Cruise Control Not working

I recently bought a 1997 Park Avenue and have a couple of repair questions.

  1. The car is in need of struts/shocks. The rear has air shocks. Before I purchase new air shocks, how do I test the compressor to make sure there is no problem? If the compressor is bad, is it possible to install conversion shocks and do away with the compressor/ air shocks?
  2. The previous owner says the cruise control does not work. On rare occasions it will work for a brief time during the winter. What things can I check out? Someone suggested checking the brake light switch.

To test the brake pedal switch, while driving take the toe of your left foot and place it behind the brake pedal and lift up on the brake pedal. Now try engaging the cruise control. If it works, remove your foot from under the brake pedal. If the cruise control shuts off replace/adjust the brake pedal switch.

Check Strut Masters out for possible replacement of the air ride suspension.


The brake pedal is a very good place to first check for the CC problem. It is pretty common for the switch to just get out of adjustment over time and cause that kind of trouble. There might be a seperate switch on the pedal for the CC system, I’m not sure.

Thanks Tester and Cougar. It is not raining at the moment (not wise to use CC on wet roads). I’ll test the brake pedal.

Check the center brake light also, it’s easy to miss and disabled the cruise control on my 93 Caprice.

To check compressor, reach over each rear tire and slip air hose connector off shock. Car should settle. Start car and listen for compressor under right rear quarter panel. The auto level automatically sets the level and usually takes about 45 seconds. You should also hear the compressor when you shut down after driving. Here is what is happening; the compressor has two phases first is exhaust to let air out of system to set low level and then inflate to bring car to level determined by auto level control. Device is found on Drivers side in front of left rear spring etc. On my 2001 PA, the exhaust cycle of compressor failed so the rear end was jacked up, looked pretty funny. Once I diagnosed the ALC System and determined the failure I decided to take manual control by installing a manual momentary contact switch to power the inflate circuit where I could reach it from the drivers seat to inflate the shocks. If i left the car parked at the airport i could count on the shocks leaking out completely. Initially I put the switch in the trunk but that became a pain so I extended it inside next to the drivers seat When right shock failed, I removed the ALC, disconnected compressor and installed replacement kit which comprised a shock with external spring (Monroe). Unfortunately the replacement raised the car more than the adjusted air shock by about 3 inches. Not as bad as when the air shocks were fully inflated though. Well, the springs squeaked. Since I don’t normally carry 4 adults I removed external springs. This is not ideal if I am going to carry more than 2 people or 200lbs in the trunk. I am traveling sales guy so most time I am solo in the car.
Replacement shocks were about $80 at Rockauto. Compressor is very expensive unless you can find a used one but be sure to try to match your model year due to small year to year changes. I love my PA Ultra, with 135,000 miles the paint and chrome wheels still look great and the comfort on the highway is great. The power is great and i get 26mpg after replacing plug wires. And Especially when I put Michelins on it. Good luck.