New toy for my LS400 ucf20: Air Zenith OB2 air compressor

Air Zenith OB2 air compressor

Air Zenith OB2 air compressor

My Airrunner/ACC compressor (which is really made by Firestone for the load-levelling air spring kits) started going out the other day. I noticed it was slowly leaking air, from the tank, through the feed hose, and out from the compressor ‘inlet’ port. I assume the internal check valve bit the dust.. Vegas heat, vibration, age and a suboptimal air system probably all helped lead to it’s demise.

After doing some research, I decided to replace my ailing compressor with a new unit from Air-Zenith, their OB2 model. Lucky for me, Air-Zenith is actually based out of Las Vegas. Their main office is about 20 minutes from Mellos VIP garage! I stopped by and chatted with Manager Paul Chen and picked up this black-flaked-painted whopper of a compressor. The specs on the unit? 200PSI @ 100% duty cycle. About a foot long and 6 inches tall, must weigh a good 20 pounds at least! The wiring is very beefy, all the ends are terminated properly and the wires themselves are surrounded by thick protective shielding and heat-shrink at the terminals. The unit has a built in fan to help keep the unit cool (ever grabbed your compressor mid-tank fill? Bet you never do that again!!). The internal pump piston is completely rebuildable, and the unit features a remote mountable inlet filter. The product packaging was excellent as well! If first impressions mean anything, I have very high expectations for this unit.

I did a basic install in my LS400 to get the car back on the road, although I’m planning to completely revise the setup in the near future (Can you say, ELECTRIC VALVES?). In a few days I’ll put up a more detailed post with lots of photos for you to check out!

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Air Suspension – My Airrunner setup and system plans

I posted this up on the Club Lexus forum recently and thought it would be useful here also.

I have an Airrunner air suspension setup on my 2000 LS400. It’s a nice system but I have a couple minor issues with it. I run the fronts around 110psi and the rears around 60psi on nice pavement, 120/80 on rough/uneven surfaces.

Full up:

My LS400 - Nearly full inflation

My LS400 - Nearly full inflation

Laid out:

My LS400 - Laid out 1

My LS400 - Laid out 1

My LS400 - Laid out 2

My LS400 - Laid out 2

My LS400 - Laid out 3

My LS400 - Laid out 3

Setup:

  • Two tanks. Not sure exact size, 5? gal each
  • Single 120psi Airruner branded Firestone compressor
  • 1/4 line to 4 manual switches and 1/4 line to bags/cylinders
  • Dual pressure gauges (and switches) mounted in center console.

Sry no picture of the trunk for now, but it’s nothing special, tanks and comps in spare tire well.

Thoughts
My main gripe is how slow the current setup is to lift the car (and deflate the rear). This is from the 1/4 lines. Slightly annoying while driving and need to quickly lift the car, but it’s more annoying when the car is laid out and you need to go back to ride height. Due to the install, my manual switch placement sucks – they are hard to get at in the center console. For those that don’t know, manual switches dump the air from the bags right out of the switch itself, so as you’d expect it’s very loud in the car when deflating… My GF and kid complain. Of course the manual valves have no way to program preset heights, or auto fill on startup, both features I’d really like. Lastly, the single 120 compressor is taxxed to fill both tanks, it will run for >= 10+ minutes after lifting the car off the floor. If the tank was low/empty when laid out, you have to wait awhile before being able to drive anywhere. But other than these minor, correctable issues, the Airrunner setup is awesome.

Plans
I’m planning to upgrade to the system to

  1. Make it faster and easier to use (programmable heights)
  2. Make it quieter inside the cabin (and louder outside the car)
  3. Provide a little redundancy AND reduce tank recovery times.
  • Upgrading compressor to either a single or dual Viair 480C compressor, they’re good for 200psi@50%duty. Much faster tank recovery!
  • Upgrading to at least 1/2 line from the tank to the manifold/valves. The single 1/4 line from the tanks is over taxxed when filling 2 or 4 bags at once
  • Upgrading to trunk mount electric valve setup (Accuair?) with slow-downs/mufflers on exhaust ports. Quieter cabin, and allows presets with controller
  • Upgrading to programmable digital controller, still researching but leaning toward the Autoloc Air Command
  • Get rid of analog gauges in favor for a digital display setup that also shows tank pressure
  • Keeping 1/4″ lines from valves to struts, if the new setup still isn’t fast enough I’ll sell the Airrunners and go with a custom UAS setup with >= 3/8 lines
  • Haven’t planned out what to do for water traps or drains, but that stuff along with fittings and air hose is fairly generic

Hope this helped!

Univeral Air Suspension install write up

Ever wonder what would be required to install a UAS air suspension setup on your LS400? Thanks to this nice photo writeup by eight08Customs on the Vip Style Cars forum, now you’ll have a better idea! I’ve left some steps and tips out, so be sure to check out the entire thread before you jump into this project.

Also worth noting are that some strut bodies are pressurized with nitrogen, you’ll need a competent welder to tackle this job!

Since we all love fabrication pictures:

Start with stock or aftermarket struts

Start with stock or aftermarket struts

Remove or grind the collar off

Remove or grind the collar off

Remove the spring perch with a grinder

Remove the spring perch with a grinder

Remove/grind down any other collars to slip the tube on the strut body

Remove/grind down any other collars to slip the tube on the strut body

Prefit everything before tack welding

Prefit everything before tack welding

Have your welder MIG weld the sleeve to the strut body (over the old weld)

Have your welder MIG weld the sleeve to the strut body (over the old weld)

There you have it. Complete this process for the remaining three struts, then plumb your lines, manifold, switches, electronics, compressor and tanks… And you’re riding on air! Be sure to check out the entire thread on VIP Style Cars for many more tips and tricks that I’ve left out of this recap. Good luck!

Links updated: VIP Wheels and Air Suspension

I updated the links on the left for the Air Suspension and Wheels & Tires category.

On the air cat, I have most of the major manufacturers of LS400/Celsior kits shown along with quite a few generic air suspension retailers selling everything from lines, fittings to solenoid valves and controllers.

In the wheels and tires area, I have started a good collection of VIP Styled wheel links, brands ranging from AME, SSR Vienna, Work and Lowen Hart.

I’ve already been building my catalog of VIP Lighting, Aero, Interior and Shopping links. The remaining categories on the left will be deleted/updated in the next week or two, stay tuned.

If you see an obvious brand I missed please leave a comment so I can get it added! I want this site to be useful as possible to everyone into VIP cars!

AIMGain Lexus LS460

Gotta love the AIMGain LS460! Pix jacked from the Kultivate blog

AIMGain LS460

AIMGain LS460 - I love the 460 frenched exhaust tips, so fucking cool!!

AIMGain LS460

AIMGain LS460 - Layed out like a champ!

AIMGain LS460

AIMGain LS460 - "Ez a beautiful car!" ~Terry Tibbs

Black bagged GS300 (Autofashion Oct 08 featured car)

Autofashion posted up their October featured customer car, Robert’ Chew’s 99 GS300.

It has Junction Produce goodies galore, an Airrunner setup and 19″ Leon Hardiritt wheels. Maybe I’m just a sucker for black cars on bags, but I think it’s pretty sick, check it out:

99 GS300

99 GS300

LS400 Air suspension – compressor issue

Annoying…. Driving home, need to raise the nose of the car so it doesn’t drag the bumper through this intersection they’re working on. Press the switches, and… Nothing. Seems like the tanks are empty and the compressor isn’t kicking on.

When I got home I checked the fuses first, but they were fine. Quickly checked the wiring in the trunk, everything seemed okay, no shorts, burns, smoke, etc. I figured the tank pressure switch wasn’t working anymore, but a quick test with my DMM said otherwise. The only things left were the relay and the compressor itself. I cut the pump wiring and tested the pump straight off my s13 optima battery — luckily it worked fine… Strangely after I put the wiring back, the relay worked fine too. I really hate intermittent problems. I’m guessing that it was either a poor ground issue (and the relay wasn’t kicking on), or some sort of thermal issue with the relay or compressor. Hope this issue doesn’t come up again!

I’m planning to upgrade to a digital controller and electric solenoids soon, as well as a complete trunk rewire.