If you are a bit of a history buff then you will know that the United States invented air suspension for their heavy aircraft back in the times of World War II. This was done to save weight and to not make the aircrafts super heavy so they could fly better. A few years later and a much more advanced version was made for cars. Some people love it while others hate it. Where do you stand?
A lot of people have been wondering what Ram trucks come with air suspensions and we will say that there are some options. What are those options? Well, let’s find out!
Table of Contents
- What is Air Suspension?
- Quick Question: Is Air Suspension good for Racing?
- Which Ram Trucks Come with Air Suspension?
- In Conclusion | What are Your Thoughts on Air Suspension?
But that’s not the whole story. Let’s dive into air suspension a little more so you understand what it is and ways it may fit your needs.
What is Air Suspension?
Well, we have sort of explained it. But to get into more details, air suspension is a sort of style of the vehicle suspension. Kind of like leaf suspension.
Here is a more in-depth explanation from our friends at Car and Driver:
An air suspension system is a style of vehicle suspension that’s powered by an electric pump or compressor that pumps air into flexible bellows that are typically made out of a textile-reinforced type of rubber.
Additionally, Pro Car Mechanics describes air suspension as a replacement to the leaf suspension or coil spring system with airbags composed of polyurethane and rubber.
A compressor inflates the bags to a certain pressure to behave like springs. Air suspension also differs from hydropneumatic suspension because it uses pressurized air instead of pressurized liquid.
In most cases, air suspension is used to achieve a smooth and constant driving quality, but in some instances, sports suspensions feature an air suspension system too.
Similarly, air suspension replaces a conventional steel spring suspension in heavier vehicle applications, like trucks, tractor-trailers, passenger buses, and even passenger trains.
Air suspension has also become popular in low-riding trucks like this gorgeous 1982 Dodge D200 Camper Special.
Like with all things in life, air suspension also has some pros and cons. We wanted to list these as well just in case you were on the fence about air suspension. Here are the pros:
- More driver comfort due to the reduction in noise, harshness, and vibration on the road that can cause driver discomfort and fatigue
- Less wear and tear on the suspension system due to reduced harshness and vibration of heavy-duty driving
- Trailers last longer with air suspension because the system components don’t take on as much vibration
- Air suspension reduces the tendency of short wheelbase trucks to bounce over rougher roads and terrain when the vehicle is empty
- Air suspension improves the ride height based on the load weight and a vehicle’s speed
- Higher corner speeds due to air suspension being better suited to the surface of the road
Here are the cons:
- The initial costs of purchasing and installing an air suspension system — air suspension can also sometimes reach three times the cost in repairs as a leaf suspension system over 10 years
- Fuel overheads for running compressors for occasionally pumping air to the correct pressure
- Fuel efficiency can suffer from the heavier weight of air suspension over the weight of leaf suspension
- An air suspension system’s vulnerability to air leaks can result in malfunctions
If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons, please check out the Car and Driver’s article, listed here.
Quick Question: Is Air Suspension good for Racing?
This question gets asked around a lot and for good reasons. Plenty of sports cars have air suspension. So the question stands: is air suspension good for racing? We suppose it would depend on what you considered “good for racing.” It is, without a doubt, proven that air suspension does prove for a smoother ride but is that enough?
Let’s check in with the experts at Fitment:
When compared to coil overs, air suspension is no doubt a better ride!
When compared to stock, we’d like to say that air suspension does ride better than stock as well!
However, typically if you install air suspension on your car, that probably isn’t the only thing you’re going to do to it.
If you add bigger wheels or aftermarket seats, it won’t ride as well as it would if you just installed air suspension and nothing else. We know a few people that do use their air equipped cars for racing and even drifting!
You can properly set up your car to handle the pressure (no pun intended) of racing.
One thing you should be careful of is your install.
Make sure you don’t have any lines hanging down that could potentially get ripped off by cones or dirt.
Also as an FYI:
Air Suspension technically isn’t DOT approved, therefore it is technically illegal. Technically.
But it’s about as illegal as lifting your truck or having window tint.
Is a cop going to pull you over just because you have air suspension, no?
If you’re speeding, get pulled over, and the cop can see your air tank in the back, will he impound your car? No.
On paper, it is illegal, but in reality, it’s not.
Which Ram Trucks Come with Air Suspension?
The Ram 1500, the Ram 2500, and the Ram 3500 all come with air suspension. Here is what Mopar Insiders had to say about the air suspensions:
Heavy Duty trucks generally have a suspension equipped for constant, heavy payloads. A byproduct of that is a harsher ride when unloaded. To combat that Ram is using Frequency Response Damping (FRD) shocks on all four corners.
The valves of an FRD shock automatically adjust for the type of vertical wheel input, allowing the Ram Heavy Duty to have a stiffer suspension feel for the handling and a supple suspension feel on rough terrain.
Engineers added progressive springs and upgraded bushings to the suspension system, including the exclusive five-link coil design on Ram 2500, providing better load-carrying characteristics and improved articulation over obstacles when compared to a leaf-spring system.
A class-exclusive Active-Level rear air suspension is available on both the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 and includes some ingenious features. Controlled via an in-cab mounted toggle switch you can put the rear air suspension into bed lowering mode to lower the rear of the truck for easier loading or trailer hookup, normal/payload mode, or a trailer-tow mode.
The 2019 Ram 2500 uses two airbags to replace the coil springs. Load capacity is not sacrificed, and the Ram 2500’s best-in-class ride and handling get even better, crushing the competition with two doses of engineering innovation (five-link coil with an air suspension option).
The Ram 3500 features a Hotchkiss rear leaf-spring system with optional air suspension. By adding supplemental airbags, Ram engineers were able to soften the heavy-load leaf springs, allowing for a softer more comfortable ride when unloaded.
In the front, a new, two-piece, front-suspension cross member structure adds a longer welded interface and greater strength to the frame. The Ram Heavy Duty line features an advanced three-link front suspension to ensure roll stiffness.
In Conclusion | What are Your Thoughts on Air Suspension?
All in all, it seems some people do have mixed reviews and thoughts when it comes to air suspensions. If you are a big fan of Ram trucks, then you might be on the side of the spectrum that loves or at least appreciates air suspension.
We hope that you found this article helpful and if you would like to pass it on to a friend or a family member, then please do not hesitate to do so. Happy and safe drives, everyone!