Hi to everyone who has come to this page in the hopes of creating their own ‘Bagged Merc’. I own a 1974 Mercedes W114 230.6 and I have spent the last year researching the web about this topic and it seems that there are a lot of people ‘Bagging’ old Mercs (or looking to bag their pride and joy, like myself).
I know there are going to be a lot of hardcore Mercedes enthusiasts out there that are ready to tell me I’m silly for doing this to a classic BLAH BLAH BLAH but as I say every man to his own! So if this is not for you I suggest that you find another forum or topic to read. LOL
As I read through all the forums and searched the web for any specific details on how to build and install ‘Airbag Suspension’ on a W114 I came to a conclusion that since no one was going to go out their way to show me I was to collect as much information on the topic and build it myself.
I did get a quote from the one and only custom place in Perth that I could find that does it (by the way I live in Western Australia where times are a bit behind compared to the Eastern States LOL) and they were quoting $7500 - $8500 for your basic kit install and engineers certificate and that wasn’t including upgrades like bigger tank, bigger/extra compressors, bigger valves etc.
So with that in mind I thought F*$% it! I haven’t got that type of cash; the car isn’t even worth that much (picked the car up for $2000 from a old couple) and I always wanted to do a project on an old Merc since they are the best cars I have ever owned and the older style W108’s and W114’s were made to be like a lowrider.
Anyways enough of the rambling, the first thing I am going to do is a write up on the ‘Air Management System’ side of the install and parts you are/might need. This is going to include the things listed below (this kit is the exact same setup I run and you can upgrade or down grade to suit your specific setup).
MAIN COMPONENTS/HARDWARE LIST:
• X1 Air Tank – 8 Port 8 Gallons
Brought from Airride.com.au ($195)
This tank has:
- X2 ½” End Ports
- X4 ½” Body Ports
- X2 ¼” Drain Ports
- Measures 31”x8” (790mm x 200mm)
I chose this tank because I wanted to plumb the valves directly on the tank to make it easier to connect, disconnect, mount, re-seal the thread tape if there are leaks and easier to access.
• X8 Electric Air Valves – ½” Asco Valves
Brought from eBay ($350)
Max. 200PSI Rating. You need x8 Valves to perform Front/Back/Side/Side and to control each separate bag. These are probably one of the more expensive parts that you will need so don’t buy any of the cheaper brands. I recommend using GC Valves, Accuair Valves (Full solenoid block) or the Asco Valves as I have Chosen. Trust me you don’t want your valves staying open or not opening at all.
• X2 Water Traps – ½” SMC Steel Bowl Type
Brought from eBay ($70 each)
These are needed to catch any water that has been sent through the compressor, reducing the need to drain the water from the drain cock and just draining from the water traps. You’ll still occasionally need to drain the tank also but the water traps are a must I reckon. I brought 2 Water Traps because I am running 2 Compressors. Do not buy Plastic Bowl types as they crack. SMC Water Traps I found to be very reliable.
• X2 Air Compressors – Air Zenith OB2
Brought from eBay. ($400 each)
They have an 80AMP draw. So upgrading your Battery and Alternator is a must. All the wiring diagrams on how to wire 1 compressor or dual compressors (which I am running) are included with each compressor. They also come with ½”NPT Stainless Steel Braided Line and a built in Check Valve which is a must. The check valve only lets the air from the compressors go into the tank and not back into the compressor causing major damage. This is another expensive part of the kit. You can buy Viair compressors, and don’t get me wrong, they are okay but I thought I wanted to get these as they are very quite, have a very stylish design, they are oil less units and they are 100% Duty which means they aren’t going to burn out on you when you start getting trigger happy with the switches.
• X1 Switch Box – AVS 9 Switch Box
Brought from eBay ($180)
Instructions/Diagram on which wires go where will be on the relay box underneath where the +ve/-ve wires go into that comes from the valves. Be sure when wiring this up that you label your wires so that you don’t get them mixed up. I brought the 9 switch box due to the fact I wanted to control each corner, front bags together, rear bags together, left hand side bags together, right hand side together and also all four corners.
• X1 Pressure Switch – Viair 165PSI on 200PSI
Brought from Airride.com.au ($35)
I purchased the Viair Pressure switch due to the fact it was cheaper than the Air Zenith Pressure Switches and it has a high on/off PSI rating which means that it will turn the compressors on once the tank is below 165PSI and turn it off at 200PSI. It gives more play when you are hitting the switches hard!
• X4 Slam Specialties Air Bags – X2 RE5 Bags (Front) X2 RE6 Bags (Rear)
Brought from eBay ($270 a pair)
These a probably the main component that is needed of course, so don’t go buying cheap ass airbags and rip offs, as they will not last like the slam specialties. They have got different types and all come with built in bump stops, which is a plus. I decided to go with the RE series instead of the SS series as I read in a forum that the SS series have a tendency to split and leak from the bottom and top mounts due to them changing the mounts from steel to plastic. Main reason fro RE5’s up front is there is limited space for clearance of the bag and the RE6’s in the rear because there is a bit more clearance than the front
• X2 Rear Shock Absorbers – Holden Torana LH/LX Front Shock Absorbers
Brought from eBay ($120 a pair)
These Rear Shocks are needed because you will have to relocate them, as the stock shocks on the W114 are independent and run through the coil spring. The stock springs are too long to be used, whereas these shocks are shorter, but still have a lot of travel stopping bottoming out or over extending if installed right. You can run the rear bags without shocks, but I heard that it is a boat like car drive. It’s also not a good idea, because if the airbag happens to leak or pop, you might have a real hard ride getting it home. The front ones won’t have to be relocated as they are a separate coil and strut setup. There will be a bit of fabrication work involved but just think of the savings!
• X3 220psi Viair Gauges – X2 Dual needle and X1 Single needle
Brought from eBay ($120 for the set)
The 2 Dual Needle Gauges are to monitor the PSI in each of the Airbags and the Single Needle Gauge is to monitor the PSI in the tank. You can run digital gauges but that is much more expensive and you also have to plumb Pressure senders which is more work and money. The digital Gauges are very accurate but I opted to go with the Viair gauges because they are easy to install and do the job.
• Universal Air Bag Suspension Brackets Kit – X2 Kits needed
Brought from eBay ($120 each kit)
This kit is needed to build your own Cup Brackets to mount the Airbags where the coil springs used to be. 1 kit includes:
- X2 4.5” diameter x 8” long steel pipe
- X4 airbag mounting circle plates
- X2 8” x 9/16” C lock nuts
I didn’t use the Airbag mounting circle plates, as they were too small in diameter and brought the plates from Airride.com.au. You don’t have to buy this kit I just found it easier as I didn’t have to go out of my way trying to find steel for the job. You will have to find some of your own steel for the shock relocation but that’s about it.
• 185mm Airbag Disc Suit RE6 & RE7 Upper - X2 Plates needed
Brought from Airride.com.au ($30 a pair)
These 2 Plates are needed for the Top Airbag Mount in the Rear where it is welded to the steel pipe brought in the Universal Airbag Suspension kit.
• 185mm Airbag Disc Suit RE6 & RE7 Lower – X2 Plates needed
Brought from Airride.com.au ($20 a pair)
These 2 Plates are needed for the Bottom Airbag Mount in the Rear where it is welded to the Lower Control Arm (LCA)
• RE6 Upper Airbag Disc Plate – X2 Plates needed
Brought from Airride.com.au ($22 a pair)
These 2 Plates are needed for the Top Airbag Mount in the Front where it is welded to the steel pipe brought in the Universal Airbag Suspension kit.
• 160mm Airbag Disc Suit RE6 Lower- X2 Plates needed
Brought from Airride.com.au ($20 a pair)
These 2 Plates are needed for the Bottom Airbag Mount in the Front where it is welded to the Lower Control Arm (LCA). Don’t worry about it saying it only suits a RE6 bag and not a RE5 bag. RE5 and RE6 bags mounting holes are exactly the same. The only difference between the bag are the heights extended and compressed.
AIR FITTINGS LIST:
All of the fittings listed below were purchased from Airride.com.au. They offer free shipping on everything they sell but ONLY in Australia so if outside of Ozzie shipping costs are involved.
• X 20 Meters ½” DOT Approved Airline ($65 Lot)
• X20 Meters 1/8” DOT Approved Airline ($20 Lot)
• X14 ½” NPT Hex Nipple ($6 each - $84 Lot)
• X10 1/8” PTC to 1/8” NPT ($5 each - $50 Lot)
• X2 ½” NPT Male/Female Elbow ($9 each – $18 Lot)
• X8 90 Degree PTC to ½” NPT Swivel ($15 each - $120 Lot)
• X2 ½” NPT Streeter Tee ($10 each - $20 Lot)
• X1 ¼” Drain Cock ($10 each)
• X1 ¼” 200 PSI Safety Valve ($13 each)
• X1 ½” to ¼” NPT Reducing Bush ($4 each)
• X2 ½” to 1/8” NPT Reducing Bush ($4 each)
• X4 ½” NPT Streeter Tee with 1/8” NPT Gauge Adapter Thread ($12 each - $48 Lot)
OTHER STUFF YOU WILL NEED:
• X20 3/8” Thread x 1” Long Bolts (for mounting airbags)
• X20 3/8” Washers (for mounting airbags)
• 6 – 8 Meters of 4GA Power Wire (for +ve compressor wires)
• 20 – 25 Meters of 14GA Power Wire (for +ve/-ve valve wires)
• Different types of Terminals
• Terminal Crimpers
• Wire Stripper
• Soldering Iron
• Different colored electrical tape
• Heat Shrink
• Cable Ties
• ‘P’ Clips
• Zip Ties
• X2 70AMP Fuses
• X2 70AMP Fuse Holders
• X2 New Battery Terminals (X1 for +ve/X1 for –ve)
I have basically outlined EVERYTHING (I hope I have LOL) that you need to build your kit. You may need other misc. things like steel to make brackets, extra wiring, extra fittings etc. You’ll also need to invest in tools of course if you don’t have any. Building your kit and wiring is pretty straightforward. I built my kit week-by-week just buying parts here and there as I could afford them. This is good if you don’t have the cash or don’t want to save to get the kit all at once plus, as we all know, “Your own labour is free”, plus you learn along the way. When done right you can have the bags done just like a custom shop would do, plus you get to have it exactly how you want. I will be posting a S**T load of pictures on the process (mainly the brackets as that is the hardest). If you need more info or pictures I will post them up when I can. I am in the process of the build now so will try and get them posted up asap!!!