Air Suspension head scratcher

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Tapps33

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Ok, Gents, here we go again!

Let me just start by saying I had an epiphany today....I've been doing something completely wrong, and making life WAY harder for myself than I should have....and yes, it's pretty much the story of my life.

What might this epiphany be? Simple, I read the stupid freaking directions for the Voss fittings for the new air struts... DID YOU GUYS KNOW ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SIMPLY SLIDE THE AIR HOSE IN?!?!?!? I've totally been carefully sliding the new fitting on the old hose, then spending the next several days trying to get all the air lines re-connected by threading the VOSS fittings and hoses back into what ever air suspension piece I'm working on at the time. Holy cow, this was like life changing for me!!!!! I lubed my hoses and fittings up just in case, but seriously....they just slide right in....no cussing in frustration, no sore fingers because you can't get it to line up just =right so you turn and turn and turn, just hoping it'll thread right and not cross thread. Needless to say....I feel really stupid and very excited all at the same time!

For those of you interested, these are the instructions that came with the Air Struts:

Arnott Voss Fitting Instructions - Mar 6, 2023 - 20-03.jpg



As for the Air struts, they were pretty straight forward, but I do have a couple "lessons learned" I can share.

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The removal of the struts are fairly straight forward, the lower mount bolt head is a 21mm, and the nut on the back side is a 24mm. Mine were rather rusty and a bit stubborn, but they eventually came right off. I then turned my attention to the upper bolts and air line.

I chose to remove the air line first, which is not the order Arnott says to do it in. However, I found that with the air line removed, getting to the rear nut was significantly easier on both sides. In truth, the Left side was harder than the right because there's a hard brake line on the left hand side, very close to the the strut mount, and an electrical connector on the right side. Thankfully, the electrical connector has a "shield" that just pops open and folds down, allowing access to the left hand side rear nut. Once all three nuts are removed, the strut just drops out. A little bit of working and puzzling and you can slide it downward, then rotate the top end outward and lift the whole strut out.

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Tapps33

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Here you can see the removed strut:

item 6.jpeg


Notice all the salt build up from my time in Maine....salt isn't just in the ocean, it's on the road and in my car!!! AAAAGGGGHHHHH! Yes, I cleaned it off before I put the new strut on.

Now, here's another one of those, "different from Arnott's directions" items. Arnott tells you to install the top three nuts fully, then "while supporting the lower portion of the strut, install the lower bolt." Well, I can tell you this was extremely difficult, and truthfully, unnecessary. I tried using a reversed clamp to push the strut toward the inside of the car while using downward on the control arm....and nothing...it was too far to flex everything and it was just me working in it. Then, I had another epiphany....loosen the stupid top nuts so the strut can rotate back toward the inside of the vehicle...and voila! All I had to do was apply a little downforce to the control arm and everything lined up perfectly...with very little force necessary to get everything into place. Not gonna lie though, I used a big breaker bar on the top knuckle to get a little extra leverage when pushing the control arm down.

After my lower bolt was in, not torqued down, just in, I tightened the top three nuts. After those, I torqued the lower connecting bolt.

Then finally, I inserted the air hose into the new Voss fitting in the strut.
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Tapps33

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OK, final piece, I promise.

Here's the left side hose connected:
item 11.jpeg



In case you were wondering, this is the flap that covers the electrical connector:

item 12.jpeg

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Now, the over night test will determine if I've finally found the elusive gremlin, but I after I got everything back together, I went ahead and raised everything up to off road height and pulled the fuses.

Thus far, she's looking pretty darn good:

I've measured the heights and Time=0, 2hrs and 4 hours. I may try and get out there and measure again at time 6 hours...but there's also a chance I just go to bed and measure in the morning.

The results are:

Time =0. 2hrs 4hrs
LF - 19 3/8" 19 3/8" 19 5/16"
LR - 20 1/4' 20 1/4" 20 1/4"
RF - 19 3/8" 19 3/8" 19 3/8"
RR - 20 1/4" 20 1/4" 20 1/4"

Fingers crossed the LF drop was just a fluke, and my measurement was just a little off...cause I'm not going to lie, I think there's a chance I may have been battling 2 leaking struts. (insert giant facepalm here....if true).

Time will tell, and I'll give y'all the update tomorrow morning!!!!
 

Tapps33

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Ok, morning update: The stupid Left front corner has fallen.....sigh...

Time =0. 2hrs, 4hrs, 6hrs. 14hrs
LF - 19 3/8" 19 3/8" 19 5/16" 19 1/8". 18 1/2"
LR - 20 1/4' 20 1/4" 20 1/4". 20 1/8". 19 7/8"
RF - 19 3/8" 19 3/8" 19 3/8". 19 3/8". 19"
RR - 20 1/4" 20 1/4" 20 1/4". 20 1/4". 20 5/16"

My guess is that the Left front is now falling the most...as opposed to the right rear previously.
As it falls, it puts more weight on the LR and LF...and actually, the sloping downward actually causes the RR to increase in height.

I can think of only 3 morals to this story:
1. Never buy name brand stuff off eBay
2. The salt and harsh environment in Maine just caused premature failure in these air struts
3. Maybe Arnott really sucks, and I shouldn't like them so much.

I checked the dates on my shocks and they were all manufactured in 2018...putting them at roughly 5 years old....and really only on my vehicle for 4.5 years...which is WAY too soon for 2 struts to fail.

I'll order the front struts up and let y'all know how it goes with them.

The only good note, is that after all this is said and done, I will have a 100% brand new air suspension...seriously, there's nothing I haven't swapped at this point...front valve block over the summer, compressor and tank a couple months ago, rear valve block a few weeks ago, rear air struts yesterday, now the front struts....the only things that's now 4.5 years old is the compressor valve block.

I can't believe it's taken all of this to get it right.
 

txfromwi

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Thanks for all the hard work and the information.
Hopefully WE will never need it. (Ha, Ha..)

I noticed some surface rust. I have been experimenting with POR-15, I purchased a 1qt can.
Very impressive, but still early days...
 

Tapps33

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Thanks for all the hard work and the information.
Hopefully WE will never need it. (Ha, Ha..)

I noticed some surface rust. I have been experimenting with POR-15, I purchased a 1qt can.
Very impressive, but still early days...
Unfortunately, after my Maine move, there's more than just "some" surface rust. Lemme know how your experiments with POR-15 go. I'm pulling the body off for an engine swap...probably in 3-4 months down the road. If it works well, I may try treating the frame while I have access.
 

dlimanov

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I don’t know how many miles are on the Arnotts but the people on L322 forum have been dealing with prematurely failing Arnott products for a while now and the verdict is to stay clear. I’ve had a pair fail on my BMW wagon in under a year where’s the factory lasted closed to 20 years. I would suggest either go with OE or a comparable trusted brand. I believe either Dunlop or Continental makes OEM quality ones.
 

ryanjl

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I think the consensus was that Arnott was originally using rebuilt OE struts, and those were the ones with problems. The new ones are much better. I believe Arnott uses Continental bags (at least the ones I put on my fronts do).
 

Longtrail

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I'm so glad to see progress being made, keep up the great work and reporting :). Also sorry to hear about the LF - Damn that's rough!

Here in MI we also suffer with the salt; on my radar is to look at the frame and clean it up as much as I can... Inch by inch you reach a mile! Keep us posted, I've been looking out for your updates with bated breath.
 

Tapps33

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It's funny, for as much as Arnott charges for their struts, I never would have imagined they were some sort of remanufactured product. I will say, their website now says "New Front (or Rear) air strut available for LR4..."

The sad part about it, as I try very hard to remember the details of it because it was 5 years ago, I don't know that any of my OE struts had actually failed in 2018 when I swapped them. I know the front valve block was bad and subsequently the compressor had gone out....when I pulled the fuses back then it just fell on it's face, I just replaced all 4 as a preventative maintenance sort of thing, just to be safe....boy, did that ever backfire!

I can't remember, specifically, but I want to say I had somewhere in the area of 120-130K miles on it in 2018 when I swapped them....I now have 170K miles on it.

Clearly, the Arnott's didn't last long. That said, they are now touting a "Limited Lifetime Warranty." Since I bought them from RockAuto, you can bet I'll be hitting Arnott up if they don't last this time!!!

I'll keep y'all updated as soon as the new struts get here. Not gonna lie though, I probably won't do a full write up on them since it's pretty much the same as the rear struts. But, I'll try and throw any lessons learned out there for others attempting this.
 

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