Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

'98 Cadillac Deville air suspension

Hi, I have a '98 Cadillac Deville. I have the same issue as Fee from the January, 2011 comment. My car is currently riding on the ground. It needs the air suspension replaced.



I took it in to a shop, they said I should switch to normal spring shocks. I would like to keep it original (air suspension.) They refused the work claiming that the only part that could be used is made by Delco, and that they break frequently and customers make them do the work all over again claiming it is their fault.



I was wondering if anyone knows of any reliable parts to use, and or a decent mechanic that won't cheat me in the Milwaukee, WI area.



I would greatly appreciate any information that could help.



Thanks,

Dan

Comments

  • edited March 2011
    Do like your mechanic suggests and install the steel springs. You won't know the difference and the steel will never leak out..You could buy a NEW Cadillac for what it will cost to properly restore the air suspension in your '98...It's much more than just the 'bags..
  • edited March 2011

    I agree with Caddyman on this point.
    Retrofitting the car with conventional steel springs is definitely the way to go, for a couple of reasons:

    >As the mechanic stated, the complexity of the air suspension system is such that it is very hard to keep these systems functioning properly.
    >The cost of conventional steel coil springs will be much lower than the cost of replacing the many air suspension components that would be needed.

    The book value of this 13 year old car does not warrant "investing" a huge amount of money for something that will likely malfunction again within a couple of years.
  • edited March 2011
    I think the shop is not knowledgeable on the suspension and they're just trying to brush you off. If repaired properly the air suspension should last as long as it did originally, which in this case is 14 years.

    Repair parts are not proprietary to Delco. Aftermarket parts are available to repair these suspensions and odds are after 14 years it could be more than problem. Age causes dry rot in the rubber bags and the solenoid O-rings leak. Over time the air compressor weakens or fails due to wear and moisture in the air.

    If you want to stick with the air suspension then I would highly recommend looking up Eddie at American Air Suspension. He not only sells air suspension components but is also an experienced hands-on guy when it comes to this stuff.

    A conversion kit is cheaper, no doubt about it, but if you like the air suspension he's the guy to talk to.
    My Lincoln has air bags and I personally prefer it over the coil setups.
  • edited March 2011
    I remember when air suspension was an option on the 1958 Oldsmobiles and Buicks. The air suspension didn't work very well and most of these cars were converted to a conventional suspension. It sounds as though 40 years later, the manufacturers still couldn't get it right. I think I would convert to something less trouble prone.
  • edited March 2011
    Thanks everyone for the reply, I am considering your comments. If I switch to springs, will it change the ride from when the air shocks were working? Anyone know what kind of shocks the 2011 Cadillacs have? Just curious. I plan on keeping this car forever, I love it.
    Thanks again.
  • edited March 2011
    Have you tried to check up on the shop's claim that all they can get is AC Delco? Its obviously not the same vehicle but I had no trouble getting after market replacements for my Oldsmobile. I think they were Monroes or something - all of $75 for a pair and almost as easy to put in as it is to change a tire.

    Aside from that I'm not buying the other part of the claim that they break frequently. I would buy a modified story about that - something like once the air system gets this old they just continually cause trouble for one reason or another (e.g. soon after the shocks, the sensor goes bad, then the compressor goes next, then the air lines, wiring, whatever). Then I can see a shop being wary.

    So in the long run you might be happier just getting off of the air system - there are lots of things that can break on it. I can't comment on the ride quality or any of that though b/c I just don't know.

    But I can't imagine its that big a deal to just toss new air shocks on it.
This discussion has been closed.