: Autolevel/Level Ride

08-27-11, 06:35 AM
So what's the deal with this tomfoolery?

Mine does nothing (Naturally) But I have the autolevel compressor (How do I test it)

What else should I expect to go through in playing around with this project.

Also, in the event I need new autolevel-compatible shocks, where should I look? I have always seen the ones clearly labeled as NOT to be used with autolevel features and have heard stories of several people who purchased their cars and realized previous owners changed them to unfriendly shocks.

08-27-11, 08:02 AM
I would see if Chris at Rippy can get you a set. He quoted me like $75 for a set for my car, which is a really good deal (I keep forgetting to call and officially order them tho). Usually the "real", oil-filled part of the shock goes bad though, not the air part. If you do have an air leak it's usually a fitting or a line.

I don't know if your setup is like the '93-96, but it's a pretty simple arrangement. There are fuses, obviously, so I'd check that first. On my '94 there was a fuse for the sensor (said "ELC") in the dash fuse panel and another for the pump itself under the hood. The system gets a constant hot so that the car is always trying to level itself. In the event you have a big leak, the compressor will shut itself off after 4-7 minutes to keep from draining the battery. There's also a key-on lead at the sensor so that it knows when you've started the car. 45-60 seconds after you start the car the pump puts some fresh air in the system. It will vent briefly and then pump some fresh air into it.

There's a sensor mounted in the most inconvenient place possible above the rear axle. It's attached to the frame and has an arm attached to the axle. This is how it measures ride height. Too low, it calls for the pump to run. Too high and it opens an exhaust valve on the pump. In both scenarios the sensor is simply completing a ground so you want to make sure the ground wire at the sensor is grounded. If that checks out okay, the next check is to ground the pump-on wire at the sensor (it's yellow on the '93-96 cars). If you ground it and the pump runs then the problem is the sensor. If it doesn't, move up front to the pump.

I don't know where the pump is on the pre-93 cars, but on the '93-96 it's mounted in front of the left front wheel. You need to remove the plastic trim to get at it. On the pump housing there's a relay to make it run. You'll see where that yellow wire from the sensor goes into it (again, your wire colors may vary). If you ground it at the pump and it runs then you have break in the wire between the sensor and the pump (not a likely scenario, but that was the problem with my car). The yellow wire also illuminates the "LEVEL RIDE" light in the dash (again, this could be a '93-96 thing). Next, bypass the relay by hooking the pump leads up directly to 12V to see if the pump runs. If it doesn't run, then the pump is dead. If it DOES run, then the relay is bad.

Above is a summary of the steps that the factory service manual takes you through. My advice, however, is to verify that the fuses are okay first then find the pump and hook it up directly to 12V. Usually it's the pump that's gone bad (seized up).