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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
Here is my crack at repairing the infamous leaky ES front air strut. This is a detailed DIY you can use to guide you through the air bag replacement,
as well as a tutorial to show eveyone why these struts end up leaking.

Tools I used:
-Adjustable wrench (or 3/4" as Air Lift recommends)
-1/4" Aleen wrench (or some mm equivalent ~6mm)
-Flat head screwdriver (small and large)
-center punch
-Hammer (I used 2, one solid ball peen and one rubber tipped)
-Non-petroleum based lube
-Multipurpose grease

Gather your parts:
Rebuild kit and instructions

Old blown strut and replacement bag

Hold shaft still with allen wrench and loosen nylon lock nut with adjustable wrench

The next piece is a rebound washer and has 3 holes in the top. One of the holes is threaded onto the shaft, the other two holes are for loosening/tightening. I used a small center punch and a ball peen hammer to break the threads free.

Remove rebound washer. Should now look like this:

You have successfully exposed the retaining ring. This can be removed by wedging a small screwdriver behind the edge and prying parallel to the top hat(away from the shaft)




Trace the groove and remove the ring all the way around the recessed portion of the groove

Lightly pry up on the top thrust bearing:

Completely remove:

Remove top hat to expose bottom thrust bearing:

Pry up and remove that as well:


Roll call.#1 So far you should have these items removed in this order (from right to left)


You should at this point be able to move the top of the bag freely up off of the strut shaft. You can also examine the damaged portion of the bag. As you can see, the crack runs along the support part of the bag where it meets the shaft...no bueno.


Rest the bag on a soft surface(upside down) and grab the rubber tipped hammer. Strike downward on the bag's bottom hat, parallel to the strut body.


The bag should dislodge from the strut body and expose the wire snap ring:

Remove bag from strut completely:

Old wire snap ring(remove over body and shaft):

Roll call #2(again right to left):


At this point, clean everything thoroughly. I used 3:1 Simple Green solution. All of the old hardware can be tossed as the repair kit Contains most of the components(not a new tophat). Air Lift recommends sandind any sharp edges if they are present. Install new wire snap ring into groove.

Get lube prepared and grease the strut body above the ring and inside of bag over new rubber seal. I used a water based gel normally used for rectal temperatures in patients, KY Jelly is the same. Air lift recommends Lithium grease, but I aint got none...

Slide bag over strut and make sure snap ring remains seated
bottom:

top:

Now push downward force onto lower mount. Be gentle at first to seat the rubber ring inside of the bag collar. Then push until you feel a "click". This means the snap ring has seated in the bottom hat's groove and bag is now sealed.
Bottom(snap ring gone):

Top(threads now exposed):


Grab all purpose grease and grease all mounting surfaces. I used the heavy duty stuff. Wipe away any excess. Install is the reverse of removal.
new components:






Tighten everything down.


It is recommended you pressure test everything prior to reinstalling the strut back into the car. If you get lost at all Air Lift offers technical support at (800)248-0892. There is a PDF of the instructions at:
https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment?ui=2&ik=13954a8c05&view=att&th=1313f88670f8008e&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_JR551cZLBiAdFTezornG0&sadet=1311766986457&sads=1bO7SroDynr2MxAzvamMhO8cXyU&sadssc=1
 

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Joe, I was just about to email you. I still have not heard back about your question. Are these the same struts you were asking about as your back ups? Sorry I did not get back to you but excellent write up.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys. I try to take my time so even a beginner could follow the instructions. I did some research regarding the Lithium grease and it wasn't clear if it was non-petrol based, so I went with something that I knew was water based.

These are the back up struts I was going to run, but I have a friend that wants air and I feel it would be better to pass this deal on to him. I will just buy another replacement bag from Air Lift when the time comes. $140 seems a little steep tho...I mean they should offer a core for your old replacement top hats when you send the damaged bag in. The rest of the kit is just rubber and plastic. I guess since replacement struts are $700 then they can charge whatever they want for the bag portion as that is what seems to be problematic.
 

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Another nice write up J.


Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
 

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Joe I think that price is for both bags, as I mentioned I did not really remember exact price.

Omar what is this Airrex set up. Also this is an issue on the gen 1 xB due to the stress the geometry of the suspension places on the car when really slammed low.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm glad everyone's air is holding up. It is either the bag or the fitting that will leak with air ride. So, of the problems that exist with these Air Lift struts, this can be considered common. Mine has been in for a while, but I figure it is just a matter of time. If you need this, it's here!

Air Lift has really stepped up their game as far as customer service goes. Every time I call, there is a human that answers as long as it is within CS hours. I have called 3-4 times and have been given an answer over the phone, or given several options. That's why I included the CS phone number at the end of the post. Use it, it's there.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have ridden in several different cars with both air lift and UA front/rear set-ups and I would choose ES Air Lift struts 100 times over due to comfort and adjustability. The rears, that's a different story...but the dampening makes all of the difference. I have yet to ride in a UA bag set up with Koni yellows or air-over-coils, but I can't wait!
 
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