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Rmldaytona
Rmldaytona, Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1846
Experience:  ASE Certified. 13 years Automotive Experience.
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Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer: My Air Ride System has an issue,

Customer Question

My Air Ride System has an issue, the message center is telling me to check air ride system, how do I check and fix this? Also My speedometer keeps dropping out, how do check and fix this also? No Radio Display again how do I check and fix this?

On the air ride system / arc I believe I have narrowed down the problem but not 100% sure and need confirmation.  The Air suspension has had this issue since I purchased the vehicle used.  I believe someone removed the suspension actuators but as I have not worked on this type os system previously I need confirmation.

Will pay upto $50 bonus for help on this.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Rmldaytona replied 2 years ago.

Customer:

Hello. Thank you for using Just Answer. I will give my best efforts in answering your question to achieve your full satisfaction. First, the air ride... 1. Turn the key on and see if the compressor runs.

2. If the compressor does not run, Verify that fuse 9 in the Battery Junction Box (BJB) that feeds power to pin 87 of the compressor relay is good. If OK, recheck power directly at the relay.

3. Verify that pin 85 of the relay is properly grounded.

4. The Air Ride Control Module (ARC) applies power from pin 18 Dark Blue/Yellow (DB/Y) C2000 to pin 86 of the relay to energize the relay. When the relay is energized, it should close and power from terminal 87 should energize terminal 30 that feeds power on the Purple/Orange (P/O) wire to the compressor.

5. If the ground is good at terminal 85 and the ARC applies power to pin 86 and the relay does not energize, replace the relay.

6. If the relay does energize as it should and power is applied to pin 30, recheck power at the compressor on the P/O and check for a good ground at the compressor on the Black (BK) wire. If OK, and the compressor does not run, replace the compressor.

7. If there is no power from the relay on the P/O wire, repair the open circuit.

8. If the compressor does run when the key is turned on, runs awhile and then shuts off, it indicates that there may be an air leak in the system or a weak pump. The ARC module will shut off the compressor if it does not detect the suspension rising so the compressor does not burn itself out.

Customer:

The ARC relay is located in the Auxiliary relay box #1 near the battery

Customer:

The speedometer will be tricky and require a scan tool that can acess the computers mentioned. While the condition is present... Drive the vehicle and monitor the MPH on ABS computer DATA. If the ABS has no DATA, go after the Rear Axle Speed Sensor and harness. If all good, then the ABS module is at fault. Inspect that harness very closely and make sure the connection at the sensor is clean and good before condemning the ABS module. If the MPH does show on the ABS DATA, monitor the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) signal DC pulse on the Grey/Black to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and Cluster. If the ABS DATA is OK and there is no signal on the Grey/black wire, replace the ABS Module. If the signal on the gray wire is present at the PCM and the cluster, replace the speedometer.

Customer:

As for the radio display...

Customer:

There are no serviceable components inside the radio chassis. If the radio continues to operate normally when the display goes blank, remove the radio and send out to an authorized repair facility for repair or replace the radio unit.

Customer :

Ok . . . I accept the answer on the Speedo, I have already checked and I am getting reading on my scantool showing I have mph even when it drops off of the display, so will replace the speedo

Customer:

Correct. Assuming the wiring is good and the connections are good

Customer:

Do you have any questions on the air ride or radio?

Customer :

On the Radio, I have seen posts that people have removed and resoldered resistors to the board that come loose and is a common problem with the mach radios, also I see that people have ordered a set of 3 boards and replaced.

Customer :

As for the air I have some questions and it may take a while to figure out and really need help on this one

Customer:

The radio LCD controllers are common to be poorly soldered. If you are good at soldering, you can take the radio apart and see which ones are coming off and repair it.

Customer :

My pump is working, on the vehicle I can hear it run and then after about 20 minutes I get the message to check the air ride system

Customer :

I have pressure tested the shocks and struts using a compressor and gauge and no leaks

Customer :

I have pressure tested the air hoses again no leak

Customer :

I have removed the solenoids and pressure tested, check that they open and close with 12V applied and using air and all 3 of them check out ok

Customer :

I have removed the air pump and dryer unit and tested with 12V and made sure I am building up pressure and no problem either

Customer:

So the vehicle is pumping up the system and after 20 minutes the compressor turns off? The vehicle does raise correct?

Customer :

I just brought the vehicle and it has not worked since the day I got it

Customer :

I am not seeing the vehicle physically raise

Customer:

but the vehicle is not down low?

Customer :

and if I pull the air line from the shocks after the vehicle has been running and pump been running I am not getting any real volume of air some from the shocks. I am getting some but not much

Customer :

Yes its low

Customer :

Here is my question, I have got the wiring diagrams from alldata and I noticed one thing

Customer :

I am seeing something called an Shock Actuator, but I cant find them?

Customer:

Have you checked the The vent solenoid valve:
- Is enclosed in the cylinder head casting, which forms an integral valve housing that allows the valve tip to enter the pressurized side of the system.
- Opens when the control module determines lowering is required.
- Provides an escape route for pressurized air that opens when system pressures exceed safe operating levels

Customer:

Allow me to post a complete description/operation of this system along with component locations.

Customer :

That would be great as I have not been able to find or check this

Customer :

On the shock actuators I can find the connectors for the rear C431 and C432 but nothing connected them? I cant find the connectors for the front

Customer:

Full Size Image
Automatic Ride Control (ARC) is a computer-controlled suspension system that uses unique suspension components and two stage (firm and soft) shock absorbers to provide a smooth ride for normal driving conditions without sacrificing handling performance. Automatic load leveling allows vehicle height to be adjusted over a span of 50 mm (2 in).

The system uses two height sensors, a steering sensor, transfer case inputs, and other vehicle sensors to measure driver and road inputs. The system changes shock damping on the front and rear axles separately depending on these inputs through the use of special, dual-rate damping shocks. The system changes vehicle height on the front and rear axles separately through the use of an air compressor, four air solenoids, various air lines, and the use of an air spring integrated inside each shock.

A smooth ride is achieved through the selection of lower rate front torsion bars and rear leaf springs, ARC-specific front and rear anti-roll bars, and soft shock damping. Handling performance is maintained by reading driver and road inputs that, under certain conditions, switch the damping rate of the shock absorbers to firm, minimizing body movement. Driver inputs include braking, throttle position, steering rate and position, and ride control switch selection. Road inputs are sensed by two suspension-mounted height sensors and vehicle speed.

The ARC system adjusts vehicle height on the front and rear axles separately through the use of four solenoid valves, an air compressor, and air lines. Vehicle height (trim level) is set based on the status of the door ajar signal and the transfer case mode selected (automatic four-wheel drive, four-wheel drive high, or four-wheel drive low). The trim level is maintained even with the addition and removal of cargo.

In automatic four-wheel drive, an empty vehicle is fully supported by the front torsion bars and rear leaf springs. This height is referred to as the "base" height Compressed air is applied to the air springs only when a load is added to the vehicle or a transfer case mode of four-wheel drive high or four-wheel drive low is selected.

In four-wheel drive high, the vehicle is raised about 25 mm (1 in) to increase body clearance and provide a more controlled ride. The vehicle is returned to the base height to achieve a smooth ride at highway speeds.

Off-road capability is increased by stiffening the suspension and raising the vehicle about 50 mm (2 in) above the base height when in four-wheel drive low, improving clearance between the ground and the body. In four-wheel drive low, compressed air is added to both the front and rear air springs increasing the spring rate of the front and rear by approximately 60~c over the spring rate of the suspension when in automatic four-wheel drive. Damping is set to firm in four-wheel drive low to minimize relative movement between the wheel and body.

OPERATION
What follows is a brief description of system operation showing the air and damping system actions.

The ARC system lifts the vehicle when the transfer case is shifted into four-wheel drive high (by rotating the transfer case switch) or four-wheel drive low (rotate the selector switch to the 4 low position, place the transmission in NEUTRAL, and tap the brake pedal to engage or disengage 4 low).

The ARC system also holds vehicle height when any door or the rear hatch is opened. The system stores front and rear vehicle height the moment an open door is detected. The system then maintains this height regardless of the addition or removal of load. The system will return to its commanded height when all the doors close or if the speed of the vehicle exceeds 16 km/h (10 mph).

The ARC system regulates the pressure in each air spring by compressing and venting system air. Increasing air pressure (compressing) raises the vehicle and increases the total spring rate (spring effect of the air shock plus the front torsion bar of the rear leaf spring) of the wheel being modified. Conversely, decreasing air pressure (venting) lowers the vehicle and effective spring rate to a minimum in which the front torsion bars or rear leaf springs support the vehicle. Vehicle height is then maintained by the addition and removal of air in each air shock.

Inside each shock assembly is a hollow piston rod that contains a small rotary DC motor. The motor is connected through gear reduction to a bypass valve that opens or closes a fluid path through the piston rod. When the bypass valve is open, hydraulic fluid is allowed to flow through the piston rod as well as through fixed piston (base) valving, resulting in a soft damping rate. When the bypass valve is closed (by rotating the motor), hydraulic fluid is forced only through the piston (base) valving, resulting in a firm damping rate.

Two height sensors are mounted on the vehicle. The sensors send a voltage signal to the control module. The output ranges from approximately 4.75 volts at minimum height (when the vehicle is low or in full jounce), to 0.25 volts at maximum height (when the vehicle is high or in full rebound). The sensors have useable range of 80 mm (3 in) compared to total suspension travel of 200-250 mm (8 to 10 in) at the wheel. Therefore, the sensors are mounted inside the wheels at a point where full suspension travel at the wheel is relative to 80 mm (3 in) of travel at the height sensor. The height sensors are not repairable. A faulty height sensor must be replaced as a unit.

The air compressor assembly:
- Consists of the compressor and vent solenoid; neither are repairable as individual items.
- Is mounted above the spare tire in the rear of the vehicle.
- Is a single cylinder, electric motor driven unit that provides pressurized air as required.
- Is powered by a relay, controlled by the control module.
- Passes pressurized air through the compressor air drier that contains silica gel (a drying agent). Moisture is then removed from the compressor air drier when vented air passes out of the system during vent operation.

NOTE: The compressor motor contains a thermal overload circuit breaker. The circuit breaker automatically turns off the compressor if tripped by excessive temperature. The air compressor will operate normally if allowed to cool.

The vent solenoid valve:
- Is enclosed in the cylinder head casting, which forms an integral valve housing that allows the valve tip to enter the pressurized side of the system.
- Opens when the control module determines lowering is required.
- Provides an escape route for pressurized air that opens when system pressures exceed safe operating levels.

The air suspension switch provides power to the control module in the ON (closed) position only. The switch is located in the LH side of the luggage compartment in the jack storage area. When OFF, the ARC system will not function.

The steering sensor is mounted inside the passenger compartment on the steering column. It provides steering rate and position to the control module through two signals: Steering Sensor A and Steering Sensor B.

The air compressor relay is mounted in a relay module next to the power distribution box. The front fill solenoid connects the output of the compressor assembly to the two front air springs. When energized, air pressure to the front axle can be modified, affecting its height relative to the body. The front fill solenoid is also used to bleed the front air springs of compressed air.

The rear fill solenoid connects the output of the compressor assembly to the two rear air springs. When energized along with the rear gate solenoid, air pressure to the rear air springs can be modified, affecting axle height relative to the body.

The rear gate solenoid provides pneumatic isolation of the left and right sides of the vehicle. The separation is necessary to eliminate the transfer of air from left to right rear air shocks during turning. When the solenoid is off (closed), the left and right rear air springs are separated, allowing a pressure differential to be generated. In a turn, the increased pressure in the two outermost air springs raises the two outer wheel spring rates, decreasing vehicle roll.

There are five nylon air lines with quick connect air fittings in the vehicle that connect the air compressor, solenoids, and air springs.

A microcontroller-based electronic ARC module controls the air compressor motor, all system solenoids, and the damper motors mounted in each air spring. The module also provides power to the front and rear height sensors. The ARC module controls damping and vehicle height adjustments by monitoring, two height sensors, vehicle speed, a steering sensor, acceleration input, the door ajar signal, two transfer case signals, the Brake Pedal Position (BPP) switch, and individual damper feedback signals. The Module also conducts all fail-safe and diagnostic strategies and contains self-test and communication software for testing of the vehicle and module.

The control module is mounted in the passenger compartment inside the instrument panel behind the radio and temperature controls

Customer:

I think that you have a leak in the system or a weak compressor. The compressor runs for 20 minutes, overheats and turns off. I am quite confident that you will find a leak or a weak compressor. Maybe both. When the compressor is running, use a very soapy solution in a spray bottle to look for leaks. If no leaks are present, then a weak compressor is your problem.

Customer :

The compressor is not running continuously for 20 minutes it cuts in and out as I drive, once I have driven and gotten out of the vehicle the pump comes on and off a few times and then quits after a few moments

Customer :

I know there is not a leak in the system unless it is in the vent solenoid.

Customer :

can you give me more directions on finding the vent solenoid

Customer :

also what is your take on the shock actuators?

Customer:

But the vehicle is low correct? Have you ever had problems with the dome lights staying on or turning on while driving?

Customer :

No problems with the dome lights

Customer :

Yes

Customer :

I am wondering if the vent solenoid is stuck open as this is about the only thing I have not been able to check

Customer :

or the actuators?

Customer :

The diagram you have sent me is the same as what I have and it does not show the vent solenoid or actuators

Customer:

Let me see what I can locate

Customer :

Also when you say the Vent Solenoid is integral with the cylinder head, you do mean the cylinder head of the air compressor right? If so then I do not have a leak

Customer :

So here is my other thought, I know I have compressed air, I know I dont have a leak

Customer :

I also know that my 3 solenoids are good

Customer :

What I dont know is what the shock actuators are

Customer :

and I dont know that the solenoids are opening when they should

Customer :

maybe a wiring issue to the solenoids as they are normally closed unless 12V applied

Customer:

FRONT FILL SOLENOID
The front fill solenoid connects the output of the compressor assembly to the two front air springs. When energized, air pressure to the front axle can be modified, affecting its height relative to the body. The front fill solenoid is also used to bleed the front air. They are located on the frame. springs of compressed air.

Full Size Image


REAR FILL SOLENOID
The rear fill solenoid connects the output of the compressor assembly to the two rear air springs. When energized along with the rear gate solenoid, air pressure to the rear air springs can be modified, affecting axle height relative to the body. It is located behind the spare tire. Remove the spare tire and you will see it.
Full Size Image


REAR GATE SOLENOID
The rear gate solenoid provides pneumatic isolation of the left and right sides of the vehicle. The separation is necessary to eliminate the transfer of air from left to right rear air shocks during turning. When the solenoid is off (closed), the left and right rear air springs are separated, allowing a pressure differential to be generated. In a turn, the increased pressure in the two outermost air springs raises the two outer wheel spring rates, decreasing vehicle roll. It is located above the spare tire and behind the EVAP canister.
Full Size Image

Customer :

Those are the 3 solenoids I have taken off and bench tested

Customer :

They are all good

Customer:

The shock actuators and solenoids are the same thing.

Customer:

Now, do you think that a level sensor can be faulty?\

Customer :

Not from the wiring diagram I have, it shows them as different

Customer :

I have not tested the level sensors either

Customer :

I can disconnect them and put a meter on them and disconnect the lever and test with a meter

Customer :

The back is easy, the front is a little harder

Customer :

The actuators I am showing use connectors as follows

Customer :

C431 Rear Right

Customer :

C432 Left Rear

Customer :

C1003 Right Front

Customer :

C1002 Left Front

Customer :

The Solenoids use connectors

Customer :

C428 Rear Fill

Customer :

C1001 Front Fill

Customer :

C429 Rear gate

Customer :

The Actuators are a 3 wire connector and the solenoids are a 2 wire harness

Customer :

Are you pulling your diagrams from alldata? or from ford? I can direct you where I am looking if you would like

Customer :

Actuators goto the ARC on pin 25, 16, 14, 24, 19, 26, 23, 13

Customer :

Solenoids goto the AC on pins 17, 16, 27, 30

Customer:

The height sensors on the front are also the pass though for the front shock actuators. The rear shocks should have electrical connectors going to them. The shocks have internal motors to adjust dampering called shoch actuators.

Customer:

Did someone swap the shocks with regular non dynamic control shocks?

Customer :

Ok now I am stumped . . Where are the height sensors, I have not found these either?

Customer :

Also on the back there is no connectors going to them

Customer :

or on them

Customer:

on the front shocks the sensors are mounted as shown in the image

Full Size Image

Customer :

So I guess it looks like the rears for sure have the incorrect shocks

Customer :

Is this part of the shock, or is this a sensor that should be attached to the SUV?

Customer :

I dont think these are on the SUV either

Customer:

On the rear it should look as shown

Full Size Image

Customer:

Looks like the problem is not in the air ride but the shocks. Some one put in normal conversion shocks on the vehicle

Customer:

Allow me to see what I can find for parts for the sensors and shocks that should be on this vehile

Customer :

The last picture you sent is that a shock or is that the height sensor for the rear?

Customer :

same with the previous picture is that the height adjuster or the shock?

Customer:

It is the sensor on the shock for both images

Customer:

May I get the VIN#?

Customer :

Ok cool, Thanks just a moment

Customer:

thanks

Customer :

1FMZU35PXWUA58309

Customer:

Well... The whole problem here is that somebody has decided to convert this vehicle from air ride shocks to conventional shocks. Go to fordparts.com and type in your VIN. Under the suspension category, you wil find 2 sub categories. One will be shocks which will show you the shocks. The other will be suspension springs and related components. You can find the correct shocks and level sensors along with the shocking prices. you will fully understand why someone installed conventional shocks on this vehicle.

Customer:

Your problem of the message is not due to the air system but the dynamic shocks not being on the vehicle.

Customer :

ok thanks that helps a bunch

Customer:

not good news.

Customer:

Is there anything else I could help you with this evening?

Customer :

My understanding is that the sensors for the rear are integral with the shock provided I have the right shock right?

Customer :

On the front is that the same story, or do I need to purchase a sensor also?

Customer :

as well as the shock?

Customer:

that would be correct

Customer:

sensors are sold seperate from the shocks

Customer :

Can you tell me the part number I need?

Customer :

for the sensor (s)

Customer :

Sorry to be a pain, I just dont want to get the wrong thing

Customer :

Also the shocks I have have obviously have a port for air? how is this typically used?

Customer:

rear F77Z5A900AA front F77Z5359BA

Customer :

Ok I have fordparts.com pulled up and my vin

Customer :

I am trying to do a search by part # XXXXX the left and nothing is comming up with these 2 part numbers?

Customer:

The air line going to the shocks is used for soft or hard ride control and can adjust the ride height up to 2 inches.

Customer:

Check the site by application rather than part number. This site uses different part numbers than ford part numbers.

Customer:

or google the part numbers and you will find a few soources where you can purchase the sensors

Customer :

thanks, XXXXX XXXXX seeing like 20 different shocks can you point me in the right direction on these also?

Customer :

They range from like $166 - $ 350+

Customer:

You are looking for the shocks that are left hand drive vehicles and with air suspension.

Customer:

The best part of this site is that you can shoot them an email with your VIN and the parts you are looking for. They will send you an email back with what you need, prices and a link to the purchase cart already filled for you.

Customer :

cool, thanks for your help, you have been the best help

Customer :

I may check out the local junk yard for the sensors

Customer:

I would not trust the used sensors. But your call.

Customer :

ok good advise

Rmldaytona, Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1846
Experience: ASE Certified. 13 years Automotive Experience.
Rmldaytona and 15 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
One last question, If I decide to keep the vehicle as is, and keep the air ride switched off, is there a way to disable the Air Ride System Off Message?
Expert:  Rmldaytona replied 2 years ago.
Yes there is. Please allow me to catch up with my workload at work first and I will post the answer for you. You will not be forgotten, I promise. Just give me some time. Thanks.
Expert:  Rmldaytona replied 2 years ago.

I found these 2 diagrams that show the signal from the ARC module to the driver information center on a DG/LG (Dark Green/Light Green) wire. The ARC module grounds that wire. But... I can not locate any information on if that wire is grounded when there is a fault or if that wire is grounded under a no fault condition. So, cut the wire at the driver information center OR the ARC module (Your Choice). If the error message for the air suspension turns off, then you are good. If the error message stays on, then grounding the wire will turn the message off. You can also simply see if that wire has a ground when the error message is displayed or not grounded. I think that you get the idea.

 

I would like to hear how you come out so please reply with your results. Thanks.

graphic

graphic

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, I will give it a shot in the couple of days and will let you know the outcome.

Expert:  Rmldaytona replied 2 years ago.
Great. I will be looking forward to your results.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Oh BTW I fixed my speedometer, I found the info online

http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/196821-odometer-blackout-problem-fixed.html

It took me only 25-30 minutes to fix incase you ever get asked this question again.

Expert:  Rmldaytona replied 2 years ago.

So the problem was is the cluster. I am happy that you managed to save the money. That is always good news. Bad solder joints are much more common than you ever imagine on all vehicles and even household electronics.

The problem is that the average individual does not have the ability to solder a circuit board without damaging it much less locating the bad solder spots and/or identifying failed components. I can't tell the average consumer to look for poor solder joints, blown capacitors, or how to test internal electronic parts as they will be so lost neither I or they will ever find their way back home.

I see that you have the abilities and are capable of locating and repairing such problems.

At work, there have been MANY and MANY computers, heater control panels, radio displays, instrument clusters... that I have disassembled, inspected, and repaired with simply soldering a bad joint or replacing a burned $0.75 capacitor. People are happier than ever knowing that a $750 computer was fixed with $2 worth of parts and $100 labor fee. It is when the processors, timers, rams, and driver controllers go out that a problem is untraceable since there is no visual problem.

You should have seen me tackle my LCD TV that let the smoke out. $14 worth of capacitors, one thermistor, 2 fuses, and some careful soldering saved me $1200 after a thunderstorm power surge. My old lady thought I was nuts until she saw the thing light back up with a clear picture! I was right I told her!!! I think that the house got hit since the surge protector fried and the electric company's surge box in the garage was fried. I had no power for 2 days until they replaced it.

It is a great thing to repair things rather than replace, is it not? I find it rewarding.

I will be looking forward to further updates from you.

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