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Town Car air suspension problems? Read this thread!

Blueox

Member
77
3
8
I too have a problem with the air suspension. Got 143,000 on the clock and the right side lowers over time. I likely will replace them with regular springs. Will have to do some research on what exact spring kit I need for my '05.

Big question is what to do with the pump? If the system module controls both the steering and the air suspension, will I always get a dash light?
 

LTC1997

Member
134
13
18
I seem to have the same question as Blueox, since my air suspension on my '97 TC was replaced with springs by a previous owner.

My question is, how do I make the suspension indicator light on the dash turn off?

I thought maybe turning the switch ON might make the light go out IF it doesn't activate what is left of my pump(???). ...I'd maybe want to cut a power wire to the pump then?

Oh, and while I'm looking in the trunk, I'm trying to figure out why the key suddenly won't unlock the trunk, seems I have to use the trunk button on the driver's door to open it now.
 

Blueox

Member
77
3
8
Well I got my answer on turning off the light. CANNOT BE DONE per the dealer. No way to change the programming at all. And the module from a 2011 will not work. So, we are screwed.
 

Blueox

Member
77
3
8
Just checked out the price on aftermarket, Arnott. Bags, valves, pump, around $600 at O'Reilly's. Ford parts are three times as much. So depending on diagnosis, ....
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Blueox

Member
77
3
8
Going in to the dealer today to diagnose suspension problems. Left side drops about 3/4 inches at rest. I probably need a new bag. Will see. If so I will replace both.
 

Blueox

Member
77
3
8
Well they say both bags and both valves. Labor $900 and parts $1,140. WOW! I talked with the parts department manager and get the ford parts down to $770. Arnott are $355 plus tax from O'Reily's. The Arnott bagsare guaranteed for life. The ford two years. I think I need to buy the parts and have someone else put them in.
 

jkeaton

New member
Well they say both bags and both valves. Labor $900 and parts $1,140. WOW! I talked with the parts department manager and get the ford parts down to $770. Arnott are $355 plus tax from O'Reily's. The Arnott bagsare guaranteed for life. The ford two years. I think I need to buy the parts and have someone else put them in.
Cheaper to convert to coil springs.....
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wolf_walker

Junior Member
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Arnott bags $93 each shipped via amazon prime, A1 Cardone valves (I used em, seem solid) $29 per same source, hour or so to install, though tedious if you don't have a lift. The air suspension is pretty cheap on these with some savvy shopping. You should see what an airmatic strut can cost for a mercedes...
 

PalaniRides

New member
5
0
1
Okay, first post here I believe. :)
2009 Town Car, 113,000 miles, in great shape except ...

Bought this Town Car recently about five months ago in Tucson and have had no issues until now. For the last two or three weeks, though, I have frequently awoken to a sagging rear suspension with the tire about two inches into the wheel well. Once the car is turned on, it pumps it to its proper trim level height and I drive off. Recently it started doing this (deflating) more often after only four or five hours of non-use. Fearing damage to the pump, I decided to turn OFF the air ride and it drove well (Had four large men in it Saturday to go to a football game) with no suspension deflating issues for four days - until this morning. This morning I found it sagging to where it was replicating the behavior I had been experiencing with the switch ON.

On prior advice, I had turned the suspension off (so I could use the car also) to isolate the bags without any electrical interference or control and I thought I had removed the bags as the possible culprit, but then I wake up to this. Why would the bags behave so well for four days, and then suddenly lose air? I've read this entire thread and have learned a lot, but now I'm at a loss.

Last night I went to buy dog food and naturally put it in the trunk, but it was only 30 pounds. That wouldn't suddenly trigger a leak, right?

Any thoughts as to where to look next?
 

wolf_walker

Junior Member
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Having it leak constantly, then not leak with the switch off, only to suddenly leak after an extended time with the switch still off, is consistent with average failure modes.
I would retest with an eye toward unintentional variables(ambient temp, load, inflation level of the bags). Bags can leak when inflated to a certain level, where it uncovers or unfolds the crack, but not below that level/compression. Odds are it's still the bags, and if it's not now it likely will be in the
fairly near future so you could preemptively replace them and the o-rings on the bag solenoids and then see where you stand.
You'll have practically narrowed it down to the pump then, and more than likely cured the problem anyway.
 

PalaniRides

New member
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1
Having it leak constantly, then not leak with the switch off, only to suddenly leak after an extended time with the switch still off, is consistent with average failure modes.
I would retest with an eye toward unintentional variables(ambient temp, load, inflation level of the bags). Bags can leak when inflated to a certain level, where it uncovers or unfolds the crack, but not below that level/compression. Odds are it's still the bags, and if it's not now it likely will be in the
fairly near future so you could preemptively replace them and the o-rings on the bag solenoids and then see where you stand.
You'll have practically narrowed it down to the pump then, and more than likely cured the problem anyway.
Thanks, Wolf. So I should replace them simply on their mileage/age, right? I'll put the order in tomorrow.
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wolf_walker

Junior Member
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If you're having issues and plan to keep the car, at that age I would. If they don't fail now, they will later.
The Arnott on amazon I referenced a few posts ago are ok for cheap, Ford still has new ones that may or may
not actually be any higher quality at this point.
 

Gsonneman

New member
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Hi everyone. I just bought a 2006 Signature TC. It has 64,000 original miles. The only issues it had when i bought it a month ago was bulbs burnt out on the passenger side and the horn is broken. Yesterday sitting at a stop light the rear end air suspension failed and the back dropped. I drive like a senior citizen so idk why it went out. I have havent gotten a chance to take it to auto zone to scan the engine code yet. I am wondering if anyone knows how much the average cost of replacing the compressors and or the air shocks? Thanks for the assistance.
 

PalaniRides

New member
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1
If you're having issues and plan to keep the car, at that age I would. If they don't fail now, they will later.
The Arnott on amazon I referenced a few posts ago are ok for cheap, Ford still has new ones that may or may
not actually be any higher quality at this point.
Well, as I’ve stated, after four days with the switch off and it riding at the proper height with no issues, and then surprisingly having it deflate, now it’s been driving at the proper height with the switch on again. Two days and it’s stayed up. Again, is this good and bad behavior symptoms of failing bags, or is it something else possibly? I did not order the bags this morning because I woke up to the car for the second day in a row at its proper height. I’m scratching my head here.
 

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wolf_walker

Junior Member
173
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Well, as I’ve stated, after four days with the switch off and it riding at the proper height with no issues, and then surprisingly having it deflate, now it’s been driving at the proper height with the switch on again. Two days and it’s stayed up. Again, is this good and bad behavior symptoms of failing bags, or is it something else possibly? I did not order the bags this morning because I woke up to the car for the second day in a row at its proper height. I’m scratching my head here.

There's something missing from the equation.
The only variable time leak mode I know for the bags themselves, is if the crack is covered at a certain ride height, and not at another. The way the bags kinda fold over on themselves makes this possible. Often times a bag will look fine at a quick glance, but with the suspension dropped a bit it'll expose
very poor looking sections of the bag. Large ambient temp swings can change the ride height some but that's a stretch.

Similarly the various o-rings in the system generally leak or do not. And if it's the ones on the solenoids on top of the bags, turning the system off wouldn't help that.

There is a vent valve on the pump, but for it to be able to bleed air, the individual bag solenoids would have to open to create an air path.
So if the system is off, that one shouldn't have access to the bags air.

It's not completely unheard of, though quite rare, for the control module for the system to act up and vent or raise inappropriately.
And half the time it starts to look like that it ends up being a foul signal from the ride height potentiometer instead.
But it does happen. Though again, with the system off, that should all be out of play.
Unless it's malfunctioning in a bizarre way.

It's a simple system, but it manages to find creative ways to act up.
On the later ones at least, there is OBD access and a brief self-test, at least with Forscan.
The factory scan tools can do more with it, manually raise/lower and such.

When I got mine it had super cheap-o bags on it, and instead of monkeying around I put a new pump, bags and
solenoid valves on it. Haven't had a bit of trouble with it sense. $300 maybe all total, installed myself.
You could also convert to standard coil springs, but I'm kinda partial to the bags just on principle if nothing
else myself. If I was looking at a thousand dollar bill to fix one like some people are I might think otherwise.
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CroLincolnTC98

New member
4
0
1
Hi guys. Please helo me because I am desperate now.
When I was driving my '99 TC in Croatia, car just sinks in the middle of driving (rear side). Air pump was pumping air when I turn off and turn on the car but nothing happened. I just hear some air leaking sounds from rear. What that can be and how much can that cost?
Can I raise car using jacking tool and then let pump pump air in and then turn off air suspension or?
 

bbf2530

Junior Member
418
68
28
Hi guys. Please helo me because I am desperate now.
When I was driving my '99 TC in Croatia, car just sinks in the middle of driving (rear side). Air pump was pumping air when I turn off and turn on the car but nothing happened. I just hear some air leaking sounds from rear. What that can be and how much can that cost?
Can I raise car using jacking tool and then let pump pump air in and then turn off air suspension or?
Hi CroLincoln. Hard to accurately diagnose over the Internet. The most likely culprit would be leaking air suspension air bags. If that is the problem, you will need to replace the airbags with new ones, or remove the airbags and replace them with conventional springs.

Jacking up the car, letting air pump in etc, will not help at all. The leaking air bags need to be replaced.

Let us know how you make out and good luck.
 

CroLincolnTC98

New member
4
0
1
Hi CroLincoln. Hard to accurately diagnose over the Internet. The most likely culprit would be leaking air suspension air bags. If that is the problem, you will need to replace the airbags with new ones, or remove the airbags and replace them with conventional springs.

Jacking up the car, letting air pump in etc, will not help at all. The leaking air bags need to be replaced.

Let us know how you make out and good luck.
I think some leaking noise when pump is pumping actually coming from right side of rear wheels. Car is now too low to see what's there.
I think I will replace air suspension with coil springs. Will there be any difference when I will drive a car? I found set of coil springs on rockauto for about 130$+80$ shipping to Croatia. Arnott, monroe or cardone. What do you think which one could be better?
 

bbf2530

Junior Member
418
68
28
I think some leaking noise when pump is pumping actually coming from right side of rear wheels. Car is now too low to see what's there.
I think I will replace air suspension with coil springs. Will there be any difference when I will drive a car? I found set of coil springs on rockauto for about 130$+80$ shipping to Croatia. Arnott, monroe or cardone. What do you think which one could be better?
Hi CroLincoln. In general, you will not notice much difference between the factory air suspension and a proper set of coil springs. However, keep in mind the ride height will no longer adjust to heavy loads in the trunk.

As far as which coil springs would be best, I can not tell you. Have no idea exactly what you are looking at as far as models, part numbers etc.
Perhaps a Town Car owner will jump in here and can help you with the proper coil springs.

Let us know how you make out and good luck.
 

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