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Approaching this install it seemed fairly intimidating at first, but once we got started and figured out where we were going to install everything, and route our air lines and wires, it all came together nicely.
Here’s what Air Lift has to say about the kit specific for the FR-S and BRZ:
Get the stance you want and the performance you need with Air Lift’s Performance air suspension kits! Every kit they offer is fully engineered to properly fit your vehicle, provide unmatched static drop, and deliver ride and handling capability that exceeds factory suspensions. No other lowering suspension provides a more versatile package for daily use.
Get your BRZ or FR-S down! With 4″ of drop and all the versatility of air, the Air Lift Performance kit is the best choice for show stance, daily driving AND track performance. Get the looks you crave with the performance you need!
The sleek V2 controller is protected in a rugged, rubberized coating to help protect against the occasional drops and scratches. Display readout shows, individual corner air pressure and tank pressure. You can select your pressures to be displayed in PSI, or for our friends across the pond, we now have an option for BAR!! To give you the ultimate in personalization of your system we have loaded the multi-color display with 512 color combinations! Believe it or not all of this technology fits in the palm of your hand and only takes one wire to connect to your wire harness.
Not only does the V2 give you 8 different presets to tailor to your ride heights needs, but it also “learns” your vehicle to provide incredible accuracy with every push of the button. As you roll low, the V2 will constantly monitor your pressures and adjust accordingly to your presets. V2 also allows you to control your system manually, for the ultimate in independent 4 corner adjustment. With the raise on start feature, you won’t even have to touch the controller! Fully laid out? Raise to your ride height as soon as you turn on your ride and you’re ready to go.
You want diagnostics? Well V2 has diagnostics! With a touch of a button you can check compressor performance and compressor run times. The system will also alert you to a leak, a low pressure situation, communication failure or if there is something wrong with your valve.
Installation could not be easier! Mount your components, hook up 3 wires, plug in the OEM quality harness and you are ready to go. The detailed instruction manual will take you through the calibration and ride height preset process. Each V2 is 100% function and leak tested at the factory after assembly, so you can cruise the streets in confidence!
Drop = 4″+
Durable double bellows springs
30-level damping adjustable monotube struts
Adjustable front camber plates
Anodized red aluminum accents
Powdercoated gloss black steel brackets
Braided stainless steel leader hoses
1/4″ & 3/8″ PTC fittings
All mounting hardware
Detailed instruction manual
AutoPilot V2 Digital Controller
1/4″ Air Line
Advanced Air Lift Manifold
Viair 380 Compressor
5 Gallon Powder Coated Steel Tank
Air Lift’s 1-year warranty and excellent customer support
To achieve full drop chassis modifications may be required to your car.
Now that we have a pretty good idea what to expect when it’s completed, let’s gather up the tools to get this thing installed:
1) Ratchets 3/8” and ½” drive
2) Sockets: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 18mm, 19mm ,22mm
3) Wrenches: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 9/16, 5/8, 7/8, 17mm, 18mm, 19mm
4) Impact gun ½” drive
5) Dikes/pliers/needle nose pliers
6) Small flat tip screw driver, regular flat tip screw driver
7) Phillips screw driver
Ok, so we got together all the things we have to install on his car, keep in mind, there are more things here, than what come with the kit. We replaced the tank with a different one that he had previously on another car. So some of the pictures won’t quite match up with what you have to install.
Here are the boxes of goodies we had to install for the day. Only 3 of the boxes are the Air Lift kit.
Here’s a shot of most of what comes in the kit. Keep in mind, we used a different tank (read smaller), so our install photos will have a different tank.
Well now, let’s get to it. First thing, pull the rear spare tire cover out so we can get the spare tire out and see what we have to work with for mounting the tank.
Now let’s get these interior panels pulled out so we see what room we have to work with and where we can route the air lines and wires.
Take your flat tip screwdriver and pop the plastic clips loose and pull the rear plastic cover off.
Next we need to get the side panel carpet off. Just undo these clips and they will simply pull right out.
On the driver’s side panel you have the trunk release wiring clip you will want to undo before pulling it out, just squeeze the white clip and it pulls right out.
Now we spent a little time trying to figure out where to mount the tank/pump/controller assembly before we finally decided to mount it to the rear of the car with the pump and controller facing the front of the car. Some of these pictures might show it facing the other direction, but not to worry it was just us test fitting the tank.
Here we are fitting the pump and controller assembly to the mounts for the tank we installed. This is what we opted for, you can use whatever works for you in your specific installation.
You can see in this image how we routed the air line out of the pump and into the tank, this seemed to be the most feasible way to route it in our situation with the tank we used. You might find an easier/better solution if you use the tank that comes in the kit. You’ll notice on the right of the tank in this picture, we have the outlet going from the tank to the valve controller. There is a schematic that plainly and simply explains how to hook all the lines up to the valve body. You’ll want to hook the outlet of the tank to the slide lock fitting second from the right, as the right-most slide lock fitting is the exhaust for the system. On the bottom side, we routed the drain fitting with a Schrader valve at the end so we wouldn’t experience any leaks. All of this is clearly explained in the manual. All of the bung holes that are not going to be used will have to be plugged with the appropriate plug. (If using the tank that came with the kit, it comes with plugs that you can use. Don’t forget to use the supplied thread sealant when placing any fitting or plugs to avoid leaks!
Here we are placing some of the fittings to the pump, this is showing us threading in the air inlet filter barb.
We drilled through the floor to mount the tank/controller/pump assembly and mounted it with four bolts. It seems to be stable and didn’t create much vibration because of the vibration isolators in the pump mount.
Since we have the pump/controller/tank assembly mounted, now we need to start on the wiring. Power and ground from the controller harness connects straight to the pump with a simple two wire hookup. We opted for the butt connector route. You can solder/heat wrap if you choose, either way works. You can see in this image we had to snip off the provided ends off to get to the wires to butt them together.
Everything in this kit is clearly marked on the wire itself so it’s basically plug n play.
Next we routed the harness and the controller display to the front (controller we routed to the center console and drilled through the bottom of the tray and ran the wires through and left the display loose so we can move it around. We thought about mounting it on the dash, but it we thought it would be more versatile being loose.
Here we are routing the wiring harness towards the front of the car, we took the bolt out that holds the rear seat in place so we can have easy access to the routing location we chose.
Lift the seat up and you can see how we routed the harness through. There is a nice groove in the floor pan that the wires rested in perfectly. So we pulled them through there.
Then we had to pop the side panel off so we could tuck the wire through the side as to not have it showing throughout the car. It simply pops loose from the side of the car and it gives you access to pull the wire through
Pop the door sill off and that give you access to the under carpet routing for the wires. You’ll have to pull the rubber seal off the door jamb to pull it back and slip the harness through.
Here you can see the process of the wire routing. Fairly simple, just take your time to tuck them properly so they don’t leave lumps in the carpet. It should be seamless.
Under the hood, you can see here where we went through the firewall. To get through this you will need a fish tool of some sort. Just fish the tool down from under the hood, tape the wire to the fish, and pull it through.
Now, as we were passing the battery, we have to pull the power and ground wires out of the loom so we can hook them straight up to the battery with the provided loops. Just cut the tape on the loom to pull the wire out to the proper length then you will want to separate the ignition wire from the power/ground wires. Then route the ignition wire to the fuse box in the front passenger side of the engine bay.
You’ll want to do this as clean as possible so try to route the wires along the factory harness and keep it clean!
They give you a couple of fuse tap clips with this kit. We decided to utilize one for the sake of this write-up. They are easy enough to use, just make sure you use the side of the fuse that is before the fuse so you don’t over load the existing fuse. And also, be sure to use the provided fuse block in the kit. Slide the tap onto the fuse and press it back in the slot.
We used the lower most fuse, closest to the fender, located in the fuse box under the hood, we used this fuse because it has power while cranking but no power when the ignition is off. We had to drill a small hole to get the wire through the top of the box.
Now we can hook up the battery positive and ground. Be sure to utilize the fuse block on your positive wire. Use the provided loops to attach them to the battery terminals bolts.
Now that we have all the wiring done, let’s move onto the struts install! We did the rear first. Simple enough, three nuts hold the strut in place; take the top two off first:
Then, on to the lower bolts, this will differ a bit from your install because we installed Cusco rear lateral links. So we took all of these bolts out. It made removing the strut a breeze.
Now when you pull the rear lateral links off, the whole assembly will come with it including the strut, so be careful not to drop it!
The new struts are so much shorter prior to airing up the bag, you will have to jack the assembly up into place so you can thread the two top nuts on.
Next on the list, replacing the front struts. Should be simple enough, let’s get to it! Three nuts on the top strut mount.
We will be replacing the end links with the ones provided in the kit. You will want to completely remove the factory end link. You will have one nut up top and one on the bottom. The end links should come off with ease.
Get the brake line retainers off by removing the single bolt holding it to the strut. Also, remove the abs sensor wiring by pulling the two clips off of the strut as well.
Slide the new struts in place of the old ones and bolt them up (you will need to get an alignment asap after installing these as you would installing anything suspension related) Now we can start running our air lines. Use the provided stainless steel lines on the front struts. Thread them into the bag assembly on the rear of the strut. You will have to drill a hole into the fender well to get the hose to go safely through into the engine bay to meet up with the air lines we run up front.
Put this fitting on the end of the stainless line so you can hook the air line to it using the slide lock connector.
Now the provided end links should be pretty close to adjusted properly straight out of the box. Make sure they are close to the same length before you mount them. It’s easier to tighten the nuts on the end link after they are installed, do so after they are mounted up.
Back to the back! Now we can start feeding the air lines! This is exciting! This is a good time to have someone that can help you by feeding the lines down through the holes while you drag the lines and feed them to the appropriate corner. Make sure you’re marking the lines as you run them so you don’t forget which is which.
As we ran the lines under the car, we attached them to the fuel lines. We just zip tied the two that go up front to them. We tried to make the install as seamless and clean as possible. You can see the routing of our front passenger side air line here. It turned out really clean!
Now we have all four corners ran!
Let’s clean them up a bit. This car has existing rubber plugs in the spare tire well which makes this part easy. Just poke a hole through and shove the wires through and admire how clean it turns out!
The instructions that come with the kit have a nice, simple to follow schematic for hooking up the lines, so all you have to do is make sure you have the properly marked line, run them as cleanly as possible, cut them to length, and slide them in the appropriate push lock connection on the valve body controller.
Phew! That was fun wasn’t it?! Now we get to do the fun part, calibrating the system! Sit the car on the floor, and follow the instructions on how to calibrate it. It takes about 20 minutes to calibrate and the car will go up and down several times. You can see the rear down here:
And the front here. Keep in mind; we have not adjusted the heights yet, so the front is sitting a little higher than the rear. We didn’t have time to get it all set properly. But this kit will go LOW! The rear can come down a little more and the front can come down a LOT more.
All in all, I would say the install is very easy. I had never installed an air bag kit before and I was excited and nervous to try. The thing that took us the longest time was properly mounting the tank/pump/controller assembly. After that, it was cake! Total time for this install (keep in mind, we tried documenting as much as we could so that takes time) was around 8 hours. If you have installed these components before I could see you possibly cutting the install time in half. Good luck and enjoy the new, lower ride!