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Lincoln Towncar Air Suspension question

jmagee3jmagee3 Posts: 4
edited March 2014 in Lincoln
My wife came home from church with our 94 Towncar looking like a low rider in the rear. Both sides in the rear were equally low. My mechanic replaced the air bags and charged me $725 which was not covered by my aftermarket warranty. But the car looked the same when they brought it around to me. I left it there and now they're telling me it's the compressor. I'm thinking that's what it probably was from the start and I put out $725 when I didn't have to. Questions: #1 Does each airbag have a compressor or does one serve both rear airbags? #2 What's the chance that the compressor and both airbags would fail at the same approximate time? #3 Could the failure of the airbags cause failure of the compressor(s) and visa versa.


  • One compressor, two air bags. Your problem could have been as simple as a hole in the line. That could overwork the compressor and also cause it to fail. Or you may be right, it could have been the compressor all along. Usually, they don't go out together. That would be a real long shot, unless the failing bags or line overheated the compressor over some time. You would think the guy would have checked to see the compressor was working before replacing the bags.
  • They did turn the compressor back on with the switch in the trunk, didn't they??????
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    There may be a difference in the compressors for an air ride system and an auto leveling system. I used to have a TC with the auto leveling system. The bladders on the shocks went bad and I noticed the compressor would run for about 5 minutes and shut off automatically. I would think the air ride system would have the same feature, but maybe not. I can see where bad bags or a hole in a line would overheat the compressor and burn it up, but I'd look for a circuit breaker or fuse that could be tripped or blown, or a switch like "nav..." mentioned.
  • jmagee3jmagee3 Posts: 4
    The switch in the trunk was on when i went to pick up the car and found it in the same low rider position i left it in when i dropped it off to the repair shop. I flipped it back and forth and heard nothing like a compressor kicking on. I agree that the shop should have checked out the compressor first or at least have made sure the bags inflated after they replaced them. What's the chance that the compressor worked after the bags were replaced and then failed immediately afterward, and then the bags deflating completely by the time I picked up the car the next day? I agree, I think that's a long shot. Does anyone have an answer to the following question: If the bags are inflated totally and then the compressor fails, how long would it take for the bags to deflate with the car just sitting there?
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    Mine wouldn't. At least not over the course of a couple of days. The only times my compressor ever ran was when I loaded some weight into the rear of the car or it sat for 3 or 4 days. Common sense tells me there should be a check valve to prevent the bags from deflating while parked.
  • jmagee3jmagee3 Posts: 4
    This whole episode doesn't make sense to me. You're right, once the new bags were inflated, how could they have deflated over night without a problem not related to the compressor. The compressor shouldn't come into place here. But my warranty company paid for a new compressor, and now the dealership says the car is fine. I think somebody's screwing somebody here. I think my warranty company and myself are the screwees and the dealership is a real screwer. Do you think I should take this to the manager of the dealership?
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    I don't know who you've talked to, but if you haven't, I'd talk to the service manager of the garage and work your way up. I take it the airbags are considered normal wear and tear items?
  • jmagee3jmagee3 Posts: 4
    I talked to a very knowledgable person at ARNOTT INC. who manufactures air suspension replacement parts and he said air bags usually go up anywhere between 80 and 120k miles. My car has about 100k so I guess thats about right. He also said it's possible for the compressor to go up at or around the same time because if the bags had been leaking for a while it would make the compressor work a lot more. I had been noticing it running from time to time and maybe it's possible that it did need replacing or was due to be replaced. But the thing that still has me puzzled is how the car could have lost all the air out of the new air bags after they were installed and according to the dealership was ready to be picked up. Unless, it was due to a bad check valve, which they say it wasn't. I wonder if it could have been due to a problem with the installation of the new air bags, causing them to loose air fast enough, but slow enough to keep the compressor working overtime until it failed. They replaced the compressor now, and maybe they corrected whatever installation problems they initially caused with the air bags. I'm trying to figure this out and that's the only thing I can come up with outside of the possibility that they're just trying to make money by charging for air bags and a compressor when maybe all it was, was a check valve. I've asked for the old bags back, and I guess i should ask for the old compressor too.
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    you inspect the fluid in the rear axle. At 97,000 mine started to whine and it was discovered the factory lubricant had turned to foam. Repair cost = $1136, but I negotiated Ford to pay for half. The compressor on my 94 has been known to run a few seconds while the car is sitting in the garage. Key not even in the ignition. When repairing the rear axle, the heigth of the rear was adjusted ^ and the mileage improved because it is now always going down hill.
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