This blog post is all about servicing your air suspension in winter and our tips and recommendations for keeping you running in the colder months! Fritz from the Frost! We’ve had an enormous amount of enquiries over the last month or so with people having winter- related issues on their air systems. Let me break this down for you… So, as with any pressurised air, this naturally generates moisture and/or condensation that sits throughout the system, not just in your tank or water traps. It’s everywhere... lines, bags, all over! When the external temperature drops below zero, the moisture and water in the system begins to freeze.
The air that is sitting in the system also matches the external temperatures. This means that when you get in your car and use the system, or have the “rise on start” feature enabled, this will fire that freezing air around your system, along with any frozen moisture and immediately confuse or even damage the pressure sensors, valves or ECU unit. This will then either need repairing, replacing or time for the whole system to thaw out. Another problem that has also been a problem is the age old “Compressor Freeze” fault warning.
This is a little ironic in title, as it doesn’t always mean that your compressor is cold, it’s more a halt meaning, rather than temperature! This can be several things… Either the compressor is working too hard and is pulling too much power, so the system has stopped it to avoid damage – this can be due to the check valve being faulty or frozen stiff and allowing air to leak out of it, so then the system is telling your compressor to work harder for longer to fill the tank. Or the compressor motor is old, worn and is pulling too much power to try and improve it, in which case you will need a new compressor. Or, there is a fault on your wiring, relays or fuses, so our advice here would be to run a multimeter along all wiring related to your compressor to make sure the correct voltages are being delivered to it whilst it runs, check the battery health on your car, check the relays are in good condition, and finally check your fuses for all the electrics for the air system. You will likely find the cause once all those checks are made.
Two things to try that may resolve any pressure sensor or on-screen faults are to:
1. Wait until the temperatures are back to above 3 or 4 degrees above freezing so you know that your system will have properly thawed out.
2. Then try a system re-set and/or full recalibration, following the manuals guidance on how to do so correctly. Should the problems/faults persist after thawing and resetting, then you know these faults are in for life. Some are lucky and do see that these two factors will remedy their faults off the system, and they can resume to normal use of their suspension. But some don’t. Should you suffer any of the above frost-related issues, please contact your original supplier of the kit to get further information on how to remedy it, any potential warranty cover and quotes for repair/replacement parts required.
We know that there are people who are able to offer repair on pressure sensors for the AirLift manifolds, as these are a fixed block and have internal pressure sensors, however at OCD we cannot offer this service. AirLift never officially released what pressure sensors they use and they insist on carrying out any repairs on these in-house only. So as far as we know, the same sensors cannot be accurately sourced, as we simply don’t know what they use.
We are unable to recommend repairers that offer this service, as again, we don’t know what sensors they are using, their level of repair and therefore the longevity/accuracy of this repair. Our advice will always remain at reaching out to your original supplier or the manufacturer themselves for official advice. Take care of your system and it will take care of you! If you’ve not had any faults yet, it’s best to act now to avoid it altogether! Another tip that will act as good practice is to offer your system a little tipple of Air Brake Anti- Freeze. Now read that again.
Not just any antifreeze, specialised stuff! This is due to any other antifreeze being bad news for air suspension systems, it will perish the majority of metals, seals, rubber components, let alone the valves! So, stick to the special stuff. This Air Brake Antifreeze is originally intended for US trucks that have large complicated air-brake systems, seen Ice Road Truckers, yep, those bad boys. The solution used is meant for really drastic cold weather and is designed to be system-friendly. It will be kind to the components and various materials used throughout the system, so it is ideal or air suspension alike. Simply add in a “cap” or 15-40 mls of Air Brake Anti-Freeze solution via a tank port. Refill your air management system with air and the solution will work on the rest, keeping the system frost free, whilst also preventing any additional build up of moisture. We also recommend draining your tank and water traps around once a month during winter and before adding the Air Brake Anti-Freeze treatment too. If you are using the treatment, you will need to top this up every time you drain your traps/tank post-treatment. It seems pointless, but we promise you it will make a tonne of difference to your winter months!
We offer an Anti-Frost kit which includes a full dose of the Air Brake Anti-Freeze treatment, along with a microfibre, replacement fuse pack and full instructions! You also have the options of adding a new tank drain kit or just purchasing the solution alone. (Insert link to kit) Finally, AWAYS LEAVE YOUR CAR AT RIDE HEIGHT OVERNIGHT! Hell, write this on a post-it for your windscreen, have it as your next tattoo, or leave your controller in the freezer if you need to! Just DON’T AIR OUT if you know it’s going to drop below 1 or 2 degrees. Also ensure you disable the “rise on start” feature if you have it, via the system menu. Both these actions will help avoid any need to use the management at all in order to drive home/work etc. and you will suffer zero weather related issues that may leave you beached and unable to use your car until the weather gets warmer. Keep some spare 3 and 30 amp fuses in your car too, as this will allow you to swap these out and get back on your way quickly.
You can checkout BagRiders tutorial on the treatment we offer and other helpful tips to stay low in winter: