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Lincoln Navigator Suspension

buzzarabuzzara Member Posts: 2
We just replaced the compressor relay and now the compressor is coming on, but the rear of the truck still won't lift. Does anyone have any ideal of what could be wrong? We also noticed that when we open any of the trucks doors the compressor shuts off.


  • dcoverdcover Member Posts: 7
    I just purchased an '03 Navigator, and I have a question about the Air Suspension. I hear the compressor operate after I shift into gear, but I don't notice any other changes. Is the system supposed to change the ride height on the vehicle? Otherwise, how do I know if it is working properly or not?

    Sorry for the probably silly question, but I'm brand new to this vehicle and this type of suspension. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Member Posts: 1,046
    Others more expert than I will chime in, but basically there are air shocks at all 4 wheels. The compressor pumps them up when you fire up the Nav. The truck sits lower when shut off , but I dont think its much more than an inch or two lower. There are ride height sensors at all 4 wheels as well. When all 4 sensors report the proper ride height, the compressor will shut off. It will come on from time to time to maintain proper ride height. This system not only provides a smooth ride, but it functions as an automatic load leveler during operation as well. When u shut off the vehicle, you may hear the air escaping from the system. BTW, your compressor probably comes on before u shift into gear, but that's a minor point.

    Personally I like the air suspension, though it can be more troublesome than simple shock absorbers, it is more functional. Troubles you're likely to see as the truck ages are leaky air shocks and/or lines and perhaps a probelm with the compressor or dryer.

    I had a 93 Mark VIII with similar system. Saw no probs with air until close to 8 years/100K miles. Most cars would've gone thru at least one set of shocks by then.
  • dcoverdcover Member Posts: 7
    Well, I'm going to have to do some checking, because I paid attention today and didn't notice any change in height (Gauging the distance between the tires and wheelwells). Also, the compressor does not seem to kick in until you shift out of park.

    Thanks for the help. As we just purchased the vehicle, the dealer will make good on any issues.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Member Posts: 1,046
    Well, you'll need to show them a problem cause if it works they wont fix it. I don't know for sure exactly when the compressor comes on, but it doesnt make sense for it to key on the transmission does it? And if it wasnt working, you'd definitely know it cause your suspension wouldnt suspend.
  • dcoverdcover Member Posts: 7
    Thanks again for the info. I did some additional checking and found out some of the details. Like how it isn't supposed to come up to full ride height until you hit about 15 MPH. I found it interesting that in 4x4 Low, it actually raises the ride height a full inch above normal for better clearance. Bet that happens a lot, LOL :o)
  • heyjewelheyjewel Member Posts: 1,046
    Good job. Tell u what, if u want a luxo-barge to go off road, the Nav is the one to beat. :>) I actually get mine in Low once in a great while. Also, having Full-time AWD on the dash switch is another plus. The Nav is quite a capable vehicle.

    C U on the trail!
  • foxrocks1foxrocks1 Member Posts: 1
    Did you find out the problem, I am having the same problem with mine, I have replaced the compressor, relay, height sensor ect it worked for about a day and now rear end is low as she can go.
  • jlsride1jlsride1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 and I was having the same problem. Your problem is a solenoid located on the frame under the driver's door. The part # is 1L1Z-5311-AA. It is the solenoid that controls the rear fill of the air suspension system. The only way to find the problem was to have diagnostics done and the error code should be 1846 or something like that. the part is easy to replace. If you need any assistance with those steps write me back.
  • ayorkayork Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Lincoln Navigator I came out one night and the rear air ride was sitting on the wheels. The compressor was checked and said to be ok..any suggestions. I called a local dealer and they were no help I ask the location of the relay and the control unit but noone knows. The service manual I purchased is no help. :cry:
  • tgrace007tgrace007 Member Posts: 1

    I heard this gunshot type sound, and checked under the hood, and found the top had blown off the compressor dryer and the little clear pellets had blown out as well. Do I need the WHOLE compressor, or just the black cylinder??

    Thanks for the help, I have to order it ASAP.

  • mnogueiramnogueira Member Posts: 3
    I'm having the same problem.Where is the RELAY located at???? I know it costs $ 125 at dealer , but they don't tell where it is at!
  • bexpressbexpress Member Posts: 1
    Don't waste your money at the dealer like I did for this part. Under the car behind the passenger side headlight the relay is secured by two screws with a big plug going into it. I think it would have taken my 9 year old daughter 5 minutes to change it out. Trust me give it a shot yourself.
  • mnogueiramnogueira Member Posts: 3
    My wife took it to the dealer and they said was the PUMP and the RELAY and ask for $ 1k. I'll replace the relay and see how it goes!
  • ramony310ramony310 Member Posts: 3
    If you have the actual step, could you please post them. I have the same problem of my rear end sitting on the rear tires, but the front is fine. My compressor work sometimes, so I am thinking that it probably the relay or the leveling switch.
  • ramony310ramony310 Member Posts: 3
    Does anyone know if you can temporarily bypass the replay to force the compressor to lift the rear end up?
  • frazierdfrazierd Member Posts: 4
    I have a 03 Nav and I just replaced one of the air struts on it, because I just look at it from the back and make sure that it is not leaning after it has stopped from letting down, but it was so I had to replace that air strut and it is fine now. You will know when it has finished letting down, because you can here the pump whe it stops.
  • mnogueiramnogueira Member Posts: 3
    I replaced the relay only ($ 107 @ Ford Warner Robins GA) and the problem was resolved. There a way to by pass the relay , but 10 days later the suspension was down again.
  • ramony310ramony310 Member Posts: 3

    Can you tell me just where the relay is located? I believe that it is located on the frame near the drivers door. Also do you have the instructions to bypass the relay?

    When this first happened and after a couple of days with the switch turned off. I turned it back on and the compressor lifted the back end up, I then turned off the switch again and it stayed up, until I started playing around with it.

    I'll replace the relay and then the compressor and dryer. I've found the compressor for $115.00.

  • ritchienoodlesritchienoodles Member Posts: 3
    Can someone help me with my 2000 Lincoln Navigator air suspension problem? When I got off the car I heard this loud noise. It almost sounded like a deflating balloon and when it stopped I noticed that the rear end of my Navigator was sitting too low. I popped the hood and noticed that this black tube like thing that’s about an inch long was busted. On a previous discussion I think it's refered to as a "union". I was able to replace that without a problem and my Navigator's rear end raised up to normal again.

    Here's the problem... Ever since that happened, my air suspension started acting funny. The car would sometimes have a bumpy ride. Almost like riding a lowered car. I also noticed that sometimes the rear end would sit too high when parked. Sometimes one side of the rear end would sit higher than the other. Once in a while I'd hear the air suspension go but not as much as before. I always hear that "click click" sound coming from the rear end everytime I park. Occasionally, I'd hear it while I'm driving too. It sounds like a relay but I'm not sure.

    I need your help. Please advice me of what to do. Thank you so much!!!
  • coltomcoltom Member Posts: 9
    New member here - I was looking for any info on my Navigator and its air suspension and found this forum. We were coming home late last night and were on the interstate when I suddenly get the warning "check air suspension" and the car starts to bounce like crazy. I read the owner's manual, checked the fuses, etc and after reading the comments, messages here, sounds like we're having a fairly common problem. The funny thing is that now the message center says "air suspension okay" yet the front end of the car looks like its dragging the ground and even just backing it out into the driveway makes it bounce all over the place (I haven't tried to drive it since). I guess I'll be going to the dealer in the morning. Great - we just went over the 50k mile mark thus the warranty expired. Does that just figure?

    Any advice on not getting ripped off tomorrow? Parts to check, etc?
  • ritchienoodlesritchienoodles Member Posts: 3
    I've heard a lot of problems about navigator's sitting too low at the back end. Never heard of it sitting too low in front. I'd check all the lines if I were you before taking it to the stealership. It could be just a broken or a leaky line like the one that I encountered. If you already brought your car to the dealer, I'm very curious of what they say about it. Good luck!!!
  • gatorrobgatorrob Member Posts: 3
    The same thing happened to me this weekend. I bought my 'Gator a week ago with 51k miles from Car Max. I started to notice the compressor noise a few days earlier. Now the front end is slammed and bounces around when I drive. Sunday, I parked the car and Car Max sent a tow truck to get it. Today the car max service tech said he was sending it to the Ford dealership to have them fix it. I might have it back Wednesday or Thursday. I am blessed that it is still in the 30 day warranty period. Did you get yours fixed? What was wrong? How much did it cost to fix?
    I'll post back when I get the 'Gator back home.

  • ritchienoodlesritchienoodles Member Posts: 3
    I actually encountered a couple of probems. The first problem was a broken union which cost me about less than $20 but nothing for labor coz' I installed it myself. It's very easy. This was the reason why my air suspension did'nt hold air and thus made my Navigator's rear end sat really low. After that, the next problem I encountered was that it started to have a bumpy ride and I notice the rear end would sometimes sit too high. Weird huh! It first sat too low and all of a sudden it's sitting too high. But anyways, I resolved that problem by turning off the air suspension. It still rode bumpy in the beginning but after a couple of weeks it started settling down and it rode like normal again. I never turned the switch back on since then.

    Somebody told me that it needs a new vent solenoid for that particular problem. I never got the chance to look that up coz' I'm happy the way my car is riding for now.

    Let me know what the dealer says... Good luck!!!
  • gatorrobgatorrob Member Posts: 3
    Car Max couldn't fix it at their service department so they sent it out to the Ford Dealership. Ford diagnosed it as needing a new relay and compressor. They said it'll cost $600-$700 to fix. Car Max is paying the bill and I should get it back Wednesday or Thursday. At this point I'm tempted to buy the extended warranty, but it’s pricey at $1800.
  • stanblazestanblaze Member Posts: 2
    I've read these posts so I have an idea as to what the problem could be (compressor relay, compressor or air springs). But, I'm not sure of the best sequence to attempt fixing. It seems smart to start with the relay first, then the compressor and then the air springs, any feedback/advice? A repair manual skips the subject.

    These are the facts:
    '98 navigator sits on the rear tires. I didnt hear anything before it 'broke'. nothing seems bad under the hood.
    I'd bet there was a slow leak and I used to hear the compressor often. Now I dont hear the compressor at all. My guess is relay and/or compressor.

    thanks for any and all help.
  • nelson51nelson51 Member Posts: 8
    I have a 01 4wd navigator that I bought new. The vehicle has been trouble free through 123,000 miles until about two months ago. The back end sat in a low rider position and wouldn't raise. We installed a new relay and compressor, (old compressor would run noisly for a long time), and the back end returned to normal and everything seemed fine. Last week, the car decided to become a low rider again and we've tested everything we can possibly test with no results. We've tried 4 different relays, no response, the height sensors are all in good shape, we can bypass the compressor and it runs fine and airs the rear up as normal, the back end will stay up as long as you don't start the vehicle, it releases a small amount of air each time you start the car, I believe it's a pressure test. I've seen a post about a solinoid or relay under the drivers door. Is this item on the 01's? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • coltomcoltom Member Posts: 9
    just to follow-up - we had the compressor replaced at the dealer, picked it up and before I even got it home, the "check air suspension" message comes back on and the truck drops down and starts bouncing like mad again. I took it back and they replaced the relays. It now runs normal. Actually it seems to be operating better (the air suspension) than before. The whole thing cost us about $900
  • stanblazestanblaze Member Posts: 2
    I'm replying to update my situation. I got the replacement from the dealer and it had the compressor, dryer, etc all in one piece. I was able to replace the unit easily by removing the battery (4 screws) and washer reservoir (3 screws) to get the the three screws of the compressor/dryer unit.

    It seems to have fixed my problem.

    The only tidbits of help are that I had to take it for a drive to activate the compressor. At 15 MPH i heard a slight squeal of the compressor turning on as I never heard that before. I used to hear a low humm/vibration (many thanks to the earlier post that identified that).
    Also, I had to stop and do some web browsing to figure out how to remove the air tubes (press in, on the orange OR brass ring while tugging on the tube). Many thanks to one of those replacement part web sites that had this as a FAQ.

    While I dont seem to have any problems, I cant find the relay for future reference. I looked under the driver's door, on the frame under the truck, and didnt see it. Can somebody provide some clarification on this?

    thanks for the help and I hope this helps others.

    one clarification. I only had to replace the compressor/dryer unit.
  • nelson51nelson51 Member Posts: 8
    I wrote a message last week about my 01 Navigator that the rear end dropped on and wouldn't raise. After haveing gone through everything on the car, the last piece of the puzzle was the suspension computer which sits above the radio under the padded dash. I found a wrecked 2000 navigator that I bought the computer out of for $50.00 bucks. Installed the computer, started the car, shut the door and the car raised perfectly. Ford techs stated they had never heard of the suspension computer failing, and basically refused to believe that mine did.
  • icekoldicekold Member Posts: 1
    I had the same issue. Took mine in to get fixed and explained to them I figured it was the compressor. They replaced the compressor but a relay ALSO went bad during the tests.

    I'm on my way back to see if the problem has been fixed. Hopefully this will be the last of my troubles with this obviously common problem. I would've done it myself but convenience comes into play.... Oh well.
  • mortarb2mortarb2 Member Posts: 1
    Today on my way to work everything is going ok, normal ride everything is just fine. Coming home from work it was a different story, I was bouncing all over the place rear end dropped almost to the ground. I have owned my Navigator since '99 when I originally bought it. One thing I noticed after fooling around a little was the compressor is not kicking on at all, as it normally does as soon as I close the door or put it in gear. Any ideas as to what could be causing this, I have read mainly about compressors and solenoids going out. Any way to dig in and check this out without just plug and play testing. I have any equipment needed at my fingertips. Any help is appreciated. :(
  • nelson51nelson51 Member Posts: 8
    Hope you are having luck with the 99 Navigator. We replaced several components on my 01 Navigator in order to get the system working again. The compressor and dryer were the first things to replace, followed by the relay which is behind the right front headlight, followed by the onboard suspension computer located under the dash, ontop of the radio. All this left was the height sensors and the wiring. If you've never had any problems from the suspension before, the compressor is the likely suspect. Did you notice that the compressor ran noisley for a long time in order to air up the suspension system? If so, the compressor was probably on it's way out. The new compressors have rubber mounted noise dampeners which really quieten the system down when it's airing up. We received an error code for the relay when we initially scanned my suspension system. We replaced the relay with three different relays and received the same error code each time. Our inclination at that time was that either we had a short in a wire or the suspension computer was out. I located a used computer at a junk yard for $50.00, installed it and the system aired up with no problems. It's a process of elimination if replacing the compressor doesn't fix it. Good Luck
  • mollymommollymom Member Posts: 2
    I had my tires changed at Sears Auto Center. Shortly after that, within a couple days, the car had dropped in the rear and we were bouncing off the road on every dip or ripple in the road. A mechanic friend said if the tire shop did not turn off the suspension before they changed the tires, it would put a pinhole in it and it would take a few days for the car to drop. So I contacted Sears and they said it was not their fault, they did turn off the suspension before installing new tires. So I complained to the BBB, and it is still not resolved. Meantime, I found this site and thought to run it past the guru's there, to see if anyone has some insight. The compressor use to come on everytime I parked it, but now it never comes on. Any ideas or suggestions? :confuse: :confuse:
  • spice1spice1 Member Posts: 6
    My truck has been driving fine, all of the sudden yesterday I drive it and it feels like I'm going over a million little speed bumps. The truck does not rise. For a few days now the "check air suspension" light comes on from time to time. It looks like a low rider! Any idea of what I can start checking?
  • nelson51nelson51 Member Posts: 8
    Start by checking to see if the compressor is working or not. You have to check the compressor with ALL the doors fully shut. I don't know about the 04, but previous years will have the compressor (as from drivers seat position) on the right side of the vehicle, sort of below the windshield washer jug. You should be able to hear the compressor start within 2 to 3 minutes after starting the car. If it's not evident at that point, you either need to go to the Lincoln dealer and have the suspension computer scanned to see what the problem might be. There is a relay behind the right front headlight that would go bad on earlier models, but for the most part, there can be a lot of trial and error before you find the problem. Check for good grounds, loose wires, compressor lines that may have come off etc.
    Good Luck
  • spice1spice1 Member Posts: 6

    I do not hear the compressor at all. I'm just hoping that by checking everything else, it could be something other than the compressor. I will check it after I get off from work and will post back.

    Thank you
  • spice1spice1 Member Posts: 6
    I think the relay is what has gone bad. The only place that has the relay is the dealership. The relay's are $110. Is this pricey?? I can't believe that something so small can cost that much. Are there any online shops where I can get this cheaper?
  • spice1spice1 Member Posts: 6
    Where did you find a compressor for $115??
  • brimybrimy Member Posts: 3
    Hi All,
    I have an '03 Nav. Had a screw in one of my tires and air pressure was low. Then the chesck suspension light came on!
    Leak turned into a flat (no surprise!) before I got it changed. Turned off the air ride suspension before changing tire and turned it back on, now she's riding low on the left side (back and front)! Is there a way to reset the suspension?? :confuse: :confuse:

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • demonrdemonr Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 lincoln navigator and my front end down on the tires and the truck wont raise up. the pump comes. Do anyone know what the problem could be? I had one person tell me that the leveling sensor is bad and need to be replace. thx.
  • burgosburgos Member Posts: 1
    hi everyone please help! i replaced my compressor for the rear suspensiion 4 times already it seems everytime i change it it lasts a month then it burns the compressor. i changed the relay i put new airbags thinking that was the problem and still nothing after 4 compressors my truck still sits in the garage. how can i find out wheres the short at thats making the compressor burn out. please help

  • nelson51nelson51 Member Posts: 8
    After having gone through numerous problems with my 2000 Navigator, we finally solved our issues by running a dedicated ground to the compressor from the battery, and then being 100% sure we had good contact at the wiring harness that connects to the relay behind the right front headlight. I even went to a scrap yard and bought a used suspension computer from a 99 Navigator to try to solve my problems but I believe the dedicated ground and the wiring harness were my biggest problem.

    We've gone over a month without the system falling to the frame.

    Good Luck
  • juanin1845juanin1845 Member Posts: 3
    During a test drive by a mechanic at a brake shop, the rear suspension on my Navigator dropped. They checked to see what the problem was and told me that an air line near the master cylinder had come loose and the rear air bags were not working. I then drove to a Lincoln dealer and was told that the rear air bags had to be replaced, along with the master cylinder that the brake shop had just installed (which by the way did not correct the spongy brake pedal). My fee will be approximately $1,000 for the rear air bags alone. Is this a fair price.
  • ridelowridelow Member Posts: 1
    i have a 1998 navi and the air-ride comes on constantly and the front end feels as if it keep goin up and down as the compressor keeps comin on. HELP!!
  • brimybrimy Member Posts: 3
    I finally went to a dealer after having terrible experience elsewhere!!!
    $700 later they changed the rear height sensors (parts only costing $240; labor $115/hour :( ) I'm ridin' right!!! :):)
  • daringmordaringmor Member Posts: 2
    Hey guys, I am new to this board and am hoping to get a little bit of help.... Everything was working fine on my truck until I went to get new tires on it. After I picked the truck up I noticed the CK SUSP light was on............. I have read a couple of other sites and was told that when they raised the truck up that the key wasn't off and that would have cause the problem. I also seen a post that said to disconnect the battery for a couple of minutes and it would reset everything and it would be fine. Well I did that... it was disconnected for 3 hours and the only thing that was reset was the clock. Everything still had its memory as if the battery was never disconnected..... So my question is, has anybody else been in this same situation where they went to get tires put on or rotated, etc. and then the CK SUSP light was on. What did you do to fix this problem?..... Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • myramosaccountmyramosaccount Member Posts: 1
    Im new to this forum, but looking for info about how air ride works on 03-04 models. I am getting ready to buy a used Gator (my 99 was totaled !) I noticed on a couple of ones that I went to look at sat lower in the front ??? I didnt test drive either one and I did have at least one door open at all times.
    So I take it that it may be normal to sit low in front until you start truck and close ALL the dorrs ?? Do you have to put in gear or drive ??
  • nelson51nelson51 Member Posts: 8
    Your tire dealer should have known that on the inside of the car is a toggle switch on the passenger side of the car, below the glove box, against the firewall, (user manual will show exact location). If this switch isn't turned off before jacking up the car, you will have to go to someone with a diagnostic computer, probably a lincoln dealer, and have the suspension computer re-calibrated. The ignition switch doesn't have anything to do with the suspension being turned on or off.

    Good Luck
  • nelson51nelson51 Member Posts: 8
    All doors must be completely closed, including the rear door and window. If you are standing outside the vehicle with the engine running, you should hear a clicking noise at the front and rear of the vehicle. This is the sensors checking ground height prior to engaging the compressor. In my experience, once the system is pressurized, the vehicle should remain up for 10+ days at a time.

    Good Luck
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