How to Reset a Lincoln Town Car’s Air Suspension – A Comprehensive Guide

An Overview of the Lincoln Town Car’s Advanced Air Suspension System

The Lincoln Town Car is a prestigious full-size luxury sedan that was manufactured by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from 1981 to 2011. Many models of the Town Car came equipped with an advanced air suspension system that provided a smooth, comfortable ride. However, like any complex automotive system, the air suspension is prone to occasional issues and may require resetting to restore proper functionality.

Resetting the air suspension on a Lincoln Town Car can often resolve problems and get the system working again. This comprehensive guide will provide a complete overview of the Town Car’s air suspension, explain the reasons it may need resetting, detail the step-by-step process for completing a reset, and offer additional troubleshooting tips. With the information in this guide, Town Car owners will have the knowledge to get their vehicle’s air suspension functioning correctly again.

A Brief History of the Lincoln Town Car

  • The Town Car nameplate first appeared in 1981 as a model trim of the Continental. It became its own distinct Lincoln line in 1990.
  • The Town Car was Lincoln’s flagship luxury sedan throughout its production run from 1981 to 2011.
  • It was popular as a premium private vehicle, executive car, and limousine.
  • The Town Car was known for its conservative, traditional American luxury styling.
  • It offered a comfortable, quiet ride with luxury features like leather upholstery and wood trim.

Overview of the Air Suspension System

  • Higher trim Town Car models came equipped with an advanced air suspension system starting in 1989.
  • The system uses electronically controlled air springs instead of conventional coil springs.
  • Sensors monitor vehicle load and ride height, automatically adjusting the air pressure in the springs to maintain a constant, level ride.
  • The system provides benefits like a smoother ride, better handling, and the ability to adjust ride height.
  • Components include air springs, air struts, an air compressor, solenoids, control modules, and height sensors.

Benefits of Air Suspension

The Lincoln Town Car’s air suspension system provides some key advantages over a traditional steel coil spring suspension:

  • Smoother, Comfortable Ride – The air springs isolate the cabin from imperfections in the road for a supremely comfortable, floating ride.
  • Better Handling – The air suspension allows for variable spring rates and ride heights for improved control and handling.
  • Maintains Level Ride Height – The system automatically maintains a consistent ride height regardless of loading or passenger weight.
  • Adjustable Ride Height – The Town Car’s air suspension can be raised or lowered to accommodate different conditions.
  • Improved Entry/Exit – The vehicle can be lowered for easier passenger entry and exit.

When the Air Suspension May Need Resetting

There are a few common instances when the air suspension on a Lincoln Town Car may need to be reset to restore proper operation:

  • After the vehicle is lifted or jacked up for service, which can confuse the ride height sensors.
  • If the air suspension is not inflating or exhibiting abnormal ride heights.
  • When the air suspension system is disabled for an extended time.
  • Following air spring or air strut replacement.
  • If the air suspension warning light appears on the dashboard.
  • When converting from air suspension back to conventional springs.

Step-by-Step Guide to Resetting the Air Suspension

Resetting the air suspension on a Lincoln Town Car is a straightforward process that can be performed in a matter of minutes. Here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Turn the Ignition On, Engine Off

  • Turn the key to the “On” or “Run” position without starting the engine. This powers up the air suspension system.

2. Locate the Air Suspension Switch

  • Open the trunk and locate the air suspension switch, usually found on the driver’s side.
  • It may be under a trim panel. Consult the owner’s manual for exact location.

3. Turn Air Suspension Switch Off

  • Actuate the switch to the “Off” position to disable the air suspension system.

4. Wait at Least 3 Minutes

  • Wait at least 3 minutes with the switch in the Off position before continuing. This allows the system to fully decompress.

5. Turn Air Suspension Switch On

  • Flip the switch back to the “On” or “Auto” position to reactivate the system.

6. Close Trunk

  • Close the trunk once the reset procedure is complete.

7. Start Engine and Let Idle

  • With the ignition still on, start the engine and let it idle for 2-3 minutes.
  • This allows the compressor time to re-inflate the air springs.

8. Perform Test Drive

  • Take the vehicle for a short test drive, making 90 degree left and right turns.
  • This allows the suspension to calibrate and ensure normal operation.

9. Verify Correct Operation

  • Visually inspect the vehicle to confirm ride height is normal.
  • The air suspension warning light should be off if reset was successful.

And that’s it! With these simple steps, the air suspension on a Lincoln Town Car can be fully reset to restore proper functionality.

Additional Troubleshooting Tips

If resetting the air suspension does not resolve the issues, here are some additional troubleshooting steps:

  • Inspect for Leaks – Visually check the air springs and struts. Listen for any hissing sounds indicating a leak. Seal any leaks found.
  • Check Fuses – Inspect the fuses for the air suspension compressor and control circuits. Replace any blown fuses.
  • Scan for Diagnostic Codes – A scan tool can read any stored diagnostic trouble codes pointing to issues. Address any codes found.
  • Test Air Compressor – Determine if the compressor is turning on and building adequate air pressure. If not, repair or replace it.
  • Inspect and Replace Parts – Thoroughly inspect the entire system. Replace any leaking, damaged, or worn components like air springs, struts, solenoids, sensors, etc.
  • Service Air Suspension – If issues persist, have the entire air ride system serviced by a professional Lincoln mechanic.

Converting from Air Suspension to Conventional Springs

Some Lincoln Town Car owners choose to convert their air suspension to a traditional steel coil spring suspension. Reasons include:

  • Avoiding expensive air suspension issues and repairs
  • Improving reliability
  • Slightly improved handling

Here is a brief overview of the conversion process:

  • Coil spring conversion kits are available from companies like Arnott, RideTech, and KYB.
  • Kits include replacement coil springs, struts, shock absorbers, brackets, and all hardware.
  • Expect a cost of $1000-$2000 for a full conversion kit and professional installation.
  • A qualified mechanic can install the kit and make all necessary adjustments.
  • Air suspension components are removed and replaced with the new coil spring assembly.
  • The ride height sensor and warning lights may need disabling.

Once converted to coil springs, the air suspension system can simply be ignored. It no longer needs to be reset or serviced in any way. Most Town Car owners report a small improvement in ride and handling after converting to springs. While no longer maintaining the benefits of air suspension, a coil spring conversion eliminates its headaches and repairs.

Conclusion and Next Steps

With proper maintenance and care, the Lincoln Town Car’s air ride system provides a comfortable, quality ride. But like any complex system, it can exhibit issues with age and wear. By following the step-by-step resetting procedure outlined, Town Car owners can often resolve air suspension problems themselves and avoid a trip to the repair shop. With the air suspension functioning correctly again, owners can continue enjoying their Lincoln.

For readers experiencing ongoing air suspension problems, be sure to thoroughly troubleshoot the system, inspect components, check for leaks, and replace any worn parts. Consider having your Town Car’s entire air ride system evaluated and serviced by a knowledgeable luxury mechanic. Converting to coil springs is also an option to improve reliability. With the helpful information in this guide, you can keep your Lincoln Town Car gliding down the road comfortably on a cushion of air.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Lincoln Town Car’s air suspension uses air springs and an automatic leveling system to provide a smooth, comfortable ride.
  • Common reasons to reset the air suspension include lifting the vehicle, abnormal ride height, extended disablement, or replacing components.
  • Resetting is straightforward – disable the system for 3+ minutes then reactivate to recalibrate.
  • If issues persist after resetting, inspect for leaks, check fuses, scan for codes, test components, and replace parts as needed.
  • Converting to traditional coil springs will eliminate air suspension issues but lose certain benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some signs my Town Car’s air suspension needs service?

Some common signs include uneven or abnormal ride height, “bottoming out”, increased body roll, squeaking or clunking noises, the air suspension warning light, and any air leaks. Have the system inspected right away if exhibiting these symptoms.

Does resetting the air suspension delete fault codes?

No, the reset procedure does not clear any diagnostic trouble codes. A scan tool is needed to clear air suspension fault codes after making any repairs.

Can I disable the air suspension temporarily?

Yes, the air suspension can be disabled for a short time by turning the in-trunk switch to Off. Avoid leaving it disabled for more than a day or two though.

How often should the air suspension be serviced?

Lincoln recommends inspecting the entire air ride system at least once per year. Replace any worn components and address leaks promptly. Regular service will maximize longevity.

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