NEW AIR SUSPENSION WOES

Discussion of STOCK air springs, struts, shock absorbers, shocks, compressors, air driers, lines and systems.

NEW AIR SUSPENSION WOES

Postby autotraveler » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:21 am

I've had my mark VII for almost five years and have had my share of suspension issues. When I bought the car (which was sagging at the time), I replaced the driver-side front airbag, which fixed the system. Later I replaced the passenger-front airbag and finally the driver-rear airbag. A few months ago the rear started sagging after being driven (sometimes this would happen almost immediately, other times it could take up to 60 miles of driving) so I was going to have the system checked, figuring passenger-rear airbag would need to be serviced. About a week ago, the symptoms switched, and now the front won't rise while the back does.

I took the car to my mechanic today for a diagnosis and he tells me that both passenger-side airbags need to be replaced, for $750 for parts and labor. Quite honestly, I don't think the airbags are the issue, including the passenger-rear unit since when I drove the car home from the mechanic the back airbags rose while the front airbags didn't. Very strange and certainly not being symptomatic with both passenger-side airbags leaking. Or is my diagnosis faulty?

Has anyone experienced anything similar and if so, how did you address the issue? Is there any sort of valve in the system that regulates the front and rear parts of the system, that might possibly be leaking? Is there an O-ring that is in common with both of the front airbags that might be the cause of the problem?

Before going to a new mechanic, or calling in a mobile mechanic that I've used in the past on other cars, what should I be looking for, based on the symptoms?

Thanks for any suggestions,

Richard Truesdell

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Re: NEW AIR SUSPENSION WOES

Postby CDW6212R » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:39 am

Hi Richard, these air suspensions are reliable, but the age needs some care for a few things. The air leaks from any line connection are the biggest cause of problems, the rubber bags cracking/leaking are next. Those two items are a good 5-10 times more a problem, than the rest of the components in the system.

Anything which causes the compressor to run too often, does accelerate wear of the compressor, solenoids. But moisture is an enemy that grows in the system due to excessive airflow due to the compressor running so much. I think the drier beads can handle the moisture until the compressor is running excessively, and high outside humidity makes it worse.

So generally, you don't have to worry about anything until a leak happens(you find it from the symptoms). First you have to stop the leak(like water in a basement, that's the first thing to do(or insert illegal aliens analogy)), and then look for other problems.

So hunt and fix any leaks(very minuscule leak at a connection is normal). Then if the age is enough, replace the o-rings if you can, some are hard to source. If the compressor has run a whole lot, servicing the drier beads may be a good idea. The compressor has small rubber mounting parts, which are about worn out now, it'd be good to replace those if possible too. I look at fixing things as something I want to last another 10-20 years without much more care near term.
Don
1991 Red Special Edition, my 2nd SE, dead paint, DWS 255/45/17's on 95 Cobra wheels, and soon; DVD/Navi/backup camera, OBDII and the 347, before custom paint.
98 Mountaineer with Continental DWS 255/55/18's, big sway bars, custom brakes. Soon to be A4WD with XP8 bumpers and wing.

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