Having Ford/Lincoln Air Suspension Problems? Do you need an Ford & Lincoln Air Suspension Compressor Relay?
There's some things you should know before you start putting money into your air suspension.
Hot Weather: ALL air compressor produce moisture, no matter the size. Bigger air compressor like whats in an auto repair shop or in most shade-tree mechanics garages, fuel air tools, blow sawdust and air up tires. Although the bigger compressors produce more moisture than a smaller one, the bigger compressor with a tank also has a way to easily drain the moisture from the system. Most people don't realize that an automotive air suspension system is just like an air compressor in their garage with one big difference between them. Because of all the low lying air lines and other parts(air springs - air struts) in the vehicle, there is no way to easily drain moisture out of the system. You've heard automobile air suspension systems have a dryer that absorbs the moisture? That is true, but keep in mind 2 things. #1) Having a dryer right off the air source is at best only 95% effective. The reason for this is because a rule of thumb when working with pneumatics, is to have the dryer or collector a good 6 feet from the source. This is to allow the hot moisture filled air, time to cool a bit where the dryer can grab it. Not allowing it to cool down a tad makes the whole drying system not as effective, because the moist hot air will blow right past the dryer. Short term(when the vehicle is new), you'll never have this problem, because the new dryer has collected most of the moisture and not enough moisture has collected in the system to cause problems.
#2) The dealer won't tell you this, but because they want you to keep buying air suspension parts and to come line their pockets later on when your out of warranty, but most dryers used on these automobile systems only have a lifespan of 4-5 years. After this time has passed, the dryer pretty much turns into a collection point. In other words, instead of the moisture gel beads inside the dryer collecting the incoming moisture, the moisture is now just collecting in the dryer.....just sitting there. The moisture then plays a see-saw game of going back & forth from inside the lines & air springs - struts & back to the compressor. It makes its way back to the air suspension compressor, because most systems are designed to dry themselves by blowing air that's already in the system, back through the dryer & air suspension compressor. Whats bad about that? What happened to all that moisture that was built up and sitting in the dryer? That's right, it is now being forced....by high air pressure....through the compressor! These air suspension compressor generally have an estimated 40% duty cycle, which is considered light duty in most cases. They are designed from the factory to run bone dry and will be permanently damaged from ANY moisture. What makes these facts even worse? If an air suspension compressor produces moisture normally anyway, what does it do when it has to run 2-10 times more because of a leak in the air springs? Answer: Its going to make 2-10 times more moisture than it would normally! In other words, even if you spend $400-$900(not including labor) for another air suspension compressor, the moisture that has collected in the rest of the system all those years, that's still in there, will quickly attack & overwhelm the new dryer and then damage the replacement air suspension compressor! How long the replacement compressor lasts greatly depends on 2 things: 1) How much it has to run = If the leak(s) in the system was repaired. If the leak(s) were repaired, you may have a chance. If not, the 40% duty cycle air suspension compressor that's made to run 2-10 times more than it was designed, will continue to run constantly until the small plastic parts(all of them have 'em) inside them start to melt. Running constantly is also hard on bearings, armatures and even the $150 solid state air suspension compressor relay.....due to the increased amperage draw from swollen(from moisture) parts(rings) inside. It also can do damage to the air suspension compressor relay connector which is another $50 expense.
2) How much moisture was in the system. Over the years, we've experienced new $500+ factory air suspension compressor damaged to the point of not working at all, in less than 1 months use....due to excessive moisture in the system alone!
Cold Weather: One reason air suspension problems seem to show their ugly heads when it gets cold on air suspension equipped vehicles, is because the rolling lobe type air springs used on these vehicles get harder and less pliable the colder it gets. The rubber air bladder on these air springs are only 2mm thick and can't seal themselves as effectively when the rubber is hard(cold). ANY business selling air suspension parts would make way more money if you stayed with the air, as you will continually buy parts for it. While the air suspension system doesn't produce much moisture in colder weather, the collected moisture in the system does hurt system performance. When the moisture that is in in the dryer drops below freezing, the dryer can easily become a solid block of ice, not allowing ANY air to travel in any direction! This means no load leveling when weight is added, but also not venting the air after the weight is removed! Say you were lucky enough to have the air suspension compressor squeeze enough air pressure past the solid block of ice in your 10+ year old dryer. You take your car and drop someone off. NOW, the system can't relieve all the extra air in the system and you drive around looking like a 4x4. A
Ford Air Suspension Conversion Kit? With Brand Name Premium Coil Springs, there is no difference in ride quality no matter how cold it gets! Recommendation? With all this being said, our recommendation would be to do away with the air suspension system completely and do an
Ford Air Suspension Conversion Kit on your vehicle. Its a simple, straight forward repair and is the ONLY way that you'll be able to rely on this vehicle!