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Help! Touring suspension failed suddenly and i’m On holiday!!!

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Hi all, 

 

towedour caravan down to Wells in Somerset yesterday. The tow Dow was absolutely fine. Pulled up outside the campsite office to book in. Went back to the car and the rear suspension won’t raise. It doesn’t even fire. 

 

I have recently replaced the control module and when I unplug and plug this back in the compressor twitches but won’t run so I assume that working. I brushed the relay and made the compressor run but it won’t pump up the car. 

 

I have limited tools and the ground is not appropriate for jacking with the factory supplied jack. My question is if I can bridge the relay and make the compressor run, why isn’t it pumping up at all. Does this indicate a bag has gone? I haven not identify an airleak whilst yhe compresoor is running.

 

any help would be much appreciated. 

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More information is required:

What do you mean "rear suspension won't rise"? Is the car currently at its lowest setting or simply lower than normal?

Is it both sides or just one?

From what you say, it took the time you were booking in (5 minutes?) to go from normal height to a lower height, is this correct?

Edited by grapefruit

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Correct, we where towing a caravan and based on the tow I believe the suspension was functioning until we arrived at the campsite. After being g switched off for 5-10mins both sides have sunk completely. As we pulled into our pitch I scraped every speed bump along the way non of which where particularly high so the car is as low as it will drop in both sides. 

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Hi, 

No caravan detached. It’s not doing anything and as I said when I bridged the relay the compressor ran but had no affect on the height of the car. 

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If they've both dropped then it won't be an airbag.

Check the 2 fuses (30amp and 7.5 amp). When you replace the 7.5amp, you should hear the relay 'click' on.

One problem I have with my car is that the solenoids stick when it's cold, meaning the compressor doesn't work. The way I solve it is to lift the compressor about 4" and let it drop; this tends to free it enough to work. If it doesn't, I have to undo the 'lids' of the solenoid slightly.

kompressor-wabco-2.jpg
 

The 2 silver cylinders are the solenoids.

  1. For safety, pull the fuses
  2. Undo the four screws slightly (if there's air in the system, it'll escape when you break the seal, and the car will drop)
    2a The screwdriver in the boot-flap tool-kit fits.
  3. Take the 'lids' off completely to check the condition of the insides (take care that nothing falls out).
  4. Reseal, replace the fuses and it should fire up.

(I've been told that if the car has dropped too far, the system will think there's a problem and the pump won't switch on, so you may have to lift the car up somehow - jacks or maybe just grab the wheel arches and lift.)

If nothing happens, the solenoids are the place where the air flow splits. Because both sides have dropped, it makes sense that any leaks are before the solenoids, unless you're very unlucky and both bags have gone at the same time.

Obviously, none of the above will exlain why it dropped in the first place, but it may help get you going again.

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You posted as I was writing the above.
 
In light of the new evidence, you might want to check the pressure release valve. Try some soapy water around the white cap:

F5DAMGXHTJP9WHM.LARGE.jpg

 

If you do take it apart, be aware that behind the cap are 2 springs and, below them, the valve itself, which is the size and shape of a 5p piece. When you undo it, the springs will try to shoot the white cap, and the valve, into the atmosphere, so secure it as you twist. I used a tea-towel (the second time. :( )
Notes:

  1. the valve has 2 sides, one rubber, one metal. Note which way is up before you remove it.
  2. If you look closely at where the cap locks, there are 2 'levels' - twisting it on one way creates a more secure seal than the other. Again, note which way it is before you remove it.
  3. Replacing that cap is a pain. A ring-spanner to apply pressure, and another pair of hands to turn the allen key, helps.

    Incidentally, I've been through this myself recently.

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When the car drops too low the levelling sensors on the rear suspension don't get a correct reading and the compressor will not come on.

 

Raise the rear a little with the standard jack you have in the boot. (under the diff if you can reach) Then turn the ignition and the compressor will most likely come on and raise the car.

 

Also check the arms on the SLS sensors like Dan mentioned above.

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Went out to it yesterday to get something. Unlocked it and it sprang into life. It aised itself to normal ride height. Went out to it again a few minutes later, opened the door and it raised itself again this time as far as it’s able to. It now looks like a monster truck at the back. It has maintained its altitude and every time it’s unlocked the compressorsruns for a minute or so. I guess this would suggest the ride height sensors have had it. 

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You probably want to do something about that because unless your bags are in nice new condition, them being jacked up to their absolute maximum is a recipe for them going pop :(

 

Assuming you have some tools with you, it would be possible to crack the air line for each one to at least deflate them to a more sensible height in the meantime and you could pull the fuse to the SLS to stop it doing anything stupid in the interim? 

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You can buy an emergency kit on eBay that connects the bags to a tyre valve so you can pump them up, reading this reminds me I need to get one!

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I had a similar problem last year, ended up being the right side level sensor but it was the wires going into the sensor had corroded, one minute it was on its backside next it was up in the air

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Is the car fully raised at the moment? If yes, pull the fuse and manually release each airbag until it drops to approx. where it should be. There is no indication you have a leak, so it should be getting you though the holiday.

 

If it's on the ground, have a poke at the sensors etc., maybe you can get it going again. If not, I'm imagining you can bypass the controller and manually give 12v to the solenoids and 12v to the pump, but maybe not the easiest thing when you're on the road.

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Thanks to all for your responses. I’m home now so thought i’d update a little. 

 

I have discovered that the black plastic joiner block wherethe air lines join just outside of the compressor housing had a stripped thread and it was allowing air to leak out depending on the pressure applied to the lines. Whilst this may prove to have nothing to do with what I experienced it is never the less faulty. I had a spare compressor with the black plastic bit attached so i’ve Swapped that out. The bags hold air and will hold air for days on end but the car still try’s to pump itself up to the maximum height. I have removed the fuse for now in order to stop it pumping itself up to the maximum height. Planning to investigate the load sensors tomorrow. 

 

On the basis they are both doing doing the same thing I wonder if the fellow above saying they could be stuck is right. When hitching yo the caravan it may have pumped itself up to a part of the travel the sensors haven’t experienced in some time.

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