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1997 Town Car Air Ride Issues

Hi Bill -

I'm reaching out once again to Lincoln Land since I had so much luck with getting a new intake manifold from you guys in the past. Hoping you can help with the always present air suspension problems. The "check suspension" dash light on my 1997 Town Car (70,000) is on. I've been conversing with Lincolns On Line but wondering if you can offer an opinion as back up?. The car has been to two different dealers. First said I needed a new control module at a cost of $500 (parts/labor). Second dealer said module was ok but that I needed a new height sensor (same replacement cost of $500). Seems all the dealers know is getting customers to part with a minimum of $500. I paid my diagnostic fee at both dealers and left.

So, I've installed "salvage" control modules and height sensors myself since they don't require tools and take only seconds/minutes to do. The donor vehicles were checked to make sure their air shocks were holding air before removing. I've checked all fuses, relays, door courtesy lights, compressor, and shut off switch in trunk (to make sure its on). Everything seem to be working when being tested. Second dealer connected to the test port in the trunk to diagnose. They said the only problem the diagnose test brought up was an intermittent code 68 (the height sensor) however, they still kept getting a intermittent clear on the test device but not clearing on the dash warning light. Have installed two different salvage height sensors. These are so simple I don't know how they could go bad without corrosion. The original height sensor in my car (from new) was cleaner than most 3 year old cars (its 14 years old). I live on the west coast so the weather is very mild....salt air can be a problem with surface corrosion (the rear axle shows this) but my car is kept extremely clean (top/bottom and inside) all the time.

Don't know what I'm missing. Don't know if you are familiar with Dereck at Lincolns On Line but he also helped me with an A/C problem involving the bad soldering points on my EATC unit. This was after 3 different mechanics charged me $1K for diagnostics/repairs I didn't need and still didn't have working A/C! Turned out to be the simple solder connection! Anyway, I'm grasping for help from everyone. I have health issues so I'm limited on sight/strength but want to try and fix as much by myself as possible.

Are there any well know quirks that I'm missing here by chance? With all the major components and fuse/relays checked and no visible damaged wiring I don't know where to go.

Thanks so much for any help!




Hello Bob -

These electronically controlled devices are sure nice to have and most of them work real well for years but as time goes by and the vehicles go out of warranty and newer models appear the chances of an easy inexpensive repair to them evaporates.

As far as your issue is concerned, you seemed to have replaced the major items (some of them twice) as suggested by some of the mechanics. You do not state if the "check suspension" light is on at all times or if the system works sometime or if it ever worked for you. In any case because of the nature of your experience we at Lincoln Land would need to approach the problem by trying to pull the diagnostic codes as per the Shop Manual as you indicate has already been done in your location. Experience in repairing this system is a real plus for an accurate diagnosis. The technician that works on it now after your ordeal with the problem should keep in mind that a certain Code may not mean that the indicated coded part is faulty but that a bad connection on an electrical pin within a multi connector that services the coded part may be the culprit here. Intermittent electrical connections at ANY critical point could possibly trigger the warning light to illuminate. An issue such as you describe can be a real challenge to the best of mechanics. I hope that the above information helps to lead you or your technician to the correct and final repair for your problem.