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DJF11

2013 F11 Suspension Compressor faulty?

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I've been lurking as a guest since owning my 2013 F11 back in January so I thought I'd better sign up and make it official!

 

The issue I have at the moment is with the rear air suspension, one morning I opened the car and heard the compressor but the back end was sat right down.

Bought 2 new air bags from ebay which an independent mechanic fitted yesterday, he called me to say that one had split but the near side was looking worn but ok.

Unfortunately it has made no difference, he can hear the compressor start but neither side raises. His theory is that the compressor is too weak.

Could this be because it's been overworked trying to fill an airbag that's split?

 

I don't want to pay out for a new compressor if there are sensors to test/replace first.

If I can hear the compressor, could one of the two solenoids be faulty?

Not sure how the compressor should sound but it does sound a bit like it's struggling.

 

Any advice on what to test before I spend more money (on potentially the wrong part), would be gratefully received.

 

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1 hour ago, 535i Andrew said:

Could be a leak in the air lines or a fitting. Needs a good poking about and codes read to see if it's anything else.

 

Cheers Andrew, there are no fault codes - only a warning regarding the chassis telling me to take it to BMW .......

I'll get underneath and have a look around, make sure all the lines are tight and pushed home.

Just wondered if there were any checks to test the sensors before going down the route of buying a new compressor.

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23 hours ago, DJF11 said:

 

Cheers Andrew, there are no fault codes - only a warning regarding the chassis telling me to take it to BMW .......

I'll get underneath and have a look around, make sure all the lines are tight and pushed home.

Just wondered if there were any checks to test the sensors before going down the route of buying a new compressor.

 

If you don't already have it, get a copy of ISTA along with an ENET cable as you can fully test the air suspension and compressor by inflating and deflating the system and setting the ride height. Maybe £20 for the cable and a PM to me will get you links to ISTA. The only sensors are the ride height sensors at each corner of the car. Then there's the solenoid block attached to the compressor.

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21 hours ago, Matthew Ashton said:

 

If you don't already have it, get a copy of ISTA along with an ENET cable as you can fully test the air suspension and compressor by inflating and deflating the system and setting the ride height. Maybe £20 for the cable and a PM to me will get you links to ISTA. The only sensors are the ride height sensors at each corner of the car. Then there's the solenoid block attached to the compressor.

Cheers Matthew thanks for your advice, no I don't have a copy of ISTA so I'll send a pm for that if that's ok. I've looked on ebay for an ENET cable. Being new to this would you say this item is any good?...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-OBD-ENET-Interface-Cable-Latest-E-SYS-ISTA-ICOM-Coding-F-Series/132700920350?hash=item1ee5975a1e%3Ag%3AgLEAAOSwqbVbPP78&LH_PrefLoc=1&_sacat=0&_nkw=BMW+F11+ENET+cable&_from=R40&rt=nc

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11 hours ago, DJF11 said:

Cheers Matthew thanks for your advice, no I don't have a copy of ISTA so I'll send a pm for that if that's ok. I've looked on ebay for an ENET cable. Being new to this would you say this item is any good?...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-OBD-ENET-Interface-Cable-Latest-E-SYS-ISTA-ICOM-Coding-F-Series/132700920350?hash=item1ee5975a1e%3Ag%3AgLEAAOSwqbVbPP78&LH_PrefLoc=1&_sacat=0&_nkw=BMW+F11+ENET+cable&_from=R40&rt=nc

 

When buying ENET cables from eBay, when you receive it, make sure you check the wiring in the OBD plug against the wiring diagram here: http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/applications/core/interface/file/attachment.php?id=91090  as I had previously recommended an eBay cable (not this one) and it had some dodgy soldering that needed tidying up before use. 

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DJF11 , i had exactly the same problem a few months back . Get access to the compressor  and check the output pressure , i had fault codes indicating a valve problem ( check my thread) but it was weak  compressor output 

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20 hours ago, xraySpex said:

DJF11 , i had exactly the same problem a few months back . Get access to the compressor  and check the output pressure , i had fault codes indicating a valve problem ( check my thread) but it was weak  compressor output 

Cheers x-ray, if that's the issue then it's a new compressor I'm guessing?

I enquired about repair kits but was told you need presses etc to remove parts etc. Could be wrong as this was from an eBay seller who mainly sold repair kits for Audi air compressors.

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If you look at the thread (headed Air suspension again)   there is a way to bypass the compressor input using a few jubilee clips a hose and a Schrader  valve , obviously  your ride height is then fixed but it does mean you can use the car . What I found was that when I jacked the car I could slightly indent the bellows with my finger with a new compressor  fitted they were rock solid  . I bought an Aerosus pump from Germany , no dramas replacing it  . Shame you're not local to me we could've had it done in an hour .

Edited by xraySpex
Added info

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1 hour ago, xraySpex said:

If you look at the thread (headed Air suspension again)   there is a way to bypass the compressor input using a few jubilee clips a hose and a Schrader  valve , obviously  your ride height is then fixed but it does mean you can use the car . What I found was that when I jacked the car I could slightly indent the bellows with my finger with a new compressor  fitted they were rock solid  . I bought an Aerosus pump from Germany , no dramas replacing it  . Shame you're not local to me we could've had it done in an hour .

I'll have to try that as I need to use the car for work asap. Where are you based? I'm near Milton Keynes.

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My mechanic just got back to me after I asked if he'd found any fault codes when running a diagnostic check.....

"Hi dave, he came and plugged it in this evening but came back with no fault codes for the rear suspension I'm afraid,so looks like there is a underlying problem with the compressor I'm afraid..."

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I'm South Wales mate so geographically  opposed . I did get some fault codes which seemed to indicate a valve block problem due to the time it was taking to get to the required height level but this would have been down to a lower output  pressure which of course is not monitored

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Just got back from holiday so had a go at bypassing the compressor today.

I noticed that air would only flow into the springs while the compressor was running, if it stopped the pressure built up at the foot pump.

Managed to get the ride height sorted and reconnected the compressor output pipe but later went back out for a drive and as the compressor restarted the suspension dropped again.

Should I have left the output pipe disconnected?

 

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If you manage to get the suspension ride height correct by pumping up, simply remove both the 40A and 5A fuses.  182 and 152 I believe, they are in the back RH wing area accessed from inside the boot.  There is a folded card  showing the correct fuses under the fuse panel, if you pull the cloth face upwards to reveal the fuses. Once up, it will not deflate proving the air bags and pipe work are ok. I drove around for a while like this with no problems.

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On 25/09/2018 at 22:14, Palmbay said:

If you manage to get the suspension ride height correct by pumping up, simply remove both the 40A and 5A fuses.  182 and 152 I believe, they are in the back RH wing area accessed from inside the boot.  There is a folded card  showing the correct fuses under the fuse panel, if you pull the cloth face upwards to reveal the fuses. Once up, it will not deflate proving the air bags and pipe work are ok. I drove around for a while like this with no problems.

Thanks Palmbay, I ended up replacing the compressor but now have further issues.....

 

New compressor gets the car up ok (if a little noisy - this is the item I bought https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/For-BMW-5-Series-F07-F11-F18-Air-Suspension-Pump-Air-Compressor-37206864215/282826716224?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649  )

 

But within a couple of hours it's down again, I noticed that the driver's side goes down before the passenger.

I think the new airbag's thread has been damaged by the last mechanic and is letting pressure out.

Next job is to get myself an ENET cable so I can fully test the air suspension and compressor.

If I don't sort it I'm worried the new compressor will pack up as it's having to pump the bags up every time.

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1 hour ago, DJF11 said:

Thanks Palmbay, I ended up replacing the compressor but now have further issues.....

 

New compressor gets the car up ok (if a little noisy - this is the item I bought https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/For-BMW-5-Series-F07-F11-F18-Air-Suspension-Pump-Air-Compressor-37206864215/282826716224?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649  )

 

But within a couple of hours it's down again, I noticed that the driver's side goes down before the passenger.

I think the new airbag's thread has been damaged by the last mechanic and is letting pressure out.

Next job is to get myself an ENET cable so I can fully test the air suspension and compressor.

If I don't sort it I'm worried the new compressor will pack up as it's having to pump the bags up every time.

So to find out if the airbags are faulty, or it's the compressor side, once at the correct height take the two fuses out as above. If it's a leak on the airbag side, inc hoses etc, it will deflate.  If it's on the compressor side it will retain the ride height.  It could well be the solenoid block at the end of the compressor, cost me about £30 off ebay, but wasn't faulty on mine, it was the compressor.  I stripped the compressor down and didn't really find any reason for it not to work. I suspect it might have just been a worn O Ring on the main compressor body preventing any decent air pressure build up. Don't pull the white filters out of the air drier though as hundreds of dessicant granules fall out! Edited to add: When inflating from flat, I always use a jack to assist in lifting the cars weight, once over a certain height it takes over quite well. I read somewhere that it can damage the compressor if it has to inflate from zero. As it is, it only runs for about 30 secs then switches off to cool down. If you lift it too high on the jack, you will be over the set ride height and the ride sensors will tell the system that there is no need to pump up as the car is high enough already!  I tried taking a ride senor off to test, only one m6 bolt, but be careful as the plastic electric plug retainer breaks very easily and is hard to extract. There are three wires, two of which probably need an electrical current the third will be the resistance change signal output, but I couldn't get it to work, so just put it back on, seems to work ok still!

Edited by Palmbay

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4 minutes ago, Palmbay said:

So to find out if the airbags are faulty, or it's the compressor side, once at the correct height take the two fuses out as above. If it's a leak on the airbag side, inc hoses etc, it will deflate.  If it's on the compressor side it will retain the ride height.  It could well be the solenoid block at the end of the compressor, cost me about £30 off ebay, but wasn't faulty on mine, it was the compressor.  I stripped the compressor down and didn't really find any reason for it not to work. I suspect it might have just been a worn O Ring on the main compressor body preventing any decent air pressure build up. Don't pull the white filters out of the air drier though as hundreds of dessicant granules fall out!

Ok, will try that thanks.

I hope it's not the compressor as that's new.

 

For a while I had completely disconnected the compressor and later on, removed it completely.

I purchased an  'Emergency Airline Kit' from eBay where you bypassed the compressor completely. - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-5-Series-F11-Estate-Air-Suspension-Compressor-Emergency-Kit-37206789450/163135397038?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

The 2 airbag lines connected to a push-fit 'T' block, which then had a Shraeder valve connected so you could inflate the bags. 

Again, this inflated them ok, but over 2/3 hrs the car was on it's arse again.

I'm 99% sure one of the bags is leaking.

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20 minutes ago, DJF11 said:

Ok, will try that thanks.

I hope it's not the compressor as that's new.

 

For a while I had completely disconnected the compressor and later on, removed it completely.

I purchased an  'Emergency Airline Kit' from eBay where you bypassed the compressor completely. - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-5-Series-F11-Estate-Air-Suspension-Compressor-Emergency-Kit-37206789450/163135397038?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

The 2 airbag lines connected to a push-fit 'T' block, which then had a Shraeder valve connected so you could inflate the bags. 

Again, this inflated them ok, but over 2/3 hrs the car was on it's arse again.

I'm 99% sure one of the bags is leaking.

Ah, in which case, if the two pipes are no longer connected to the compressor it sure is the bag side. It could simply be that the pipe hasn't been fully inserted into the air bag and is leaking slowly.  I had a problem as it said on the instructions not to undo the brass connector and to just push the pipe in. That was a load of rubbish as it never fully inserted.  If you, I would chock front wheels then jack the rear end of the car up, after ensuring no air in them at all (undo at your Schrader valve end) and take the airbag out of whatever side is deflating, only a ten min job once the wheel is off, undo the brass pipe connector and just check the red/blue pipe is fully through the brass connector. Be careful though as the collet comes as a complete item but breaks into two. As long as you put them back in, it won't make a difference, just don't lose one!  Put cover sleeve back on the air bag then reinsert pipe and only gently nip up, you could reattach the Schrader valve and pump up to test before doing the other side. Once happy, put airbags back into place and give it a 1/4 twist to lock up. Wheels back on and lower jack sufficiently to enable the ride height sensors to kick in.  If you find and fix the problem, rig the compressor up correctly, again, the two brass connectors only need to be gently nipped up. Mine usually starts to pump once I turn the ignition on, but sometimes I have to start up. The compressor will then take over and lift the car off the jack. Chocks away and good luck!!

 

Edited by Palmbay

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9 minutes ago, Palmbay said:

Ah, in which case, if the two pipes are no longer connected to the compressor it sure is the bag side. It could simply be that the pipe hasn't been fully inserted into the air bag and is leaking slowly.  I had a problem as it said on the instructions not to undo the brass connector and to just push the pipe in. That was a load of rubbish as it never fully inserted.  If you, I would chock front wheels then jack the rear end of the car up, after ensuring no air in them at all (undo at your Schrader valve end) and take the airbag out of whatever side is deflating, only a ten min job once the wheel is off, undo the brass pipe connector and just check the red/blue pipe is fully through the brass connector. Be careful though as the collet comes as a complete item but breaks into two. As long as you put them back in, it won't make a difference, just don't lose one!  Put cover sleeve back on the air bag then reinsert pipe and only gently nip up, you could reattach the Schrader valve and pump up to test before doing the other side. Once happy, put airbags back into place and give it a 1/4 twist to lock up. Wheels back on and lower jack sufficiently to enable the ride height sensors to kick in.  If you find and fix the problem, rig the compressor up correctly, again, the two brass connectors only need to be gently nipped up. Mine usually starts to pump once I turn the ignition on, but sometimes I have to start up. The compressor it will then take over and lift the car of the jack. Chocks away and good luck!!

 

Cheers for your input and advice bud, after I isolated the compressor and the car was sinking I had an idea the 'bags were the culprits.

I'll tackle that next weekend, hopefully it's dry!

 

Out of interest are you based anywhere near Milton Keynes?

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No, I am in Margate, Kent. Good Luck!

Forgot to say, once the airbag is out, but still connected to the air pipe, inflate using the Schrader valve, then use a little washing up liquid on a small paint brush, around the air connectors as this will form bubbles if any air escaping.

 

Edited by Palmbay

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Just now, Palmbay said:

No, I am in Margate, Kent. Good Luck!

 

No worries, was hoping you were closer!

Thanks mate.

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Haven't had a chance to sort this yet but hopefully will be able to in the week.

Where is safe under the rear to put axle stands once jacked up?

I know there are the 2 plastic mouldings just forward of the rear wheel arch that are jacking points but if I jack from there where is best to place the axle stands?

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Normally, under the axle should be safe. For stability I'd go as close to the hubs as possible.

Edited by HandyAndy_UK

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19 minutes ago, HandyAndy_UK said:

Normally, under the axle should be safe. For stability I'd go as close to the hubs as possible.

There isn't an axle though, is there? There's live driveshafts etc. Personally I would jack the car using the rear diff, then place your axle stands under the rear jacking points on either side. I tend to lower the car until it more-or-less sits on the axle stands, but I tend to leave the jack in place as an added security. 

 

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