air ride problems--convert to spring? Yes/No?

arizona

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HI, my car very intermittently gives the error "check air ride system". When this happens, the drivers side rear starts to sag. It will sag about 3-4" lower than the passenger rear. I have had the entire system checked by dealer for leaks, no leaks. THey say "one sensor", so if it were bad both sides would sag. I am really frustrated as I am positive there has to be a leak somewhere.

To rectify, I just turn car off, restart, and it works fine for the next 2-90 minutes, then "check air ride system" pops up again. This is a 93 with 61K miles, and I am seriously thinking about just converting it to "non air". Can anyone give me suggestions or plus/minus for converting? would you keep the air ride intact and fix it or would you convert. Why? Why not? I am new--only had the car a short time but I love it and am amazed at the number of clubs, forums and so on that are available. Its awesome. This being one of the better ones and the only one I have joined. Thanks!!
 

chris2523

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check those rear bags for cracks along the rolled edge of the bags in the rear. if you see cracks, replace them before your pump burns up cuz the crack leaks.

sounds like the driver side rear bag has a leak.
 

ford nut

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Here is where to go for all your air ride needs and help.

http://www.americanairsuspension.com/MARK VIII AREA.htm

+1

When its up and level, shut off your air ride switch in the trunk.
See if it stays up.
If no, your rear is leaking.
According to Eddies web site odds are one bag is leaking faster then the other.

Rear bags are easy to do.
I think your compressor is timing out.
If you don't fix it soon the compressor will next to be replaced.

Coils are OK if you go with a good kit, I have had both.

I would put some time into the air ride before I gave up on it.

How about some pis of your car?
 

AndyT

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I ended up converting to a StrutMasters kit I got for a decent price on eBay. Rides pretty good....
 

AndyT

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I drove my car on air, before it started to crap out, and when I was visiting my family in Florida (Jamie) I drove his wife's (his) 98 LSC on air all week. Then when I got home, I converted mine to springs. Maybe I just haven't been driving these cars long enough, but I really couldn't tell.
 

NYCoffee

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I ran on both. With a good spring setup you really cannot tell the difference. Except during fill up of air. With air you do have more parts to go bad though. You have to stay on top of things.
 

1LoudLS

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i had a set of arnott coils on (long before i found a place like this to warn me), and boy did it feel like sh!t. bouncy, loose, and a ton of body roll. so if you go to springs, get a quality set up and leave the rest of the air ride equipment alone, and in good shape, so you can go back if you decide to.
 

AndyT

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If you do decide to go with coils, stay away from Arnott. Yes, they may be cheaper then StrutMasters, but you get what you pay for! I have a StrutMasters kit in my 98 LSC with new rear shocks and mounts, and I think it rides awesome!
 

George Eisenhart

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I have 4 marks 3 with air one with strutmasters lowering set of springs.I love the way it looks but the ride and handiling is very disapointing. The rear isn't bad ,the front is way too soft much like a car with bad shocks,it also hits bottom alot thus the tires hit the upper inner wheelwells rather hard.no help from strutmasters they listen and say they will call back with a soultion. so far just hot air. I say work with the air system if you can.George Eisenhart
 

AndyT

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I have only worked with a stock ride height StrutMasters kit, and have had no issues whatsoever thus far.
 

billcu

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I bought my 97 with the lowered spring kit.

I'm converting it back to air.:D
 

thaywood

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It's all a matter of preference. I prefer the "feel" of the air ride. Sure, there's a lot to keep up with and a lot more parts that can go bad. But I like the ride and the load leveling and the fact that with a little effort, I can change the ride height any time I want to. And, even though the air ride can be a PITA to troubleshoot and expensive to repair, it's the single easiest suspension to work on I've ever experienced. I can have the front air shocks replaced and driveable in less than one hour. It's such a pie job it should be against the law to charge money for the labor:D. And for those with the soft, mushy aftermarket front coil-over conversions, you can also use Thunderbird or Cougar front coil-over shocks. If I'm not mistaken, they're direct bolt-in's. But you can't compress the shock to get it over the UCA, so the lower ball joint will probably have to be disconnected to install them. I've never had to do it but that looks like what will have to be done. Anyway, air or coil, to each his/her own:)
 

unity

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The system lasted this long. If you toss in new parts, you will likely have sold the car before they are a problem again. Since the rear bags are cheap, you could replace one or both. Then your out about $200. If the rest of the system starts to go and $ is an issue, you could easily sell the rears here for about $100 and convert to springs.

I had the cash to buy two new 97/98 OEM Ford fronts with two new arrnott rears. Those with a compressor from Eddie meant 0 problems for as long as I had the car, which was only a couple more years anyway.
 

Lownslowlsc

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I have 4 marks 3 with air one with strutmasters lowering set of springs.I love the way it looks but the ride and handiling is very disapointing. The rear isn't bad ,the front is way too soft much like a car with bad shocks,it also hits bottom alot thus the tires hit the upper inner wheelwells rather hard.no help from strutmasters they listen and say they will call back with a soultion. so far just hot air. I say work with the air system if you can.George Eisenhart

I cant stress this enough. Next spring I plan on putting Tokicos all around. I had to modify both front wheel fender linings so that they would stop breaking/bottoming out, ok, well it only broke one time but modding them kept down the noise. It's often annoying and emberrasing going over dips in the road.

If I dont pony up and get them i'll prob just get a new front standard height kit as I already have the rear reg height springs. It's my dd now so the sloppy lowered kit has got to get new hp shocks or its gone next year.
 

JRMARK8

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YES,YES and YES Get Strutmasters and "Forgetaboutit" but if you want the AIR RIDE HEADACHE sure its your choice.
 

thaywood

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Just my opinion, but the air ride isn't a "headache". In fact, it's realatively easy to maintain and diagnose. I much prefer the air ride. And the air ride is what makes the Mark VIII unique. Now, if the car was available with optional coil suspension, then it wouldn't be such a big deal. But anyway, you like coils, I like air. Matter of preference. If I had my way, every vehicle I own would have air ride. I love it!
 

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