I have a 2003 Grand Marquis LS Ultimate with 25k in it in excellent condition. How long (in miles/years) before I may need service in the Rear Air Suspension.
How long is a piece of string? The life of these units is very much a function of what kind of roads you travel on and the temperature extremes the car is exposed to. Freeway driving on the West coast in Washington will be the easiest, while Alaskan winters and backroads would finish these units off in a year or so.
Having said that at 7 years you could be having problems any time now. I would convert them to normal coil springs then; there are many conversion kits avalable.
I live in Central Pennsylvania and the car has been garaged most of the time. I assume the repairs are too expensive… so switching to coils makes the most sense then. I assume I need to do it at a reputable shop as they have to make sure the sensors in the car are fooled into thinking that the Air suspension is still working… Any recommendations in terms of qualified shops to do it? I can go to a bigger city if need be…
My brother has a 1988 Lincoln with the air suspension. The car has well over 250,000 miles. He has had a few minor problems with the air suspension, but has been able to fix the problems himself at minimal cost. If your air suspension is still working, I wouldn’t worry about it until it begins to cause problems. It may go for 10 more years and many more miles without a problem.
Thanks for your advice! It does work perfectly well… I just wanted to have the information available so I know what is best to do in case it needs service.
If you have a good shop that you trust you should just ask them to give things a quick visual inspection anytime they pull the wheels. (I have air suspension in a van and it just so happens that the e-brake cable has a tendency to escape its clip and chafe part of the shock). It is also the case that these systems often have problems only because the sensors get crusty or bind up.
The only seriously expensive part in those systems in the compressor. If you ever notice it running too often you should have someone find and fix the leak. The less the compressor abuse the better.
But in general these are mostly zero maintenance systems - doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out for problems, but mostly you just let it do its thing until a problem arises.
Just FYI - if you ever do find yourself looking at the need for a new compressor, there are other options - such as a manual air system where you adjust the height yourself, and replacement coil over shocks to skip the air system altogether.
My guess, though is that it will probably be just fine for a long time.
The Ford Panther is one of the better “air-ride” systems…Generally, you can expect 10 years, 100,000 miles of trouble-free service. After that, it’s nice to know that the standard steel coil springs (Crown Vic parts) will just slip right in in place of the 'bags, a low-cost repair…