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Jacking up the rear

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n2fordwagons View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05-August-2019 at 8:48AM
On my '79 T-bird, I'd like to have a static front ride height, but an adjustable rear ride height.  I want to run some 18" wheels with a lowered stance.  But, also have the option to run some 15" wheels with wide tires (that 70s look), which would require me to jack up the rear.  What are my options?

- I've heard bad things about air shocks.  They could possibly break through the mount points.  Basically, when aired up, they're carrying the weight of the vehicle, which should be the coil springs job.

- Has anyone had experience with Air Lift Load Assist Air bags?  Installed inside the coil springs.  They're supposed to help when carrying heavier loads.  And they make a "drag bag" for use at the track.  But, with no load, will they raise the rear?  If so, how much of a lift can I expect?  And, is this option safe?

- And then there's a true air bag system, which replaces the coil springs.  Unfortunately, I don't have the tools and skills to do this myself.  So, it will most likely be out of my price range.  Has anyone else done this?  Any bolt-on options out there, that don't require fabricating mounts, etc?

Any other options I'm missing?
Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 7T9_Tbird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-August-2019 at 11:38AM
How wide are the rear tires?  I tuck a 275/60-15 on a ten inch wide rim under the back of My bird(5" backspace).  And that was before the station wagon springs I added later. Big smile
John
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-August-2019 at 2:52PM
Like I said, I'm going for the 70s look.  So, they're 15x10 with 4" BS.  Tires are Hoosier Pro Street Radials  29x12.50-15.  I'm not looking for them to tuck under the fender wells.  

My 18" wheels have a deeper BS, so they will tuck.  18x9.5" with 5" BS.  


Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote unlovedford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-August-2019 at 3:55PM
I ran air shocks on my '76 for years with no issues. Air lift bags are a better option - more expensive than shocks, but less than a true bagged setup. Also, you might look into the air ride setup on 1991 to 1994 Town Cars. Perhaps wagon cargo coils? Cheap, work well, plentiful.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-August-2019 at 4:52PM
i think the inside coil lift bags would be the best IMO
real bags will ride a little bouncy unless you have a leveling valve plumbed in with on board air supply to keep it recharged like big trucks doWink are you wanting to raise it then dump it in town or for a show? or just raise the rear all the time? i used a pair of aluminum 2" doughnut shaped coil spacers on my car with the stock rear springs!! it's jacked and rides perfect Wink i put them on the top of the springs so they can't be seen or come out of the spring pocket Wink
2" Rear Coil Spring Spacer Lift Kit Thunderbird Cougar Montego Galaxie Torino
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Rear-Coil-Spring-Spacer-Lift-Kit-Thunderbird-Cougar-Montego-Galaxie-Torino/112448785917?fits=Model%3ATorino&epid=23002618165&hash=item1a2e784dfd:g:5S4AAOSw76dbkCYd:sc:USPSPriority!97048!US!-1
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-August-2019 at 8:53AM
Originally posted by californiajohnny californiajohnny wrote:

 are you wanting to raise it then dump it in town or for a show? or just raise the rear all the time? 

I want to lower the rear and run my 18's, then raise the rear, and run my 15's.  I could go weeks or months with a certain combo, depending on my mood.  

I'd already have the car jacked up to swap out the wheels/tires.  Rear coils are easy to replace, while I have it jacked up.  Or, insert the spacer that you recommended.  Or, I could save a little time with the "inside the coil" air bags.


Has anyone had any experience with the "inside the coil" air bags?  How much of a lift can I expect?
Jeff

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 7T9_Tbird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-August-2019 at 12:16PM
Just My opinion, but if your gonna leave the rims swapped weeks/months at a time, I'd use the station wagon springs(well, againBig smile).  Like you said, your gonna jack it up to change the wheels anyway, so it's not that much more to drop the shock mounts and swap the springs at the same time.  Air shocks, bags etc. depend on their ability to hold air, and a roadside failure means body panels and tires having unscheduled meetings.  Not good.  

Once again, just an opinion...Big smile
John
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72FordGTS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-August-2019 at 1:13PM
Jeff, I had the Airlift air bags on an old Oldsmobile station wagon I used to own.  I had them in that car for almost 10 years or so and no issues with them. When you install them you can run individual lines to each bag (which is the way I did it) so that the air won't shift between one bag and the other like when going around corners.
 
Even with the bags maxed out, I didn't get a lot of extra height from the bags.  I got maybe an inch or two at most, but I ran them for towing and carrying loads so I didn't care about stance.  Mind you I had cargo coils in that car and wasn't sitting low to begin with.  So maybe with really low springs it could lift the car a fair amount.  Also with the bags filled to the max the ride was pretty stiff and bouncy if the car was empty.  For a cheap solution they might work.
 
I think ultimately spacers like John recommend might be your best bet, especially if you want that really raked look. Just swap them in and out as needed, but it is a bit more work each time.  There is also adjustable coil overs, but that would be a lot more money and probably some fab work.  I know Ilyes has coil overs on his car now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-August-2019 at 3:04PM
yeah i don't think those inner bags lift a whole lot, they are more for added weight like vince said and drag racers have used them to preload the torque side to keep it launching more stable and straighter...
 also mine has a lot of rake due to me cutting the front coils a little and 50 series tires in front drops the front a ton Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote madmaxtorino Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-August-2019 at 1:23PM
I would go with air shocks with individual lines.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Big Bird Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-August-2019 at 2:39PM
Mark V springs will let you run 255/70-15 on 15x8.5 rims with about 3" backspace.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n2fordwagons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-August-2019 at 12:19AM
Originally posted by Big Bird Big Bird wrote:

Mark V springs will let you run 255/70-15 on 15x8.5 rims with about 3" backspace.

This is the look I'm going for, when I'm running the 15s.  Can you provide a pic from the rear?  Embarrassed  And maybe some more angles.
Jeff

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