2002 STS Suspension Questions
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, 2002 STS Suspension Questions in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I own a 2002 STS with approximately 86K miles. I purchased this car from a gentleman who I believe took ...
  1. #1
    csh1259 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    2002 STS Suspension Questions

    I own a 2002 STS with approximately 86K miles. I purchased this car from a gentleman who I believe took good care of it and kept it serviced. I am by no means a mechanic nor do I know much about working on cars. I do think that the rear suspension on my car needs some attention as the previous owner said he had not done anything with the suspension. From what I can determine this car has a type of suspension that uses an air compressor for leveling. Upon starting the car I do hear the air compressor running for a few seconds. I have read that some owners have converted their suspensions to bypass the air compressor. Can anyone share with me the pros and cons of doing this and what I can expect to spend in fixing/replacing the current system or converting it? Are the front struts tied into the air system? Thanks in advance for any help and advice you can offer.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: 2002 STS Suspension Questions

    Our cars do not have air suspension. They have rear shock air bladders and a system attached to the rear shocks to compensate for extra weight in the trunk or back seat. It's called ELC or ALC depending on year/manual. The compressor will do a two second preload/proveout shortly after key: ON. There is no sense in removing or defeating the existing rear leveling system other than cost if the shock(s) develop bladder leaks or the compressor freezes up due to moisture carryover from the dessicant canister.

    The STS is a performance sedan so -

    Depending on your car's build date (The "2002" build ran from 07-01 to 06-02) you have one of two suspensions - before 01-15-2002 you have active CVRSS - Constantly Variable Road Sensing Suspension. After line startup on 01-15-02 the system shifted to MRC - Magnetic Ride Control, the same system used in Corvette, Ferrari, and later Cadilac performance vehicles. Our STS was the test mule for the MRC development by Lord/DELPHI.

    You can learn which system your car has by either the build date on the driver's door sticker or on the RPO (Regular Production Option) sticker on the underside of the spare tire cover - CVRSS is F45; MRC is F55.

    Original front struts go for $700 and up, apiece; shocks are somewhat less. We're maintaining $53,000 cars, not a used price point.

    All of this is covered in these threads, in Cadilac Tech Tips, and way up in the top black bar ^^^ - Cadillac Technical Archive. The 2002 - 2003 STS (Seville Touring Sedan, not the later "STS") is the ONLY Seville to be fitted with MRC if you have it - and you need to find out, because the two suspension systems are literally night and day, start to finish. Defeat the systems or go to passive shocks and you have a Seville with an unbalanced suspension system, neither fish nor fowl.

    EDIT: To test the Electronic Level Control, find two assistants. pop the trunk. You turn the Key: ON and listen for system compressor proveout. OK ? Now all 3 of you sit on the open trunk lip. Does the compressor again level the car ?? OK. All hop off and you listen in the RR wheelwell for escaping air as the system again levels the car. OK ???? Good to go. If the system does not operate, use your car's built-in trouble code sscanner/memory to see if the system has set a diagnostic code. Use - study - the proper year group and code definition links in the sticky post just above - "How to pull codes". Matter of fact, read the stickys in any forum of interest - that's why they're "sticky" - the info is timeless.

    Pictures and diagrams of the ELC system in my albums - the Community tab, Albums, the red Seville. 115 pictures and diagrams of your car and parts. You're welcome to use any of them for reference. RPO = Regular Production Option - that sticker tells what's in that car. Google "gm rpo code definitions".......... watch your "I" and "1".

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    csh1259 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2002 STS Suspension Questions

    This is great information. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I will take the time to read the information and perform the tests. Just to let you know I was able to find out that I have the CVRSS or F45 suspension system in my STS. Thanks again for your help. It is time for me to get reading.

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: 2002 STS Suspension Questions

    Add these to your soon-to-be huge list of websites related to STS stuff ............ many members use these daily for reference and parts searches .............

    Chris in parts at Rippy Cadillac over there >>>>>> or up ^^^^^ in the Vendors forum.

    www.rockauto.com . Click on the little pictures or INFO for larger pictures or additional text

    www.gmpartsgiant.com . Your car, year, model, engine (VIN 9, L37), transmission (4T80E), system of interest. That opens a text page. The MoreInfo tab opens a parts blowup diagram keyed to the text page.

    Get a real GM service manual set from ebay or www.helminc.com - You'll need it. For instant gratification, subscribe the car to www.alldatadiy.com - the GM service manuals plus so much more that you need to teach yourself to find it all.

    Nalley has a parts description/blowup diagram site.

    If you can't find a thread of interest by using the site search engine (upper right) try to Google it by phrasing the search like "cadillac forums 2002 sts spark plug replacement".

  6. #5
    csh1259 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2002 STS Suspension Questions

    Thanks for the additional information. I just went out and looked at the pictures of your STS. You have a beautiful car that certainly looks to be well loved. Thanks for sharing.

  7. #6
    basscatt's Avatar
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    Re: 2002 STS Suspension Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by csh1259 View Post
    I own a 2002 STS with approximately 86K miles. I purchased this car from a gentleman who I believe took good care of it and kept it serviced. I am by no means a mechanic nor do I know much about working on cars. I do think that the rear suspension on my car needs some attention as the previous owner said he had not done anything with the suspension. From what I can determine this car has a type of suspension that uses an air compressor for leveling. Upon starting the car I do hear the air compressor running for a few seconds. I have read that some owners have converted their suspensions to bypass the air compressor. Can anyone share with me the pros and cons of doing this and what I can expect to spend in fixing/replacing the current system or converting it? Are the front struts tied into the air system? Thanks in advance for any help and advice you can offer.
    ---------------------------------
    I do think that the rear suspension
    on my car needs some attention

    WHY do you think that?

    I have read that some owners
    have converted their suspensions to bypass the air compressor.

    there are two ways to do this -
    the BETTER of the two choices is to install a manual-fill air kit -
    you would inflate the air bladders as you would inflate a tire -

    the other way is to do away with the Electronic Level Control completely -
    and install coil-over shocks in the rear -
    these coil-over shocks have a very stiff coil spring wrapped around the shock -

    Can anyone share with me the pros and cons of doing this
    there are absolutely NO PROS to the coil-over shocks -

    and the only "pro" for the manual fill kit -
    is you wouldn't have to fix a broken ELC system -
    yet retain the ride quality -

    the CON to the manual fill kit is that
    every time you have a load in the back seat and/or trunk -
    you would have to manually inflate the bladders to make the car sit level -
    and when the load is removed - manually deflate the bladders -


    what I can expect to spend
    in fixing/replacing the current system or converting it?

    that all depends on the problem - if there is one -


    here is an excellent discussion about the ELC system
    it happens to be from the Deville forum -
    but it is the same as a Seville -
    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...ml#post3191433

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    eldorado_sean is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    What about an 98 eldo ESC. Would that thread apply to my car also?

  9. #8
    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: 2002 STS Suspension Questions

    Depends on your RPO list. F45/FE3, you have CVRSS. FE1 only, you have passive suspension. ESC - unless special ordered, my guess is passive suspension. (ETC was the performance model)

    FE1 = soft springs
    FE3 = performance springs

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