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Failure Analysis

Unless pre-mature failure occurs, Air Springs typical performance life is 7-9 years. The following outline causes of premature failure:

+ Over Extension

Bead Plate convex, bellow separated from bead plate.

failure analysis fig1.

In addition to accidents and abrasion the #1 reason for pre-mature failure is over extension. Air Springs and shocks work with close tolerances of each other. The shock is designed to be ½” to ¾” shorter at full extension then the air spring. Over extension is caused by :

  1. Broken and/or worn shocks
  2. Incorrect shock (to long)
  3. Incorrect Air Spring
  4. Ride position set to high

+ Abrasion

Abrasive wear and/or hole in bellow area that roles over piston

failure analysis fig2Air Springs need to work free of contact with other components or debris and under proper pressure otherwise they are subject to abrasive wear. Possible causes include:

  1. Structural interference such as a broken shock or loose air line
  2. Debris in the area the bellow roles over the piston
  3. No air pressure on sleeve style springs

+ Bottoming Out

Bead Plate concave, bumper loose, and possible hole in bead plate junction

failure analysis fig3

Possible causes include:

  1. Broken or defective shock absorber
  2. Defective leveling valve
  3. Overloaded vehicle
  4. Pressure regulator set too low
  5. Wrong air spring (too tall)

+ Circumferential Cuts

Bellow cut in circle around either the bead plate or piston junction

failure analysis fig4Possible causes include:

  1. High pressure, fully extended for long periods of time
  2. Impact in compressed position