The most expensive part of your STAGE 3 air ride system is the height controller package. So before you drop a bunch of money on it, let's run through the basics so you know which one will be right for you!
Digital height controllers have been on the market since the early 2000s, but
it's only been in the past 5 or 6 years that the technology has really caught
up with the dream. Now you've got your choice of several brand-name
solutions that all do a great job of making your life easier!
We’ve been a dealer for Accuair, Air Lift Performance, Dakota Digital, and RideTech over the years, and prefer to offer our air management packages with a choice of Accuair eLevel and the Air Lift 3P/3H.
Air Lift Performance’s 3P digital height control system uses sensors to monitor the air pressure in each corner of your vehicle, as well as the air tank, to control your vehicle's air suspension system. With the 3P, all of these sensors and the system's ECU are built directly into the valve manifold, so this system is extremely easy to install- one air line from your air tank, four air lines out to your airbags, and a total of five wire connections are all you need to have this system up and running! This system also has a Bluetooth wireless receiver built in, so your iPhone or Android device can be used to control your car remotely! The included handheld control pad has a nice full-color display to navigate the various menus for setting tank pressure, airbag pressures, and lots more- it's a very nice overall package.
HOWEVER, because this systems uses air pressure to control your vehicle, it falls victim to the same drawbacks as mentioned in our previous blog post about air gauges- air pressure doesn't equal vehicle height, so these systems can sometimes lead you astray! To remedy this, Air Lift offers systems with physical height sensors that attach to your vehicle’s suspension, which is what Accuair’s eLevel system uses as well.
Accuair's eLevel system doesn't have a problem with pressure readings- in fact, it doesn’t bother reading your airbag pressures at all! It includes actual height sensors that install at each corner of your vehicle, and it monitors the height of your suspension rather than the pressure in the airbags. Because of this, your car or truck will always go back to the precise height it was programmed for when you hit that button! Accuair's handheld controller is a work of art- about the size and shape of an early iPhone, with a nickel-plated housing and nice touch-sensitive buttons; you can definitely feel the quality when you pick it up.
Alright, so are the eLevel and 3H with height sensors are better than the 3P? Well, yes and no. They’re definitely better at maintaining a precise ride height- I don't think anyone would debate that fact. However, that precision comes at a cost... about 500 bucks, for starters! Aside from the monetary cost, though, is the added complexity of the system. There is a LOT more work to be done to set up height sensors, and it can be outside of some people's skill set, which leads to higher labor costs for installation.
So, which system is right for you? Well, if money is no object, and/or you have infinite automotive skills and tools to match, the eLevel or 3H are truly awesome systems to use. But if you're looking for a solid and reliable package that won't break your bank, or if you just want to avoid the extra wiring and clutter of a larger installation, then the 3P may be the wiser choice.