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  #11  
Old 04-13-2011, 06:03 PM
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UPDATE #3:

So as this project stands now were about 80% of the way done, the only major remaining part is to install the struts and bags.

At this point however i do just want to take a second to point out that this is not a project for the faint of heart as it does require much more work than I had originally anticipated as well as some irreversible modifications.

Ride Sensors
The fronts were pretty straight forward as there is plenty of room to mount and work around the front suspension. The front sensors were bolted to brackets we fabbed up and welded to the frame just rear of the front axle support mount. The adjustment/measurement arm attaches to the lower control arms.

The rears were a bit more of a challenge due to the size of the sensors and the overall tight quarters in the rear. Finally, we decided to go with mounting the sensor on the back side of the upper control arm mounting flange.



Air
The compressed air comes from the compressor through the main line running underneath the passenger side of the vehicle to the rear compartment, into the tank. On the tank is the safety blow off, pressure switch, as well as the main 1/4 line out to feed the valves. Going from the tank, the air first travels through an inline filter and through air driers before getting to the valves or bags. I went ahead and mounted the valves, manifold (with air driers and pressure sensor) and air filter in a pvc box mainly to keep everything neat and out of the way while still in one location. The pressure sensor on the manifold keeps taps on the tank pressure and will automatically switch the display to the tank pressure when it drops below a certain psi. The connector on the top right of the box is the power/ground wires for the air valves. Assembling the pins into that bad boy was a major PITA!!

Tank:




Box:



The airlines exit the box through the top and drop down into the spare compartment where they then split. The lines for the rear bags go through the rubber boots above their respective bag, and the fronts follow the same path of the main air line back up front to each strut.

Electrical
The control unit I have relies solely on the values from the level sensors for automatic ride adjustment, (think BMW's self-leveling), same basic concept. Going into this thing is:
1 - 8 pin harness for valve control
2 - 6 pin harness', 1 for power; the other to connect to the control display.
4 - 3 in one wires which come from each level sensor.

I figured the best place to mount the module was behind the glove box in the rack with the rest of the million wire boxes. It finally fit comfortably after some hot knife surgery to the rack...(Yes I did take the time to remove it from the vehicle, and yes I removed all of the other modules from the rack, and yes my knuckles weren't to happy by the time it was all back in).

Brains:



It might be worth mentioning that for both the control unit and the compressor, relays were used. The compressor relay may already be obvious, but if not....it will kill a battery rather quickly. This way it will only run when the key is on.
The relay for the "key on" power wire to the control unit was used because I didn't want to start tapping multiple wires unnecessarily. It uses the same signal wire, and dedicated 12v source as the comp. relay but this way does not draw anything off the factory harness wires.

That is the majority of the project... Its not an overly difficult project, just there is a lot of tedious little sh*t involved, which consumes most of the time.




Last edited by X5SND; 04-13-2011 at 07:49 PM.
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  #12  
Old 04-20-2011, 04:52 PM
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UPDATE #4:

Well guys, for the most part we're done! Everything is in and working as it should. Not sure how many of you are still following this but here are my observations:

- After going from 17x7.5 wheels to the massive 20x10F 20x11R the ride is actually BETTER than is was before. It feels much more planted (as expected) but also the air springs seem to filter out the vibrations/feeling of the road that the coils transmitted throughout the vehicle.....for a much more luxurious (yet still BMW feeling) ride.

- The only thing I will say about handling is that it is still very much a BMW; it does what its mean to, nothing more nothing less. Its not as nimble as a car, nor do I expect it to be.

Before




After




Display



The display was custom made orange to try and keep some of the BMW feel. The numbers shown are the height values for each corner (ranges from 0-125 for the travel I specify), but it can be switched to the pressure in the tank at the press of a button. The buttons on the left are the "auto height" presets; High - Medium - Low. The ones on the left allow you to manually adjust each corner. This is only the temporary location, the plan is to remove the sunglasses holder and CAD an overhead display mount into its location.

Overall, Im extremely pleased with how this all turned out. It was a bit of a gamble as its definitely off the beaten path, and in fact backwards from the path most take (air to coil conversion). But with that being said I love my X, and still have a couple years left in university; so I plan to keep it for a while yet. Some of you might be wondering the cost of something like this, so here is a quick breakdown:

Dakota Digital DCH-2000 system w/ custom orange dispay - $855
" " custom 10 ft display cable - $70
BMW Factory rear air springs - $190 (x2)
Arnott Industries front air struts - $469 (x2) [$369ea + $100 core]
Arnott Industries valve block - $300
Viair Compressor $180
Misc (fittings, check valves, silencers etc..) $500

For a grand total of $3223.

The majority of fittings used for the air lines were DOT approved air-brake air-line fittings. They're a bit pricey compared to standard 1/4" push-in fittings but being that they have endured decades of service in the transport industry, they looked like a wise choice. Here's a shot of them next to BMW's fitting for the front struts.




The note the o-ring on the inside of the BMW fitting, there is a second one further in the fitting...(enter the non-expert disclaimer here)....the guy I was dealing with for all my fittings and lines took a look at it and basically said that those o-rings will eventually give me nothing but problems...Especially once they have been subject to some of the nice things our roads/weather have to throw at them. The DOT fittings on the other hand have a sleeve that fits inside the airline after being pressed in to prevent the line from collapsing and eventually leaking.


So anyone out there who might have entertained this idea, but not quite sure about how to proceed, or if its worth proceeding, hopefully this can be of some use to you!





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  #13  
Old 04-20-2011, 08:40 PM
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Wow! Looks great! Nice work.
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  #14  
Old 04-20-2011, 09:53 PM
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WOW that is very impressive. Nice work, you are a true craftsman.
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  #15  
Old 03-13-2012, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X5SND View Post

The majority of fittings used for the air lines were DOT approved air-brake air-line fittings. They're a bit pricey compared to standard 1/4" push-in fittings but being that they have endured decades of service in the transport industry, they looked like a wise choice. Here's a shot of them next to BMW's fitting for the front struts.




The note the o-ring on the inside of the BMW fitting, there is a second one further in the fitting...(enter the non-expert disclaimer here)....the guy I was dealing with for all my fittings and lines took a look at it and basically said that those o-rings will eventually give me nothing but problems...Especially once they have been subject to some of the nice things our roads/weather have to throw at them. The DOT fittings on the other hand have a sleeve that fits inside the airline after being pressed in to prevent the line from collapsing and eventually leaking.


So anyone out there who might have entertained this idea, but not quite sure about how to proceed, or if its worth proceeding, hopefully this can be of some use to you!


I also put adjustable air suspension on my civic (yes I said civic... ), and the only problem I constantly had was the quick connect fittings. They're a pain, I tried so many different ones and they all failed. Finally I went with Home Depot compression fittings and haven't had a leak since then. Hope it's working out for you though. Nice ride .

Something like (SKU #) 541907 but in 1/4" both sides...
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  #16  
Old 03-14-2012, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isdeleon View Post
I also put adjustable air suspension on my civic (yes I said civic... ), and the only problem I constantly had was the quick connect fittings. They're a pain, I tried so many different ones and they all failed. Finally I went with Home Depot compression fittings and haven't had a leak since then. Hope it's working out for you though. Nice ride .

Something like (SKU #) 541907 but in 1/4" both sides...
Thanks Dude!

It's odd that you had problems with quick connect fittings leaking!.....Ive been running this set up for about a year now on just about every kind of road surface/condition you could think of and in temps that range from ~+35˚C to -40˚C, without a single problem. Straight *Clean* cuts on the airline ends are a must though. I could see the plastic quick connect fittings definitely causing problems......but the DOT ones are pretty hefty in comparison, and are built for such abuse.
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  #17  
Old 03-29-2012, 01:06 PM
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Very cool! I like that you did everything yourself. The after picture, is that at the lowest setting?
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  #18  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4coots View Post
Very cool! I like that you did everything yourself. The after picture, is that at the lowest setting?
Yeah, thats the lowest setting.
L - Summer drive height
M - Winter drive Height (~1 inch higher than low)
H - Blizzard Mode (for maximum ground clearance)
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  #19  
Old 04-04-2012, 09:21 PM
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Wow!
GL, mD
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  #20  
Old 11-12-2012, 09:23 AM
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sorry to resurect an old thread but what wheels are these ? i have the 22" version on My X5 but never knew what they are
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