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Davehop, Ford Master Technician
Category: Lincoln
Satisfied Customers: 1313
Experience:  Fully certified by Ford Motor Company in all areas of automotive repair, 25 years Dealership Tech
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Lincoln Navigator Ultimate: 2006 Lincoln Navigator - Air Suspension

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2006 Lincoln Navigator - Air Suspension Issues:

Miles: 95k

i. Loud compressor that seems to have just failed. Is this normal for the mileage?
ii. Front end fails to inflate at temperatures below 50 degrees. Is this a programming issue?

Since compressor only runs for a short time and then, shuts off, I'm pretty sure it needs to be replaced but also wanted to get temperature issue resolved along with any other related considerations.

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Hello and welcome to JA, the reason the system will not inflate when the temperature drops is because the front spring caps are worn and need to be replaced. The front spring caps are the top portion of the air spring, they also have 2 seals that seal the system...when the temperature drops, the metal spring caps shrink slightly...metal contracts when cold and expands when hot...this is when the system is unable to keep the air in the spring...the front springs need to be removed and the spring caps and seals need to be replaced. the spring caps cost about $120 each and are only available at the Ford dealer. Also, if the compressor is very noisy, then it is no longer any good, and will need replacing...what happens is that the compressor will continue to pump until the signal from the height sensor is adequate for the compressor to turn off...when there is a leak in the system, or a sensor that does not send the proper signal, the compressor will run longer than it should, and basically eat itself alive, that is when it becomes very noisy.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank Dave. The information you provided is helpful. Given the age of the vehicle and mileage, would you recomend full replacement of air suspension parts, including compressor and dryer, at all four corners? I realize that this is more expensive short term but will I simply chase similar issues around the vehicle over time? If I go that route, I can use aftermarket parts rather than try to piece back together the OEM system. My only low spot is front right so I suspect that is the only air spring cap that may be leaking but considering costs, I can get a full replacement system for about $1400 and take many of the other issues off the table. Any additional guidance or perspective would be helpful.
I hate to say it, but you my friend have THE MOST EXPENSIVE vehicle in terms of suspension repairs...there are quite a few common problems that develop with the Navigator, first and foremost, the front height sensors will bind up and cause vehicle lean, but temperature will not affect this, secondly, the spring caps wear and cause hard inflation in low temperatures, which is what you have, third, the reservoir on the struts that holds the hydraulic oil gets rusted and very easily breaks off, this will usually happen on a higher mileage vehicle, especially when you put the strut in a vise to replace the spring cap...this is a normal chain of events, and so being that as it is, I would forewarn you to be ready to purchase new struts and bags during this type of repair...all told, you may be looking at close to $2500 just to replace the front bags, struts, caps, and the compressor. and then the back may decide to give out on you...just a warning, I have seen this scenario multiple times, and even been victim of it myself when I tried to save the customer some money and only replace what was visibly the long run, the entire spring/strut/cap should be replaced at any corner that there is a problem. And as far as I know, the caps are only available from Ford.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes, we're thinking about it the same way. As a Ford employee, perhaps, you have limits on what you can recomend but this is the type of aftermarket replacement kit that I was considering which would seem to address the potential issues that you mention above


In your opinion, would another option be to abandon the air system altogether in favor of converstion to a more traditional suspension? It's a great vehicle but I will likely only drive it another 30k or so before moving on.


I really appreciate the help.

that is a good price, but I have never heard of that company up the air suspension in favor of the more traditional type would be cheaper, but ride quality would be diminished, and the idea of owning a Lincoln Navigator, and the ride, would put you in the seat of something that will ride like aan F-150.
Davehop and 2 other Lincoln Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Dave...I was hoping you might help with one additional detail. After researching extensively and looking at tradeoffs, I'm going to sweep the air suspension out and replace with traditional coil over strut. While there are alot of companies that provide solutions, I'm not really familiar with the brands. One thougtht I had was to put a Monroe replacement strut assembly or Ford Motorcraft designed for 2006 Expedition Limited on since I'm more familiar and confident with those brands. In looking at the Ford shop manuals that cover both Navigator and Expedition together, it would seem that these parts would fit without modification but I notice that on the compatability lookups that they only list Expedition and don't reference Lincoln Navigator. Is this simply because Navigator's always have air suspension as OE or are there actually differences in the strut assembly mounts?

it is because navis come with air suspension...go with the factory parts, they will bolt right in.