There’s no argument that an air ride suspension is the hot setup for laying a Euro low; even hydraulics companies are offering air ride (as you can see in our Suspension Guide elsewhere in this issue). However, Excentrix Automotive Innovations (EAI) has been developing “bolt-in” air bag, air bag strut and now air cylinder kits for cars and trucks since the beginning.
We contacted EAI owner Cain Morris to arrange a time when we could see just how “bolt-in” their kits really are and how well a car rode with their air ride products. Our timing was perfect as Brian Goforth from Endless Creations was about to install a kit on Titus Chan’s ’99 Honda Civic at The Hack Shack’s installation and fabrication facility in Ontario, California.
The Civic kit is among EAI’s most popular packages and comes with a 100-percent warranty. The kit includes EAI Parker air cylinders with laser-cut cylinder mounts and billet forks, Thomas air compressors, chrome tank, Parker valves, pressure switches, brass fittings, 1/2-inch air line, slim-line Airtronix switch box (with front, back, pancake and side-to-side moves) and very detailed installation instructions, complete with diagrams for the cylinders, plumbing and wiring.
It took Brian two days to do the installation, due to his meticulous nature and the fact that he removed the front and rear bumper fascias for easier valve mounting access and for our photography. We found the installation to be very straightforward and–as advertised–a true bolt-in kit that “required” no cutting or welding. (Because of a custom amp/speaker enclosure in the trunk, Brian mounted the compressor under the car and chose to weld a mounting plate with bolts to the frame rail instead of just bolting the compressor it to the frame.)
However, the most important part of the “test” remained: How well it would work. With the Civic set at the proper (safe) ride height, Brian drove all around the business complex, over dips, bumps, sharp turns, etc. The car handled perfectly and the ride was very comfortable, maybe better than stock. Then he parked and put the suspension through every move possible and (thanks to the fast Parker valves) it responded quickly even with only one compressor. To sum it all up, the EAI kit is quick and comfortable.
EAI offers complete kits for Honda, Acura, Mitsubishi, Ford (Probe), Mazda (626), Mercedes and many others, plus trucks and SUVs. Call or check out their Web site for complete product information. For retail prices and installation information, call The Hack Shack near you or visit their Web site. And be sure to tell them that you read it in LRE.
Check out the photos and you’ll see how simple it is to install EAI’s bolt-in air ride kit. (Note: Brian did the installation with the car on a frame lift, but it can be done with the car secured on good jackstands. Also, EAI warns: Do not over-tighten bolts into billet brackets as it may damage the brackets and the tops of the cylinders.)
Thanks to the fast Parker valves, front, back and side-to-side moves are quick. And the best part, the ride is as good, if not better than stock.