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Air Shock Troubleshooting and Rough Ride

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  • Air Shock Troubleshooting and Rough Ride

    Hello All,
    I know that this has been asked many times and I have looked at many of the responses, but I am finding it hard to know where to look first.

    Slow to raise the front end. I have taken to waiting for the front to come up before pulling out.
    Check air ride message comes on soon after I start driving if I have not waited. It also occasionally comes on after I have been on the highway a while.
    Rough ride both at low and high speed.

    Based on what I have read:
    I need to check the relay by switching it with the ABS relay. Where is the ABS relay located?
    I need to check for leaks in the bags. I do not think this is an issue since the system seems to hold air for days.
    What else should I do?

  • #2
    You say you have a rough ride during driving. Do you notice your front dropping down? More than likely, the compressor has to come on repeatedly to pump the bags up, and the computer is shutting it down. You need to find out which, if not both air shocks are leaking.
    96 MKVIII Base


    • #3
      Thank you Andrew,

      I just checked the system again.

      The front end takes a long time to rise and the compressor sound "sick" and not in good way.

      I inspected and spray tested passenger side air shock and has a few minor surface cracks in the rubber. The system seems to hold air for as long a s its parked. I just measured the front end and will leave it parked for a few days and measure daily .

      I also tested the ride height sensors by jacking up the car. They opened up as expected.

      I think that either the relay or the pump are dying.

      The front end is only low when I do not wait for the system to fill up and raise the front end fully before i start driving.

      I have a relay on order and will try swapping that out to see if it helps.


      • #4
        Often, a "sick sounding" compressor is just one where the rubber vibration isolators have worn out, and the pump is busy rattling around in the metal bracket that secures it.

        American Air Suspension used to sell an inexpensive kit with a new set of isolators, but I'm not sure they're available anymore. I suspect something similar could be crafted with some creativity however.

        I thought mine was failing "for sure" a while back, only to find that it needed these parts..
        Mike Martin

        1997 Mark VIII LSC 5.0
        2001 Dodge Dakota


        • #5
          Thank you Mike,
          I have a spare set of mounts that I got too busy to install last summer. This is busy spelled "lazy."

          The car is still parked and it looks like i may have gone down about 1" since yesterday.
          I am now hoping that the bags are bad since these are covered under my extended warranty... :cool


          • #6
            Just a quick update.
            I replaced the relay, checked the compressor and replaced the solenoids. No improvement.
            I took the car into my local Ford dealership and asked them to check the bags. They found a small tear in the pass side bag.
            They are now getting approval from the extend warranty company to change out the bags...

            Thank you all,


            • #7
              Let's hope they find one more OEM bag to slap in there, and don't end up calling the local salvage yard.
              Mike Martin

              1997 Mark VIII LSC 5.0
              2001 Dodge Dakota


              • #8
                thanks Mike,
                I told them to check into the Westar front shocks from Autozone. (per ranchodenieve's post)

                I hope they are good.
                Last edited by 1998MarkVIII; 02-08-2018, 08:32 PM.


                • #9
                  The warranty company approved one bag. they require the work to be done by the shop and they have a low ($60/h) labor rate.
                  Since I also needed and new power steering pump (covered), it looks like I will break even and have had the shop (local Ford dealer) do the work.

                  I have decided not to renew my extended warranty since the company is such a pain to deal with and limits what they cover. It also takes 4 times as long to get the work done since they need to pre-approve everything. Not worth it!

                  I bought the other Westar front shock from Autozone. (per ranchodenieve's post). They also had a 20% discount running so it worked out.
                  I will put it in soon.


                  • #10
                    Hello All,
                    Just a quick update to let you know that i was able to put in the second air shock about a week ago and so far so good.
                    The system is holding air and everything seem OK.

                    Thank you for all your help...