Airlift 1000 Install DIY

DerekG

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'13 4dr Golf TDI 6-speed manual
Completed the install of my Airlift 1000 kit this weekend.


Installation-

This DIY isn't hyper detailed and I left certain aspects vague on purpose in the video like air hose routing and where to install the schrader valve as there isn't really a "right" way to route the hoses or where to put the valve. I just show where I decided to put mine. Overall it's a good overview of the steps involved in installing the air bags.

It went relatively smoothly.....putting the bags in the springs pretty much sucks full stop. It's doable, but you have to be patient and let your fingers rest. Silicone spray helps here. Also, the larger spacer goes on the end of the airbag with the nipple and the wider hole faces the airbag as it allows room for the hose clamp.

I routed the hoses out the bottom of the control arms as I didn't see and alternative so make sure to install the bags with the nipple pointing down.

Other than putting the bags in the springs the rest is very easy. Just simple stuff like jacking up the car, removing the lower control arm bolts, removing and re-installing the springs, and using zip ties to secure the air hoses. There are no special tools required and I would say it took me about 2 hours of actual work. It obviously took longer since I was filming and taking pics, but this project is easily done after lunch on a Saturday.

Install Video-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP3CtjTDbGQ&t=216s



Few pics during install and finished product...

Everything in the kit. The instructions were helpful in showing the correct sequence of washers/nuts when installing the shrader valve, but no much else.

DSC09900 by DerekG710, on Flickr

DSC09910 by DerekG710, on Flickr

DSC09909 by DerekG710, on Flickr

One side done

DSC09912 by DerekG710, on Flickr


Everything completed

DSC09932 by DerekG710, on Flickr

Left plenty of slack for suspension movement

DSC09931 by DerekG710, on Flickr

The fill hose follows my trailer wiring into the trunk through a grommet behind the passenger rear wheel.

DSC09935 by DerekG710, on Flickr

Where I mounted the shrader valve

DSC09929 by DerekG710, on Flickr

Comparison video-

-Inflated/Deflated

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RJ8kgqbNUg


One last thing I wanted to mention is that initially you will hear a bit of noise from the bags rubbing on the springs at very low speed <10mph. For instance, transitioning from a driveway to the road or driving on grass. I've only driven the car ~50 miles since the install and I'm noticing there is less and less noise so I'm sure there is a bit of a wear-in period


Feel free to AMA as I'm sure I forgot a few details. I will be updating this thread next week with driving impressions as I'm taking the Scamp to Palo Duro Canyon this week which should be a good ~800 mile test for the airbags and I'll share me experience.
 
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meerschm

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Nice Job

might want to get a tape measure out and measure the hight of, say, the top of the wheel well, front and back. and side to side.

then you will know, vs guestimate, how high it rides.

good luck on the trip!
 

DerekG

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Oklahoma
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'13 4dr Golf TDI 6-speed manual
Nice Job

might want to get a tape measure out and measure the height of, say, the top of the wheel well, front and back. and side to side.

then you will know, vs guestimate, how high it rides.

good luck on the trip!
Thanks!

I'll grab some measurements before I hitch up on Thursday night. When you say side to side.....just comparing RR with LR?

I measured from the top of the tire just after install and it seemed to be about 1/4" higher with the bag empty. I'll get some official numbers for sure though :)
 

meerschm

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I would let all the air out, with the trailer off, and measure the top of the fender wheel opening to the pavement. write it all down, (parked someplace as level as you can find easily)


then up the air pressure in the bags, hook up and load up, and adjust air to get back to normal.

the side to side would only be to see if for some reason you would rather have two schrader valves, one for each side. but that would only be needed if you had some non-moveable huge load some place.
 

DerekG

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Oklahoma
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'13 4dr Golf TDI 6-speed manual
I would let all the air out, with the trailer off, and measure the top of the fender wheel opening to the pavement. write it all down, (parked someplace as level as you can find easily)


then up the air pressure in the bags, hook up and load up, and adjust air to get back to normal.

the side to side would only be to see if for some reason you would rather have two schrader valves, one for each side. but that would only be needed if you had some non-moveable huge load some place.
I see. Thanks for the clarification. I'll definitely grab those numbers as I'm curious as well.

Another thing I'm excited about is how much of a difference in camber and toe it makes with them inflated. If you'll notice in the comparison video when I deflate them how the toe/camber appears to change.
 

jesssssser

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2010 Jetta Sportwagen ~118K
Looks good! Whats in the bottle with the red filler tube on it?

Thanks for taking the time to make the video!
 

DerekG

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Looks good! Whats in the bottle with the red filler tube on it?

Thanks for taking the time to make the video!
No problem and thanks!

It's grey bottle power service. I've found that bottle to be a super clean way to add and store PS in the car. The bottle is meant for R/C nitro fuel, but it works great in this application. I usually add ~150mL per fill-up and the bottle holds ~600mL so I can carry enough for most of the road trips I go on and it has a small footprint.
 

DerekG

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Oklahoma
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Ride height measurments 4/20/17

Here are some ride height numbers for those interested.

The measurements were taken with an empty car/trunk, no passengers, and the tongue weight is as close as makes no difference to 200lbs.

Unhitched- Bags Deflated

Front- 26.5"
Rear- 27.5"

Unhitched- Bags Inflated (30psi)

Front-26.5"
Rear- 27.75"

Hitched- Bags Deflated

Front-26.5"
Rear-26.75"

Hitched- Bags Inflated (30psi)

Front-26.5"
Rear-27.5"

Alright. So what I'm gathering from this is that just the 200lb tongue weight alone isn't causing a ton of squat. The big deal is when the car/trailer are loaded with gear/passengers. That's when the airbags really make a big difference and that's where I was feeling limited before.

I didn't snap a picture, but even with the airbags deflated and the trailer hitched up the ride height was much higher than in the video when I let the air out of the bags with the car loaded. I'm going to grab one more measurement after we have covered a few hundred miles and the car is loaded with our stuff.

I also realized I may need a draw bar with a more conservative rise. My current bar has a 5 1/8" rise and before the bags it made the trailer perfectly level. I noticed after hitching up that the trailer is slightly nose up. I'm not super concerned since my 200lb tongue weight is probably close to 15% of the trailer weight. I could try running the bags at 25psi to bring the nose of the trailer down a bit if I notice any weird handling, but I will be keeping an eye on it and will most likely still get another drawbar because I want it to look perfect :)
 

jesssssser

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Can you specify the part number of the kit you installed? There are a few of them out there, and it looks like they 'officially' only have a kit for the VW Routan. Is that the one you used?
 

DerekG

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'13 4dr Golf TDI 6-speed manual
Can you specify the part number of the kit you installed? There are a few of them out there, and it looks like they 'officially' only have a kit for the VW Routan. Is that the one you used?
P/N 80753 There is a view of it in the install video iirc.
 

DerekG

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Post break-in follow up

With about ~800 miles of towing with the bags I wanted to share my thoughts.

First off....they're brilliant. Pretty much the best sub-$100 purchase I think I've made for this car.

Handling

I ran them at 30 psi when towing and I have to say how satisfied I am with the sheer unobtrusiveness to the handling that I experienced with them. Once loaded they seem to maintain the stock spring rates as they don't bounce at all and in fact they keep the car from bouncing/undulating when driving on rough roads/bridge transitions.

You can definitely "feel" the extra support they provide especially if you have done a lot of towing without them. The trailer just feels more stable overall and there is much less feedback coming from the trailer on rough roads.

Now when the car is empty and the bags are still aired up it is noticeably stiffer and the rebound of the suspension is quicker, but those facts should be obvious. The car feels stock when they are deflated to ~10 psi and I can't tell they're there.

Ease of use

Could not be easier to use. I filled them to 30.5psi when we left and they were still at 30.5psi when I got home after ~800 miles. I have a small portable compressor in the trunk that will fill them in about 45 seconds and that's the hardest part lol

Also they no longer make any noise when going slowly over bumps.....they must have "worn-in" so that's great.

Overall Impressions

Fantastic. I know I only have 800 miles on them and I'll be sure to update this thread if anything happens/changes, but so far I love them and would recommend them to anyone who either does a lot of towing or regularly carries a few hundred pounds in the trunk.

My ride height when hitched up (200lb tongue), a 32 bottle case of water, backpacks, camera gear, and a few other things in the trunk was only ~1/4"-1/2" lower than with the car completely empty without the trailer.

Here is a pic fully loaded...

DSC00297 by DerekG710, on Flickr

Lastly I mentioned how the camber was seemingly unaffected and this picture was taken after a few hundred miles of highway driving. You can see that I'm pretty much using the entire contact patch now whereas before the outer tread blocks were hardly being used. I'll try to find an old pic where this is visible.

This was one of the main benefits that I was looking for with this kit and it delivered.

DSC00301 by DerekG710, on Flickr
 

jesssssser

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Thanks for the follow up! Thats a nice lookin rig, all hooked up. I've got a popup I'd like to tow, and seeing posts like this is confidence inspiring!

I've got a chevy tahoe that can do the job, but the 13mpg doesn't make me happy. I'd rather do it with the VW and enjoy the 25+ mpg!

Great pictures.
 

DerekG

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Thanks for the follow up! Thats a nice lookin rig, all hooked up. I've got a popup I'd like to tow, and seeing posts like this is confidence inspiring!

I've got a chevy tahoe that can do the job, but the 13mpg doesn't make me happy. I'd rather do it with the VW and enjoy the 25+ mpg!

Great pictures.
Thanks! Glad I could help.

When we picked up our Scamp from the factory in Backus, MN I took a suburban since my car wasn't quite ready.....I was still messing with the trailer wiring and installing the brake controller. I think we averaged 11-12mpg over the ~1100 mile drive home...that sucked.

We spent ~$300 on fuel on the way home. Comparatively I spent ~$600 on fuel while towing it with the Golf 4600 miles on our first big road trip with it lol
 

kjclow

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Derek, it would be interesting to see the rubber contact with the front tires when fully loaded with and without the filled airbags. When I have the bikes hanging on the back and the rear fully loaded with camping/biking gear, I can feel that the front end gets a little squirely, especially on bad roads in less than ideal conditions. I think the airbags should help that as well.
 

DerekG

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Derek, it would be interesting to see the rubber contact with the front tires when fully loaded with and without the filled airbags. When I have the bikes hanging on the back and the rear fully loaded with camping/biking gear, I can feel that the front end gets a little squirely, especially on bad roads in less than ideal conditions. I think the airbags should help that as well.

I don't have an unloaded pic, but here is a pic of the front tire I took at the same time as the rear tire on Sunday. You're in luck lol

DSC00302 by DerekG710, on Flickr


In one of the above posts you can see that the ride height up front didn't change loaded or unloaded. I check my tires every time I stop on road trips and I've never noticed the fronts not using the entire contact patch. That's loaded with trailer, unloaded, empty, packed + a roof box.....they have always looked the same.
 

Nuje

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Not to dredge up an old post, but why are people (I've seen the same in a Mk7 thread) using the Air Lift 80753 that is listed as a "front" air lift?
Everyone says how difficult it is to get the bag into the spring; if Air Lift makes a bespoke "rear" bag, wouldn't that work better?

Or, just not robust enough for our liking...?
Just curious.
 
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vdubdiesel

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NY
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... why are people (I've seen the same in a Mk7 thread) using the Air Lift 80753 that is listed as a "front" air lift?
Air Lift doesn't have our VW's listed but this "bag" fits the best... it's all about bag size, and not at all about stated position on another vehicle. Some people have been told direct by airlift this is the one to use, but even better, we have many actual installs. The "tricky" install is just the way it has to be.
 

Reinout

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Not to dredge up an old post, but why are people (I've seen the same in a Mk7 thread) using the Air Lift 80753 that is listed as a "front" air lift?
Everyone says how difficult it is to get the bag into the spring; if Air Lift makes a bespoke "rear" bag, wouldn't that work better?

Or, just not robust enough for our liking...?
Just curious.
I'm in the middle of installing 80753 at this exact moment. IMO it's a perfect fit.
 

740GLE

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80753 was a perfect fit for our Alltrack too.

I do have some squeaks going over small bumps that I'm still tracking down.

BTW my amazon price was $95.25, 5 days later it was around 89.XX, currently it's 97.57 LOL amazon.
 

DerekG

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Just noticed this thread got bumped.

Everything is still great with the bags 2.5yrs later. They have been on the car for ~20k miles and appear to be in great shape.

Ironically I only towed the Scamp with them installed on the Golf for about a year until we picked up a 2018 Tiguan and now we mostly tow the camper with it. It already has roughly 5k miles of towing the Scamp behind it at this point. Fuel mileage isn't great, but with 2 kids in car seats the extra space is vital.

Actually going to install a similar Airlift kit in the Tig as well since the rear is a little soft. I'll be using one of their universal kits which just requires measuring the springs and picking a kit from a list.

I still get some use out of them on the Golf at low PSI when using my hitch mount bike rack or towing my ATV, which I do quite frequently.


Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

where2

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80753 was a perfect fit for our Alltrack too.

BTW my amazon price was $95.25, 5 days later it was around 89.XX, currently it's 97.57 LOL amazon.
Installed a kit on the wife's MkV Jetta sedan, we loved it!! I hated to send those bags to the scrap yard with it when her MkV was totaled since her '13 JSW will need a kit, but there was NO WAY I was fighting with those bags to get them back out of those springs for the $100 Amazon wants for a brand new kit!! :D I'll re-use the hitch though... ;)

Good to know 80753 is the kit to use on the JSW...
 

Nuje

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Not sure what I did wrong (or right?), but getting the bags into the springs wasn't all that tough for me. No lube or anything, springs still on the car, maybe 10-12 minutes for each side (?).

Just squeeze all the air out, fold it best you can lengthwise (so it's like a hot-dog bun), then cram it through one of the lower spring gaps. First half doesn't take much effort - just guide/pull the top a bit as your push from below; then once it gets stuck, start twisting it so that it screws itself up/in. Use a piece of wood to pop in the last bottom corner(s).
 

Geordi

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The reason the ride height doesn't change when you inflate / deflate is that these are not "lift" bags, they are effectively "lock" bags. You are supposed to inflate them BEFORE you load the suspension up (with people / cargo / etc) and they will keep the suspension at the correct height and control.

My MKIV Jetta wagon carried around 15 concrete blocks home from the store, and wasn't off of the normal height at all, even though that was 1200 lbs sitting on the rear wheels. It handled like a drunken whale, but that was to be expected.
 

Nuje

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What airbags did you put in the rear springs of your MK4 wagon? Can you use the same ones we've used for the MK6-7 GSW?
 

JHands

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Tampa
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None presently
Bumping this. Does anyone know if this kit will fit GLI springs on an mk5 jsw?
 

LanceMalm

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Apr 21, 2021
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Illinois
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2015 Golf TDI
I’m also curious about a 2015 golf TDI non wagon? As it sits empty I have exactly 8” between the perches inside the spring and I’m hearing these bags are 9”? I am also looking to lower the car and inch (shorter springs, and use bags to keep height while towing) and have heard that the 80777 part number is the same diameter but 7” tall. Does anyone know where to find the actual measurements of the bags according to part number?
 
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