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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I installed kit 60815 as Airlift recommended, yet its still not listed on their website for anything past 2009. The instructions say Odyssey, Pilot and MDX but does not state what years. The pictures are close, but the directions are was missing TWO key things.

1. The "fingers" on the bump stop need to be cut or they will hit the top of the bag at all times. And doing so makes the spring hard to re-install, but no matter what, the spring is a pain in the [email protected]@. Buy or rent a compact spring compressor to make this job easy.

2. With the fingers cut, the plastic seat and rubber insulator must be reused or the spring will be metal on metal (noise issue) and the spring will not fit in place correctly.

Another note, the air bag seems small in diameter. I have a picture of the bag Airlift recommended when I sent them measurements, which fits VERY well but was looked a little too tall. I also have a few pics of just how much space there is with 10psi in the bag, and it still wasnt touching the spring.

But I stuck with the 60815 bags/kit based on the height. And I'm glad I did. With just 5psi (the minimum allowed) the rear raised up 1/2". With 10psi, its up 3/4". I find 10psi for daily driving REALLY nice. The rear doesn't drop when I hit the gas anymore, it corners much better, and just feels more controlled. I really like it!

Now I wonder if I can pull our travel trailer without a WDH. At the very least, I will at least be able to reduce the bar tension by a washer or two.

Edit: Confirmed for (2009?) 2010-2013 Pilot - use kit # 60748.


One bag size per recommended kit, one bag by per the measurements (#60743). Neither is perfect. The perfect size bag would be larger diameter as shown, but the shorter height as shown.



See how the spring is still very much in place. This was the hardest part of the job, and it took great effort. Get the smallest spring compressor you can find if you are going to do this job!





Bump stop parts. The orage bumper is removed and "fingers" trimmed on the black plastic part. Then reused with the insulator.


Trimmed "fingers". Ready to be re-installed with insulator.




Fill valves hidden behind the trailer hitch cover. Air lines are run along the body panels, side of mufflers, and rear bumper.
 

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Just curious, why didn't you connect both airlines to one valve stem?

I would be willing to guess that since one end could be heavier at any given time(being loaded down or not) that you would want independent control front to back.

Edit: I didnt realize this was just done to the back and agree why didnt you make only one valve for the back?

Edit: Now that I watched the video its so if you put something heavy on one side of the vehicle, you can level it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just curious, why didn't you connect both airlines to one valve stem?
Good question, I did not comment on that.

I did it for two important reasons.

1. Cornering and handling.

2. Leveling, if ever needed. Its entirely possible one bag needs more PSI than the other, for a number of reasons.


Cornering and handling were the #1 reason. With the bags operating independently, I basically increased the spring rate of the rear springs, sort of like adding helper springs which tightens up the suspension.

However, with one valve both bags are in series and connected obviously. When you turn, one side (one bag) is under compression and air pressure is transferred to the other bag that is now more relaxed, which increases its volume/size, working against your anti-sway bar. This can produce more body roll than stock.

And I'll tell ya, with the high performance tires I run (for towing believe it or not) and these air bags at 10psi, holy crap the Pilot take a corner! It's very impressive.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
***I emailed Airlift again with my report about the small bag diameter and installation notes. They do not yet have a kit for the 2010-2013 Pilot and the cutomer service person was wrong to point to me the 60815 kit. The 2009 they list is actually the presvious generation Pilot.***



They did however, work with me, and listen. They shipped me bags from kit # 60748 that look and measure perfect! That said, I dont plan to remove the "old" bags just yet, they seem ok, they just arent "perfect".

So if anyone tackles this project for the 2010-2013 Pilot, order kit # 60748.
 

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Well sounds like pretty good Customer service. Did your rear end have to use a pickle fork Ball Point Joint Separator? One photo looked like a type of ball joint. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well sounds like pretty good Customer service. Did your rear end have to use a pickle fork Ball Point Joint Separator? One photo looked like a type of ball joint. Thanks.
Very good customer service!

I did remove what is technically a ball joint link, but it does not have a tapered shaft. So one nut removed with help of a small vise grip holding the other side of exposed steel, and it pulls right out.

If I could do anything over, I would try loosening the a-arm main pivot bolt to see if the a-arm would drop completely. I was working against the bushing, which is what made the spring so hard to remove. If the a-arm would drop (which it probably would) then the spring is a non-issue.
 

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***I emailed Airlift again with my report about the small bag diameter and installation notes. They do not yet have a kit for the 2010-2013 Pilot and the cutomer service person was wrong to point to me the 60815 kit. The 2009 they list is actually the presvious generation Pilot.***



They did however, work with me, and listen. They shipped me bags from kit # 60748 that look and measure perfect! That said, I dont plan to remove the "old" bags just yet, they seem ok, they just arent "perfect".

So if anyone tackles this project for the 2010-2013 Pilot, order kit # 60748.
Just a bummer that its almost twice as much as what you put in. Wonder what the difference is for functionality.
 

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Hello RinconVTR,

FWIW I've been running the 60815 kit in my '12 Touring since April and haven't had any problems. I also ran this kit in my '10 Touring for 2 years with no issues. Regarding the fit, the air bags seem perfectly sized in my opinion - maybe you received the wrong size bags in your 60815 kit? I can't tell for sure by your pictures because it looks like your spring is not compressed under the normal weight of the vehicle, so I can't judge your air bag size when loaded. On my Pilot, with the air bags inflated to about 10 PSI and the vehicle sitting normally (not jacked up), the outside diameter of the air bags match the inside diameter of the spring coils perfectly and are pressing up against the inside of the coils slightly. The downward pressure from the jounce tower pressing on the top of the air bags cause them to expand horizontally from their unloaded size. When they are inflated to 30 PSI, the bags actually bulge out a little bit in between the coils. This is normal and has occurred in all of the 4 installs I've done on my various Pilots. So I definitely wouldn't want the air bags to be any other size than they are now - any smaller and they'd move around slightly inside the spring at lower PSI, and any taller or wider and they would bulge out too much at higher PSI.

Now I digress to my little story.

I have installed an Airlift 1000 kit in all but one of the Pilots I've owned - I've put the kit in my '05, '07 and '10 as well as my current '12 model. I use the Airlift bags to keep the back end of the vehicle level when I'm towing our 4000 lb. boat (trailer tongue weight is around 425). Without the air bags, the '05 and '07 Pilots would squat down like you wouldn't believe, to the point that you could clearly see the rear tires exhibiting several degrees of negative camber. The '10 and '12 Pilots were much better in this regard, but still needed assistance from an Airlift kit to keep the back end from dropping several inches and turning my low beam headlights into high beams. I run them at 30 PSI when towing and 10 PSI when not.

One thing that I find odd is the added complication of the instructions that come with the current 60815 kit. I followed these instructions once on my '10 and as you know, it's quite involved, some of it unnecessarily IMO. The old instructions that used to come with the Pilot Airlift kits were much simpler. Back in the 2000's they were selling a 60740 kit for most, if not all, of the model years, where as now they're selling the 60815 kit for '05 and higher Pilots and the 60740 is now only for '03-'04. When I installed 60815 in my '10, I followed the new instructions but didn't like all the hassle and couldn't understand why the old instructions wouldn't have worked. So for my '12, I bought the 60815 kit but followed the 60740 instructions because I didn't want to go through the hassle again of removing the springs, flange bolts and all that stuff - as you said, it's a pain in the [email protected]@.

Below is the procedure I used on my '12 Touring, as well as every other Pilot I've owned (except for the '10 as mentioned previously). IMO it's simpler and the end results are the same of course. This is the method that used to come with the Pilot Airlift kits before they changed the instructions. There is no need to remove the springs or flange bolts, no need for spring compressors, no need to remove ball joint links or any of that stuff. Oh by the way, that reminds me: the instructions in the current 60815 kit are wrong regarding the torque specification of the flange bolt. The instructions say 33 lbs but it is really considerably higher. You could probably tell this just by the amount of effort it took to loosen the bolt, which is what made me question the 33 spec. I checked with my local Honda service department and they said the proper torque spec is 55 lbs. My guess is 33 lbs might be the spec for the Honda Odyssey or something (this kit is also sold for the Odyssey).

Anyway, here is my method that I've refined over the course of 4 installations. It is the 60740 instructions with just a minor tweak or two.

1. Jack up rear corner of vehicle, remove wheel, remove bottom shock bolt so the lower control arm sags as much as possible and thus opening up the spring coils a bit.

2. Cut off the jounce bumper 1/8" under the steel part where the bumper is attached, using a box cutter or some other very sharp knife. The rubber is very stiff, so you'll have to use a long flat blade screwdriver to pry open each cut you make, so that you can dig your knife deeper into the rubber each cutting pass. Once the bumper is cut off, then you'll have to cut it in half again so that each piece can be removed through the space between the spring coils. Or alternatively, you can use a spring spreader to widen the distance between 2 of the spring coils, allowing you to remove the bumper without the need to cut it in half.

3. Drill the hole in the lower control arm per the template included in the instructions.

4. Remove the little black cap on the the air bag stem, then compress the air bag until most of the air is pushed out (the bag will be crumpled up at this point), and then replace the black cap on the air stem. This will prevent air from re-entering the air bag, so that the bag stays in its compressed form.

5. Spray some silicon lubricant on the spring to make it nice and slippery. Insert the bag into the spring between the 2 appropriate coils toward the bottom of the spring (stem pointing downward of course). You will need to use the handle end of a hammer to jam the air bag in there and get it lined up properly. Don't be scared to apply a lot of force; the bag is very resilient. Position the air bag so it's sitting in roughly a vertical position inside of the spring. You probably won't be able to get it perfectly in there because it's all crumpled up, but that's okay. Then remove the black cap off the stem, and then the air bag will resume much of its normal shape. Position the air bag so the stem is sticking out of the hole you drilled in the control arm. If the air bag is still a bit crumpled up, you can hook up a temporary length of the included black hose to the stem and shoot a temporary amount of air into the bag (just a few PSI), so that it airs up just slightly and reforms to its normal shape. This will also line up the air bag to fit more or less perfectly inside the coil.

6. Jack up the lower control arm a little bit and re-attach the shock, and then reattach wheel. Repeat entire process for other side. Run the air lines and all that jazz.

One thing that confuses me is why you needed to cut those plastic "fingers" off the bumper stops. I've never had to do that on any of my Pilots, including my '12, and it's not mentioned in any instructions I've seen. Earlier today I went out and looked under my Pilot, and the fingers are 1.5" - 2" above the air bags and there is no chance the top of the air bag would ever hit them. Granted, I have a Touring where you have an EX-L 4WD, but I didn't think there were any differences in our rear suspensions since we both have 4WD. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Henry -

I would like to see close up pictures of your installation. I think you might redo after I explain the differences.

First and foremost, Airlift confirmed they do not make a kit or instructions for the latest generation Pilot. They also confirmed a very specific question I asked, that the bag should be "tight inside the spring with 5psi", and this was definitely not the case. After showing them pictures and sending actual measurements, they provided a new bag number. And I 100% trust the new number when installed per their instructions, where applicable.

From your remarks about cutting the bump stop, not removing the spring, and not cutting the plastic "fingers", your air bags...IMO and per the instructions...are not properly installed.

To explain, the bump stop unbolts from the car with a single bolt, there is no reason to cut it and destroy it for this installation. (Some other installations, there is no choice) The instructions provided were spot on for this.

However, once done the bump stop is removed, the plastic fingers of the spring mount that holds the isolater and positions the spring, protrude past the mount the bump stop was. The fingers must be cut or they hit the bag at all times, eventually, they will wear thru the bag.

Because you cut the rubber bump off the bump stop, this is why the fingers to not touch the bag. You have the steel portion of the stop still remaining.

I would not opt nor recommend to install the bags with a cut bumper stop. There are too many irregular surfaces left behind and sharp corners on the steel. Just look at my pictures. With it removed, there is a nice flat, clean, rounded edge steel protrusion for the bag to rest on. This assures long bag life.

In your case, taking the short cut and cutting the rubber bumper and leaving the steel behind, you gained more height. This is probably why your bags are not loose with 5psi and badly bulge with 30psi.

You may never have a problem, but I do not recommend doing what you did, nor does Airlift per the instructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
HenryBravo,
is there a spring compressor you like or recommend? Thanks.
He did not remove the spring, thus did not use one or need one.

I stated one would be helpful, however after the fact I believe one could loosen the inside a-arm bolt to allow the a-arm to drop freely out of the way.
 

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I respectfully disagree that my installation is improper. I simply followed "version 1" of their instructions before they refined the process and made it more complicated for the sake of easing the bag insertion into the coils. In my opinion the dimensions of the included air bags in the 60815 kit are compatible with the '10 - '12 models using the "cut off the bumper method" (which I will discuss further below).

As you said, Airlift doesn't list on their website a kit for the '10-'12 Pilot, so I used my best judgment, common sense and previous experience to make the 60815 kit work while still keeping the installation relatively simple as before. By the way, the 2009-2011 Pilots are the same generation, so it's possible that the 60815 kit does indeed "work" the same way up to at least the 2011 model. Plus the instructions have the terminology "2011 and later" in there somewhere, and the title of the instructions do say "Pilot, Odyssey, and MDX".

Your are over exaggerating the sharp irregular surfaces leftover on the metal after cutting off the rubber bumper. Your own pictures show the smooth rounded lip. The inside portion of the lip is not as rounded as the outside, but it is not sharp. The leftover portion of the rubber jounce bumper up inside the metal "cup" prevents the air bag from bulging up into that area and hitting the bolt head. The '05 and '07 Pilots had the same jounce tower design, and the official instructions back then said to cut off the bumpers under the metal, where the metal cup would rest directly on top of the bags. This cup was obviously not sharp enough to cut into the bags. I ran them for 5 years on those 2 Pilots, with plenty of heavy boat towing in the spring and summer months. The perfect record of no failed air bags still holds true in the 3 consecutive years I've used them in the '10 and then the '12 Pilot, which is why I keep buying them every time I get a new vehicle. Airlift does make a very good product and I will continue to use them in whatever SUV I buy in the future.

Your point of me gaining more height is false. The extra 1" (or whatever it is) of height afforded by not removing the metal cup immediately above the removed bumper does not translate into anything significant in real world use. With no air in the bags, my Pilot sits at exactly the same height as it should (I know this because I measured the Pilot's rear bumper height before the installation as a starting point). The weight of the vehicle presses the jounce tower down into the top of the air bag a bit. I just went out to the garage to take some measurements. With 10 PSI, my rear bumper raised up 1/4". At 30 PSI, the rear bumper raised up 3/4". Those are better measurements than your installation. You said just 10 PSI raises up your car 3/4". That is a big rise for only 10 PSI. That is enough to lower your headlights quite a bit if a compensating load of weight isn't in your cargo section. So you would need to constantly adjust your bags every time you load/unload your car if you want your headlights to be the same effectiveness, since they have a sharp cutoff at the top of the light beam. After all, the overall goal here isn't to raise the back end of your car; the goal is to prevent it from sagging a bunch under heavy load.

Regarding the air bag bulge, I never said mine bulged "badly" as you said. At 10 PSI, they match the inside of the spring coil perfectly. I would think this is preferable; I don't want a skinnier air bag shifting around inside the coil - I would rather have it a little snug. As I mentioned previously, they do bulge a bit with 30 PSI, which is what I run them when towing (I prefer to leave a bit of a buffer under their max 35 PSI rating). In my opinion, a little bit of safe bulge is preferable - each bulge exhibits force on the coils to keep them from compressing as much, which adds to the bags' overall net effectiveness without the need for them to be taller. I'm not a mechanical engineer so perhaps that assertion is false. The bags included in the 60740 kits back in the 2000's showed the exact same amount of bulge (I remember this distinctly because it did worry me a little bit the first time I saw it). But after 8 years of no bag failures, a reasonable conclusion that can be reached is a little bit of bulge is not a problem.

You chose to say things like I was "taking the short cut" and that I destroyed the bumpers. Well, you followed the more complicated procedure and still "destroyed" all those fingers on the plastic bumper stops. So I guess we're even in that regard - each method destroys something.

Picture below is 10 PSI.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Sorry Henry, I understand you are defending the work you have done, I cant knock that. But I prefer to follow current directions where applicable to the current Pilot.

Where different, I dealt with Airlift directly and got clear answers. So while it works (you and I are both proof of that) they do not recommend the 60815 kit. I will not go against that having the correct bags identified. Period.



Also, while I cut the fingers, they serve no purpose besides helping to guide the spring in place during assembly. I can go back to stock, with bumpers in tact, in 20 minutes.

I will post a few more pictures later with the bumper before and after, showing just how big and how much height the bumper and its mount adds. I have no idea how the added height (via not removed bumper remains) did not affect your install, and while I have mine removed, I gain more height than you do at 10psi. That simply doesn't add up.

My pics will also clearly show how much clearance I have, while you have a tight fit. This has to be related to the remaining bumper material pressing into your bag and effectively expanding it more. But I cant tell for sure.
 

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I totally agree with you regarding the expected height gain - I was expecting it to be at least equal to yours. I was surprised at the results frankly. As you said, it might be because my jounce tower is 1" (or so) longer than yours, which makes it sink deeper into the top of the bag which makes it expand more horizontally, causing the vehicle to not rise up as much. Or another theory is since my bags are not brand new like yours (mine are 6 months old with plenty of wear and tear), maybe they've broken in a bit and stretched a little - but that is pure conjecture on my part.

I will not go against that having the correct bags identified. Period.
That is good of course. I wasn't trying to get you to go against whatever Airlift says. I was just letting others know that I've had successful results with the 60815 kit using their older and simpler instructions. When you came back and questioned and disagreed with nearly every single aspect of what I did, I just wanted to expand on what I was saying. Anyone reading this thread can make up their own minds.

There's no need to go to the trouble to post those pics for my benefit unless you just want others to see. I can picture exactly what you're saying, and of course I have no reason to not believe you. You have clearance between the bag and spring, where as I don't. I don't really see how this matters much (especially since the old officially recommended 60740 kit had no clearance on the older Pilots either) but it's all good. :29:

Good luck and let us know what Airlift's final recommendation is. I'm quite surprised that we've gone 4 model years now with no "official" kit to support the '10-'13 Pilot.
 

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One more thing RinconVTR. Since you're already talking to Airlift, do you mind asking them about running 2 individual airlines to separate valve stems versus running them to a "T" and a single valve stem? I'm curious to hear what they say about the T method, if it does cause more body roll. Your earlier comment regarding this brings up something I hadn't considered. It does make sense that one bag being pushed down in a turn would cause the other one to inflate more and raise that side of the vehicle, but I haven't noticed any such effect in real world performance (granted I'm just doing a seat-of-the-pants assessment). Each of my Pilots I usually drove for a month or two before installing the bags, and I never noticed a detrimental effect on body lean / roll. I am just curious to hear their official stance on this. As far as I can remember, all of their instructions have always mentioned both the dual line and T methods without a warning about body roll using the latter method. But your comment brings up a good point that Airlift should address.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
One more thing RinconVTR. Since you're already talking to Airlift, do you mind asking them about running 2 individual airlines to separate valve stems versus running them to a "T" and a single valve stem? I'm curious to hear what they say about the T method, if it does cause more body roll. Your earlier comment regarding this brings up something I hadn't considered. It does make sense that one bag being pushed down in a turn would cause the other one to inflate more and raise that side of the vehicle, but I haven't noticed any such effect in real world performance (granted I'm just doing a seat-of-the-pants assessment). Each of my Pilots I usually drove for a month or two before installing the bags, and I never noticed a detrimental effect on body lean / roll. I am just curious to hear their official stance on this. As far as I can remember, all of their instructions have always mentioned both the dual line and T methods without a warning about body roll using the latter method. But your comment brings up a good point that Airlift should address.
Airlift instructions say:

"A tee air line installation is recommended. If the weight in the vehicle varies from one side to the other and unequal pressures are needed to level the load or compensate for axle [FONT=Helvetica,Helvetica][FONT=Helvetica,Helvetica]torque transfer in racing applications, use dual air lines..." [/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Helvetica,Helvetica][FONT=Helvetica,Helvetica]From various car/truck forums to towing/RV forums, you'll find the majorty run dual lines. [/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Helvetica,Helvetica][FONT=Helvetica,Helvetica]While I'm certain dual lines offers more "performance" and options to level, I would not go so far to say there is any safety concern from added body roll. And like you, I dont think most would notice, unless may be it was compared side by side. Where do you live? Ha ha. :roadtrip:[/FONT]
[/FONT]
 
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