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Cardoctor71, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Lincoln
Satisfied Customers: 672
Experience:  ASE Master Tech with 35 years experience
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This is a repeat question, the first answer did not work.

Customer Question

This is a repeat question, the first answer did not work. I'm working on a 93 Lincoln Towncar with suspension problems. The compressor runs for 1 sec., off for 8 sec. on 1 sec, etc. for 20 cycles and then the "check air suspension" indicator comes on. Cycle the keyswitch and it will repeat. The car does not pump up, it is sitting very low and this all started when it was setting idle for one month. The compressor and air bags are close to 2 years old. Per a previous techs' recommendation, I changed the compressor with no difference. I have tried a different control module in the trunk (salvage yard) no difference either. If I jack up the car, it will stop pumping when I get it at the proper height so I feel the ride height sensor is good. I've tried "hot wiring" the compressor to run full time with no luck, inspected the air lines, switched relays...all to no affect. Any ideas at all? I suspect the solenoids on the air bags are not opening as I cannot blow air into the air bags with a blowgun, even when the compressor is running. Is that even a valid test? Am I to look for rodent chewed wires??? I wouldn't mind paying for an answer if it fixes the problem but keep in mind I've already paid for one that did no good.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Lincoln
Expert:  Cardoctor71 replied 1 year ago.

an only make a suggestion at this point, and that would be to thoroughly inspect the wiring harness from the module to the solenoids, it will be difficult but you check continuity, the only other way is to install a break out box which is designed to troubleshoot Lincoln suspension issues, and is only available at a Lincoln dealership. I would suspect rodent damage somewhere because the vehicle sat up, what rats usually do is chew the insulation on the wire harness, leaving bare copper wire behind. Please RATE my service a 3 or above, if for some reason you can not, Please ASK me another question, I will continue to answer your questions, even after rating is given until you are completely satisfied with my answers.

Expert:  Cardoctor71 replied 1 year ago.

Please RATE my service a 3 or above, if for some reason you can not ,please ASK me another question, I will continue to answer your questions even after rating is given until you are completely satisfied with my answers.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I jacked the rear end of the car up to get the wheels off the floor and the air bags fully extended. I then checked the wiring harness from the module, through the grommets in the trunk, to the solenoids. There appeared to be no damage whatsoever anywhere. I visited with the owner and he was hoping for a "farmer fix" of a hose to each air bag, a "Y" connector and then a tire valve type fitting so he could just air them up as required. Is this even possible, with the solenoids and the way the unit is constructed? I would have to drill and tap holes to accept 1/8" pipe fittings and then the hoses. I really prefer to "fix" the problem and leave the system factory plus there is the air pressure still in the air bags to deal with, plus it is not the handiest place to be working. I've worked on John Deere tractors for 33 years and they are typically not this difficult to maneuver around. Any more ideas? Thanks again, James
Expert:  Cardoctor71 replied 1 year ago.

this would not be a good idea because the computer system would continually fight to gain control of the system thereby constantly deflating the system, There is a better solution, you can replace the entire system with a coil spring conversion kit made specifically for this purpose, they can be found online. It will take about 4-5 hours to install it. Please RATE my service a 3 or above, if for some reason you can not ,please ASK me another question, I will continue to answer your questions even after rating is given until you are completely satisfied with my answers.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well, the idea is, he spent the money for the new air bags and compressor around two years ago, so I may be stubborn but I would like to see it work as designed. I had heard of the springs option before but I don't think he's wanting to spend much more money on it, thus I get the job!
Expert:  Cardoctor71 replied 1 year ago.

This system has been plagued with malfunctions since designed Lincoln service centers designed it that way to force a monopoly on the repair of the system, because only they have access to the highly complex breakout box diagnostic tool that was designed for Lincoln by their engineers, and only made available to Lincoln dealerships. It is possible to fix it ,but you will have to replace all components you feel are failed then sen it to Lincoln to be programmed in order for it to function again. Being that jacking up the rear of the vehicle inflated the bags I would replace the height sensor located near the rear differential housing and then send it to be programmed, if you have missed something ,they will let you know.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't think that the bags inflated by jacking the car up, there is just that much air pressure in them; not enough to hold the car up but enough to be a problem when disconnecting them from the solenoids. Earlier, when the compressor was doing its "thing", running for a second and then off for eight, I jacked up the car to approximate ride height and it quit pumping so I figure the height sensor to be operational. John Deere Company puts out Service Information Bulletins for the problems their tractors have to inform their dealers and personnel how to diagnose and fix them. Do you have access to anything like that from Lincoln or know anyone who would? This is what I was hoping for when I asked my question initially; someone who had dealt with the same problem and could tell me what they did to fix it. I'm still holding on to that hope. I owned a '93 Towncar for 8-9 years after it was 8 years old and all I had to do was replace the bags. It shouldn't be that difficult!
Expert:  Cardoctor71 replied 1 year ago.

OK, Its possible the air compressor internal relay is at fault, it is the only logical explanation for the short run time, unfortunately the relay is not serviceable.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If that is the case, then why was there no change in the operation when I put a different compressor on it? Didn't I state that I had changed the compressor? This is going nowhere.
Expert:  Cardoctor71 replied 1 year ago.

i will opt out, something is missing in your diagnosis, maybe someone else can provide input. ( Last sentence airbags and compressor 2.5 years old??????)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
2, 2.5 years old is what I was told and the paint does look fresh enough to believe it. Air bags are clean and black too. Thanks for your time, this problem is a head scratcher.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I decided I had nothing to lose, so tonight, with the rear wheels off the ground, the car body held up with jacks, I energized the compressor by removing the relay and "hot wiring" from power to the compressor terminal. I let the compressor run at least 20 minutes in segments of 5-8 minutes, and with the air bags extended to ease the load on the compressor, it slowly aired up the bags enough to get the car to set where I thought it ought to be. The compressor has a date of July 26, 2013 and I understood the compressor and bags were replaced at the same time. I still feel the problem is in the piece/part that "tells" the relay to close. I have experienced a battery needing to be recharged after setting for 3-4 weeks (it's been here nearly 3 months) so would there be something like a calibration needed? The battery does not have a date punched out so I don't know if it's just weak or if there is a drain on it. The system seems to be operational, just not LONG enough! Does this help any?