2009 TC Air Suspension Intermittent Fault

TC_Owner_GA

New member
4
1
3
Hi all!

Recent new owner of a 2009 Signature Limited with just over 88K on the odometer. Yesterday, while heading home I noticed the Air suspension fault was displayed in the LCD readout with a small orange light below it in the instrument cluster. I promptly reset the fault and continued home without any reoccurrences. Today I drove the car to town and the fault/light returned as I was heading home. I cleared the fault once again and continued to drive for another 40 miles as I decided to visit a friend on the way home. No fault or warning returned in all that distance. The car appears to be at correct ride height and still rides like a dream.

I'm fairly mechanically inclined and have performed most of my own maintenance on all of my past vehicles, but I'm new to the TC experience and wanted to ask if this could be a sign of future or impending trouble?

I read through the air suspension thread at the top of this forum list, but didn't see any posts related to my issue(s).

Question(s):

1. what exactly does the air suspension system do in a TC? Does it just simply inflate some air bags to a predetermined height and maintain it? Or is it an active system which adjusts on the fly to maintain some degree of ride quality?

2. Are the front and rear suspensions linked by this air ride system, or are they separate systems?

I'm not afraid to read and learn, so any informative links on the air suspension system used in this car will be greatly appreciated!
 
75
73
18
The air suspension is only on the rear and is the same as a Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis or Town Car if so equipped with it. It consists of 2 air springs, 2 solenoids, a ride height sensor, air compressor and a control module that also interacts with the steering to provide stiffer feedback at highway speeds.

Obviously if your getting a Air Susp warning the best thing to do is to shut the system off so you don't burn out the compressor if its from leaky air springs and you notice the air compressor running more then once after each car start. You should probably get the code scanned with a full function scanner that can read body codes so you can see what the system is telling and go from there.

If you don't care to mess with the air suspension regular coil springs can be installed from any Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis or later Town Car into where the air springs go just need 2 rubber isolators that go on the top and bottom. Just don't bother with the suspension conversion kits as the coils from those are overpriced.
 

dave42

Senior Member
457
206
43
Leander, TX C.K.U.
Turning off the switch in the trunk and driving for a few days or more, and if the rear end sinks then you have leaky air springs that need to be replaced (with more air springs or coils, as mentioned). If the rear does not sink, then something else is the problem.

Normally you would hear the compressor running while driving, if it comes on, but if you have music going you might not hear it. Normal operation will have the compressor come on when you start the car. But it really shouldn't come on afterwards unless you load the car down, and then it will come on to raise the rear to normal height.
 

TC_Owner_GA

New member
4
1
3
Thanks for the replies!

So if I'm understanding this correctly, the warning indication occurring at random like it is in my case would mean that the system is leaking down, or the compressor is throwing a fault of some kind? I'm just tryin to figure out what components in the air ride system can cause the warning to come on....??

I just went outside and checked my ride height after 2 days of sitting, and it was at stock ride height still. I went ahead and turned the switch in the trunk to the off position. I'll be driving it to work tomorrow morning(saturday), where it will sit for 12 hours. I'll post back if the ride height changes once I return home.
______________________________
 

dave42

Senior Member
457
206
43
Leander, TX C.K.U.
Time can make it drop, but driving tends to make it drop more (when there are leaks) because the cracks are often in the folds and are sort of squeezed shut when sitting. The fault light will come on if the compressor runs for some particular length of time (a minute? I don't recall) without getting the car up to the correct height. Does the compressor run when you start the car in the morning? Usually it will, for not long, varies, maybe 10-15 seconds on a good system. After the car has been shut off and doors closed, it will "vent down" a little. Some folks say this happens immediately and some say it happens within an hour. At any rate, the compressor needs to raise it back up from that "resting" height when you start it.
 

Russ T.

New member
28
9
3
Hi all!

Recent new owner of a 2009 Signature Limited with just over 88K on the odometer. Yesterday, while heading home I noticed the Air suspension fault was displayed in the LCD readout with a small orange light below it in the instrument cluster. I promptly reset the fault and continued home without any reoccurrences. Today I drove the car to town and the fault/light returned as I was heading home. I cleared the fault once again and continued to drive for another 40 miles as I decided to visit a friend on the way home. No fault or warning returned in all that distance. The car appears to be at correct ride height and still rides like a dream.

I'm fairly mechanically inclined and have performed most of my own maintenance on all of my past vehicles, but I'm new to the TC experience and wanted to ask if this could be a sign of future or impending trouble?

I read through the air suspension thread at the top of this forum list, but didn't see any posts related to my issue(s).

Question(s):

1. what exactly does the air suspension system do in a TC? Does it just simply inflate some air bags to a predetermined height and maintain it? Or is it an active system which adjusts on the fly to maintain some degree of ride quality?

2. Are the front and rear suspensions linked by this air ride system, or are they separate systems?

I'm not afraid to read and learn, so any informative links on the air suspension system used in this car will be greatly appreciated!
 

Russ T.

New member
28
9
3
Some great reply's here. Also, as a retired limo driver after 27 years, many times I had to crawl under my Town Cars with a spray bottle of soap and water and spray my air bags to discover the tiniest of leaks, just like spraying your tires looking for nails, etc. Air bags are easy to replace yourself, and can be purchased cheaply out of a company in Florida, just check on-line. Read your repair book and check YouTube video's before you start the job, good luck!
 

TC_Owner_GA

New member
4
1
3
Wanted to update my situation with the intermittent fault...

First of all, my apologies for not updating right away, but quite a few things in my life took priority since I made my last reply.

It seems that someone performed the coil conversion in lieu of replacing the air bags. I bought the TC from the local CarMax in Chattanooga, and a check of the carfax indicates that my TC was a fleet vehicle that was transferred from Texas to an agency in Tennessee right before CarMax obtained it. The coils are black and look brand new, and all associated air lines and electrical connections were all zip-tied up and out of the way. I'm not sure what coils were used, but I'd be hard pressed to say that the ride quality could be any smoother.

Soo...mystery solved. Thanks for the replies and feedback!
______________________________
 

Russ T.

New member
28
9
3
Hi all!

Recent new owner of a 2009 Signature Limited with just over 88K on the odometer. Yesterday, while heading home I noticed the Air suspension fault was displayed in the LCD readout with a small orange light below it in the instrument cluster. I promptly reset the fault and continued home without any reoccurrences. Today I drove the car to town and the fault/light returned as I was heading home. I cleared the fault once again and continued to drive for another 40 miles as I decided to visit a friend on the way home. No fault or warning returned in all that distance. The car appears to be at correct ride height and still rides like a dream.

I'm fairly mechanically inclined and have performed most of my own maintenance on all of my past vehicles, but I'm new to the TC experience and wanted to ask if this could be a sign of future or impending trouble?

I read through the air suspension thread at the top of this forum list, but didn't see any posts related to my issue(s).

Question(s):

1. what exactly does the air suspension system do in a TC? Does it just simply inflate some air bags to a predetermined height and maintain it? Or is it an active system which adjusts on the fly to maintain some degree of ride quality?

2. Are the front and rear suspensions linked by this air ride system, or are they separate systems?

I'm not afraid to read and learn, so any informative links on the air suspension system used in this car will be greatly appreciated!
 

Russ T.

New member
28
9
3
Most likely you have a slow air leak, usually the rear air suspension bags. This is an easy self check and if necessary, an easy self fix. A soapy water spray bottle, the same you would use on your tires to check for nail holes, is all you need. Safely block up your rear end off the ground with suspension switch off, (the switch in your trunk). The bags will be fully stretched out and should be hard and full of air. If bags are not hard to the touch, you found the problem. Spray hard bags all over with soapy water and look for small bubbles on all sides of air bags. Any bubbles and you found your leak. Bags are easy to change by yourself. Don't overpay a mechanic. Bags are found cheap online. Good luck.
 

Nongmin

Active member
157
73
28
Charlotte, NC
The OP stated that the airbags have been replaced with coil springs, so no need for the soapy water test! What is likely happening is the level sensor on the rear axle is moving within a range that sets off the dash information/orange light.

I've done the airbag to coil swap and will occasionally get the suspension warning. This mostly happens when I enter my driveway, the turn-in is uphill and a little off camber. Warning appears, press reset, no problems. I've learned to pretty much ignore it, pushing a button is easy.
 
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