Submitted by BlackiceLSC
Editor’s Note: The big reason for this conversion today is to eliminate the problems that can accompany the stock Lincoln air suspension system. The strut bags will eventually leak and the air pump will eventually fail. The downside to this conversion is that you will lose some of that “cushy” feel when you drive. You will also lose the “lowering” that happens with a stock suspension when you increase speed.
The latest modification I have performed is a complete coil spring conversion to my 1994 Lincoln Mark VIII. I had performed the common "sensor lowering" to my car and exposed a leak in the right front air strut. After close inspection, I discovered that all four of my 10 year old air bags were showing small leaks.
The following information will provide you with a basic description of the modification along with a few pictures of the job. I also decided to install a 1.5 inch lowering kit to achieve the handling and look I desired.
Remove the Stock Lincoln Struts
To remove the Lincoln Mark VIII stock air strut, first I relieved the air strut of air by removing the solenoid. Then I proceeded to un-hook all the air ride hardware. Next, I removed the upper control arm from the knuckle, removed the lower control arm-to-strut bolt, and unbolted the top nuts from the air strut. I was then able to drop the air strut out of the car.
To remove the stock air strut, first I relieved the air strut of air by removing the solenoid. Then I proceeded to un-hook all the air ride hardware. Next, I removed the upper control arm from the knuckle, removed the lower control arm-to-strut bolt, and unbolted the top nuts from the air strut. I was then able to drop the air strut out of the car.
The kit came with both air suspension struts completely assembled with springs. After taking this picture, I completely removed the factory air ride height sensor, and solenoid, and then neatly wire-tied all the wire connections behind the inner fender cover. That way they would be kept safe out of the way of the air suspension components, and they will remain on the vehicle in case I ever decide to re-install new Lincoln factory air suspension components.
The rear part of this job is quite a bit different. The rear air bags are mounted separately from the shock. The air bags are held in place between the lower control arm and the rear carrier. The bottom of the air bag has a 4-point clip-in design, and the top of the bags are held in place by a twist-lock method. You must support the lower control arm with a third-man jack.
Release the air in the rear air bag by removing the solenoid. Then, loosen and remove the lower shock mounting bolt and remove the rear sway bar link pin. Next, press in each of the 4-point clips that hold the bottom of the air bag to the lower control arm. Once each of the clips has been released, slowly lower the control arm until the lower part of the air bag is free from the lower control arm. Next you have to rotate the air bag until the twist lock is free from the carrier frame. Remove the bag from the car.
The next step is to install the rear springs. Each spring should have a flat end where the last 2 coils come together to form a flat surface. This is the TOP of the spring. There is a spring pad included in the kit. The spring pad has a stud sticking out of the top-center of it. This stud is used to center the pad in the top of the old air bag mounting location. The bottom of the spring has a blunt-cut coil end. You MUST line this cut end up in the rectangular cut out in the lower control arm’s air bag cup (where the air bag was mounted). This rectangular cut out is there to ensure you properly match the installation of both rear springs, so the ride height will be equal on both sides.
Raise the third-man jack until the lower shock mount bolt is lined up with the hole location. Keep an eye on the spring to make sure it has not rotated in the spring cup. Install the lower shock bolt, and the rear sway bar link pin. Make sure you have safely removed all of the air suspension components, and wire-tied all the extra wires and lines securely out of the way.
I decided to replace the rear shocks at the same time. I also replaced the rear upper shock mounts. I recommend you do the same if you are installing a coil-spring kit. The ride characteristics are very comparable to the factory air ride with the exception of the SELF LEVELING feature. To obtain the best possible ride from this conversion, I recommend replacing the rear shocks since the front struts are new. I am extremely pleased with the quality of parts in this kit. There are a few different conversion kits available, such as from American Air Suspension.
That’s it. Let the car back down, and be sure to hand-torque your lug nuts back on. I also recommend that you check your tire pressure. That way your test drive will produce true results!
Don’t be surprised if your Lincoln Mark VIII sits a little higher than expected at first. The springs are new, and have yet to support any weight. They will settle within a few hundred miles or normal driving. I also recommend that you have a 4-wheel alignment performed after the air suspension settles. My Lincoln Mark VIII sits exactly 1.5 inches lower than the stock ride height after 250 miles of normal driving.
I recommend this conversion to anyone who has been dissatisfied with the factory air suspension on their 1993 – 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII. Many Lincoln Mark VIII owners love their factory Lincoln Mark VIII air suspension ride, and will never change it. Just be advised that there are options out there. This is one of them, and you will NOT be disappointed!
Lincoln Mark VIII Air Strut Conversion How To Videos:
These 2 videos will help show you how to do your suspension conversion.