Town Car air suspension problems? Read this thread!

FrankWDoom

Junior Member
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Follow up: compressor relay fuse under the hood was blown. Replaced it and things are working again. Driver's side air bag is shot, causing the compressor to run frequently. Ordered a spring conversion kit.
 

TownCars1

Senior Member
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Houston/TX
Follow up: compressor relay fuse under the hood was blown. Replaced it and things are working again. Driver's side air bag is shot, causing the compressor to run frequently. Ordered a spring conversion kit.
Oh boy! Do you really want to admit you are switching out to regular old springs on this forum?? Trust me, it's better to just lie and say you're going to replace the low cost air bags and not admit to killing the spirit of the Lincoln Town Car even if you are going to be a murderer.
 
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Air springs or something else?

Car sagging in the back. My AIR SUSPENSION light isn't on, the Air Suspension switch in the trunk is in the ON position, and I can hear it trying to inflate the air springs my dash lights flicker after each try. This happened after I drove to buy some wiper fluid, made it home, filled it up and then noticed it was sitting low. Is this a case of me just having to replace the air springs? Any advice would be helpful.
 
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TownCars1

Senior Member
508
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Houston/TX
Car sagging in the back. My AIR SUSPENSION light isn't on, the Air Suspension switch in the trunk is in the ON position, and I can hear it trying to inflate the air springs my dash lights flicker after each try. This happened after I drove to buy some wiper fluid, made it home, filled it up and then noticed it was sitting low. Is this a case of me just having to replace the air springs? Any advice would be helpful.
did you read this sticky?

http://lincolnforums.com/forums/threads/11705-Town-Car-air-suspension-problems-Read-this-thread!
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RakkCity

Junior Member
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This may be a silly question, but I'm having a hard time finding the logic in this problem. My dad has a 2003 Cartier series, and my stepmom drives it a lot. He went into the hospital and is now out for about 6 weeks due to surgery, so he's unable to get under the car and diagnose this problem.

On the way back from the hospital one night, my stepmom claimed the car was "bouncing a lot." Sure enough, I go look at it to see the back end on the ground. I've searched these forums and read a lot of articles regarding the suspension, but I'd like to bounce my ideas off of some of you gurus before ordering a bunch of parts I don't need.

Back end is slammed, right side a tad lower than the left but that could just be the road/driveway not being level.

When I turn the key on, the compressor comes on a few moments later, and stays on for maybe 30-45 seconds? No change in suspension height. The compressor sounds loud, but I honestly don't know what they sound like in good working order so I'm not sure whether that's the issue. According to some of these threads, if there was a leak in the air springs or the lines running from the compressor, it would stay on constantly and not shut off? This isn't the case, it shuts off after less than a minute.

I've tried turning the trunk switch off, which illuminates the AIR SUSPENSION light on the dash, which leads me to believe the switch contacts are in working order. When the switch is turned back on the dash light goes back off. Passenger compartment fuse #8 is not burned out, and the relay should be fine since the compressor is switching on. There is no air in the bags and they do not inflate at all, so how can I check for leaks? If they were leaking, would the compressor not stay on constantly trying to fill them?

Please advise, I'm a pretty handy mechanic but air ride suspension is new to me and I don't have a ton of spare time to go chasing rabbits with this problem. I'll also bring up the idea of a coil spring conversion (looks to be pretty straight-forward) but I know my dad loves the smooth air ride from the Towncar.

Thank you in advance!
 

dave42

Senior Member
181
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Leander, TX C.K.U.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert.

Regarding the compressor cutting off, there is a time limit which will cut it off after 45 sec. or 1 min., not sure exactly. If that wasn't there, it could just keep running and burn up.

Since the rear is not coming up at all when the compressor runs, I wonder if one of the air lines has come loose or gotten damaged and cut? I don't know if a compressor can become defective and fail to pump air even when it is running.

Purists will always say to keep the air suspension, but folks who have replaced with coils generally report the ride is fine and it is pretty inexpensive. If you are pressed for time, you could throw some coils in there temporarily until you can get the air system problem figured out.
 

dpaulku

Junior Member
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Greetings. 

"97 Lincoln TC/sig 217000k and the air springs deflated on Sunday. No warning. I haven't heard my compressor running in ages... I did have an oil change last Saturday and worst case is that there might be some connection... I believe the tech was "warned" about shutting off the system prior to placing it on the hoist. (They've had some turnover there...)



In as much as I'm the only driver and my load is effectively constant... is it possible the compressor doesn't have to run if the bags are not leaking? I'm thinking yes. Would relief valves on the bags fail independent of any compressor problem?


I've started the car and switched the air suspension system switch on and off with no sound of a compressor trying to fill the deflated bags. I've checked the 30amp fuse in the passenger side box on the wheel well and it's good. I haven 't checked the air suspension relay found on the driver's wheel well... can that poop out?


The whole thing smacks of a failure of anything but an old air bag. I believe the car is a rebuild since I bought it from a Handy Andy in 2010 w/140k on the clock. ( Little things lead me to this conclusion but I didn't realize it till moving 5hrs south in 2011. ) If he rebuilt enough of it I'm thinking the air bags might be pretty new but I've never really inspected them... old and lazy... Guilty.


Any thoughts appreciated.
 
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I had that issue with the o rings on my new bags for my 99. I took both solenoid out and carefully punched them with one pair of channel locks and twisted them locked with another pair. But I also greased them.
 
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So, I just wanted to say in general. Any town car with over 100k with air suspension issues and the original set of yellow or black airbags is due for a new set of bags. *You start with a new set of bags and then you check if the pump is operating via engine on or off. *If the pump is operating and not lifting. Take off the hose by pushing the orange o in with a flathead and pulling the tube out. *Then get the pump to operate by turning the car to run and closing trunk and all doors.* You can test the pump by putting your finger on the orange o hole and holding it for 30 seconds while it's pumping. *you should hear air pressure after releasing your finger. If that is working your pump and system should be good. *If it is not working you can rig 2 valve stems by taking out the centers and screwing one over the air tube and cutting the larger seal side on the other to merge a way to pump it with air tank. The only way it will accept air is if the pump is on and the car is down. Once you compress it with the air chick it will lift like a cholo and stop the compressor.* Then you run to the trunk and turn off the switch untill you get a new compressor. * Now.... If your pump is not working you can always run a + and - to the wires for the pump motor. If that works you needs to diagnose the power to it. You then plug the pump back in, lift the car up and disconnect the ride height sensor and rig a way to hold it compressed. *Then you turn the air switch off, key on, key off switch back on and close everything to see if it works. If nothing works move the sensor out very slowly by small increments with the key on. If you extend it all the way it should open the solenoids and hiss air. If none of this works you might be looking at a bad suspension module or the switch. I usually move the rubber boot and examine for dirt and wear. *If this doesn't help you can always wire up the solenoids, air pump and system to some switches and relays to operate up and down. Or wire a different system in it by schematics.
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kplords

New member
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6/22/18, Is there anyone still reading this thread???

My '03 TC rear suspension raised to the max, way too high. I immediately drove it home and parked it. I can't figure this out, anyone experience this? It's been sitting for 3 days and it has not lowered at all. I have driven it around the block a couple of times to see if it would lower after several minutes of slow driving. It did not. Does anyone have a service manual for the dynamic suspension? I've had no luck finding any troubleshooting, diagrams or service manuals online. I'm in rural Montana and don't have access to a service manual. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance.
 

Town

Senior Member
4,215
91
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Ottawa Ontario Canada
6/22/18, Is there anyone still reading this thread???

My '03 TC rear suspension raised to the max, way too high. I immediately drove it home and parked it. I can't figure this out, anyone experience this? It's been sitting for 3 days and it has not lowered at all. I have driven it around the block a couple of times to see if it would lower after several minutes of slow driving. It did not. Does anyone have a service manual for the dynamic suspension? I've had no luck finding any troubleshooting, diagrams or service manuals online. I'm in rural Montana and don't have access to a service manual. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance.
Welcome to the Forum.

You posted in the sticky section which builds on a significant thread. It would be better for you to start a new thread in the Town Car forum, below the sticky threads.

You may have a problem with the height sensor located on the rear axle. I have the information you probably need for your 2003 model but for a 2007 model. It gets confusing to add to sticky threads.
 

Mafatone

Senior Member
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Get rid of those stupid air bags and put regular coil springs in. You'll be chasing money forever. The money you save put towards the other 99 things that will fail in that car like the steering shaft, passengers and drivers water side leaks, moon roof leaks, wiper motor because the drainage design sucks, blend door actuator, subwoofer foam rot, 2 day sit dead battery drain, no grease fittings on any of the front end parts, window regulators with the cheap cable design will snap, plastic intake manifold will crack & leak and the clear coat peeling because Ford still couldn't get it right in 30 years. I've owned all model Town Cars for 45 years and the 1998-2011 models are pigs. The only good things are the engines & transmissions are bullet proof. I still own my pig but I will never buy another. 1997 and under for me. Get real coil springs, you'll never look back.
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russ1150

Junior Member
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Hi, I am a new guy with a 1996 lincoln towncar signature series.. This is probably a dumb question but is the static height position the same as the run height position? The reason is when I start my car the air pumps starts and runs till a run height position is reached.. and the car works properly after reaching the ride height.. Add weight car adjusts for it remove weight and the car adjusts for it.. When I shut off the car the car settles to the static height and stays at that height until I start the car again and it then raises to about 3/4" higher. I do not have a leak just two different heights.. I hate to always hear the pump running when the car starts and hear the air valve open when I turn off the car.. If I readjust the run height by the sensor height adjustment will that also readjust the static height? Hope this is not to confusing..
 

dave42

Senior Member
181
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Leander, TX C.K.U.
Howdy russ. Yeah, the car is working as designed. As long as the pump doesn't have to run too long to get it back to trim height then you are probably okay. If you are trying to give extra life to the compressor by running it as little as possible,, you could turn off the Air switch in the trunk, and only turn it on when you need it. This will also tell you if you have a slow leak as the car will slowly sink.
 
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