Town Car air suspension problems? Read this thread!

Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
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Northern Illinois
Hey all! I just purchased my first TC (2010) a few weeks ago and it does not have air ride suspension. I can’t find evidence that it ever had it in fact. It has standard components and no evidence of a compressor or lines or even the fuse socket ever being used. Was air ride NOT standard on the TC during this generation or is it likely someone changed it over?
Thanks!

At first read, it looks like a very thorough removal of the air-ride system. What is the trim level of your Town Car? If the air ride became "optional," it would be most likely to not be present on the lowest trim level.

Good luck.
 

MotoJess

New member
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At first read, it looks like a very thorough removal of the air-ride system. What is the trim level of your Town Car? If the air ride became "optional," it would be most likely to not be present on the lowest trim level.

Good luck.
It is the Signature Limited. Emphasis on “Limited” I guess. Yes even the cutout for the switch has no witness marks of any kind. I’m pretty certain now that it never came equipped with air ride. It’s still a great riding car but I have always wanted air ride.
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Danmanltc

Member
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It is the Signature Limited. Emphasis on “Limited” I guess. Yes even the cutout for the switch has no witness marks of any kind. I’m pretty certain now that it never came equipped with air ride. It’s still a great riding car but I have always wanted air ride.

My 2011 Continental Edition did not come with air suspension either. The cutout is in the trunk for the switch, but it isn't there. Regular coil springs in the rear, I'm glad, it will mean no repairs in the future. I don't put a lot of weight in it. I've seen a lot of 1998 and newer town cars around parked or driving with sagging rear suspensions. Probably higher mileage.
 

Tonittt

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Hi, how much Power the rear axle level adjustment sensor should have?
to My measurement I have 4.97V.
 

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spurlockda

Junior Member
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2003 TC that belonged to my Mom who passed and this car was her love so now it’s my love.

Ok then, I haven’t gone through all of the troubleshooting in this thread yet but generally speaking, shiite-can the air suspension or restore the air suspension?
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Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
389
256
63
Northern Illinois
2003 TC that belonged to my Mom who passed and this car was her love so now it’s my love.

Ok then, I haven’t gone through all of the troubleshooting in this thread yet but generally speaking, shiite-can the air suspension or restore the air suspension?

Hi, spurlockda.

I'll answer both your questions (hopefully) in this first response.

The factory service manuals, until recently published by Helm, Inc, are now apparantly a "subscription service" from "Ford Service Info," directly from the Ford Motor Company. You can Google or DuckDuckGo Helm, Inc to contact them. If you dig, you get the logon and contact info for "Ford Service Info," and I've included the link to that below.

Ford Service Info from Motorcraft

As for the air suspension, my recommendation would be to keep it going until you can no longer repair it. The parts are not inexpensive, and can be hard to find sometimes, but they do last if taken care of.

Since you are able and willing to do your own work, you have already gotten past the number one reason that coil springs are retrofitted to these cars. That reason is the combination of high labor charges on top of high part costs. These systems can take time to troubleshoot correctly, particularly if the repair shop hasn't worked on them before or is otherwise "technically challenged," I.E. too dumb to change oil. Not many people want to pay for all of a mechanic's tech training in the process of fixing their one car.

For that matter, you haven't even written (yet) what if anything is wrong with the air suspension on your 2003 Town Car. If you need a repair right now, it might be "pricey," or very inexpensive.

If you post your (current) problem(s) with your air suspension, the readers of this forum can give you advice on the likely causes, and what to check first. Please let us know what the trouble is, and ultimately what the fix is. That helps "everyone" reading this forum, since you are likely not the first or last person who will have the same or similar problem with their car.

Good luck.
 

spurlockda

Junior Member
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Sorry about being vague. I read the whole 8 pages of the post and have the a$$ end up in the air so I can start spraying soapy bubbles.

What happened was that the bags were progressively getting worse in holding an air charge (making the comp come on more frequently). Then one day she looked like a low rider. It now stays looking that way all the time but it feels like the bags get a little lift after driving - if feels like it is up off of the bump stops while driving. When I first started noticing something was changing, I measured the top-most tangent point on the underside of the wheel Well lip and it is way lower now whenever I measure it.

I’m going to give it a thorough visual inspection and then try to get some air into the bags to start the soapy bubble inspections.

Because it is my Mom, I intend to restore the vehicle to its former glory and I will keep it with the air suspension system. I‘ve looked at strutmasters and parts geek and the parts can be had relatively inexpensively.
 

Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
389
256
63
Northern Illinois
Sorry about being vague. I read the whole 8 pages of the post and have the a$$ end up in the air so I can start spraying soapy bubbles.

What happened was that the bags were progressively getting worse in holding an air charge (making the comp come on more frequently). Then one day she looked like a low rider. It now stays looking that way all the time but it feels like the bags get a little lift after driving - if feels like it is up off of the bump stops while driving. When I first started noticing something was changing, I measured the top-most tangent point on the underside of the wheel Well lip and it is way lower now whenever I measure it.

I’m going to give it a thorough visual inspection and then try to get some air into the bags to start the soapy bubble inspections.

Because it is my Mom, I intend to restore the vehicle to its former glory and I will keep it with the air suspension system. I‘ve looked at strutmasters and parts geek and the parts can be had relatively inexpensively.

Hi, spurlockda.

The link below is for Tasca Parts. They are one parts source for OEM Lincoln parts. There are others, such as Ford Parts Giant.

Tasca Parts set for 2003 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series

The air springs are $215.05 each. Each spring has a separate solenoid that routes the air into the spring. Those are $125.75 each if needed. You might also consider replacing the mounting hardware, if only for ease of re-assembly with the other new parts.

Good luck.
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Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
389
256
63
Northern Illinois
Well, the investigation didn’t take long!:oops:

Hi, spurlockda.

Yikes! I guess it didn't.

Be careful when installing the new air springs. In addition to following the shop manual procedures, follow the "lessons learned" in this thread and others on working on the air suspension.

If the new air springs come with new o-rings for the solenoids, use them instead of the ones on the solenoids now. If you use the old solenoids, you will have to transfer them from the old springs to the new ones.

Please let us know how things go.

Good luck.
 

spurlockda

Junior Member
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3
The next analysis will be to determine how much to replace? Do I go for everything down to the nitnoid level or maybe just replace the actual air bags and whatever is tucked up inside of a steel channel at the top of the bags. I can barely see up in there but when I felt around up there I could feel the air tube plumbing. I’m hoping that I will be able to replace the bags and air plumbing and the solenoid valves - the hard to reach stuff - and go back later for the comp and tubing?

I’m thinking that replacing the bags are the most important by virtue of the unintended adverse impact on other things like the stand alone shocks that are independent of the bags. I think those are what’s keeping the suspension somewhat off of the bump stops, statically.

I checked the heights and they are even but they are at 25 1/4“ no matter how I tried to tri€kfu¢\< the system. The original measurements on Jan 18th of 2020 are about 4” higher. I must have suspected something then because something made me want to start measuring.
 

Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
389
256
63
Northern Illinois
The next analysis will be to determine how much to replace? Do I go for everything down to the nitnoid level or maybe just replace the actual air bags and whatever is tucked up inside of a steel channel at the top of the bags. I can barely see up in there but when I felt around up there I could feel the air tube plumbing. I’m hoping that I will be able to replace the bags and air plumbing and the solenoid valves - the hard to reach stuff - and go back later for the comp and tubing?

I’m thinking that replacing the bags are the most important by virtue of the unintended adverse impact on other things like the stand alone shocks that are independent of the bags. I think those are what’s keeping the suspension somewhat off of the bump stops, statically.

I checked the heights and they are even but they are at 25 1/4“ no matter how I tried to tri€kfu¢\< the system. The original measurements on Jan 18th of 2020 are about 4” higher. I must have suspected something then because something made me want to start measuring.

Hi, spurlockda.

The stuff "tucked up inside a steel channel" is probably the wiring and air lines. Be sure to inspect everything while you have it apart to make sure, but most of it is probably fine.

The only reason I would hesitate on just replacing the solenoids along with the air springs is that they are $125.75 each, and they might not have anything wrong with them. After removing the air springs though, you might just decide that $251.50 is not too high a price to pay to not have to cozy up with the rear axle again any time soon.

I would use new mounting hardware for the springs.

The ride height sensor is also back there. You will want to check it to make sure that it wasn't damaged or knocked out of adjustment with your springs failing completely. You might also think about replacing the rear shocks, especially if you had any doubts about them before the air springs gave out.

The compressor is mounted under the air cleaner box under the hood. While having the air springs go out hasn't done it any favors, it probably hasn't been hurt yet.

While replacing the air springs is much easier to do on a lift, it can be done on good jack stands.

Good luck.
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spurlockda

Junior Member
26
12
3
Hi, spurlockda.

The stuff "tucked up inside a steel channel" is probably the wiring and air lines. Be sure to inspect everything while you have it apart to make sure, but most of it is probably fine.

The only reason I would hesitate on just replacing the solenoids along with the air springs is that they are $125.75 each, and they might not have anything wrong with them. After removing the air springs though, you might just decide that $251.50 is not too high a price to pay to not have to cozy up with the rear axle again any time soon.

I would use new mounting hardware for the springs.

The ride height sensor is also back there. You will want to check it to make sure that it wasn't damaged or knocked out of adjustment with your springs failing completely. You might also think about replacing the rear shocks, especially if you had any doubts about them before the air springs gave out.

The compressor is mounted under the air cleaner box under the hood. While having the air springs go out hasn't done it any favors, it probably hasn't been hurt yet.

While replacing the air springs is much easier to do on a lift, it can be done on good jack stands.

Good luck.
Copy all on inspecting everything in the system - I did a quick look while I was under there. I figured I’d go ahead and replace most everything just like you said, I don’t want to do this again.

Unfortunately since I work at an airport, there aren’t many lifts for airplanes (but no joke there are but the wheel base on planes is a little different on those lifts but they look a lot like those big electric lifts) so it’ll be floor jacks and creepers.
 

spurlockda

Junior Member
26
12
3
Well, the cooling fan racked at the ring that attaches to the blade tips. Apparently you can’t simply buy the fan blades piece.

Does anyone have opinions on the Dorman or Arnott air springs parts. As everyone knows, OEM parts are showing up at least twice as expensive as the Dorman or Arnott ones.
 

CuttingToolGuy

Active member
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Houston
Spurlockda,
Arnott are good. Mine are 5 years old and not a hint of trouble. I don't know about the Dorman.

You can probably find another fan at the junkyard. Ford Crown Vic and Mercury Marauders can donate them too.

Brian's advice is dead on accurate.
 
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