“And now for something completely different.” It’s not just a line from a Monty Python skit, this truly is something completely different for the airbag or static community. This design from Demon MotorSports is a revolutionary twist on the stereotypical hydraulic system. Here you’ll learn a bit about the man behind the concept, Ryan Lowther, and his business Demon MotorSports. You might have heard about The Demon Bus, which is the original prototype of this product released by Demon MotorSports. We’ll cover the basics of how this particular system works as well as touch base on the recent successes of Demon Motorsports Hydraulic builds & suspension kits.
(Type II front beam & rear assembly featured below)
Let’s start with the suspension system. This concept works on the stock suspension by turning the torsion springs in the center. That means, the vehicle will stay up without needing adjustments; unlike air which leaks. By utilizing the single battery already present, you won’t need to have a mass of batteries in the trunk as you see with a hydraulic system on a hopping car. Because this operates on the stock suspension, you’re able to leave the stock springs instead of swapping to one ton truck springs. Riding on the exact suspension from the factory, it’s able to ride as Volkswagen intended.
(Type 1 rear install view + front beam – cell shot work in progress)
This hydraulic system lifts the front and rear separately, but twists both torsions in the front at the same time – keeping you from a side to side motion. The torsion tube in the back twists separately from the front ( 1 switch for front up & down, 1 switch for back up & down) same as adjusters. The glorious relief of not having to worry about adjusting air! Since this rides on the stock suspension, it’s able to stay up until you push the button to put it back down. Air systems run only on the bottom trailing arms and not both the upper and lower like this system does, making the hydraulic system from Demon MotorSports a much stronger option.
(Gulf Ghia Body off Chassis -cell shot work in progress)
This product is available for Type 1 and Type 2 with Type 3 in the works! One project of Demon MotorSports, was the Gulf Ghia, which was the starting base for production kits and was used to assist in working out the little details with King Pin and Ball Joint differences. The Type 1 front beam fits without any cutting, it just bolts right in; the rear does need some cutting and welding. The Type 2 front beam needs a tiny cut underneath and the rear does require some cutting and welding as well.
(The official reveal in 2015 was an overwhelming success and a LOT of interest in the new setup no one had seen before!)
“We officially revealed our hydraulic suspension at the 2015 Florida Bug Jam. All kits are custom orders and built to customer specs or whatever we've discussed. We’ve designed these kits as compact and user friendly as possible so that there aren’t any adjustments that need to be made by installers. We’ve made it to where you can just bolt the beam in on the Type 1 and & Type 2 while the rear assembly on both type 1 & 2 will come as one whole unit that will set into place after cutting out rear center section. It will only go in one way! There will be templates included and it will come with instructions, of course, but you’ll still have to have a decent mechanical background with you.” – Ryan Lowther, Owner of DemonMotorSports
(One of many to add to Ryans builds , The Insane built 2,000+ HP Impala! – cell photo)
If you’re wondering about Ryan’s experience, he has plenty of it. Starting out with MarQuipt, fabricating and installing hydraulic gangways for boats/mega yachts that telescope, he also worked on cranes, elevators, and lifts to put a smaller boat on a yacht. Ryan started Demon MotorSports over fifteen years ago with his cousin, Jack.Demon MotorSports built two cars, a HyperSilver Mustang and an Impala for SEMA and also fabricates parts. Ryan is also the proud owner of the “Demon Bus”. Lowther’s Demon Bus was the prototype for this hydraulic system. He knows everyone loves to lower their VWs. To quote him, “I wasn’t going to be happy until the bus was on the ground.” Prior to this hydraulic system, Demon MotorSports mostly fabricated for race cars, specifically drag racing.
To focus more on the actual hydraulic system, you have to know about the prototype. You’ve probably heard of it and seen the videos of the bus that looks like it came from the depth of hell, crushing cans. Ryan found this bus on the Samba from a listing in Texas. He developed the idea for the suspension out of the need to get home on his unforgiving dirt road. We kept lowering the bus lower and lower, making it more difficult to make it down the road to the house. We thought about airbags, but that wasn’t the best option. I had the idea for the hydraulics as a kid, but didn’t know exactly how to do it without welding experience.”
“Between citrons – accumulators – it turned into expensive guess work to see how this concept would actually work. It took a year and a half to get research and development done. Six different concepts. Laying underneath the bus for HOURS trying to figure out the best way to go about it. We couldn’t just look it up, no one else had done this. We couldn’t copy anything and wanted something unique! We had four cylinders that I’d had from when I was 18 sitting in the back of my wife’s Volvo! I had to use them. Plan A was to do the airbags, but we didn’t want to deal with that mess. Eventually, I want to be able to have water-cooled done as well, making airbags obsolete! Even the new airbags from Ford fail. We’re looking at adapting a cantilever coil hydraulic system to make a universal kit.” – Ryan Lowther
One project for Demon MotorSports is a bus owned by Mike out of Tampa Florida and his rare 61 Double Door Kombi! I did a full feature on this bus that you can find by clicking this link here!
Another bus Demon MotorSports completed initially came to us from Kentucky. Affectionately called “the Tree Ring Bus”, because of the absolutely stunning rust patterns that have developed. The Tree Ring Bus was the birth of the Type II production kit! Because the center pin of the front beam is cantilevered from the center, it still twists in the center evenly and is not off centered as it may look in pictures. It’s brilliant! The original build owner chose this product after seeing the Demon Bus and decided he wanted the exact same thing. According to Lowther, “He said, ‘do what you would do if it was yours’. So, that’s what we did!”
The Gulf Ghia, the original car used for production kits, has gained more attention due to the publicizing by its owner Aaron Joslin. formerly known on Instagram and Facebook as VDubPrints, but now publishing strictly under The Dub Exposure ( Instagram | Facebook ) from Clearwater, Florida. Ryan and I know each other well and the Demon Bus is a common feature for my site content!
While I was previously using an airbag system, I want people to understand the difference between this hydraulic system compared to the stereotypical hydraulics that people think of. My biggest reason for following through on this product, “It’s actually on the stock suspension so you don’t have to worry about having to adjust the airbags, wait for noisy compressors to fill tanks, and you don’t have to deal with air leaks. Nothing worse than having to wait for your tank to fill so you can air up while everyone’s already heading out and under way!”
While the air suspension was a constant battle every day (to the point that I actually hated driving my car!) the Demon Motorsports Hydraulic suspension has been in the Ghia since 2015 and there hasn’t been a single issue at all! In 2017 Ryan took the Ghia and pulled the front suspension out to check all the hydraulic setup including the rear setup. There were no signs of faulty system issues and only a scraped up chassis from me dragging it on the ground making it rain sparks!
If you’re still wondering why this hydraulic system is revolutionary, there’s one simple concept that you must understand. This rides on the stock suspension. It’s not the stereotypical hopping hydraulics. You’re not worrying about your spring rate changing, it stays the same. You’re using your single battery, which is charged by your alternator as normal. The basic translation of it could be more along the lines of a tailgate lift or a dump trailer. You don’t have to wait for the air compressor or listen to it. You’re not leaking air. The vehicle will stay up for a year straight and won’t drop until you push the button. This system is currently available for Type 1 and Type 2 by custom order only that way all your needs and specs are met! (Type 3 TBD)
Demon Motorsports has been quite busy with the hydraulic suspension kits with custom orders going across the pond, including custom builds requested by the customers to suit their needs. An example would be adjustments for rack and pinion steering, as well as other custom requests!
(custom type 1 hydraulic beam w/ rack and pinion steering & integrated sway bar per customers request)
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