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Audi allroad Suspension Questions

kambeikambei Posts: 3
Often when starting my 2002 Allroad I have to wait 15 to 30 seconds for the air supsension warning light to go off. The front end has dropped so low the tires are almost touching the wheel wells. Is this an indication of malfunction, or is it normal?


  • quattroquattro Posts: 69
    I have a 2003 Allroad and it has a perpetual alignment problem. The car always wants to steer to the right. I have taken it to the dealer 3 times and to an alignment specialist but the problem never goes away. I have checked tire pressure and that's not the problem. Does anyone have similar issue? I am suspecting it's either the wheels or the air suspension. Any idea anyone? I love the Allroad but this alignment issue is real annoying.
    Any comment is appreciated.
  • pbrabpbrab Posts: 3
    I have the same problem exactly. I have 20k, and after the third trip to the dealer the alignment is a little better but still slightly off. The dealer said they had to reset the calibration on the height adjustment system, but without results. Interestingly, I learned separately that when you replace springs on a car to lower it or increase its clearance, it needs to be realigned. The Allroad must have a complex mechanism to make this adjustment on the fly as the care is raised and lowered. I wonder if this is a defect on some cars, or if this problem affects all of them.
  • quattroquattro Posts: 69
    Hi pbrab. Thanks for your input.
    Mine is 03 with 26K miles on it. The alignment problem probably started from day one. I took my Allroad to the dealer 3 times and once to an alignment specialist. The dealer spent a lot of time adjusting the alignment but at the end it was the same. The alignment shop did better. The problem went away for a couple of weeks but eventually it came back. I suspect it has something to do with the air suspension too. If just one of the suspensions is slightly off this would cause the car to pull. Right?
    Anyone having the same problem please post something. If other people are having the same problem then it's probably a defect and if enough people complain hopefully Audi will come up with a solution.
  • munstermunster Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 allroad and I just got new tires and an alignment done. The car still pulls to the right. I have had some problems with my air suspension warning light coming on off and on. The dealer says, it's just a malfunction, but I think there is a flaw in the air suspension. Does anyone know anything else about this? :confuse:
  • hernanhernan Posts: 1
    Now I know why the front right tire seemed to wear quicker... my 2001 Allroad has 56000 miles and have had it since new... just recently, for the first time, the suspension began lowering itself randomly when parked for a long period of time under very hot weather. Is there any solution, inexpensive solution, for this? or should I just live with it?
  • I recently purchased a new 2005 Allroad. Apparently I can set the suspension level so it will basically at the 2nd level for both highway and city driving; that is it stays at the 2nd level regardless of whether I'm crawling at 10-15 miles through the city or traveling on a highwat at 70 mph or so. If I manually set the level to level 3 th car will stay and reutrn to level 3 when my speed drops below a certain level, but go to level 2 if I spee up sufficiently (although I haven' gone so fast to make it drop to level 1). My question is what are the reasons to or not to either keep the car at level 2 all the time or have it alternate basically between level 2 and level 3 depending on my speed?
  • jims3jims3 Posts: 1
    I would like to lower the suspension 12mm on the lowest setting. My independent Audi service center said they could change the settings if I could supply the data. I have the '01' w/6 speed, any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • pbrabpbrab Posts: 3
    I don't see why its lowering would affect tire wear.

    In any event, here's an update. I just replaced my tires (stock Good Year's pretty much wore out at 25k miles) with Michelin Sport A/S, and the car no longer pulls to the right. The difference is striking, and I find the overall handling much better too. I cannot say if the problem will be solved by switching tires, but in the meantime I feel like I'm driving a new car.
  • I have a 2003 with 23K miles and just had to replace the stock Pirelli P6 which were badly worn on the front right and pretty much were the noisiest tires I've ever been owned. :mad: I have had similar problems with wearing on the front right -- it is so bad that you can smell the burnt rubber after I pull into the garage (on only that front right tire).

    I took my car into a trusted alignment shop and they were able to get the pull to the right out but they told me they weren't able to get the cambers to match. Left needed to be at -1˚ and the right the closest the can get is -1.625˚. They say it can be a half a degree off but clearly it's 1/8 beyond that. Which is troubling me as the burnt rubber smell still exists; this is not a good sign (I had the same smell problem with my older tires). But my car does drive so much smoother and quieter with these new tires because they don't have the uneven wear (yet!).

    I've read on other forums on alignment topics (this was for an 02 A4): that you'll want to do your alignment at the dealer because the whole subframe in front has to be loosened and shifted. Audi has a special tool for it. I'm not sure if this is something that applies to the Allroads. :confuse:

    Nevertheless, My mistake for not asking the shop if they know how to do this and I'll have to eat $80, so I'll have to take it to the dealer to have them rectify the problem. At least I know the settings and they will do it over and over till they get it right. What a pain.

    I love this car but now I realize buying an SUV would have been a good tradeoff. Crappy gas miles are better than constant trips to the dealer.
  • I just began having the same problem. It corresponded with a very cold snap here in DC. Anyone have a clue what's going on? Thanks
  • I took mine to the dealer this week for the same problem and was told that it was a front, left, air bladder that had sprung a leak. Repairs, including parts and labor, are in the neighborhood of $1,000. Ouch. I also was told that it is not advisable to continue driving the car until you get it repaired, lest you incur even more costly damage to the supension.
  • baqarbaqar Posts: 1
    Here's a horror story in progress with the 03 Audi Allroad (bought new from the dealership). At roughly 8K miles with the stock pirelli's I started to feel vibrations in the steering wheel at hwy speeds. The dealership said that my tires were wearing unevenly, and that I would have to call the manufacturer to have it inspected. Long story short, all 4 tires wore unevenly and were out of round. I changed to the Goodyear Assurance Comfortred ... within another 8k miles, the same problem with very little cupping on all 4 tires. I even had one road hazard exchange and the same thing happened to that. Goodyear gave took my tires back and gave me "store credit" to get any other set I wanted. I went with the Goodyear tripletread (great tires by the way in the rain and snow) but two weeks down the line, same exact problem.

    The reviews on with the stock tires display the same problem from other drivers. I'm fighting with Audi right now that there is something wrong with the car. I'm having all four tires changed once again with a set of Bridgestone's, but I'm going to have the dealership mount them. If these go out of round, I'm taking them to court.

    I love this car too, but the amount of time I've wasted at the audi dealership, goodyear store and talking to the customer reps from audi, goodyear and sonic automotive (they own the dealerships) isn't worth it.
  • pbrabpbrab Posts: 3
    Not good. Good luck, and please keep us posted.
  • Had the exact same problem. I also have a 2002 with 60000 miles. My dealer diagnosed the problem as a drivers side bladder. We replaced both front bladders which includes stuts. The additional problem is the compressor can burn out from attempting to keep the bladder inflated. My total bill was $2700.00 Address this issue asap to avoid compressor problems.
  • Same problem here but with a 2001 with 73K miles, left front sporadically lowers. Troubling thing is that it will hold air.

    For $2700 I hope the new bladders fixed it? Any clues why the symptom comes and goes?

    shlusher, if only one was an issue, why did you replace both front? Anyone see any of the rears go?
  • Ihave the same problem. I took it audi and they had it for over a monthg messing around and didnt do anything apart fropm check all the various hoses for air leaks. Certainly leaks are not the probelm on the car. It dipped hard on the front end as well. It hant had the setting changed from when they had it on the ramp. It seems quite temermental. On setting 3 it holds all night on 2 it dips. It was resetting well then i took it locval garage and got brake pads changed and forgot to tell then to press the 2 buttons to hold the suspension and its at it again. I get the yellow triangle sign on the dash in the morning and the resets itself.
  • bryobryo Posts: 4
    No problem allowing the suspension to automatically raise and lower. The problems some have reported with airbag failure has been tracked to leaving the car in level 1 all of the time. Apparently this stresses the airbag too much and causes a leak. If you let the compressor pump the car back up and just drive it with a leaking airbag, you'll overheat the compressor and have a more expensive repair.

    Once the bag has gone bad, there's nothing to be done but replace it, at a cost of around $700.
  • bryobryo Posts: 4
    It seems to happen mostly to the driver side front. A good dealership would have told you to replace ONLY the bad airbag. The two local dealerships both said they replace ONLY the bad bag, and have NEVER replaced an allroad strut (they've seen allroads with over 170,000 miles). Mine airbag fix cost $700 at the dealership.

    They also told me that airbag failures happen mostly to owners that leave their cars at level 1, which I did, as it puts a lot of stress on the bag. Putting the car at level 2 often would temporarily seal the level 1 leak. If your car drops when parked, it needs attention to keep from overheating the compressor while driving.
  • quattroquattro Posts: 69
    I think I finally have my alignment problem resolved.
    I reported last year that my car was pulling to the right and numerous trips to the dealer and alignment specialist found no cure. Now my allroad has almost 50k. I have always suspected it's the air suspension that is the root of the problem but the dealer kept saying the computer picked up no error code from the suspension system so it can't be the suspension.
    Guess what. I have always noticed the allroad was slightly uneven after parking overnight but it was not significant enough to tell for sure. Recently I went on a trip and left the car parked for two weeks. When I returned the driver side suspension completely lost pressure. This time when I took the car back to the shop they kept it overnight and found a leak with the suspension. After replacing the air bag inside the suspension the alignment problem magically went away. I'm lucky enough that I had a couple hundred miles to spare before the warranty expires and the repair was covered. It took me almost 3 years to get the problem finally fixed. Even though the dealer was nice enough to keep adjusting the alignment I would fault them for not looking hard enough. It's a pity that it took so long to get it fixed and it really took the fun out of driving the car for the last three years.
    So if you have a pulling problem that won't go away insist the dealer to inspect the suspension for leak.
    Good luck.
  • dlaustindlaustin Posts: 23
    I have owned my 2001 Allroad since new. In all likelihood, the sinking is cause by a leaking airbag, plain and simple. The test for this is real simple. Park the car and place it at level 1. Rub very soapy water all around the bladder. With a very good light and a mirror, inspect for air bubbles. Do the same for level 2, 3 and 4. In all likelihood you will find bubbles at level 2. When you raise the levels 3 and 4, the bubbles probably won't exist. Cannot comment on level 1 leaks because I just have not observed it.

    Many on the forum members believe the o-rings seals leak. I just don't believe that the o-rings can ever leak if installed properly. My experience indicates that the leaks appear in the rounded portions on the lower side of the bladders. You cannot see the holes, only soap bubbles where the leaks exist. When the level is raised above level 2, the bladder begins to straighten out and the holes tend to seal.

    The only fix is to replace the bladders and this is not an inexpensive job. Audi must use a ton of these bladders.

    If a bladder leaks, it's probably best to replace its mate also because they seem to fail about the same time. So far, the rear bladders on my car have not failed, but both fronts have failed within 60K miles.

    Based on my experience, if you have good tires - certainly none of the tires that came on the Allroads from the factory - and your car is properly alligned, which is not difficult, your car will track just fine and the tires will wear just fine leaky bladders or not. I have used V-rated Bridgestone's and V-rated ContiContact's with great success. Oh yes, I highly recommend running the tire air pressure at 35 psi, not 30 psi per Audi. The tires wear very evenly at the higher pressure without compromising anything.

    Happy driving!
  • rabbitrockrabbitrock Posts: 8
    I have a 2002 Allroad. Same level 1 and 2 bladder leak. The car is fine at level 3 but when it drops to two or one front suspension drops.. tinkering with buttons and restarting the car will usually get it back to three, but not so last week which prompted me to get a quote..

    I'm looking for repair suggestions.. Can this be done with parts in hand, or are there such special tools and techniques that I'm dealer locked?

    Dealer just quoted me to install front left and front right airbags as follows
    2x $540 for front bag
    2x $48 for an install kit
    2x $160 for a bracket they suggest you replace
    $150 alignment
    plus 6 hours labor at $120 / hour

    Total quote was over $2600
  • dlaustindlaustin Posts: 23
    The parts list in your post are more or less correct, as are the prices for the parts. The arms that are mentioned do not necessarily require replacement, but the rubber bushings attached to those arms should be carefully inspected for cracks and it is a good idea to replace the cracked rubber bushings. In my case, I replaced only the top-most bushings, not the whole arms. The lower bushings looked fine. Pressing out the four (4) bushings, each of which costs about $20.00, requires care so that the arms are not damaged (They're aluminum.). I did not have my car re-aligned. It was fine prior to the change-out and is fine after the change-out. I cannot speak to whether your car, as is, is in alignment. Check your tire wear. It should be even. If in doubt, alignment never hurts.

    The time allocated for the work is about right.

    Some good news. I know of no rear air bladders that have failed and that's a good thing. Some must have failed but it must happen very infrequently.

    More good news. When you get this repair completed, you will not only find that the air suspension works as designed, but the car feels like a brand new car. I think the replacement of the defective rubber bushings has a lot to do with that. I hated to spend the big bucks, but I was thrilled with the results.

    Worth mention. I am now using level 3 around town. I think it places a lot less stress on the front air bladders and besides you can see that much better.

    It is necessary to place a chain around the suspension to keep the wheel from falling relative to the car when the car is lifted to work on the air bladder/suspension, i.e. lifting the car and allowing the wheel to drop fully is not appropriate for the work. I don't thinks any special tools are required except for the heavy chain.

    Hope this helps.
  • rabbitrockrabbitrock Posts: 8
    Thanks DL! I called a different dealer/parts man who said try the seals/repair kit first (the $50 item), then if that doesn't work change the bladder. I think I need to do the soap and water test next which will reveal the bum bag.

    Not sure if the repair kit includes the bushings you speak of, but it sounds like no. I'm still a bit confused as to why both sides lower if only one bag is beat. I guess that somehow the air distribution / balancing keeps the two in sync. For the record the dealer said that both the repair kit and the front bladders are universal (fit both front left and front right).
  • dlaustindlaustin Posts: 23
    Hi again:

    I do not believe for one second that a seal kit will do one thing for your car. I frankly cannot believe that the o-ring seal for the air bladder can ever leak if installed properly.

    I had assumed that you did the leak test with soapy water on both front seals at levels 1, 2, 3 and 4. I am obviously mistaken. Run the test as I outlined earlier before taking your car in so that you know what's leaking. Start at level 1 and work upwards on one bladder. If it leaks, stop and move to the second air bladder. Repeat the process. If only one bladder leaks, you certainly have the option to just replace the one air bladder with kit and nothing else. When the second air bladder begins to leak, then do what you have to do.

    Good luck!
  • rabbitrockrabbitrock Posts: 8
    OK.. I did the soap test. Both front bladders leaking. So bad now that if the car drops below 3 the shocks drop to bottom and won't pump back up (readily). Tip. If it won't pump up, let the car sit and come back to it in the heat of the afternoon. So my next steps are a. search for parts / do the change out myself. b. pay the dealer $2600 or c. trade the car. Anyone know of another place to buy these air bladders?
  • rslackrslack Posts: 1 has the best price I've found. $415 per side shipped. This is the bladder and the kit. Feel a little better now?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,471
    I called an indie Audi shop and they said it takes them 1 to 1.5 hours per side to do the bladders....mostly bolt-in work, no rocket science, but you need the right tools and of course you MUST put the car in "jack" mode before you raise it off the ground or you'll destroy the entire suspension.

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  • Thanks guys. I've just purchased the bags and install kit and should be able to report back by weeks end on the install. I did find this walk through that others may find helpful:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,471
    PLEASE be sure you are in jack mode! I think if a professional shop can do it on the hustle at one hour per wheel you should be able to do both sides in say 3-4 hours. Work safe, take your time, don't rush.

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