Anyone know if the Air Ride Suspension can be programmed say to stay at a constant ride height instead of lowering everytime you turn off the vehicle? I see XLT rigs and they all seem to have a much higher ride height than mine does and would like to keep the darn thing from lowering whenever I turn off the ignition.
2002 EB Expedition
Flowmaster Force 40
First off, welcome to FTE! Although I've never heard of such a thing, there may be a chip that could give you total control over the air ride. Otherwise, it uses a whole bevy of sensors and a computer to tune the suspension to whatever you're doing (cruising, offroading, towing, etc.)
The other Expys you see that look higher are equipped with the ordinary suspension (shocks/springs) and the ride is MUCH better in the air-equipped Expys (my brother has a non-air Expy. I like mine much better )
Is there any particular reason you don't want the truck to lower when you turn it off? It sure makes it easier to mount/dismount the truck.
Me personally, I think the ordinary Expeditions look a little too tall - I like the 3" drop on mine.
As far as ground clearence goes, the owner's manual says that the suspension will detect when you're offroading (I'm guessing it's whenever you engage 4WD in conjunction with funky steering movements) and adjust itself for the best ground clearance.
Hmm....I think your best bet would be a computer - reprogram kit (which I'm sure could be made, can't be too different from controlling hydraulics on lowriders). Otherwise you're going to have to trick all those sensors into teling the compressor to raise your truck up.
I would look around for a custom truck shop in your area, somewhere that would have experience with hydraulics/airbags. They should be able to rig something up for you (the ford airbag suspension is pretty much identical to the airbag suspensions you see in all the lowered ricer truck mags - the only issue here is the network of sensors.
Keep in mind, (at least with my '99), my truck is always lower than the regular Expys. I actually compared mine to my brother's - my truck sits a good 2-3" lower than his does.
Hello, I have 98 Navi with the air shocks and from what I have read all 4 wheels have sensors, I have heard of people adjusting these sensors arms to change the ride height. You may want to talk with some of the NAVI guys.
Ok, I got it. First off, huge thanks to Racerguy for the Tech DVD. The ride height *can* be adjusted, but you have to go to the dealer. They keep mentioning a computer known as a "new generation star (NGS) tester". With this computer, the Ford guys can make your truck ride at any height they please.
I'd like to see if I could have a switch put in that would make it ride really high (for snow, etc.) but lower it for cruising...
Looking at the pictures, on the Expeditions, the height sensor is this little shock absorber looking think that connects from the body to the differential. I've seen it several times and always wondered what it was.
Being a self proclaimed Air Bag Specialists (due to lifting my truck and taking apart the air bag assembly), the airbags can be adjusted easily by crawling underneath the back of the truck. The sensor is connected to the middle of the track bar (not the rear diff as was noted earlier). The senser is vertical and connects to the undercarriage. By taking two 14mm wrenches (I think it is a 14) you can adjust the sensor on the track bar all the way to the top and 'trick' the truck into thinking it is loaded, therefore inflating itself to a higher level. Do not worry about over inflating the airbags because the adjustment range is not large enough to put the airbags in any kind of danger. E-mail me and I will send you the appropriate pictures if you are curious. If the height that you are looking for is not acheived by this then let me know, as I have an Extra Fabtech rear lift for the Air bags that will give it the height you will desire. I know the forum is not for selling but I am just trying to help you out.
BTW. The only way to reset the compressor is to disconnect the battery for 6-7 minutes.
Interesting info, Avery. The Ford tech manual basically says to do what you described. The only difference is that the dealers use some sort of computer that seems to monitor the sensor - how necessary it is, I don't know, but judging from what I DO know about this system, coupled up with your info and the tech DVD, I don't foresee any problems arising from moving the sensor around.
Question - if I move the sensor down, will that effectively lower my truck? Additionally, if I move the sensor all the way down, will I be driving around with the bags deflated? Will lowering it affect the handling (by making the suspension floppy since the bags aren't inflated much)?
If you move the sensor all the way down then the truck lowers all the way down until it hits the bump stops on the rear axle. The bump stops protect the airbags from getting crushed under the trucks weight. As it rests on the bump stops you have no suspension and the truck rides like crap. Every time you hit a bump it hurts. This is also part of the precautions ford has taken just in case the system were to fail and you loose air. It is drivable but I would assume it compromises your safety.
You should see the funny bump stops I have on my truck since the lift. Complete crack up. I am going to add a new gallery with picks of my rear end for the guys FYI. The gallery is called Expy Rear Axle LLS w/ Lift. Just click on your left under my name to see picks.
I was thinking about what you said. (The only difference is that the dealers use some sort of computer that seems to monitor the sensor) Maybe they are talking about the sensors for each bag and not the trackbar sensor. With this I am GUESSING that the dealer makes the truck level from right to left by adjusting the air pressure of each bag to make it level. Any thoughts?
Now that I looked into it more, I don't think twiddling with that rear sensor is a very good idea. Not necessarily a bad idea, but not great, either. The manual says that the suspension control module has predetermined settings to adjust the suspension by. The NGS computer allows the user to control the module in realtime (you can deflate the bags, inflate them, change the ride height, etc. right from the computer)
I still think this may be something you want to take to the dealer.
I think that averygenosi has the right idea....you have to fool the sensors. I have never worked much on the air supsension on an Expy but looking at the manual it seems that the NGS is just used to set a "Zero" point for the ride height. You should be able to fool it by adjusting the sensors. As far as I know we cant reprogram the system to change ride height. I dont think there should be any problems with adjusting the sensors. Just make sure you get them all set so the height is even.
So who wants to volunteer their truck as a guinea pig?
Racerguy - on top of that, do you know of a way that I could rig up a switch that would allow me to jack up the suspension (ground clearance for snow, mud, etc.) or lower it (highway cruising, etc.) from the cabin? That would rule.
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