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George Hill
George Hill, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Cadillac
Satisfied Customers: 53
Experience:  GM Technician for over 25 years
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Cadillac Escalade: ~ I have a 2010 Cadillac Escalade

Customer Question

Hello~
I have a 2010 Cadillac Escalade that I am having suspension issues with.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Cadillac
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
When driving the vehicle, the suspension is so stiff that it is jarring the windows and passengers. The air shocks are pumping upwards of 22 PSI and they are not releasing the air creating a very rough ride in the vehicle. It is so hard on the vehicle I am now having to replace a tire sensor. Any suggestions what may be the cause of this? Thanks!
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Hello looking at the schematic of the system, I have few things you could look for. First, Is the rear of the truck sitting noticeably high? 22 psi is not unheard of with full tank of fuel, etc. Usually 12-15 typical. Do you know if an ALC trim reset was performed after the module was replaced? This calibrates the vehicle to it normal height and should be done with a full tank of fuel. If pressures are considerably higher and the rear is high, It could be related to the level ride relay. It is located beside the fuse block, and is was left inverted after repairs, it could be collecting water from splash or power washing engine compartment and stick causing over inflation. Unlikely, but I've seen it. Tire pressures are another thing to look at for ride quality. 22 inch rim pressures of 30-32 are specified. Those level sensors links also like to separate and cause incorrect readings,but should have shown on the scan tool.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi George-
I have forwarded the info you have sent me on, and I am waiting to hear back. What I can tell you on my end is that the vehicle is giving no failure codes whatsoever. The rear of the truck does sit up higher and it has no give to it when you push down on the bumper. The shocks are airing up however once they air up they are not adjusting to the type of road the vehicle is traveling on. The suspension is very rigid on all types of roads.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Ok. Just let me know if I can help. It sounds like they are going after a level ride problem instead of a electrical dampening issue. If a shock was failing electrically there should be fault codes. The level ride system is pretty simple system. Most components are located in the compressor assembly itself. You said this was being serviced at a dealership, so I assume they are using factory parts. When did you first notice the rough ride?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
It is being serviced at a dealership and yes they are using factory parts. We noticed this about 6-8 weeks ago. The dealership has been in contact with GM twice and GM is offering no support since there are no failure codes. The dealership agrees that something is not functioning properly. Even though they were not getting failure codes they went ahead and replaced the fusebox, the compressor, a control module, and leveling sensor and none of those fixed the issue. So, we decided to reach out to just answer to hopefully be able to have some other areas to troubleshoot and ultimately give us a solution to the suspension problem we are experiencing :)
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
It is being serviced at a dealership and yes they are using factory parts. We noticed this about 6-8 weeks ago. The dealership has been in contact with GM twice and GM is offering no support since there are no failure codes. The dealership agrees that something is not functioning properly. Even though they were not getting failure codes they went ahead and replaced the fusebox, the compressor, a control module, and leveling sensor and none of those fixed the issue. So, we decided to reach out to just answer to hopefully be able to have some other areas to troubleshoot and ultimately give us a solution to the suspension problem we are experiencing.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I probably should add that it has been in the shop once a week since we first discovered the suspension issue. (So about 6-8 times) It is currently at a dealership now and has been for a week.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Ok. It sounds like all the your symptoms were there prior to any repairs. That can rule out faulty replacement parts or corrupted programing. Was there any event that may have a connection with the harsh ride? Maybe something that would not seem related, but could be, such a s a battery replacement? It seems like the first step is to look at the level sensor data and perform the ride height calibration procedure. They could even disconnect the air line and drive it to see if the ride improves. I would not test drive very far because no air in the shocks can cause damage to the rubber bladders, but around the block should be ok.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Here is a pic of the level ride data from a 2011 Suburban. It rides fine. Is it possible the front strut/shocks are causing the rough ride? These are not uncommon to occasionally lock up and cause a harsh ride.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
I'm not sure if you're getting the image. It's sitting at 23psi and rides smooth.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
smaller picture....sorry!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi George-
Here is the latest info I got on the EscaladeFilled tank and performed Auto Level Control calibration.
Tested Compressor with Scan Tool: ok, pumps to 30 psi and then bleeds off to 23 psi.
Tested Exhaust Valve with scan tool: clicks as normal.
LF position sensor. 2.4 volts
RF position sensor. 2.6 volts
RR position sensor. 1.9 volts
LR position sensor. 2.0 volts
All those readings compare normal with new Tahoe.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
All the data appears normal. Did they check the front struts? My intuition tells me they may be focusing on the wrong end. What kind of mileage is on the vehicle? These struts can develop sediment in the strut oil and cause restriction in the orifices in the damper circuit. Apparently, from what GM says, dirt and sand gets past the seals and enters the fluid. This is very common on GM R/V(Traverse) body styles. It generally happens immediately after the vehicle is raised on a lift(such and oil change or brake inspection) and when driven the front struts have no compression at all. It literally feel like it bobbing down the road. Sometimes a sharp bump at speed (speed bumps) will jar it loose but often replacement is necessary.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi George-
The Escalade has approximately 57,000 miles on it. I think the dealership is also leaning towards shocks. Is there anyway to test the shocks? They quoted me a price for all 4. I have a hard time believing all 4 of them would go bad at the same time. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hello George,What is the proper test method used to determine whether a strut/shock has failed? Obviously all the shocks have not failed at once.....So replacing all 4 would just be throwing excessive parts at it running up the cost of repair needlessly.Thanks,
Mark
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
I thought you said they replaced the rear shocks already, along with the module and compressor? The rear shocks are basically two in one, with a electronically dampened shock and air bladder for the level ride adjustment. There is no way to test a mechanical failure, only the electronic operation of the dampening circuit, which would set a diagnostic code. I have never seen a rear shock lock up, but have seen several front struts.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Outside of the visual leak inspection, you can check for give on the four corners and compare. There won't be much give, be you can compare each corner. I'd definitely replace in axle pairs, fronts or rears if needed. Sometimes you can isolate the failed shock on a test drive. Find a speed bump and drive over it with only the left front wheel, then the right front wheel, left rear wheel etc. Front shocks/struts are probably 75% of the ride quality you actually "feel".
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Okay. What if you physically remove the shock? I would expect you could tell a difference by compression comparison.Diving A little deeper in the shock/strut function:
By the diagnostic numbers being displayed, it's a 0 to 5 volt anolog signal...correct? Is there an output to the shock as well the excites the shock/strut to behave differently? I know there has been technical advances done with oils to allow for instantaneous characteristic changes done by via magnetism or pressure. Or....are the shocks/struts just simply a standard shock with a magnetic feedback strip (much like digital calipers) that only relay position feedback?Thanks!
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
These shocks are really stout. I can barely compress the rear shocks with all my weight on them, so that would not really be an option. The strut would have to be disassembled from the springs. These shocks use actuators (pulse with modulated, I believe to vary orifice size) inside the shocks to adjust the dampening, based on the level sensors and multi axis sensor inputs and controlled by the ESC module. The newer shocks use the magna ride with magnetic viscosity changing fluid. Your system does not. The level sensors (located on the control arms) are sent a 5v signal that the module monitors.....and are basically a rheostat...resistance changes based on position. The test for the shock is for coil resistance only, .7 to 3.3 ohms.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Our Escalade actually does have the magnetic ride control. Does that change anything as far as troubleshooting which shocks need replaced (front or back or both). Up to this point they have not changed out either ones.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is there any possibility that the CVRSS module is failing? There are zero signs of oil seeping from the shocks/struts themselves.
When these shocks are "energized" the shock's resistance to travel increases....correct? Would the Technician be able to disconnect each shock and road test "feel" for any changes?
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
You could try disconnecting as it may default to the lightest setting. These shocks are constantly changing as needed. They are pulse width modulated, so the off and on time changes to regulate oil flow. I wouldn't think the module would fault in that way. I thought it had been replaced also? CVRSS is a fancy term to describe the system, the electronic suspension control (ESC) module controls the system. You could pull the 30 Amp ESC fuse 2 in the underhood fuse block to disable the ESC module and drive it to check for change.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Let me know if you need any more help. Please take the time to rate me, as a positive rating is the only way I get compensated for my time. George
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi George- we are having new shocks out on the front of the Escalade tomorrow. Hopefully this will help fix the suspension issue. I will be in touch once they have that finished. Thanks!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Sorry that was supposed to say we having new shocks put on the front tomorrow.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
No problem. I'm curious to know the outcome. 25 years as a suspension tech, I feel I've almost seen it all. I'm fairly confident the front is where the issue is.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi George- just wanted to give you an update on things. The new shocks were put on the front today. There is a significant change for the better, however the rear suspension still seems to be extremely rigid. Any other ideas on what might be causing that? Thanks!
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Hello again. Previously you said they "tried" rear shocks and compressor. Were those item left on the vehicle? Or just test fitted? I believe the level ride is working properly. If the rear shocks are the original, some improvement may be had in replacing those. It sounds like the fronts made a significant change. I'm in Texas. Do happen to live in a very dusty environment were it may be introduced into the shock oil?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi George-
The dealership replaced the level compressor and the suspension module, and as of yesterday the front shocks. We are in Illinois. Honestly what are the odds that all 4 shocks would need replaced at the same time? Just curious. I had a Tahoe for 11 years and it had 159,000 miles when we traded it we were the only owners and I never had to replace any shocks on it ? I realize it runs on a different system I just can't believe an Eacalade with 57,000 miles would already need to have all the shocks replaced. Thanks for all your support George!! :)
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
I wouldn't think it would have needed shocks either, but obviously the fronts helped the ride considerably. Sometimes if you dismiss an item because "there is no way those could be bad" you head in the wrong direction. I wouldn't have thought shocks would need replacement at 57,000, but I have seen a few lock up. Is there any chance you're maybe paying more attention to how it rides and it has always been stiff it the rear?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No I don't think I'm paying more attention to it. When going over speed bumps or any small bumps for that I hear a "thunking" noise in the rear part of the vehicle.
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
Is that to only time you hear/feel it? These types of vehicles were bad about the driveshaft slip yoke binding causing a bump sensation. A lot of times customers describe it like getting bumped from behind. Your old Tahoe probably had it before. It's not near as prevalent on the newer body styles and there is not much you can do for it with the 6 speed trans, as they don't recommend using the slip yoke grease like you could on the 4 speed transmission. If they had the rear shocks loose, an under torqued/loose bolt can cause a lot of noise. I wish I could be more help, but these types of things are pretty hard to diagnose remotely. There is also a track bar in the back that can make a lot of noise if a bolt is left loose. It runs laterally to keep the rear axle centered. It is loosened when accessing the rear differential for service. You would get a lot of sway in the rear of the vehicle.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Do you know if there is some type of software that controls the shocks? We have noticed that the vehicle rides good for the first 2-3 miles then the suspension starts to stiffen up and its a very rough ride. My husband was wondering maybe if there could be a corrupt file in the software that would be telling the shocks to air up when they don't need to? Just one last thought we had and thought we would run it past you? Thanks!
Expert:  George Hill replied 7 months ago.
there are parameters that change the shock dampening. If the ride control computer was changed, it should have been programmed. As far as the level ride part of the system, the level sensors are the only input that adjusts the air ride. The calibration procedure sets the intial level.
Expert:  George Hill replied 6 months ago.
Any updates on the Cadillac?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi George-
We s really are at a stand still. After putting over $2400 in parts and labor and for the problem not to be resolved is very frustrating. We are hesitant to put another $1300+ in it with rear shocks and for it still not be driving one it should.
Expert:  George Hill replied 6 months ago.
I understand your reservations. I thought the front shocks made a significant improvement? I had a 2015 the other day with a locked front shock and only 8500 miles. You could open the door and pull down on it to tell there was zero give on one side. It was leaking also. I just don't see much go wrong with the rears, unless, the air bladders fail, and even then it's never a ride quality issue. Does it still feel as though it stiffens up in the rear after a couple of miles?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
it does. The front shocks helped some but the rear is as bad as it ever has been. The first couple of miles seem ok and then it goes south after that point. It rattles the windows and you hear thudding everytime you hit a bump. In fact I had a friend with me the other day and she even commented on how stiff of a ride it was
Expert:  George Hill replied 6 months ago.
I'll go ahead and put this question back out there, as I think I've done all I can remotely. Maybe someone has experienced a similar condition and can chime in.