2003 Town Car Rear Air Suspension

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Kevin Ludtke

New member
Feb 17, 2022
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I recently purchased a 2003 Town Car with 72,000 miles on it and the Air Suspension Light is now on. I replaced the switch in the trunk figuring I would start there but it did nothing , the compressor no longer kicks on either although it did before. I am wondering which way to jump next , I found a 5 piece rear air suspension kit from 1A Auto for about 325 dollars and was considering purchasing it and just replacing everything. If anyone would like to chime in and give me their advice I would appreciate it , Thanks.
 

Norms1stTC

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2020
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2 words , Coil Springs....

They're cheap, easy to install, comfortable as air ride with the right shocks, and will lasts lifetime on our vehicle.

Ford's major flaw with the Town Car was the air ride suspension and the plastic intake manifolds. Way too many components to fail on these systems, you've got too much to worry about, the compressor, the air dryer, the lines, the module itself, the switch, the solenoids, the O-Rings on the solenoids, the bags dry rotting, the height sensor...etc .. etc... Not to mention the longevity of the 99.8% of the Chinese junk that's out there now for this system.

2 coil springs, 2 insulators and 2 shocks might set you back $100-$125 . Mine crapped out at 60k miles , and I installed the coil springs and new shocks and never looked back. Good luck to you on your decision.
 

Action

Junior Member
Aug 12, 2005
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Phoenix, AZ 85008-1418
If the compressor no longer works and you want to keep this dynamic suspension, replacing parts in the rear won;t do a lot. The compressor is in the front.

With that said the compressor may be worn out because it is running more than it was designed to run. (It is not designed to run continously) If so that might be because the system has a leak. Replacing parts in the rear suspension may be needed if they are leaking.

Know that the factory design is an air spring or bag. Not the same as an air shock. It is a dynamic system that chnages with load, speed and conditions. Or you can convert to a dumb spring system.

Action
 

Norms1stTC

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2020
1,104
1
779
113
If the compressor no longer works and you want to keep this dynamic suspension, replacing parts in the rear won;t do a lot. The compressor is in the front.

With that said the compressor may be worn out because it is running more than it was designed to run. (It is not designed to run continously) If so that might be because the system has a leak. Replacing parts in the rear suspension may be needed if they are leaking.

Know that the factory design is an air spring or bag. Not the same as an air shock. It is a dynamic system that chnages with load, speed and conditions. Or you can convert to a dumb spring system.

Action
Is there a "smart" spring system now 🤣🤣 ???
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04TC

Junior Member
May 10, 2016
477
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43
Tampa, FL
I recently purchased a 2003 Town Car with 72,000 miles on it and the Air Suspension Light is now on.
Checking to make sure with you, in what position is the air suspension switch? If it is "OFF" the light will always be on and the compressor will not come on. Whenever car is lifted, for example at a mechanic, the standard procedure is to turn "off" the switch beforehand. If the switch is currently "on" AND the air suspension light still comes on then there is a problem with the system.
 

Norms1stTC

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2020
1,104
1
779
113
Checking to make sure with you, in what position is the air suspension switch? If it is "OFF" the light will always be on and the compressor will not come on. Whenever car is lifted, for example at a mechanic, the standard procedure is to turn "off" the switch beforehand. If the switch is currently "on" AND the air suspension light still comes on then there is a problem with the system.
Yes, correct
 

wolf_walker

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2017
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If the switch is on and light is on pull the codes and see what it says. Odds are it has a dead solenoid valve or compressor, or the system saw it trying to vent or air up for too long. It's all pretty simple. A regular OBD2 reader will not talk to the RAS module but Forscan on a laptop or phone with a good USB OBD2 adaptor will, and is well worth having for these cars.

A word on the kits like you mentioned, component brand and quality is a thing here. I haven't looked up that one but those kits like that are almost never good quality parts. Arnott makes good bags and compressors, and likely solenoid valves. Not a ton more money, amazon usually has them.
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All2kool

Senior Member
Jan 17, 2010
1,341
138
63
Portland, OR
2 words , Coil Springs....
Agreed. Only an engineer can take one part and turn it into several.

It's what I did when my 1996 Cartier dropped to the ground. Did the job in the carport in about 90 minutes. Never noticed a bit of difference in the ride quality. Sold the Compressor and Air Springs on EBay with the full disclosure that I did not know which component had failed. Final cost to me was $20. Disabling the 'Check Air Suspension' light was also easy although it can be trickier after 1997.
 

Kevin Ludtke

New member
Feb 17, 2022
12
1
3
If the switch is on and light is on pull the codes and see what it says. Odds are it has a dead solenoid valve or compressor, or the system saw it trying to vent or air up for too long. It's all pretty simple. A regular OBD2 reader will not talk to the RAS module but Forscan on a laptop or phone with a good USB OBD2 adaptor will, and is well worth having for these cars.

A word on the kits like you mentioned, component brand and quality is a thing here. I haven't looked up that one but those kits like that are almost never good quality parts. Arnott makes good bags and compressors, and likely solenoid valves. Not a ton more money, amazon usually has them.
Yeah I
 

Kevin Ludtke

New member
Feb 17, 2022
12
1
3
I purchased Arnott air bags , compressor , and new solenoids as well from Rock Auto , had to replace the 30 Amp fuse associated with the compressor as well. It took about five hours to do everything but I am glad I went for the Arnott products , I believe their products are good quality. I also purchased rear shock absorbers from Rock Auto which I still need to install.
 

V35A

Member
Jul 24, 2022
46
31
18
Phoenix and Fairplay Co.
My Lincoln
2009 SigLimited
After I installed the new compressor, I checked out the old one. The loud compressor sound was due mostly to the 3 worn out isolator mounts. The long run time was caused by a partially obstructed dryer causing low outlet pressure.
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wolf_walker

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2017
922
616
93
I don't know if there is a changer interval, but I believe I've seen the dryer for sale separately. I suspect longevity would be increased by having a fresh one now and again. Think you can buy those isolators too. The Cardone pump I've had on mine a couple years now is actually too quiet for my taste; you can't hear it run unless you're outside the car standing next to it.
 

V35A

Member
Jul 24, 2022
46
31
18
Phoenix and Fairplay Co.
My Lincoln
2009 SigLimited
Easiest way to tell if my '09 has air suspension?
See if there is an ON/OFF switch in the trunk on the left side panel. If there is a switch, look under the car and see if there is a coil spring or air bag on top of the ends of the rear axle.

You could have the switch but someone might have installed coil springs instead of replacing the air bags. My 2009 has air bags and I believe they came with coil springs stock in 2010 and 2011.
 
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