunk for ease of access. I advise against teeing the lines together to one Schrader valve, as that will exacerbate vehicle lean when cornering and will also eliminate the adjustability afforded by keeping the airbags isolated from one another. For instance, when drag racing, it is common practice to increase the air pressure in the passenger side bag in relation to the driver side bag.

Using a 5/16” drill bit, drill a hole for each valve and install them using the hardware supplied in the kit. Cut the air line to length, place one of the supplied spring clamps on the line, apply a dab of RTV to the nipple of the Schrader valve, and install the line.


Before reinstalling the wheels/tires and loading the suspension, place 5-10 psi in each airbag and locate the bag up against the upper spring perch by hand, with the nipple/line centered in the hole drilled earlier. Replace the wheels/tires, set the vehicle on the ground, inflate the bags to your preferred pressure (between 5psi and 25psi), and enjoy!

Rod @ AzzKicker Cars
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 02:06 PM
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Another job well done Rod!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 08:13 PM
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I just did my install yesterday (60776). I routed the lines down as I didn't want to remove the coil springs. I used a step drill bit to cut the 3/4" hole in the lower steel control arm. It cut through easliy with no problems.

I can get about a 3/4" lift at 35psi.

I deleted my other posts in order to keep this install thread nice and on topic.

Last edited by JasonWW; 02-20-2014 at 02:10 AM.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 06:23 AM Thread Starter
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Just how much extra weight are we talking about here? Stock, uncut, LX springs? Are the airbags making contact with both the upper and lower perches? From your post, it sounds as though you are asking/expecting too much from airbags. They aren't going to increase ride height by 2"+ above stock.

FYI, stock '97 LCA's are cast. Only the '89's received stamped steel LCA's.

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2004 Mustang GT-The Driver-Intake/Exhaust/3.73's
1995 F150 4x4-The Mud Toy-5.0L/4R70W/33's/Warn 8274 Winch
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 09:55 AM
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I had always heard on here that the airbags don't increase your ride height at all, just reduce the amount of travel. Thanks for the article Rod, I've got bags and poly isos waiting to go in soon to keep the fenders off my 275's. I'll definitely use this for reference.

Previous MN12s:
'95 Thunderbird 4.6L V8 - Performance White
Bought 01/12/08 w/ 33,000 original mi. Big plans, little execution. Sold as a fallen victim to life's happenings.
'95 Thunderbird 4.6L V8 - Performance White
Leaky shifter @ 137,441; what a good ride. Gone to the crusher, but not forgotten... moth and rust doth corrupt.

'13 Mustang GT Premium 5.0L V8, Auto, Brembo, Black - Daily Dark Horse
'11 Edge SEL AWD 3.5L V6, Loaded, Black - For the Misses
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonWW View Post
With the T-bird, going from 0psi to 35psi only raised the car 3/4".
Yep, that sounds about right for stock springs.

Rod @ AzzKicker Cars
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90 XR7-The Meth Addict-KB SC'd 5.0L DOHC Stroker
2004 Mustang GT-The Driver-Intake/Exhaust/3.73's
1995 F150 4x4-The Mud Toy-5.0L/4R70W/33's/Warn 8274 Winch
94 LX w/Splitport 3.8L from 2000 Mustang - SOLD
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-17-2014, 04:29 PM
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If you're looking to add a little more ride height, wouldn't air shocks be a better option?

Or some pucks under the springs?

~Rick
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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I can't say that I've ever tried to "lift" a MN12, but I'd be concerned about placing much additional load at the upper mounting location for the rear dampers. That area has failed before with "normal" dampers in place.

Rod @ AzzKicker Cars
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90 XR7-The Meth Addict-KB SC'd 5.0L DOHC Stroker
2004 Mustang GT-The Driver-Intake/Exhaust/3.73's
1995 F150 4x4-The Mud Toy-5.0L/4R70W/33's/Warn 8274 Winch
94 LX w/Splitport 3.8L from 2000 Mustang - SOLD
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-18-2014, 10:33 PM
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For the back, there's always the Cobra shocks that fit and work with our cars.

For the front - there's not much in the way of choice anymore, until Tokiko's new distributor gets the pipeline filled up enough.

RwP
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 07:12 AM
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*snrk* You complain about not having high end shocks, but you want cheap prices?

You may want to think about that a bit.

RwP
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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There isn't exactly a plethora of currently available shock options for these cars.

Rod @ AzzKicker Cars
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90 XR7-The Meth Addict-KB SC'd 5.0L DOHC Stroker
2004 Mustang GT-The Driver-Intake/Exhaust/3.73's
1995 F150 4x4-The Mud Toy-5.0L/4R70W/33's/Warn 8274 Winch
94 LX w/Splitport 3.8L from 2000 Mustang - SOLD
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonWW View Post
Well, "lift" to stock ride height.
I can't find heavy duty shocks anywhere. For guys that have heavy duty springs, what are your shock options? Run standard shocks and live with a pogo sticking back end?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonWW View Post
Those are like $150 each, are there any Cobra shocks under $40 each?
Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonWW View Post
Nope, you must be thinking of someone else. I've always been working with a small budget.

So you guys are saying there are no regular priced shocks available for the cars with the Sport package? For those cars you have to spend 5 times more money on the shocks? For a daily driver, that sounds ridiculous.

Maybe I'll sell my air lift kit to afford shocks.
Well, the Sport shocks are no longer available from Ford. Tokiko is cranking up the US distributor (new!), so it'll be a while before Tokiko Blues are available.

But, firm shocks were always premium priced from almost everyone.

Sadly, I do remember paying $30/shock back in the 70's(!!!) for my Mustang. After inflation, $150 today is actually less.

But that first quote, in combination with the second one, was what got my response.

You want to play with the big dogs, you get to pay with the big dogs.

That's one reason why I have KYBs on my car.

RwP
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
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Well, the Sport shocks are no longer available from Ford. Tokiko is cranking up the US distributor (new!), so it'll be a while before Tokiko Blues are available.

But, firm shocks were always premium priced from almost everyone.

Sadly, I do remember paying $30/shock back in the 70's(!!!) for my Mustang. After inflation, $150 today is actually less.

But that first quote, in combination with the second one, was what got my response.

You want to play with the big dogs, you get to pay with the big dogs.

That's one reason why I have KYBs on my car.

RwP
I don't want to play with the big dogs. I just want basic shocks that keep my car from bouncing.

I put some gray KYB's on the back a couple years ago, but they were no better than the old shocks I pulled off.

I do have Koni's and coilovers on my Trans Am, but that's a performance vehicle. My T-Bird is just a daily driver. I bought it for $500, so I can't see buying high end shocks for it.

So Tokico Blues should work with the Sport option cars? What did they cost back when they were available?

Edit: It looks like Tokico part number HE3690 and they used to sell for $100 or so. That's still pretty pricey.

The Cobra rear shock is Bilstein 24-185974 and they seem to be as cheap as $110 and are available now. I guess these are the best option if you have a heavy rear end?

Last edited by JasonWW; 02-19-2014 at 11:07 PM.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racecougar View Post
There isn't exactly a plethora of currently available shock options for these cars.
Did you say plethora?..

Excellent write-up Rod..I'll be using this thread as a guide when the time comes to install rear air bags..



Rayo..
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Last edited by Rayo; 02-20-2014 at 07:14 AM.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 10:31 AM
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Rob, how did you cut the square hole in the spring perch? anything in that I'm going to damage if I plasma? Also any pictures where you can see the lines entering/exiting the frame rails?

Thanks
David
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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David,

The square hole is factory. I made the round hole using a 1" holesaw as described above. The square hole is not utilized whatsoever. The airline passes through the round hole up through the spring perch and into the framerail. The last photo in the article shows the line exiting the framerail at the rear. I would advise against using plasma.

-Rod

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2004 Mustang GT-The Driver-Intake/Exhaust/3.73's
1995 F150 4x4-The Mud Toy-5.0L/4R70W/33's/Warn 8274 Winch
94 LX w/Splitport 3.8L from 2000 Mustang - SOLD
2 - 90 35th Anny Ed SC's
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