Ford Expedition Air Suspension Failure? Here's How to Fix It. (2023)

The Ford Expedition of the late 00s and early 10s were celebrated for their responsive and comfortable air suspension systems. However, the lifespan of these systems has proven to be an issue. For starters, like all air suspensions, the lifespan of the Ford Expedition is limited. It is guaranteed to fail at some point.

Signs Your Ford Expedition Air Suspension is Failing

Your Expedition is Sagging in the Rear

Does your Ford Expedition look like it’s crouching down? When a vehicle sags in the rear and maintains its ride height in the front, the problem is almost certainly the air suspension. Like most cars with an air suspension, the rear is the most common point of failure in the Expedition. This is usually caused by degraded air bags.

It Fails the “Bounce Test”

An easy way to get a general idea of your suspension health is to give it the bounce test. To do this, just walk to each corner of your car and push down hard in the bumper. If the car bounces back up and stops moving, that particular corner is fine. If it continues to bounce up and down, you have a problem.

Your Expedition is Leaning to One Side

While the rear is the most common point of failure in an air suspension, it isn’t always where it fails first. Sometimes an air bag can be ruptured or torn from road trauma, like hitting a pothole. This can also happen as a result of some particularly rough road debris. Park your Expedition on a level surface and walk around it to see if it sits evenly. You can use a piece of paper or anything with a right angle to guide you.

YourAir Compressor is Noisy

You should barely, if at all, notice your Expedition’s suspension compressor running. The compressor will run in cycles of just a few seconds. When it is functioning properly it is very quiet. If you are hearing your compressor running loudly, or notice that it’s running for longer than before, that’s a sign that it’s working harder than it should. This can happen for any number of reasons. Sometimes there is a leak in the air bag or air lines, which means the compressor needs to pump more air to inflate the air bags properly. This can also happen if there is a communication error in the computer system somewhere. If you notice your compressor running too loud or too long, it’s time to have the system looked at.

Nose Dive

When the front suspension in your Expedition is weak or soft, the car will lurch forward as it comes to a stop. The faster the car is moving coming into that stop, the more the “nose” of the car will dive down and the rear will pop up. If you’re experiencing a nose dive in your Ford Expedition you are putting a lot of strain on what’s left of your air suspension. Avoiding the problem will only make it worse.

Good Brakes, Poor Stopping Performance

When a car is stopping poorly, the first thing we think to check is the brakes. But what if you’ve just replaced your brake pads and your Expedition is still taking longer than it should to stop? The answer could lie with your suspension. A worn out suspension can take 12% more distance to stop than one with a healthy suspension. That can literally be the difference between life and death. Once you’ve ruled out your brakes as the culprit, check on your air suspension.

(Video) Ford Air Ride Rear Suspension Down Diagnosis & Fix

What Causes Ford Expedition Suspensions to Fail?

Let’s explore some of the reasons why theseFord Expedition air suspensions failas often as they do:

The Ford Expeditions is a Big, Heavy Vehicle

This will surprise absolutely no one. The Ford Expedition is a huge car. That’s probably part of the reason you bought it. While a car as big as the Expedition is very useful for hauling people and things, all that extra size means extra weight. The component charged with carrying all that weight is the air suspension. Weighing in at just under 6,000 pounds, just keeping the Expedition off the ground is a monumental task. Add to that a few people and cargo and you are really asking a lot of your suspension to begin with.

The OEM air suspension in your car supports all this weight by using rubber air bags attached to the struts as opposed to mechanical coils. This flexible rubber is prone to being punctured, torn or simply just rotting out over time. Expect the original suspension on your Expedition to work great until there are signs of trouble. Once those begin, there are a lot more on the way.

Parts That Don't Last

While cars are typically built to last, there are several types of components that just don’t hold up over time.

One of these types is a moving part. Parts that move will rub against other surfaces or themselves. This will eventually cause wear and tear and over time, degrade the component. This is true of almost any part that moves in your car, whether it’s a 360-degree full range of motion or simply just small vibrations over time.

Another type of component that is almost guaranteed to need service or replacement at some point is an electronic component. If you own a computer or even just a smartphone you know how quickly technology changes. The computers of today will look like relics in three years. So imagine how outdated the tiny computers in an older vehicle must be.

(Video) Why The Air Suspension Fails 97-02 Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator And How To Fix It

In addition, electronic components have lots of tiny and fine connections that can slip or weather and wear down easily. The third type of component that will wear out at some point is a component made of flexible materials. An example of this is the airbag.

The airbags in your Expedition are made of a rubber that, while durable, is prone to drying out and cracking. This is especially true if you live in an area that gets very cold or experiences drastic temperature shifts. Unfortunately, the air suspension system in your Expedition features all three of these types of components. This practically ensures eventual failure.

Ford Expedition Air Suspension Failure? Here's How to Fix It. (1)

Air Suspensions Are Complicated and Interconnected

Can you name all the components that make up your Expedition air suspension? If not, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Air suspensions basically work like this:

Aride height sensorinstalled at each corner takes a reading of how high the corner is at the wheel. It then sends that information back to the control module. This module is a little computer that determines how much air needs to be pushed into the airbags.

Then, it sends a signal to a compressor to instruct it on how much air to generate and where to send it. Then the compressor switches on and pushes that compressed air through pneumatic tubes into the air bags. The air bags then inflate to suspend the car at the proper height.

(Video) 2010 Expedition P1726 Check Air Suspension fix

It’s a long process. This cycle happens constantly while the car is in motion. All of those little components need to be working together in perfect harmony for the system to function as intended. As you can guess, the likelihood of any one of them failing at some point is very, very high. Furthermore, once one component fails, the others will work harder to pick up the slack. This will wear out the rest of the air suspension components even faster.

How to Fix Your Ford Expedition Suspension for Good

On top of all of this, perhaps the biggest issue with these air suspensions is cost.

Whilereplacing an airbagor even something major like the compressor might only run a few hundred dollars, your first repair is likely to be followed by more. And soon.

Truthfully, once the repairs start with an air suspension, they don’t really stop. The result is a system that will eventually cost you thousands to replace. On a car that might not have all that much time left overall, that’s not something many people are willing to spend, leaving them in a serious bind.

Fortunately for Expedition owners, there is an alternative to the expensive and complicated air suspension system. You can replace the rear suspension in your Ford Expedition EL with sturdy, dependable coils fora little more than $500.These kits replace the complicated air suspension with simple, robust mechanical spring resistance. No computers, no sensors, no compressors, just simple springs.

So simple are they, in fact, that even an amateur mechanic can install them in as little as one hour per wheel. And you can do so with common tools you probably already have at home.

(Video) Ford Expedition Air Ride Suspension Fix

Recommended Solutions

OrderStrutmasters Suspension Kits

To learn more about repairing your Ford Expedition suspension or to place an order, call 866-684-0528 or (336) 915-2095 for Spanish. You’ll be connected with one of our Suspension Experts who will line you up with exactly what you need and answer any questions you may have.

Don’t wait any longer. Fix your Ford Expedition suspension the right way today!

Our Suspension Experts are standing by ready to take your call and help you get exactly what you need. Just call 866-830-5450 and speak with one of our professionals. They'll be happy to line you up with the right solution for your vehicle and answer any questions you may have.


Can air suspension be repaired? ›

A bad compressor or solenoid must be replaced, but damaged air lines can be repaired by splicing. One of the leading causes of compressor failure is air leaks (usually in the air springs or lines).

How do you turn off the air suspension light on a Ford Expedition? ›

Turn the ignition to the ON position, close all doors and clear warnings. Select the SETUP control function on the message center. Select the AIR SUSPENSION function to display the current status of the air suspension system. Press the RESET control to turn the air suspension OFF or ON.

Can you drive with failed air suspension? ›

If your air suspension fails, you can likely drive to your local Advance Auto Parts, mechanic, or home, but you shouldn't continue to daily drive with the failure. Failed air suspension parts cause negative handling characteristics and it beats up the rest of your vehicle.

Is air suspension expensive to fix? ›

How Much Does it Cost to Fix an Air Suspension? There's no way around it: it costs a lot to fix an air suspension. All of these high-tech components come with high-tech prices. Here are a few average prices from RepairPal for some of your most important air suspension components.

How much does air suspension repair cost? ›

The average cost for an Active Suspension Air Spring Replacement is between $1,525 and $1,640. Labor costs are estimated between $203 and $256 while parts are priced between $1,322 and $1,384.

What causes air suspension failure? ›

Failure of the air suspension tubing connecting the air struts or bags to the air system. Air fitting failure resulting from initial fitting or infrequent use. Compressor burn out due to air leaks in the springs or air struts from the compressor constantly engaging to maintain the proper air pressure.

Can I drive with air suspension light on? ›

Air Suspension Warning Light

The air suspension light means the vehicle's inner computer believes there is abnormal activity. It will most likely appear if the compressor does not provide the amount of air it should. It is not recommended to drive with this light on.

How do you check the air suspension on a Ford Expedition? ›

To detect an air leak on an air strut, inflate the bag and spray the bag with soapy water in a spray bottle. If you see a bubble forming from the liquid, your airbag most likely has a tiny hole causing a small leak.

What happens if suspension fails? ›

If a part of your suspension fails, the vehicle may be more likely to "wander" around instead of tracking in a straight line, or feel loose as you steer. This can be caused by other issues, too, such as poor steering alignment, which is possible on your vehicle even if the suspension is in great shape.

How often does air suspension fail? ›

Air springs normally last 80,000 to 100,000 miles. Over this time, the rubber bladder dries out, and cracks appear around the bottom piston. Compressors usually wear out because of leaky air springs.

Can suspension damage be fixed? ›

Most suspension components consist of forged steel, cast steel or aluminum, and they are not repairable when bent in a collision. In general, for safety concerns, never attempt to straighten a damaged suspension component. Always replace the damaged part with a new one.

How much does it cost to fix suspension on a Ford Expedition? ›

The average cost for a Ford Expedition Suspension Shock or Strut Replacement is between $741 and $799. Labor costs are estimated between $169 and $213 while parts are priced between $572 and $586.

How do I know if my air suspension compressor is bad? ›

One of the most noticeable symptoms of a potential problem with the compressor is abnormal noises during operation. If you hear any sort of abnormal sounds, such as excessively loud clicking, whining, or grinding, then that may be a sign of a problem with the compressor's motor or fan.

How do you diagnose air suspension problems? ›

If the vehicle sags at one corner or side, the easiest way to diagnose the air suspension problem is to put the vehicle on a lift and do a visual inspection of the air struts and springs, the ride height sensors, air lines and connections and the compressor (Figure 5).

How long does it take to replace air suspension? ›

A basic installation of most kits will take a competent shop 8-10 hours. For the most part, the suspension components mount just like their OEM counterparts. It is the compressor/tank/manifold/wiring/air line configuration that can alter the time required to install.

How long does it take to fix a suspension? ›

Suspension repair or replacement can vary depending on what has been damaged and how complex the system is. Replacing a single set of shocks or struts could take between 2-3hours and have you back on the road in no time. It could take even less if it's a spring or shock absorber.

How long does air lift suspension last? ›

Forever! If they are properly installed and maintained, our air springs can last indefinitely. Just check the pressure regularly, or use an on board air system to maintain it for you. Air Lift offers a Lifetime Warranty on all of our air spring kits.

How often should air suspension be serviced? ›

A good rule of thumb is to inspect air springs every 50,000 miles are so, with some suggesting even more often than that. The following are a few ways that air bags can be damaged, which usually consists of holes and tears in the springs.

What is the most common problem in suspension systems? ›

Poor wheel alignment - this can cause damage to your tires and the suspension system, and make it hard to control your vehicle. A symptom of this includes your vehicle pulling to one side while driving. Bad shocks or struts - shocks and struts can break down and leak over time, which can decrease their efficiency.

What does air suspension system fault mean? ›

The air suspension warning light means there is a problem with the air suspension bags, likely due to a leak or inflation issue.

Can you jack up car with air suspension? ›

If not present, the car can be jacked without any precautionary measures. Some systems automatically recognize that the car is jacked and retain the desired amount of pressure in the air springs. Never fully lower the car with the lifting device when the air suspension system is depressurized.

Can you turn off air suspension? ›

Prior to jacking or lifting a vehicle with air suspension, you must turn off the suspension switch. The switch is generally located in the trunk or on the right side of the passenger foot well.

Is there a sensor for air suspension? ›

The main purpose of the ride height sensors for the air suspension system is to provide the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with information on the height position of the vehicle body.

Does air suspension have fluid? ›

This compressor pumps the air into a flexible bellows, usually made from textile-reinforced rubber. Unlike hydropneumatic suspension, which offers many similar features, air suspension does not use pressurized liquid, but pressurized air. The air pressure inflates the bellows, and raises the chassis from the axle.

Does air suspension need maintenance? ›

Air suspension systems require a minimal amount of maintenance that can be performed during routine service intervals.

How do you know if you need new air suspension? ›

You may notice your car bouncing more than usual when your suspension needs to be repaired. Excessive bouncing is caused by worn-out shocks. You'll usually notice your car bouncing when driving over bumps or even tiny dips in the road. You can also perform a bounce test to see if your suspension needs to be repaired.

How much does suspension failure cost? ›

The suspension has many components, and, thus, you can expect the check to be around $1,000-$5,000. However, it's important to be aware of the more costly replacements and procedures: Shock absorber replacement: $200-$1,500. Coil spring replacement: $550-$700.

How serious are suspension issues? ›

You may not think a lot about your car's suspension system, but if it fails, it can quite literally stop you in your tracks. Driving with a broken or worn out suspension system not only puts unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle's tires, but it can put you—and others on the road—at serious risk.

Can suspension affect transmission? ›

The greatest, and generally last effect, of a worn suspension system is damage to your vehicle. This damage can extend to something as simple as a bent drive shaft to something as extensive as bent control arms, sheared tie rods, a busted transmission or a dead differential.

Why wont my air suspension inflate? ›

Lack of system air pressure, during the two minute duration of the inflate signal, is the most common cause of air bags not inflating. Therefore, it is recommended that the coach be started prior to retracting the jacks.

Can you drive a car with damaged suspension? ›

Can you drive a car with a damaged suspension? Sure, but it's not advisable and can cause further damage to your vehicle. If your suspension requires repair, get it fixed as soon as possible. 4 Wheel Parts offers aftermarket and OEM suspension parts from leading brands to help you fix your vehicle quickly and safely.

What happens if you drive with a messed up suspension? ›

A damaged or collapsed spring can cause sagging and noise and affect alignment angles. While you can still drive, the ride will be rough and the car will be difficult to control in an emergency. Plus, bumps could damage other parts of the car.

Is it worth fixing the suspension on a car? ›

Although there are ways to save money by repairing yourself, it's not worth it unless you're an expert on cars. Amateurs attempting a car suspension repair risk bringing further damage to the components. If you don't know what you're doing, you might make costly errors.

What is the life expectancy of a suspension? ›

While the longevity of a suspension system can vary based on many factors, including driving habits or road conditions, it typically lasts for 50,000 to 100,000 miles. For many drivers, it's time to replace the suspension system's shocks or struts after seven or eight years of use.

How many hours does it take to replace suspension? ›

Usually, an intermediate to an expert mechanic can complete the installation process in around 2 hours. If you think you also fall in this category with enough suspension knowledge, it might take you a bit more than about 3 hours, given that you have the essential parts and tools to go through the process.

How many miles should you replace suspension? ›

Experts recommend having your vehicle's shocks and struts inspected every 12,500 miles and replaced every 50,000* miles.

What happens when air compressor goes bad? ›

Without the compressor, your air conditioner absolutely cannot function — which is why AC compressor failure is a huge issue. When your ac compressor fails, less air will come out from the vents, the air coming out could be warm, and the system may continually run without actually cooling your home.

What is the major problem with air suspension? ›

Several of the common issues with air suspension systems that can require repair include: Rust or moisture damage from the inside that can lead to the air struts or bags to malfunction. Failure of the air suspension tubing connecting the air struts or bags to the air system.

How many years does air suspension last? ›

On average, an air suspension part should be replaced between 6 to 10 years or between 90.000 to 160.000 kilometers because the rubber will have dried out. Off-road use also influences how often the replacement should be done. Over this time, the rubber bladder dries out, and cracks appear around the bottom piston.

How much does it cost to fix air suspension compressor? ›

The average cost for a Active Suspension System Air Compressor Replacement is between $1,203 and $1,231 but can vary from car to car.

What causes air suspension to break? ›

Malfunctioning Air Compressor

On top of that, an overworked air compressor results in a failing air suspension kit. If the airbags are punctured or damaged, they can't stay inflated. Because of this, the air compressor continues to pump air into the bags, which can overwork the system and make it fail.

What is the most common air ride leak? ›

Air Lines. Air lines are the most common leaking component on a malfunctioning air ride suspension system. Air lines, in most cases, are run from the trunk or truck bed to each corner of the suspension. This means they can run both inside and outside the vehicle, getting exposed to elements and road grime.

Can you drive with a bad air compressor? ›

It's not a good idea to drive with a broken A/C compressor. While you can sometimes drive your vehicle with a broken A/C compressor without needing expensive repairs, it's not wise. When these integral parts of your car's air conditioning system break, that can cause greater damage to your engine and even your health.

Is it worth replacing air compressor? ›

It's usually not worth replacing the compressor on an AC unit that is more than a decade old. Since the whole system is older, there are likely other parts about to fail and need expensive repairs. In this case, you may be better off replacing the whole unit.


1. Why The Air Suspension Fails On Lincoln Navigator, Ford Expedition And How To Fix It
2. Ford Expedition & Lincoln Navigator Air Ride C1725 Common Faults & Diagnostic Tips
3. 2003+ Ford Expedition & Lincoln Navigator Air Ride Suspension Down Tips
4. Lincoln and Ford air suspension compressor replace. YOU CAN DO THIS
(Florida Coast to Coast Fishing Channel)
5. 2004 Lincoln Navigator Air Suspension Failure (Part 2) "Replacing The Air Strut Solenoid"
(Mountain Views Garage)
6. 2004 Lincoln Navigator Air Suspension Failure (Part 1) " Replacing The Compressor"
(Mountain Views Garage)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated: 08/07/2023

Views: 6286

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.