Question regarding rear suspension air bags on my 1998 Town Car.
I have a leak in one (or maybe both) air bags, however, I suspect only one. I had both replaced about 2 years ago. Does anyone know if the air system is a single, continuous loop that runs through both bags, or are the air systems independent of each other? So if one bag leaks, would I only lose a single side, or would the good one still leak air through the bad?
The reason I ask is that about a year ago, when I had the system jacked up to replace one of the rear wheel bearings, I heard a “pop” sound on that side when I lowered the car. (I had shut off the suspension switch before jacking, but I’m suspecting this was the one bag opening up.) Anyway, now it has to re-pump the suspension each time I start the car.
I have 2 known good bags from a 1997 Town Car that I use for parts and have the option to replace one or both, or just go ahead and retro-fit regular springs to the 1998. If the air system one continuous loop, then I can probably suspect I’ve only lost one bag and may just replace that one.
I think each one runs on its own air circuit. When working with air ride they should be done in pairs at least.
If one side fails the other is right behind it.
Most leaks on air ride systems are due to one of two things.
The air solenoid O-rings leak or the bags dry rot and leak right where the fold is. Regarding the latter, the leak can even be erratic depending upon the stance of the car and the exact position of the fold in the bag.
If you go with used parts I would strongly suggest that you inspect the rubber very closely, especially where it folds, for any dry rot or installing the used bags will be a waste of time.
Do yourself a BIG favor and simply install steel springs…They are cheap and the air NEVER leaks out of them. Then you can rig that nice little compressor to inflate your tires or whatever!
Caddyman is right; there have been so many failures of these that standard steel spring kits are available at a modest cost. I’m old enough to remmember when Chevrolet in 1958 came out with optional air springs. A friend of mine bought one and they never could get he car to sit straight, especially in cold weather. The fix was’’’ convert to steel springs even then!!
The Lincoln air ride is a very good system actually, although a bit more high tech. Note that air ride complaints usually surface on cars that are 10 to 15 years old.
Most air ride failures boil down to aged/leaking solenoid O-rings or dry rotted bags. Ten to 15 year old tires, timing belts, accessory belts, and rubber seals fall into the same category.
Another cause is moisture laden compressor driers. How many air ride owners ever consider changing the drier; at least until the compressor goes belly up due to moisture.