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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen a few C/D-body Cadillac cars (especially Cadillac Broughams) with the so-called "Electronic Level Control" ("level ride", "air suspension", "self-levelling suspension"). What's the deal with this option? Is it like a 1990s Lincoln Town Car's system where you have an air pump pushing air into air bags on the rear wheels when the car starts? Is the option crap like it is on the Lincoln? Can it be removed and replaced with a traditional Cadillac Brougham coil spring suspension? I'd like to know more about it as there's not too much out there on it other than it was first offered in 1965 or so.
 

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1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance 5.7 Litre, 1994 DeVille
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It's pretty much just a pump and air shocks in the back to keep the car level on it's own.
 

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1990 Brougham, 1990 Brougham d'elgance 1979 Coupe
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It's pretty much just a pump and air shocks in the back to keep the car level on it's own.
Its a pretty realiable system, and completely different from the Lincolns air bag which is junk.

I guess if for some reason you didn't like it , you could put on regular shocks, the Linclon has expensive kits for the air bag suspension, which is junk.
 

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95 FWB 81SDV 96 FWB 94 Fleetwood
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The best thing to do is just put new air lines and check and fill it by hand.. If you put regular shocks you will need to change the springs... I put the filler valve by the rear plate...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've driven a 1988 Brougham with traditional shocks. How would the ELC affect the ride and drivability compared to that?
 

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70 Deville 77 Fleet 78 Seville 92 Deville 03 Deville
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I've driven a 1988 Brougham with traditional shocks. How would the ELC affect the ride and drivability compared to that?
Like comparing a Caprice to a Cadillac, probably suitable for most people. You don't save any money by getting rid of ELC so it isn't really logical.
 

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1987 Brougham
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Question would it be "usual" for the lines to leak versus a shock leaking if either side is not level? Meaning, the pump works and one side remains level to the other ...some of the time.

Do the lines historically leak on a '87 Brougham with the shocks still functionally holding air.
With the weather the way it is here at my place combined with a unheated garage and a recent purchase of the car, ...I'm hunting for useable info until I can actually get under it comfortably to test things out...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So does the ELC improve ride or handling over regular shocks, or does it just keep the rear end from sagging? Like on a Lincoln, does it take a minute or two to pump the shocks when the car starts? If the shocks blow, does the rear end sag like on a Lincoln?
 

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1975 Fleetwood 'd Elegance, 2020 Santa Fe, 2003 Honda Reflex scooter
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It partially hold the rear in addition to the springs.
It will engage and pump up in a few seconds of start up.
On my 87 I replaced the rear springs with factory spec springs and new shocks.
Should hold pressure when car is off pump engages and goes right off again.
The rear would go down maybe an inch or two with good springs and no pressure, but nowhere as extreme as the Lincoln.

This applies to my 87 and to my knowledge/experience would be true on 70's through "90's.
I don't see a car in your masthead so I am not sure which year you are inquiring about.
 

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1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance 5.7 Litre, 1994 DeVille
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It shouldn't even go down that much.

You can't replace the shocks with normal ones without doing the springs too, the original springs weren't made to take much load.
The Ford system is reliable, the only problem with it is if there's a problem you can't go anywhere. At least with what Cadillacs have you can still drive the car. If you had to wait for a Lincoln to air up after starting it had problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It partially hold the rear in addition to the springs.
It will engage and pump up in a few seconds of start up.
On my 87 I replaced the rear springs with factory spec springs and new shocks.
Should hold pressure when car is off pump engages and goes right off again.
The rear would go down maybe an inch or two with good springs and no pressure, but nowhere as extreme as the Lincoln.

This applies to my 87 and to my knowledge/experience would be true on 70's through "90's.
I don't see a car in your masthead so I am not sure which year you are inquiring about.
It's a 1990 Cadillac Brougham with the 5.0 L V8 in excellent condition. I'm wondering what advantages the ELC brings to the table over the regular shocks/springs, which provided a great ride on their own.
 

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70 Deville 77 Fleet 78 Seville 92 Deville 03 Deville
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I don't recall any Caddys coming with regular springs and shocks. I'm sure it could be converted that way but it would cost a little more money than just buying some air shocks. If the compressor dies you can always convert them to manual fill for about $5.
 

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Past: 95 Fleetwood, 91 Brougham. Now: 92 Lexus SC300
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It's a 1990 Cadillac Brougham with the 5.0 L V8 in excellent condition. I'm wondering what advantages the ELC brings to the table over the regular shocks/springs, which provided a great ride on their own.
Its a good mafia option, as you can have a trunk full of bodies, but the rear end won't sag like a regular car.
 

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1980 FBC
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Level ride equipped Cadillacs ride better than plain Jane ones. The rear springs are softer and air shocks with only 25 lbs in them ride great. The one in my 1980 2 door Fleetwood still works. Zero maintenance.

Replacing rear springs requires careful selection if one really cares about the war the car rides.

Back in the day i would put wimpy Buick rear springs in a Cadillac and Monroe air shocks. That allows a lot more weight in the trunk or on a trailer hitch than the factory level ride. Much simpler too but no automatic operation.
 

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1977 Coupe (blue), 1977 Coupe (yellow), 1977 Coupe (green)
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Question: Does your system work? You can usually hear the pump or sense it's operation. The early pumps worked off vacuum operated motors. This system was used up to 1977, and was replaced by an electric pump in 1978. The first electric pump was replaced by a different pump in 1979. AFAIK this pump had a longer history with the system and was used up to the 90's.
What fails is the lines or the sensor that mounts on the right rear trailing arm. The shocks fail when they are used without air. That is why they install the Schrader valve so you can load the shocks and eliminate the pump and long lines.
The Broughams used a pretty heavy anti-sway bar on the rear trailing arms which helped maintain equalization of pressures between the shocks. If you ever rode in the back seat of one of these cars, the ride was fascinating.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Question: Does your system work? You can usually hear the pump or sense it's operation. The early pumps worked off vacuum operated motors. This system was used up to 1977, and was replaced by an electric pump in 1978. The first electric pump was replaced by a different pump in 1979. AFAIK this pump had a longer history with the system and was used up to the 90's.
What fails is the lines or the sensor that mounts on the right rear trailing arm. The shocks fail when they are used without air. That is why they install the Schrader valve so you can load the shocks and eliminate the pump and long lines.
The Broughams used a pretty heavy anti-sway bar on the rear trailing arms which helped maintain equalization of pressures between the shocks. If you ever rode in the back seat of one of these cars, the ride was fascinating.
Judging from the car's stellar condition and mileage (50,000), I'll automatically assume the ELC setup works well. My friend owns a 1992 Lincoln Town Car with a similar air suspension; while it provides a great ride and surprisingly good handling, it takes about 30 seconds most startups to pump the air bags and I know they have a bad rep for blowing out and costing a lot to replace.

I have a good amount of experience with a 1988 Cadillac Brougham with regular shocks and springs; it rode very well, although the Lincoln is superior in ride and handling in comparison. However, I always saw the Cadillac kind of sag a tad bit in the rear; not because something was wrong but sort of as if it was a styling thing. I know the 1990 Broughams had a slightly raised suspension that "fixed" the problem but hurt the styling, especially on the 5.7 L equipped cars.

I doubt the ELC improves handling, so I guess it's to keep the rear from sagging down if luggage is put in the trunk.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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ELC has nothing to do with suspension control or feel - it is there to compensate for weight changes in the trunk or rear seat. Both rear shocks are filled/vented simultaneously - there is no side-to-side control. Some have replaced failing ELC shocks with aftermarket coilovers, but THAT really screws up the ride quality.

If you don't want to stay with the OEM system, Monroe makes satisfactory replacement shocks - with air bladders - that you can either connect to a functioning ELC or use a manual fill/vent kit, lines run to the trunk.

To test an ELC (some models use ALC - same thing), get 2 assistants, pop the trunk. Turn the key on, listen for the short ELC preload/proveout sequence. OK ? Y'all sit on the open trunk lip. The syste,m should run again to level the rear. OK ? All hop off and you listen for escaping air as the system again levels the rear. OK ???

If not, there's a problem with a height sensor, air lines, shock bladder(s) or compressor/control head.
 
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