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Town Car air suspension problems? Read this thread!

Town

Senior Member
4,400
136
63
Ottawa Ontario Canada
I tried to PM you on this but it appears the feature is turned off. Probably the best place would be to put your experience in the Lincoln Tech forum. Following is a synopsis that may help you.

My 2005 Lincoln Town Car had a problem with the suspension lowering while driving and while sitting with the suspension switched on. When the suspension was switched off while at trim height then it did not lower at all so the air springs and solenoids are fine. A Ford diagnostic showed that the air suspension module could not be accessed to run the self test diagnostic but the dealer tech ignored this critical info that the module was probably faulty and instead diagnosed the suspension height sensor (mounted between the driver side watts link and the frame) as being the problem. Replacement of the height sensor ($500 incl $110 for diagnosis, $270 for part and the rest for labour to install the part) did not resolve the problem. Replacement of the air suspension module ($200 part) was easy and fixed the problem. The new module could only be found at Ford dealer or online Ford dealer but did not need to be programmed by the dealer, it works right out of the box. Easy to replace, drop the glove box (no tools needed) 2 screws that held it in and two wiring harness plugs that were easy to unplug. After installing the new module I let the car sit over night with the system turned on and in the morning she was still at the same height so it appears that the problem has been solved.

Does that about cover your experience? You could update the text as you want and put into the Lincoln Tech forum under the Town Car sub-forum. Much easier to find problem/solution there than buried in the many pages of regular threads, even with the search feature.

Good luck.
 

zinctwentyone

Senior Member
175
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0
I too have a very similar issue and if nothing else, I may try the module. The thing is your steering did not go out as well. So this indicates that mine may be the fuse or an electrical issue.
 

TownCars1

Senior Member
508
2
0
Houston/TX
I wish I had invested in the Ford Module and actuator making companies. It's incredible how every module seems prone to failure on these cars. After owning a lot of other cars and hanging out on a lot of other forums for other marques, this is unique to Ford. Shame on them.
 

wimpy

Senior Member
191
8
18
Charlotte, NC
TC1: Sorry about the rain on your parade. My experience over 9+ years has been the opposite. 2 limos-1-LTC with 460K, 1 LTC with 110K, 3 LTC Sedans, 2-180K & 1-102K. None have had module problems, knock wood.
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I kicked off my weekend with finding my town car on the ground again this morning. I flip the switch off and turn it back on and started the car and she came up to height. I went to the store, parked her and on the drive home she went to the ground as I was driving. I pulled over and reset the system again and the same thing 20 minutes later while in motion. She is parked at the airport for the next 5 days with the switch off. Could it be a faulty solenoid?
 

Town

Senior Member
4,400
136
63
Ottawa Ontario Canada
There are 3 solenoids, a vent solenoid at the compressor and 2 spring solenoids, one for each spring. So for a faulty solenoid to lower the suspension then a spring solenoid and the vent solenoid would need to have failed, but that would have the rear suspension on an angle, lower at one side than the other, so both air spring solenoids would need to be opened with the vent solenoid. This happens after parking the car for more than an hour when the suspension module vents the suspension to lower it an inch or so. The manual says this occurs at an hour but on my car it occurs a long time after since I checked it at 2 hours and it hadn't vented. But it had vented by morning. A solenoid failure is possible. The suspension module provides power to the solenoids for operation so a short is not likely, unless the bared wire(s) are touching a power source. Perhaps the vent solenoid is leaking and the spring solenoids wiring may be touching a power source occasionally. You can check for this errant power source theory by removing the neg battery terminal so there is no power anywhere and see if the car still lowers overnight. For the car to lower in 20 minutes is a significant leak and faulty solenoids could do that. I feel sure you would hear the hiss of the air escaping if the car was parked, so perhaps invest some time in listening for a leak.

Essentially you are back at square one with the suspension lowering while you drive and overnight. At that time the springs and solenoids were fine since the suspension did not lower with the suspension switched off, but did lower overnight and while driving with the suspension turned on. You have a new suspension height sensor and a new suspension module. The compressor switches on and inflates the suspension. It sounds like a leak in the air springs or the O rings where the spring solenoid enters the spring mounting point. I would ensure the car is at trim height and switch off the suspension chock the front wheels and raise the rear frame for the suspension to be fully extended and use jack stands to support the frame. Look at the lower part of the rubber bladder of the spring since this is normally folded up out of sight and is where a lot of the suspension movement occurs. You are looking for cracks in the rubber since that is a sign the springs are nearing the end of their life, and need to spray soapy water around that area looking for bubbles of leaking air. Do all around the spring. Also check the spring solenoid where it fits into the spring housing and spray soapy water too. Check the condition of the hose between the two springs and then at the T where the hose goes to the compressor on driver's side. Check the hose to the compressor and the point where the hose enters the drier since that connection can be problematic, but the compressor must be running to check with soapy water. The compressor has a vent solenoid that you should spray with soapy water to ensure it is not leaking, replacement requires a new compressor.

Good luck.
 

zinctwentyone

Senior Member
175
0
0
TC1: Sorry about the rain on your parade. My experience over 9+ years has been the opposite. 2 limos-1-LTC with 460K, 1 LTC with 110K, 3 LTC Sedans, 2-180K & 1-102K. None have had module problems, knock wood.
My experience up till now has been awesome of Lincolns. I grew up in a Lincoln family and do not remember my family ever having issues. With the downfall of european cars since 1999, Germany in an effort to combat the falling dollar make a good looking car but very poorly made(many engines failing at 60, 70k now), I decided to become a die hard American classic buyer again, was sorry to see the Town car end production as Cadillac is now outsourcing to China.

I have a similar issue as this thread but I am sure once figured out, it will not be too bad.
 
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I returned to the airport garage to find my town car still off the ground (I kept the system switch off) Due to work demands I drove her with the switch off for the next three days, on the third day the passenger side seemed lower than the right so I decided to reset the air system and she came right back up to normal height and I turned her off again. The next morning (yesterday) I had to do the front brakes and after that I was going to lift the rear and continue the investigation case. Unfortunately I ran into floor jack problems while doing the brakes and after 45 minutes dickering with the jack I rolled it out for the trash man and will buy a new one. However, sitting on the nice even garage floor I decided to reset the air suspension system again, turn the switch off and start measuring again.. After full reset with the car at full height the passenger side is 1/2" lower than the drivers side. An hour later the passenger side was 3/4" lower than the drivers side (drivers side didn't change at all). The next morning (today) the passenger side is a full 1" lower than the drivers side, with no change on the drivers side. As soon as I started the car and turned the system switch on, the system recognizes height adjustment is needed, kicks in the compressor but instead of rising, she lowers all the way to the ground. I can reset the system and she then raises to full height albeit uneven on both sides. I have already replaced two expensive components and would prefer to not just throw more money away, does this summary help in narrowing down the culprit?
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Town

Senior Member
4,400
136
63
Ottawa Ontario Canada
The half inch difference driver side fender lip to passenger side fender lip from the ground is at the limit of Ford spec, so not a problem.

The facts as you laid them out are confusing: with the air suspension switched off the air springs will sometimes not leak (airport) and sometimes leak (driving around for 3 days) and once when stationary overnight; the vent solenoid on the compressor will stay closed most of the time but when you turned on the suspension this morning the compressor started and the vent opened and the vent let out more air than the compressor could pump into the system so the pump is weak. This has happened before while driving.

I still think you need to raise the rear suspension with the suspension switched off and check the lower part of the spring's rubber diaphragm for cracks (by visual inspection) and leaks (by spraying soapy water onto the springs). In addition you need to check the vent solenoid (listening for air leak and/or spraying with soapy water) or check the wire (pink) that powers the vent solenoid to see if it is being opened by short circuiting with a live wire. Also check the small hose from the rear springs that enters the drier on the compressor to ensure it is a leak-free connection. This tech article in the Lincoln Tech forum: http://www.lincolnforums.com/forums/threads/10647-Town-Car-Air-suspension-compressor-drier-service will give you some help on how that fitting is checked and renewed without buying anything. While you are at it check the pressure from the pump at that fitting since it should be over 100 psi unless the drier is blocked with moisture in the crystals.

Good luck.
 
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I jacked the car up and removed the rear tires, the passenger side airbag was filled with cracks as you described at the base and had very little air in it. The driver side airbag had no cracks and was solid with air. I replaced both airbags, parts were $115.00 a side and each side took about a half hour. I drove around all day today with no problems so far. If I would have jacked the car up and checked the bags first I could have saved myself about $700 and a bunch of frustration. I thank everybody for their assistance.
 
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My airbag saga continues. I have a couple of questions, the o-rings that came with the aftermarket air springs appear to be fatter than the ones that were on the original air springs and regardless of how hard I tried I could not plug in the solenoid and ended up using the old o -rings. Has anybody else experienced this problem does anybody know the correct size of the o-rings I should be installing and where I might be able to buy them? Second question, why is it that when I turn the car on first thing in the morning the compressor kicks in but the car drops to the ground? Its not till after I reset the system that the car will rise.
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Town

Senior Member
4,400
136
63
Ottawa Ontario Canada
Did you lubricate the O ring and the spring housing that the solenoid fits into with dielectric silicone grease? Did you twist the solenoid to push it into place? Hard to believe the O rings supplied with your new springs would be the wrong size. Your Ford dealer should be able to get you new O rings, but a new solenoid is not expensive, and that comes with O rings. I don't know the size of the O rings.

Your suspension dropping when the suspension switch is turned on and the compressor starts implies the vent solenoid is open. The suspension module appears to know the suspension needs to be raised and switches on the compressor and then opens the spring solenoids to allow compressed air into the springs. The vent solenoid should be closed but appears to be open and therefore allows the air in the springs to be vented through the open spring solenoids and back to the vent solenoid and the atmosphere. The vent solenoid is part of the compressor and is not separately serviceable. So you need to check for air escaping from the vent solenoid when the car is lowering. If the suspension module wanted to vent the air springs then it would not turn on the compressor, it would just open the air spring solenoids and the vent solenoid.

Good luck.
 

Rey

Senior Member
165
0
0
Florida
Just push the hose in, then while pressing in that orange/red colored piece pull out the hose. I'm assuming you have no air pressure in your suspension system correct?
 

Town

Senior Member
4,400
136
63
Ottawa Ontario Canada
Hi dumpsterguy840,

I presume you are replacing the spring solenoid because of the O ring issue. As Rey cautions you should not have any air in the air spring, the solenoid if closed will hold air in the spring, but safest to leave the suspension switched ON while you jack up the car to vent both air springs completely before doing anything with the air line or solenoid. Then switch the suspension switch off.

Good luck.
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So by jacking the car up by the frame so the rear suspension is fully extended will cause the airbags to vent?
Do hold out the red tab when pushing in the air line?
 
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Town

Senior Member
4,400
136
63
Ottawa Ontario Canada
So by jacking the car up by the frame so the rear suspension is fully extended will cause the airbags to vent?
Do hold out the red tab when pushing in the air line?
Hi dumpsterguy840,

Yes, the suspension will vent when jacked by the frame and suspension hangs AND the suspension switch is in the ON position.

The air line must be smooth and not damaged by the internal collet (can make a depression ring in the hose) and the tab should be depressed to release the collet that holds the hose.

Good luck
 

Town

Senior Member
4,400
136
63
Ottawa Ontario Canada
My airbag saga continues. I have a couple of questions, the o-rings that came with the aftermarket air springs appear to be fatter than the ones that were on the original air springs and regardless of how hard I tried I could not plug in the solenoid and ended up using the old o -rings. Has anybody else experienced this problem does anybody know the correct size of the o-rings I should be installing and where I might be able to buy them? Second question, why is it that when I turn the car on first thing in the morning the compressor kicks in but the car drops to the ground? Its not till after I reset the system that the car will rise.
Hi dumpsterguy840,

It is a bit late now, but I found out from Tim (NO0C) the correct size for the O rings for sealing the solenoid into the spring housing, as follows:

"I just replaced the air springs in my car again and put new o-rings in the solenoids. 3/16" X 5/16" X 1/16". Industrial number -008, the ones that seal the solenoid to the tube."

Better late than never. Good luck

Correction: Tim corrected me, that O ring size is actually to seal the high pressure line into the spring solenoid. It fits under the collet at the spring solenoid.
Arnott sells the seal kit K-2101 for the O rings that seal the solenoid to the spring housing. An alternative is to measure the O rings and source locally.
 
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TABBOOMA

Banned
215
0
0
BFE
I'll probably be told I don't know whether I'm horseback or afoot, but dumpster your problem is your vent solenoid, an integral part of the compressor assembly and not serviced separately.

I would be looking for a different compressor and get it installed.

Or if you can catch when the vent is closed you could install a external vent solenoid if you have the ability.

Good luck.
 

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