The notorious sleeve bag is one of those things in the air ride community that catches a lot of hate from some and is praised by others. Is this hate unnecessary or are there valid criticisms that would make sleeve style bags less sought after? This is what we will try to answer today to help shed some light on this ongoing topic.
Why do some manufacturers use sleeve bags
Sleeve bags tend to take up less space than a normal double or single bellow bag. So if there is a company making an air suspension kit for a vehicle that has a restricted amount of clearance, it is possible that a double bellow bag would have fitment issues if they tried to cram one in. So instead of this, it makes sense for the manufacturer to opt for a sleeve bag instead in order to minimize the amount of space that bag takes up, resulting in a setup that won’t cause rubbing.
The downsides of running a sleeve bag
When comparing how a sleeve bag works with a double bellow bag, it is apparent that the sleeve bag needs to work harder to get you back up to a set height after being aired out which leads to some inaccuracy. Since a sleeve bag has to roll down over itself when airing out and unroll when you are airing up, it has to fight itself to get back up to a higher ride height. This problem mainly occurs when paired with pressure based management systems and sleeve style bags up front on a front engine car. In this type of setup, your sleeve bag has to lift the weight of the engine and really starts to have a hard time unrolling to meet your height presets. In a situation where it's crucial to get that extra height to clear road debris or something similar, this is going to mean that you won’t get as much height as expected and it can cause damage to your car.
What can you do to resolve this if you if have sleeve bags
We have found that the best course of action if you are running sleeve style bags on your car is to air up all the way and then back down to your desired lower height. This leaves much less room for error because the sleeve will completely unroll to reach maximum height, then reaching your lower preset height should be dead on. This is not ideal by any means but it is the best way to handle it without having to replace your current setup.
What we recommend to permanently solve this problem
The best thing to do is shop around to see if there are air ride kits available for your car that do not use front sleeve bags, ideally you can just opt for double or single bellow bags instead. If there are no air ride kits that offer that and you are stuck with sleeve bags as your only option, we recommend pairing it with a height based management like Air Lift 3H or AccuAir e-Level. This way you are certain to hit your necessary heights without wondering if your sleeve is hung up on itself.
Final Thoughts - Are sleeve bags really that bad?
So as covered here, sleeve bags are primarily an issue if you are running them up front on a front engine car paired with a pressure based management system like Air Lift 3P. This can lead to inaccuracies when trying to air up from a lowered height so generally you should avoid this combination of components in your air ride kit. There are definitely valid criticisms against sleeve style bags but if you dial in your setup with those concerns in mind you should have a smooth experience with them!
Check out the video below to see the science experiment on how sleeve bags operate!
If you have any questions about sleeve style bags, let us know! Hit the chat button on the site to chat with us directly, shoot us an email at email@example.com, or give us a call at (844)-404-7344.