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Discussion Starter #1
Hello.
I am getting ready to order new shocks for my 71(body is off the frame).I was thinking of going with a full set of gas shocks.I am also replacing the springs.A buddy mentioned that tha car may have came from the factory with air shocks.Did some come with air shocks and if they did,do they have to keep them???? It has air shocks on now which I assumed were after market.I'd like to avoid air shoks.
Any information on this subject is greatly appreciated.:dontknow:
 

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Mine is a 73 so different gen, but it came with air shocks from the factory which I recently replaced with new ones (Monroes I think) that I am actually quite happy about, they hold pressure well and improved the handling a lot. That said, I think next time I will go for something a bit more 'upscale' (the air shocks were only about $60 for the pair). If you do a search here, you will find tons of information on your various options, from good quality regular shocks to air bags and other possibilities.
 

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A good set of gas shocks and air bags will give you a better ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ah ha!! so some of them did come with air shocks. How do I know if mine did originally?? I don't want to go with air bags.( cost issues for me). Even if it did come with air shocks,could I install new springs and gas shocks and still have the original ride height and good steering??:dontknow:
 

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Deputy Director, Region 3 PA (west)
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X2 to 464elky's comment.
All Caminos came with air shocks as original equipment. They allow the flexibility of choice between passenger car ride quality or load-handling ability with a simple adjustment in air pressure and were cheaper and far more reliable than the automatic air suspensions that GM offered for a short time in the late 50's. Unfortunately, adding the task of load-handling to a shock absorber detracts from its primary job of dampening suspension oscillations, so both ride quality and handling characteristics suffer.
As 464 posted, upgrading to a premium set of monotube gas shocks, supplemented by AirLift bags for load-carrying, will greatly improve both your ride quality and cornering capability. It made such a huge difference on mine that I'm still P.O'd at myself for not making the change years ago. If you have no intention of using yours for heavier loads, do the shock upgrade now and the AirLifts when funds allow or the need arises.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #6
WOW! I had no idea that they all came with air shocks. I'm glad I asked.What are the costs involved with air bags and do they mount right on?? What would the result be if I just put gas shoks in and scratched the air shocks??:dontknow:
 

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I have had seven 3rd Gen Caminos & all of them came with air shocks. Sooner or later, air shocks will eventually leak. My last two restorations, I replaced the stock camino springs with station wagon springs and upgraded from air shocks to KYB gas shocks (about $60 a pair). At the same time I replaced all upper & lower control arm bushing with polyurethane and added either a 7/8 or 1 inch rear sway bar. In both cases, I was very happy with the results-ride and handling improved significantly.

I am currently running air bags on my 69 but unless I need to haul something heavy & need to get the back end up or decide to race it, I doubt I will ever use them. Between the poly bushings, gas shocks, and big sway bars, it rides and handles much better than stock and as well as a 2-ton GM A-body can be expected to.

Bottom Line: IMHO, you cant beat KYB gas shocks for the money!
 

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air bags.jpg
the guys are talking about these air bags that go inside the rear coil spring and not the whole bag system you see on high dollar rides. This setup cost $100 from Honest charleys. They are about the same price from Summit or Jegs. Just thought that needed to be cleared up.

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=1394389

You can use your existing air line to fill the bags. That take some of the work out of it.
 

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I have a 1987 El Camino, I replaced the air shocks with Moog Cargo-Coil springs which are a variable
rate design and installed KYB Gas-A-Just shocks all around. Big improvement in ride and handling.
:smileyb:
 

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WOW! I had no idea that they all came with air shocks. I'm glad I asked.What are the costs involved with air bags and do they mount right on?? What would the result be if I just put gas shoks in and scratched the air shocks??:dontknow:
The only function of the AirLifts is to handle loads. If you don't plan on needing the extra capacity, there's no need for the bags. Since my Camino is the only truck in my family fleet, I opted for the bags just in case the need arises, as I too have the Moog CarGo coils. It's been almost a year since I did my shock swap and I have yet to inflate them over the 5 psi. minimum pressure. I bought my bags from Advance Auto Parts with one of their $35 off $100 deals, so I spent less than $70. Mounting is not difficult at all. I removed my springs to make stuffing the bags inside the springs a task I could do on the bench rather than on a creeper. Shocks, bags and air lines were all done in one evening's work.

Bill
 

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I use the KYB gas-a-just shocks with the air-lift bags & I put in wagon springs for when I do put a load in the back !! It's a great & smooth ride !! Don't like the leaky air shocks !!

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thankyou for all the information gentlemen. I'll let you know how I make out.Can't wait to get this frame all back together and get the body back on.:You_Rock:
 

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What are these "Wagon Springs" you speak off, and where can I get some?

I'm planning on upgrading the front and rear suspensions soon and am researching options.

Mine is a 1980 with Air Shocks in the rear. I want to go ahead and swap to KYB gas shocks in front and rear, then also swap to a stiffer spring set up, and use Airlift airbags inside the spring for raising it when I need to.
 

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What are these "Wagon Springs" you speak off, and where can I get some?

I'm planning on upgrading the front and rear suspensions soon and am researching options.

Mine is a 1980 with Air Shocks in the rear. I want to go ahead and swap to KYB gas shocks in front and rear, then also swap to a stiffer spring set up, and use Airlift airbags inside the spring for raising it when I need to.
The "wagon springs" are springs from the rear of a Malibu or other A/G body wagon. They are a little heavier spring.
 

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Years ago, station wagon rear springs were taller and stiffer than the ones used in the equivalent coupe or sedan. With the '78 and later GM midsize vehicles that's no longer true. You can go to Moog's website, enter in a vehicle for a part number, then look at this chart for the specs: http://www.moogproblemsolver.com/moog/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/MOOG_Coil_Springs_Spec.pdf
I and many others use the Moog Cargo coils out back. They're a variable rate spring that sits a bit taller and gets stiffer with load. I was very satisfied with the ride and handling when I went to KYB's with the Cargo coils. Eventually, I added the AirLift bags, which firmed up the rear a bit when unloaded, even with the 5 psi minimum pressure, but it still rides and corners far, far better than the air shocks I removed.


Bill
 

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the springs for a wagon are moog part# 5419, they have a higher spring rate, are nearly 2" higher and constant rate - they will raise your rear higher. another option you can consider are the rear springs from an s-10. the free height is only another 1/2", they have a higher spring rate AND they are variable rate. also readily avail. in most any boneyard cheap; take some home wash, scuff, paint and drop in for around $40 or less.

your stock elky springs are moog prt# 6321

but definitely use the airlift instead of air shocks - far better ride that way while you still have the ability to lift when you have a heavy load to haul
 

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I have KYB's on my other A-body (72 Cutlass) and they've worked well for nearly 20 years. I worked on another A-body (71 GTO) for a guy, and we installed the Bilstein shocks - WOW! IMHO, they ride even better than the KYB's, and handle better as well.

On my '72 El Camino, I have added the AirLift bags, and have ordered Bilsteins for it as well.
 

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Air Bags

I recently put a set of KYB gas shocks and put air bags in the rear coils. You can't believe the difference in handling and cornering since i removed my air shocks in my 67 Elky.
 
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