A Troubleshooting Guide on Ford Crown Victoria Air Suspension Problems

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The Ford Crown Victoria holds a special place in automotive history, known for its classic design and powerful performance. However, before you take the leap into owning this legendary vehicle, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with its potential issues, specifically the notorious air suspension problems that have plagued many owners.

So, what are the common Ford Crown Victoria air suspension problems? According to NHTSA complaints, technical journals, and forum discussions, some air suspension issues in Ford Crown Victoria have been spotlighted. These include failed compressors, airbag leakage, vehicle sagging, suspension warning lights coming on frequently, etc. 

Whether you’re considering it as your next purchase or already have one, understanding these issues can save you from costly repairs down the line. So. let’s dive into these concerns in detail and explore what you should know about the Ford Crown Victoria’s air suspension system.

Ford Crown Victoria Air Suspension Basics

In order to better understand the common issues with Ford Crown Victoria air suspension, it is important to have a basic understanding of how this suspension system works. 

Ford offers optional or standard Air Suspension on various models, including the Town Car, Grand Marquis, Crown Victoria, Continental, Mark VII, Mark VIII, Expedition, and Navigator. This system replaces the coil springs with air springs at all four corners on certain models and only at the rear on others. 

The air spring is a rubber bladder that can raise or lower the vehicle depending on whether it is filled with pressurized air or vented. Each air spring is equipped with a VDM-controlled vent solenoid valve located at the top. This valve has two positions: opened and closed. When opened, it allows air to enter or leave the spring. 

The airflow direction is determined by the air suspension compressor, which delivers pressurized air to the air springs when the vent solenoids are open, thereby raising the vehicle. Conversely, when it’s time to lower the vehicle, a vent solenoid valve in the compressor opens along with those on the air springs to allow air from within them to vent through the compressor and into the atmosphere.

What Causes Air Suspension Issues in Ford Crown Victoria?

Air suspension issues in Ford Crown Victoria can be caused by multiple factors. Below, we have discussed some common causes:

Air Escaping 

One common cause is air leaks within the system, which can occur due to deteriorated or damaged air springs or airlines. These leaks can lead to a loss of air pressure and subsequently affect the suspension’s performance. 

Additionally, worn-out or defective compressor systems may fail to maintain adequate air pressure, resulting in bumpy rides and uneven suspension height.

Electrical Malfunctions

Another potential cause is electrical malfunctions within the air suspension control module. This module plays a crucial role in managing the system’s functions, including maintaining proper ride height and controlling the airflow. If it becomes faulty, it can result in errors or irregularities in the suspension’s operation.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Extreme weather conditions, such as excessive heat or cold, can impact the overall performance of the air suspension system. Extreme temperatures place additional stress on components such as the compressor and seals, potentially leading to failures.


Overloading the vehicle beyond its recommended weight capacity can strain the air springs and other parts of the suspension system. Excessive weight exerts more pressure on these components than they are designed for, eventually causing premature wear and contributing to potential failures.

Symptoms of Air Suspension Problems in Ford Crown Victoria 

Air suspension problems in the Ford Crown Victoria can manifest through a range of symptoms that indicate potential issues with the vehicle’s suspension system. Before you end up with a costly repair bill, keep an eye on the following warning signs:

  • One of the most common symptoms of air suspension issues in air suspension is an unusually rough or bouncy ride, which can be attributed to a leak in the suspension system, causing a loss of air pressure. 
  • Another sign of trouble is the vehicle sagging on one side or sitting noticeably lower than usual. This could indicate a faulty air spring or an issue with the compressor. 
  • Additionally, if the suspension warning light illuminates the dashboard, it should not be ignored as it indicates a problem within the system.
  • A functional air suspension system should maintain a consistent ride height regardless of load or road conditions, so any significant change in height while driving may be indicative of malfunctioning solenoid valves or leaking air lines. 
  • Another symptom to watch out for is excessive noise during operation, such as hissing sounds when the compressor activates or abnormal creaking noises while driving over bumps. These noises suggest possible leaks in hoses or connections, requiring immediate attention to prevent further damage.

5 Common Ford Crown Victoria Air Suspension Problems

Here comes the core of our discussion. Below, we have explained 5 common air suspension issues in Ford Crown Victoria along with potential solutions. 

Rear Air Bags Leakage

Air spring leakage in Ford Crown Victoria has become a prevalent and concerning problem that frequently plagues owners. Although airbags or springs are susceptible to damage or degradation over time, they exhibit unusually high rates of leakage in Crown Victoria. 

If you peruse various forums and technical journals dedicated to automotive discussions, it will become abundantly clear just how widespread this problem is among Crown Victoria owners. 

Countless individuals have voiced their grievances about dealing with persistent air spring leaks. The worst sufferer of this issue is owners with the 2003 Ford Crown Victoria 4dr Sedan model. 

Potential Solution

Although most Crown Victoria owners who encountered the air bag or air spring leakage issue reported having to replace the airbags, we suggest preliminary troubleshooting before shelling out your money on replacement. 

  • To start resolving this matter, first identify the specific location of the leak through careful inspection. For this, mix a small amount of dish soap with water to create a soapy solution in a spray bottle.
  • Proceed by spraying this solution onto the outer surface of each air bag, observing closely for any signs of bubbles or foam formation. These indicate potential leaks in the airbags.
  • Pay close attention to areas such as seams, valves, and connections where leakage is more likely to occur. Take note of any specific locations where bubbles appear consistently or grow larger.
  • Once identified, thoroughly clean the affected area to ensure accurate assessment and effective repair. 
  • Depending on the severity of the leakage, fixing it may involve using sealants or patch kits specifically designed for air springs. In more extreme cases, you must replace the entire air spring assembly.

Air Compressor Failure

Air compressor failure is a significant and distressing problem that plagues many Ford Crown Victoria owners. This unfortunate reality has compelled numerous individuals to shell out money for an entirely new air compressor unit. Undeniably, the gravity of this issue cannot be overstated. 

Owners have reported hearing their compressors running constantly, serving as a clear warning sign of potential failure.

Potential Solution:

Before you spend a significant amount of money on air compressor replacement, troubleshooting can be a wise step in accurately diagnosing and resolving the issue. In that case, you can follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Begin by inspecting the suspension system visually to identify any obvious signs of damage or leaks. Examine the compressor for loose connections, damaged wires, or worn-out components that may require replacement.
  • Next, test the power supply to ensure the compressor is receiving adequate voltage. With a multimeter, check both the battery terminals and wiring connections related to the compressor to determine if any electrical issues are present.
  • After examining the power supply, assess the functionality of the compressor itself. Start by testing its ability to pump and compress air effectively. You can achieve this by temporarily disconnecting it from the suspension system and providing it with direct power. 
  • Observe whether it runs smoothly without overheating or producing excessive noise.

Air Suspension Warning Light Keeps Coming

Many Crown Victoria owners have frequently reported an ongoing problem with their air suspension warning light continuously illuminating with a ‘Check Air Suspension’ warning message. The light itself does not provide specific error codes, leaving owners puzzled about the root cause. 

However, common triggers for this occurrence often include leakage in the air springs or airlines. Additionally, owners have observed instances where the compressor fails to activate or the compressor relay malfunctions. Other potential culprits are height sensor malfunctions and solenoid issues. 

Potential Solution:

To address this persistent concern, a thorough troubleshooting approach is advisable by expert technicians from Ford dealers or any third-party skilled mechanic. However, if you’re confident enough to perform a DIY troubleshooting, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Begin by inspecting all air springs and airlines for any signs of leakage or damage.
  • Ensure that the compressor is receiving power and functioning correctly.
  • Examine the compressor relay located in the fuse box under the hood. It is essential to ensure proper connection and functionality, as a faulty relay can prevent the compressor from operating correctly.
  • Test all height sensors to ensure they are working properly. Ensure that the height sensors are free from debris or obstructions that may affect their accuracy. Clean them carefully using a mild detergent solution if needed.
  • Inspect and test each solenoid within the system for any defects or malfunctions.
  • Resetting the electronic control module (ECM) may also help in some cases.
  • If none of these steps solve the problem, consulting a professional mechanic specializing in Ford air suspension would be advisable.

Vehicle Sags Too Low

Many Ford Crown Victoria owners have been discussing a concerning issue with vehicle air suspensions. They have noticed that it sags too low, causing the vehicle almost to touch the ground. This problem has become so prevalent that numerous complaints have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Leaking air is commonly identified as the main culprit behind this issue. However, it’s important to note that a malfunctioning height sensor has also been highlighted as a potential cause of this problem. 

Potential Solution:

To address this troublesome situation, several troubleshooting steps can be taken. These are as follows:

  • As always, you must first visually inspect the air suspension components and thoroughly examine them for any signs of leaks or damage. Pay close attention to the air springs, connectors, and lines, as these are common areas for potential leaks.
  • Next, check the condition of the height sensor. Inspect its wiring connections for any loose or damaged wires that may interfere with its functionality. Additionally, ensure that the sensor moves freely without obstructions or resistance.
  • If no issues are identified during visual inspections, performing an active leak test becomes necessary. This involves pressurizing the system and closely monitoring for any audible hissing sounds or observing ride height changes over time.
  • Sometimes, a diagnostic scan tool specific to Ford vehicles can retrieve error codes related to the air suspension system. These codes can provide valuable insights into potential malfunctions and guide further troubleshooting efforts.
  • If all else fails in resolving the problem, seeking assistance from a trained automotive technician or contacting your local Ford dealership’s service department is highly recommended. 

Bad Air Compressor Wiring Harness 

Many Ford Crown Victoria owners have experienced issues with the wiring harness connected to the air suspension compressor. This air suspension issue can be related to the previously mentioned compressor failure issue. 

But, it seems the wiring harness connecting to the air compressor in Ford air suspension is much more problematic and should be discussed separately. Owners experiencing this problem reported various symptoms, such as intermittent or complete loss of air suspension functionality. 

The wires in the harness can become frayed, exposing them to potential damage from rubbing against other components or elements like moisture and dirt. This ultimately results in electrical shorts and disconnections.

Potential Fix:

In most cases, visual inspection reveals bad wiring harness in Ford air suspension. However, if you’re hesitant whether the wiring harness is faulty, we recommend the following steps:

  • Closely inspect the physical condition of the wiring harness itself. Look for any signs of fraying, damage, or exposed wires. Corroded or discolored connectors can also suggest an issue within the harness.
  • Perform a visual inspection of the connections between the wiring harness and the air compressor. Ensure these connections are secure and that no pins appear bent or broken.
  • Using a multimeter set to continuity mode, test each wire within the harness for electrical conductivity. If any wire fails this test and does not transmit an electric current, it may be an indication of a damaged or broken wire.
  • Another effective method is to perform a physical wiggle test on the wiring harness while observing for any fluctuation in the power supply to the air compressor. This helps identify if there’s an intermittent connection problem caused by loose or faulty wiring.

Final Words

The Ford Crown Victoria may be an iconic and reliable vehicle, but it has its fair share of air suspension problems. From leaks and compressor failures to electrical issues and costly repairs, owning this vehicle might require significant time and money. 

Before making a purchase, inspecting the air suspension system or considering alternative options thoroughly is essential. Additionally, regular maintenance and proper care can help mitigate these problems. So, if you are considering buying a Ford Crown Victoria, be aware of the potential air suspension issues that may arise and proceed with caution. 

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