Air Ride Vs Conversion

Lincoln Mark VIII

  1. thecoolmajor

    thecoolmajor LVC Member

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    Hello All,

    I am at a crossroads with my Mark VIII. It has 66k miles on it and in great shape but the front air bags are leaking and need to be replaced or repaired (if that is possible). Although it was difficult to locate them, I found two new ones for $220 each. I really like the air ride but I also know I will have to replace the rears and the pump at some point so more expense to keep it working. I know a Strutmaster Conversion kit is $400 to convert all four bags to springs but that will be all the expense I would have.

    One other thought crossed my mind though - would converting it affect it's resale at some point? Do collectors/Lincoln Mark VIII buffs prefer having the air ride over the conversion or maybe it doesn't matter in the least? Probably personnel preference and maybe most would rather have it removed because it can be a pain. I have it parked and will fix it either way over the winter but wanted opinions.

    Thanks!
    Mike
     
  2. Jim Knight

    Jim Knight Active LVC Member

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    Two gurus I've had the pleasure to deal with are John Temple of Temple Performance, and Bruce Budnick in NH, both talked me out of converting for pretty much the same reason: the ride--You want an air-suspension Lincoln ride, or a Mustang? Resale was also an issue. However, Bill of Super coupe Performance in OH provides an adjustable coil-over conversion kit, that he claims can be adjusted for whatever kind of ride you want.
     
  3. Lownslowlsc

    Lownslowlsc Dedicated LVC Member

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    In your case it may be worth it to get the re-bagged (Westar?) units. If you do decide to go the hassle free route leave the ends of the lines/solonoids/plugs wrapped in plastic and the compressor unplugged to help preserve them.If the next owner is indeed a purist he'll be happy to see that.

    5-6 years ago it was frowned upon to convert, but since the front oem bags are no longer made it's really the only option unless you want used bags or the reman units. That and the whole system can be a huge time and money waster. Been there, done that...As have thousands of others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  4. thecoolmajor

    thecoolmajor LVC Member

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  5. thecoolmajor

    thecoolmajor LVC Member

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    So, would you say the majority of Mark VIII are converted? Probably since the only option is rebuilt air springs and the cost involved. I'll check out the air springs Westin company and see what they get. If I end up converting, I'll take your suggestion of bagging, unplugging, etc. for the next owner if they want to go back to air ride.
     
  6. thecoolmajor

    thecoolmajor LVC Member

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    Jim, I talked with John Temple some years ago I remember him saying that same thing about driving a Mustang (or Thunderbird) if my air suspension broke down. I'll check the Super Coupe Performance as another option. I thought resale is affected by having an air ride system vs not having one. Are you saying it's more desirable to have a working air ride system vs conversion for better resale?
     
  7. Lownslowlsc

    Lownslowlsc Dedicated LVC Member

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    Hard to say. My guess is that the majority of the M8's roaming around at ride height are indeed converted. But again, a guess.

    If your car is in otherwise good shape I don't think it'll matter too much when it comes time to resell it. Lower mileage M8's in good shape are not all that prevalent. As I said above, any enthusiast that buys it may frown upon the coils but should understand why it was done. Let them know that everything is intact and that they can switch it back with relative ease. Now if you had an equivalent m8 on newer oem bags it may bring a bit more money but not enough to offset their cost.

    If you plan on enjoying it for years to come and don't want the hassle of more air ride issues, convert. If you want to keep it all original hoping that it remaining on air will bring a little more money when it comes time to sell it then buy the reman bags or used 20+ year old oem bags. These things don't really demand all that much money in the first place, so.. Your call.

    Me personally? I'd pay less for a M8 on air unless they had receipts showing it has been "maintained".
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  8. BILLBOATS

    BILLBOATS Well-Known LVC Member

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  9. Jim Knight

    Jim Knight Active LVC Member

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    Honestly, I'm too new a MK enthusiast to know what or what doesn't affect resale. I've wanted one for a long time, spent many months looking until I found my rust free 97 Southern Cal MK with 89k miles. But still dumped a ton of $$ into it, and now, for all intents and purposes, it's practically brand new and drives like it is. The air suspension is still good, though had to replace the mounts for the compressor. I expect to keep mine for the duration. Though I've been advised against it, when the air ride does take a shit, I'll probably look at converting more seriously.
     
  10. BILLBOATS

    BILLBOATS Well-Known LVC Member

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    Hi, I too have a 96 mark 8 with the air ride gone. I mean the cars on the frames. I can not get a floor jack underneath the car. Done a lot of research. If you need 2 rear shocks add another 150 to the price. I have mine winterized and car covered for winter. I would like to keep the air ride and will try next year to check the compressor and or replace it. The systems are now 21 years old. A master lincoln tech told me you are better to convert to all springs. If the air ride compressor dosen't help, I likely will buy from Arnott a entire kit as they guarantee it to the orginial purchaser for life(I am not positive) If i was to restore the air, I planned to buy struts, bages, a compressor and new air lines if needed. Complete air restor parts vs air are approximately
    The ride dosen't as a rule go all at one. You will be able to drive it . The message center will alert you to the system needing repair. Just keep and eye on the compressor running too frequently as this is the firsts sign of a leak. Then drive it home and jack it up spraying soap suds with a bottle sprayer over the front air struts, then jack up rear and do same thing. Lo0k for air bubbles. Until then just keep air ride you have. If it ain't broke do not fix it
     
  11. Spree

    Spree Dedicated LVC Member

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    Hello everyone! I haven't spoke in awhile (just lurk'n). I had a 94 MKVIII for 16 years (1994). I replaced everything that went wrong with the air ride. The ride was always perfect after I was done! I loved that car, I loved the air ride!
    If I ever had to do it again...and I will!
    The air ride will be converted to springs! It's just too unpredictable. One day it's fine and the next it's....well you know.
    It's just my input but, MK8's are very old now and it doesn't matter if it has air or springs, no matter the age or condition! They all go for the same price.
    Springs may even be worth a little more to me because of the dependability. Who care if it's original? What matters is....is it dependable?
    I have spent more then double the amount to keep the air ride going when I could have just converted to springs.
    This is just my opinion, no harm done.
    I'm always lurk'n and watch'n :)

    Just in case anyone is wondering, I got rid of it for this and never looked back...:)
    Still stayed with Lincoln tho 20170412_125456.jpg :)
     
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    • 91 LSC SE

      91 LSC SE Well-Known LVC Member

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      I think most are still on air. I wouldn't purchase a M8 on springs.
      Where else can you spend $160 and adjust the ride height to whatever you want at the push of a button.
       
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      • Jaye-One

        Jaye-One LVC Member

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        I went through the whole air ride system twice on my 93 mark, once as a novice Mark owner dealing with Firestone to the sum $2200 in 2008 and again four years later went through all the bags, brain, door sensors etc... Most marks that I ran across in my ten year journey with my MK 8 had been converted. I'm keeping mine forever so I purchased suspension for a 93 Thunderbird in 2012, it bolted right in and she has been dependable ever since. I said one day im going to research an aftermarket air ride system to put back in her, Just because all the custom car TV shows are big on them. But until I decide to do it my mark has a good ride height and she handles really well. SATISFIED.
         
        Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
      • unity

        unity Dedicated LVC Member

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        If you replace any old system there will be an improvement. After all, there is a shock absorber inside that air strut. But the Mark is designed for air ride, nothing else. I myself would have it no other way. As for the system itself, its really incredible simply but people are scared of the unfamiliar. Its literally just four bags, four solenoids and a compressor working with a computer to operate the solenoids. But the problem is all four struts are ONE system, so any single failure point can potentially affect it all and thats what drives people to convert.
         
      • 91 LSC SE

        91 LSC SE Well-Known LVC Member

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        I think LaserSVT said it best see below, I copied his response from post #10 in this thread mark viii muscle car, how is it not??:
        " The OEM Air system lasts for 10+ years. If you bought all OEM stuff after it fails it would cost you $850 and last for another ten years. To swap to coils its $400 for a basic system and closer to $700 to get nice quality parts that offer the same ride compliance as stock. They too will last 10 years before the springs start to sag. What does that extra $150 give you? A little better ride and the cool lowering feature at speeds or when parked. Ill spend an extra $1.25 per month to have that feature.
        Now lets compare that to a car that always had springs. Something cheap and something everyone knows. Lets say a Mustang. Its suspension is good for about 10 years till the springs sag and the dampners are blown. Save some money and go aftermarket. Say maybe an Eibach pro kit at $825. Thats pretty close to the "expensive" air ride parts.
         
      • BILLBOATS

        BILLBOATS Well-Known LVC Member

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        My thought exactly air vs springs complete rebuild is near equal money. For one part only, thats a different picture.
         
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        • 91 LSC SE

          91 LSC SE Well-Known LVC Member

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          And lets be honest, the stock system lasts longer than 10 years. my 98 has all original equipment from what I know. The front does come down a bit if she sits a week and that is it. I also lowered the car 4 years ago and installed a ASHAM 8 a year after I got her.
           
        • PHIL ANDERSON

          PHIL ANDERSON Well-Known LVC Member

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          I sold my 96 some years back but look in occasionally . I converted mine to springs and would have converted it back had I kept it. Get the replacement air struts and look into an aftermarket pump and tank .there is so much air suspension work being done a really trick system shouldn't be too expensive.
           
        • Jaye-One

          Jaye-One LVC Member

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          Is it a bear to run new lines to deliver air to the springs? And where do get level sensors for the Mrk 8, or are they needed?
           
        • unity

          unity Dedicated LVC Member

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          There should be no need to run new lines. I know of no one that would have removed them for conversion, no point in doing so. Even some leave the heigh sensors in place. But if those are missing, you will need all three.
           

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