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Lincoln Navigator Suspension



  • All...
    Ok, so I too have suspension issues that will cost me nearly $5K at the local dealership to repair (including $1K in labor costs). I'm getting a seriously bad/bumpy ride on an intermittant basis, the problem seems to be in the front. The Service Manager informs me that I need to replace both air bags, the air compressor, and the computer module before the problem will go away. As I don't have that kind of cash, what can we do short of a wholesale replacement to get my baby riding smoothly again? Is the relay the real fix here?

    Third Trip To Dealer
  • djfunndjfunn Posts: 5
    Hey NavFrank,

    The relay would be the first thing I would check. Follow the instructions below to check it.... If this does not work and you can not or do not for that matter spend the ridiculous amount of money that the dealer like to rip you off for, you can always swap out the entire suspension for spring and shock... Check or Good luck and let us all know what you end up doing...

    Going to re-post this because people are asking.... Thank you MattyMo..

    For those of you with a low-rider Navigator that is low in the back the first thing to check is the relay as it is a $115 dollar part you can pick up and change yourself. Also, you can test to see if the relay is the problem by bypassing it. How? Follow these steps.. (this is straight from the Ford/Lincoln Service CD)

    1) Locate Suspension Relay (behind passenger headlight - next to the horn - small amp looking like box - access from the ground, underneath the car - with a 4 post plug going into it).
    2) Pull the 4-post plug
    3) The manual says to connect a bypass wire "10 guage with 50A fuse" (I used about a 4" long - 14 guage wire - no fuse) from post A to post B (the left two posts when looking at the plug and the tab is on top)
    4) If the relay is the problem you will immediately hear the compressor start to air-up your shocks - just don't leave the wire there for more than 30-40 seconds as it will get hot and you risk burning out your compressor.
    5) Once your shocks are aired up and the back end is not longer a low rider then you should be able to drive around for a few days before leaks in the system let the air out - enough time to get to the dealer and get a new air compressor relay.

    If this does not solve the problem then you likely have a bad air compressor.
  • My 99 Navigator is sitting with the rear end down, The compressor was not working. I have a shop check it and they said the compressor was bad. I just replaced the compressor myself today and it still would not come on. I removed the suspension control relay and placed a jumper in the plug pins 1 and 2 and the pump started, but the rear does not seem to come up. I do not have the check suspension light on. I can not hear any leaks and I removed one of the air lines on the drier and the pump is putting out air, but the rear end is not going up. Any idea on why nothing is going in the rear bags? Could it be the Air Suspension Control Module (which looks hard to get at) and is there any way to check it. All four of the fuses that I see to do with the air suspension have been checked. I am new to the fourm and have gotten a lot of help by reading it but I need some more help. Any more ideas anyone. Thanks, Bob.
  • I guess I'm blind because I canot seem to locate the relay on my 2004. Please help!
  • djfunndjfunn Posts: 5
    Hey bublhead,

    You have to access the relay from the ground.. From the passenger side, Laying on the ground looking up, it should be located attached to the frame by the bumper.

    This is where it is located on my 98 Navi and after trying to find answers in a lot of different places, it looks like they have not moved it from there.. Good luck...
  • My 2001 'gator is lowriding. I have tesed the relay as described earlier in your discussion by connecting the A and B prongs. As soon as i did this the compresser came on but didnt seem to raise the truck at all. I purchased and installed a new relay today and it didnt make any difference. Would this indicate that the computer is bad and needs replaced? Any help would be greatly appreciated
  • Reference my message # 192.
    I got it fixed and found out I was thinking in the box and I don’t know everything. I was looking for other problems with the control module, which were not there, because I did not understand how it works. I have worked in electronics for over 45 years and know how a relay works. I could not understand why the car would not rise up with the service switch ON, the doors closed and the car running, with the relay jumper in pin A & B and the compressor running. I found out the compressor relay is a dealer only part and paid the local dealer $140 for one. When replaced, everything worked fine. Somehow the relay is sensed by the control module, which is needed to open the entire fill and gate solenoids. It is not used just as an electrical relay to switch the Hi current for the compressor; it does more, how I don’t know. If the compressor works when you jump the relay, replace the relay and go from there, do not look for other problems like I did until you change the relay. If it does not work after you replace the relay, remember the service switch, check the 3 inside fuses, close all doors and start the car, before looking to replace the control module. :) Bob.
  • Humm Bob, I hope you are onto something! I jumped the wires, and my compressor kicked on (I was so happy!) - but like your experience, the rear of the vehicle never raised. I even started the SUV, put it in drive, activated 4 low - all of which are supposed to kick on the air ride, but with no luck - the rear never raised with the compressor running.

    I was thinking it was maybe the ride height sensors in the rear. But can't find them. My theory was they were being read at being at the correct level already, so the solenoids didn't kick on to let air in. Any idea where the ride height sensors are?

    So, I guess I should buy myself a relay and try that? Now off to search for the part number!
  • Back to your original post, #192. A relay is relay right? The ABS relay is the same one according to the manual. So I think I will try that before plunking down $140. Thoughts?
  • Finally got the gator workin. Aparently the previous owner had replaced the plug for the relay had just taped the splice with electrical tape. Tape didnt hold up too well when we got down to -10 and the ice and salt had formed around the splice. A new relay isnt going to do any good if the wires to it are bad, just another thing to check if having electrical prob.
  • We found a leak in one of the air bags, so we replaced both struts and air bags with an after market strut & airbag assembly. The fuse below the glove box is ok, the pump runs when the relay is by-passed. We replaced the relay with anew one, just to elimenate any issues.

    We did not replace the dryer on the airpump. However in the process of removing the struts the platic hose connectors broke, so we replaced this assembly.

    In effect we have replaced everything but the dryer and the pump at this point. The front of car is now droped on both sides. Is there a recalibration needed to get the system running again? the Air suspension system waring light is on at the dash board. The system shut off swithc at the rear is back on...could this be faulty?

    I guess the real question is... do we need to take the car to the dealer to recalibrate the suspension system?
  • navi2navi2 Posts: 1
    On my 03 model, the relay is accessable from the TOP, not the bottom of the vehicle. Behind the headlight, mounted with the same bolt that mounts the compressor. No need to remove anything but the cover. Its simply right on top, just pull the little cover off the box gently bending the tab back.
  • f719f719 Posts: 1
    About 2 months ago I went out to find my 2000 Navi lowriding...after reading on this forum I tested the compressor and discovered my compressor would work when by passed with the test. Hence, I purchased a relay and was able to get it working again. Reset and got the suspension light off and no problems. Now this past week I was driving to the store and noticed I was not getting a smooth ride and the store I discovered my back has dropped again. No lights or warnings. At home I tested the system again and the compressor will work when bypassed, could this be the relay again? My replacement relay was used and from a 97 Expedition.
  • I have been told that both the compressor and relay should be changed at the same time. Both can cause the other to burn out, due to the high current the compressor draws. After changing both my car has been good. :) Bob.
  • hey bob my 2004 navi takes a very long time now to raise the compressor works and the truck does lift for a while, but when im driving around then i hear the compressor running like almost every 2 minutes. when i stopp the front right of the truck just drops and the compressor starts again. What could it be is it a leak to replace the seals or do i have to replace the whole air bag? plz help thank u :) juan
  • hey where is that arm located im having the same problem with my navi. and when its off do u har a leak or is that the seal?? plz help thank u
  • Do not PURCHASE Lincoln Navigator replacement suspension products from STRUTMASTERS UNLESS you want your once nice kick [non-permissible content removed] looking ride to look like a four wheel drive Hummer!

    No longer will your ride sit fat on 22’s and catch that look you paid for when buying the Navi…noooooo, now you get to look like a “ratard”.

    I purchased the coil over struts to replace my failing air ride system, and NOWHERE on STRUTMASTERS website OR accompanying instructions is it mentioned that your ride will ride SOOOOO high. (Gee, I wonder why? Perhaps because if potential purchasers knew this, we would consider something else? Or make us sign a waiver that the ride height would be forever altered?)

    When the vehicle was at the Lincoln dealer for service after installation of the STRUTMASTER product, the service manager approached me as I was paying my bill and asked if I wanted them to investigate why the vehicle height was so askew.

    (What does THAT tell you.)

    Anyway, the final answer from the company salesperson who sold them to me after months of asking for a refund or re-engineered product? He assured me that I was the ONLY person complaining as they had installed hundreds of systems on many navigators for numerous Lincoln dealers…and yet would not provide any contact information so I could inquire as to the satisfaction or measurements of such installs. “I wish you well.” I wish you well? That’s it?

    Bottom line? Buy STRUTMASTER products AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    If you want to see before and afters, drop me an email.
  • I have a 2003 Navigator with a bit different issue.
    My passenger front side is on the stop all the way down.
    I just replaced the air compressor. When the car is put in drive the compressor kicks on for about 3 to 4 seconds then shuts off. After cycling the car on and off and putting it into drive with my foot on the brake, (after I did this about 5 times) the compressor kicked on and ran for about 30 seconds. It DID NOT fill my passenger front side, but OVERFILLED the drivers rear until the bag was at maximum capacity.
    I disconnected the relay and jumped it with a 10 gauge wire and let it run for 20 seconds or so. Nothing on the passenger side filled. I could hear any air trying to get in just push by as if the solenoid is stuck closed. I reset the rear switch but to no avail.
    Now I have the passenger side front down all the way and the drivers rear up all the way.
    THIS is CRAZY. No idea what to do now..
    Any ideas or suggestions??
  • Follow up:
    I put the Nav in to 4wheel Low and dropped it in drive with my foot on the brake. Sure enough, the compressor kicked on as expected but did not fill or inflate the pass. front air bag at all.
    It ran for about 30 seconds and shut off. The drivers rear is still filled to the max. The drivers front, and passenger rears look normal.
    How can I let some air out of the drivers rear that is now about 9 inches above the tire!
    this is nuts....
  • Well, i have a 99 Navi and after the snowy blizzard the rear stayed down. I'm tryin 2 find out if this has a leveling valve.
  • First I want to say I really appreciate any advice I can get on this... Really...

    I have a 2003 lincoln nav with air ride suspension. I had an intermittent "check suspension" light coming on. The last time I drove it, I pulled in to the driveway and saw the front pass side wheel well all the way down on top of my tire (22" wheel). I had my wife get in, turn ignition on with door closed, and watched as it tried to raise that side. I could immediately see weather type cracks in the bottom of the boot and could hear air escaping from the cracks (especially when i pressed on the side of the airbag.

    So I ordered a popular after-market airbag (arnott) online and it arrived. I immediately noticed that the solenoid fits a bit looser in this unit, but it looks to be okay. I dissembled the airbag / reassembled / and replaced all of the O-rings on the solenoid and air bag assembly.

    As soon as the car starts to air up now, I hear a gasp of air come from somewhere. The car lowers again.. The pump immediately keeps pumping and as soon as it gets to the same pressure again, I hear the air escape. This is happening over and over and the car will not rise. I was told that the air may be coming from the "end cap" where it mounts to the underside of the car. The tech told me these end caps warp and may have to be replaced also....

    Has anyone else had this experience when they replaced their air bags? I can't seem to figure out why the air is escaping at what seems like the same point as it raises. I even traded solenoids with the drivers side and have the same condition.... Any ideas? Thanks!!!!
  • I think I found my problem so I'll post it for now and see what happens. Basically, if you replace the bag, you should (or in my case HAVE to) replace the top plate. Its Lincoln/Ford part # 6L1Z-18A099-CA and the dealer wants $160.00 for it. I think Arnott has an aftermarket for 55 or 60. Here's the reason behind it that I found posted by a Ford Mechanic:

    "Posters Question: 2003 Lincoln Navigator air suspension leaks, right rear area, and SUV bottoms after being out when in temperatures 32 F and will not function until in temp. 70 F. In warm temp no problems. Ford dealer replaced seals and rebuilt air bags.

    Already Tried:
    suspension seals and bags replaced by Ford dealer because this suspension issue recurs initially temp did not affect, it was intermitant, after rebuild I had the SUV in the mountains, not problems going there, but after being out in temp 30 degrees, suspension right rear, I could hear an air leak, 10 minutes later no lift to the car and the car bottom out until I got off the mountain to temp greater then 60 F

    ANSWER - the spring cap is the sealing surface for the upper seals, and when the vehicle gets enough miles on it the surface wears enough to allow a leak, if the springs are taken off the car and checked in a tank of water, they will not leak, but with the weight of the truck on them they leak, I have replaced a bunch of these and when all the other parts have been replaced and the truck still drops, you can be assured that the spring caps are worn.

    As the weather gets colder, the metal slightly shrinks and allows the air to leak past the seal, even if the seals are new, so I highly recommend replacing the spring cap."
  • Ok I have checked the fuses they all test good. But when I unplug the 4 prong connector to the relay I have no power going in or out? So now what can I look for? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
  • nonosnonos Posts: 6
    in need of help, I own a 2004 navigator and yes as i see i have air suspension problems, :sick: i already changed the air compressor, and the relay that sits on top on the air compressor, and still nothing i believe it's the height sensor but i don't know where it's located? does anyone know? and can i inflate the air-bags individually ?

    and yes i have checked all the fuses. any help would be greatly appreciated
    contact me here or at , this car rental thing is getting very expensive.
  • can anyone help me i have a 2004 navi and the drivers side air bags are expanded at its max and will not release the air. I have checked the fuses all good where can i locate the censor to see if they are bad. its not a good look lopsided
  • My '02 Gator's compressor is fried (been on life support for quite a while). I extracted it, but damaged one of the air lines in the process. Does anyone have a part number or equivalent replacement for the air line? I visited the dealer, but although they tried hard to help, they couldn't make heads or tails of the parts diagram and description to actually ID what it is I need. :mad:

    I've googled around but haven't had much success so far. It's hard to tell if some of the stock line you can buy is the same as that in the Gator (about 3/8" O.D. with an internal white core tube that has an I.D. of about 1/8").

    As a side note, if your compressor fries, you can still reboost your suspension until a repair is made. After you extract the old compressor (or if you can pull the air lines off of it), turn your car to the run position (without starting). After a short time you'll hear some relays click for the suspension. Now, using a standard shop air compressor, blow air into the correct line (for me, the top line is for the rear) until the rear end rises. Quickly turn off the car ignition and then the air suspension bypass switch (having a helper is nice!). The latter will keep the system from purging the air you blew into it, and you'll have a decent ride back :D
  • nonosnonos Posts: 6
    hay gryhnd1,

    you sure your compressor is fried? i thought mine was too ran out and bought another compressor and that did'nt work, till i found out it was a relay.:-()
    i spent $300+ for a compressor i did not need. make sure all your fuses are good first, if you already have please dis-regaurd.
  • Thanks. Ya, it needs to be replaced. It's been sounding like a shaking box of rocks for a couple years now. This is the second time it's failed. The first time I was able to restart it with some poking and prodding. Fuses are good too.

    Anyone have tips on sourcing some air line?

    BTW - I am on day 2 with the compressor removed and the rear bags are still holding the air I injected from my shop compressor. At least the urgency to replace has been diminished.
  • bronconvictbronconvict Posts: 12
    edited February 2010
    I have received many Emails since I first Posted my email for help.*********

    Here is a LINK to the 2003 and UP model year Suspension Service Manual

    Bronconvict's 2003+ Susp. Svc. Manual

    Hope it all Helps as I have helped as many people as I could. If the link doesn't work
    please reply..... Please share with everyone..
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