Self-leveling question
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Suspension, Brakes and Tires Discussion, Self-leveling question in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; Well, a couple of questions. Is there a way to check the compressor to see if it's working properly. Maybe ...
  1. #1
    VinnyT's Avatar
    VinnyT is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Self-leveling question

    Well, a couple of questions. Is there a way to check the compressor to see if it's working properly. Maybe sit on the rear end? Is it operable even if the car is sitting? My Deville seems to be "low" in the rear. Don't know if is a bad compressor, leaking shock(s), or both. If it is a leaking shock, I don't want the compressor to run all the time. I assume I could hear it when the car is off. ? I wasn't sure if there is a code for the leveling system or not. When I jacked the right rear of the car up(Flat tire post) it was hissing as I was jacking. Is that normal? Thanks all for your help! V.

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  3. #2
    mcowden is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    If you turn on the ignition and stand in the trunk or on the rear bumper, the pump should kick on within a minute. If it doesn't, the pump could be bad. You can check the ELC fuse to see if it's good, or check for suspension-related codes in the computer. I used to get the RS0038 code for a shorted ELC vent solenoid and it would pop the ELC fuse within about 1/2 second after putting a new one in there. Installing a used pump and solenoid from a salvage yard solved the problem. The pump is quite audible in a garage while the car's not running as it's mounted under the car near the rear passenger side wheel well. You'll know if it kicks on. If it runs and you jump off the bumper, within a minute you should hear the vent solenoid kick in and let air out of the shocks.

    Hope that helps. Let us know what you find.
    Mike

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    VinnyT is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    Thanks Mcowden for your help. I went outside(in the sleet and freezing rain), turned the ignition on and pushed down on the rear end. The pump kicked on and rose the rear. I'm not sure why it still appears low? I won't worry over that. I'm just waiting for my new rear tire....... Thanks again Mcowden! V.

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    Katshot's Avatar
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    The height IS adjustable. The level ride height sensor under the car, attached to the rear control arm can be adjusted for the purpose of leveling the car. I would also point out that if the car is sagging with nothing "extra" onboard, it is likely that the springs are in need of replacement. The level-ride is only meant to temporarily level the car when extra weight is added. the key here is "temporarily". Making the ELC system carry more than it's fair share of the load can cause problems. Anything from handlings issues, to premature failure of the shocks and/or their mounts.

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    VinnyT's Avatar
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    It's not sagging too badly. Definately not like a late 80's Towncar with blown rear bags. Funny, the rear seats show no wear at all, nor does the trunk. Is it normal for a 98 with 71000 miles to start having rear suspension problems? I have no problem replacing springs or whatever. I'm guessing they're coil springs? Thanks for your help Kat! V.

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    Katshot's Avatar
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    Yeah, they're coils. To be honest, I've replaced springs in MUCH newer cars. Age means very little. The spring makes it pretty obvious whether it's bad or not. If you DO replace them, I can't suggest variable-rate springs enthusiastically enough. They're the ONLY things I'd use, especially in this application.

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    mcowden is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    I agree with Katshot. To add one comment, it is possible one or both of the rear position sensors is mechanically disconnected or inaccurate. They can go bad, the connecting rod can come off, or they can just be out of adjustment. If you go poking around in the PCM in the RSS section, you can see the data from all of the sensors. If one or both of the rear sensors show a value that's obviously out of the ordinary, then it's time to inspect the sensors behind the wheels.
    Mike

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    Re: Self-leveling question

    I will check out the codes and visually inspect the sensors. I tried to find a dealer for new springs(if I need them) on Google, but couldn't find anything. Can you guys suggest a dealer or online site for these? I would rather not go to a GM dealer if I can avoid it. Thanks!!! V.

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    Katshot's Avatar
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    I didn't think the Deville used the RSS. He's right if you have RSS but if you don't then there's just one height sensor on the control arm.

  11. #10
    mcowden is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    Quote Originally Posted by Katshot
    I didn't think the Deville used the RSS. He's right if you have RSS but if you don't then there's just one height sensor on the control arm.
    Good point. I forgot about that. I tend to use my 96 SLS as a frame of reference for all these things...
    Mike

  12. #11
    brmurph is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    My compressor started leaking on mine at around 55,000 miles. The dealer replaced the compressor and that fixed the low ride problem. It was hard to figure out because it would take a while to leak down, in fact it would only leak down after sitting all night or driving down the express way for hours.

    good luck.

  13. #12
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    When you turn the key on the pump should run for several seconds and then shut off, that's a system check.
    If you add weight to the trunk (we use 2 mechanics) the pump should run after a few seconds. You will feel the vehicle rise as the pump runs. If you want to use dead weight and leave it there for a while, the pump shouldn't run again once it has reached proper trim height. If it runs every couple minutes you could have a leak. Kat is right, don't adjust the ELC sensor to achieve the ride height you want. Make sure the system is working and the arm is properly adjusted. Moving the arm may actually negatively effect the handling of the car by making the rear suspension too stiff.
    If nothing is broken and the ELC system is operating properly then I agree you have a mechanical suspension issue, quite possibly weak springs.
    There is a trim height specification, it's a good idea to start by checking that out first and see if the car is actually low, or if it just looks low.
    If you adjust the height sensor and make it too stiff in the back you can start doing some damage to other things.

  14. #13
    yafuturehubbie is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    you know i have the same problem , i have a 95 deville and it rides low in the back , but mine has about 150k and when it takes bumps it pretty much bottoms out, when i sit people in the car oh forget it , the car even rubs on bumps , although in my case i heard the compressor turn on , nothing happened , and supposly my friend took the wheel off and noticed the strut was leaking . but i dont want to go buy a pair of struts and then that not be the problem , can anyone give me any suggestions?

  15. #14
    mcowden is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    Quote Originally Posted by yafuturehubbie
    you know i have the same problem , i have a 95 deville and it rides low in the back , but mine has about 150k and when it takes bumps it pretty much bottoms out, when i sit people in the car oh forget it , the car even rubs on bumps , although in my case i heard the compressor turn on , nothing happened , and supposly my friend took the wheel off and noticed the strut was leaking . but i dont want to go buy a pair of struts and then that not be the problem , can anyone give me any suggestions?
    Sounds like you need to do the shock/strut test. Push down with all your weight on one corner of the car, then let off quickly. If the car bounces more than 1 or 1.5 times, the shock/strut is in need of replacement and it's riding on the springs alone. I would think that if you're bottoming out the suspension, the shocks are goners. They're struts in the front and springs/shocks in the rear.
    Mike

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    yafuturehubbie is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Self-leveling question

    awwwsome, thanks a lot i'll try it out today and see what happens (but im also guessing its the shocks too, im just mad because i honestly think im going to end up going with the monroe passive's, because there only 59.99 in pep boys as uppose to 120.00 each for the electronic one's)

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