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 Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks

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KnottyEagle
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:10 pm

98riv wrote:

KnottyEagle wrote:


charlieRobinson wrote:



KnottyEagle wrote:
Can the MA822's be pumped up with any normal air compressor? Like one that you would find at a gas station? Would the air be contained in the shocks and not leak as long as the shocks are not leaking? I'm pretty sure the compressor in my car hasn't worked for awhile. I replaced the factory shocks a few days ago and they had 163,000 miles on them!






Even a bicycle pump can be used.

Look at the parts in the air shock section at rockauto. you will find the manual air line kit.

Delete the pump and shed a couple pounds of weight in the back.


What exactly does the air line kit do? Allow me to use different fittings?

This is going to sound dumb, but what does the air pump look like? I've read It's underneath the car by the exhaust, and I've been underneath my car and can't find it. What do I need to take it out?


The air line kit allows you to manually fill up the shocks.  It has a schrader valve like your tires that you can put a pump to.  You can find the air pump if you go to the rear passenger side of the car right behind the plastic cover in the wheel well.  I believe it is 3 bolts holding it to the car, the electrical connection and the air lines that need to be removed.  You will probably have to spray some liquid wrench, etc. on the bolts.  Check the fuses and the lever on the rear drivers side lower control arm before you remove the pump for good.
Saweet! I'll look for it tomorrow while I'm changing the transmission fluid (using Dexron VI). I've already replaced the relay for the pump. Hopefully It's something like a fuse.

Thanks for the help!
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:19 pm

Don't forget to remove the fuse for the compressor. It will still try to level the car.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:17 am

deekster_caddy wrote:
Don't forget to remove the fuse for the compressor. It will still try to level the car.
I don't think I need to worry about the air compressor trying to level the car because it doesn't work right now.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:53 pm

KnottyEagle wrote:

deekster_caddy wrote:
Don't forget to remove the fuse for the compressor. It will still try to level the car.

I don't think I need to worry about the air compressor trying to level the car because it doesn't work right now.

Hopefully you mean the compressor never runs at all. If you put weight in the back of the car it should turn the compressor on to try to level it out. If there is a leak it will run a lot. If everything is the way it should be and leak free, it should level the car then stop running. If the air shocks aren't hooked up at all, the compressor will start and never stop, because the level is never changing.

If you disconnect the mechanical part of the air leveling system, disconnect the electrical part too. That's all I'm trying to say.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:43 pm

deekster_caddy wrote:

KnottyEagle wrote:


deekster_caddy wrote:
Don't forget to remove the fuse for the compressor. It will still try to level the car.


I don't think I need to worry about the air compressor trying to level the car because it doesn't work right now.


Hopefully you mean the compressor never runs at all. If you put weight in the back of the car it should turn the compressor on to try to level it out. If there is a leak it will run a lot. If everything is the way it should be and leak free, it should level the car then stop running. If the air shocks aren't hooked up at all, the compressor will start and never stop, because the level is never changing.

If you disconnect the mechanical part of the air leveling system, disconnect the electrical part too. That's all I'm trying to say.
Yes, it has never ran at all since I got it. At least, I don't think it ever has. I don't know what I'm supposed to be listening for, or if it only runs with the car on or off, or both, but the back end has always stayed at the same level. I have the air lines hooked up too...I think. They came out a lot harder than when they went in. I had to use a pair of duckbill pliers with a towel in them to remove them. Now they sit in the nozzle thing rather loosely with that little plastic clamp thing around them.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:52 pm

So, I just pulled the ELC fuse from underneath the backseat and It's blown! I have faith that a replacement fuse will get my compressor working again.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:48 pm

Or... your pump blew the fuse when it died. J/K, hope it works!

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:37 pm

The ELC system is actually pretty robust. The most common problem is the shocks themselves leaking. Fortunately replacement air shocks aren't very expensive, and usually that cures the leaks.

If you follow the tubing into the little clips you will find the compressor on the passenger side rear, just behind the wheel well.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:53 pm

KnottyEagle wrote:
So, I just pulled the ELC fuse from underneath the backseat and It's blown! I have faith that a replacement fuse will get my compressor working again.

My money is on the fuse, good luck! Mine blew last week when I loaded down my car with stuff moving from Toledo to Cincinnati. Popped a new fuse in and the compressor purrs like a kitten.

The only part of the ELC system that poses a serious issue, in my opinion, is the actual sensor. There are no new ones left to buy, only junkyard finds.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:50 am

Going to get me a new fuse tomorrow. Hope it works!
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:53 am

I  bought another 89 Riviera. Same ODO (About 170,000km) as the one in my avatar but in dark blue and in a little better shape in and out. New tires and brakes all around came with along with a 1 year old paint job. The suspension suffered from marshmallow front end syndrome. Two new Monroe Sensitrac struts (re-used current OE springs) and a sway bar link kit (broken link) were in order.
I looked up a set of Gabriel Hi-Jackers online to fit the Riv and the auto parts store cross referenced to a Monroe part and... viola the drives like new! The ride control firmed up noticeably. Its like a different car. Ill work on getting the ALC functional next.

The struts were 90 each ( about 75 in US )

Front Struts example

http://www.autozone.com/suspension-and-steering/shock-strut-front/buick/riviera/1998/6-cylinders-1-3-8l-fi-sc-ohv

or in canada

http://www.amazon.ca/Monroe-71665-Sensa-Trac-Strut/dp/B000C55NXW/ref=sr_1_23?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1417939640&vehicle=1998-45-394-20--7-6-5-1222-377-1-1-964--1-0&sr=1-23&ymm=1998%3Abuick%3Ariviera&keywords=struts

same one in USA cheaper but allot!

http://www.amazon.com/Monroe-71665-Sensa-Trac-Strut/dp/B000C55NXW/ref=sr_1_23?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1417939640&vehicle=1998-45-394-20--7-6-5-1222-377-1-1-964--1-0&sr=1-23&ymm=1998%3Abuick%3Ariviera&keywords=struts

The shocks out back  90 for pair in Canada ( but I think in USA you can get for 75 or less)... bolted on and clipped on the air line (don't lose the little clips!)  and all done... Pretty much any shock website has hi jackers. Theres a pile of kits with overload springs if you want to ditch the air shocks. Or you can replaced a f'd compressor with a reman unit or just put the lines into the trunk and do a manual fill when needed. Suncore makes everything you need in any path you wish to pursue.
and drives like new! The ride control firmed up noticeably. Its like a different car. Ill work on getting the ALC functional next.

Rear Shocks example

http://www.amazon.com/Monroe-MA822-Max-Air-Shock-Absorber/dp/B000C55T7W/ref=au_as_r?ie=UTF8&Make=Buick%7C45&Model=Riviera%7C394&Year=1998%7C1998&n=15684181&newVehicle=1&s=automotive&vehicleId=1&vehicleType=automotive

http://www.autozone.com/suspension-and-steering/shock-strut-rear/buick/riviera/1998/6-cylinders-1-3-8l-fi-sc-ohv

PS All the expensive air shock kits are pretty much the same  75-99 dollar Hi Jackers , just 100-200 more for some reason (same box, same shock but more stickers on it). The less pricey air-shock performance is very good ... and it took all the tail bobbing away.

http://www.suncoreindustries.com/buick-riviera-suspension.php?CAPCID=45681056183&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKEAiA74qkBRCdrM-6or7U73QSJABCDL9pHKaOuTMgZt8NH1JSt1_xhPrFeyaJueWWqIxkJNri3RoCyEPw_wcB&CA_6C15C=530007020000696637

Compressor Reman.

http://www.suncoreindustries.com/BUICK-SUSPENSION/riviera/buick-riviera-suspension-compressor.htm

Arnott Industries makes New compressors and are competitively priced...

https://www.arnottindustries.com/part_BUICK_yid10_pid90.html

Air Dryer Rebuild Kit

http://www.rakuten.com/prod/gm-vehicles-type-2-air-ride-suspension-compressor-dryer-rebuild-kit/255407399.html

###UPDATE DEC 13 ALC is restored!
I removed the compressor and identified the wires that looked like they ran the compressor motor. By applying 12 volts, I could get the pump to run. I suspected it was running because I could here it run sometimes and by the time I would run around to the RH tail of the car the sound would stop. But indeed it was the pump. So the next step was to run it while connected to the shocks. SO I used long alligator clamped leads and a battery and hooked up the lines. The answer... Leaking o ring at RH shock. Replaced o-ring and reinstalled compressor assembly and now its working like the day it left the factory.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:18 am

BMD wrote:
Thanks for the response guys. Rockauto does usually have better prices but then we get nailed with the shipping cost to get it up here. But just out of curiosity, what exactly has to be done to convert over to regular non self-levelling shock?

If you haven't figured it out yet the answer is to buy a set of shocks with coil springs on them. Its a kit for the riviera. I posted a bunch of links on this since your question.

this is what you can use. Just disconnect the old system and remove the ALC fuse under the back see (see owners manual)

http://www.shockwarehouse.com/site/product.cfm?id=869197

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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:11 am

Thanks for the info Dave, but what would happen if someone just installed regular shocks without the coilovers? The Riv has its own coils back there.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:39 am

BMD wrote:
Thanks for the info Dave, but what would happen if someone just installed regular shocks without the coilovers? The Riv has its own coils back there.

It would be like having regular shocks. No height compensation, the stock springs are a bit soft and count on the air leveling to take up the load. So when you are empty in the back it would look fine, and when you have stuff in the trunk it would sag in the back a bit.

With the coilovers you get permanent lift all the time, so when it's empty it will sit a little high in the back and when you have a load it will sit a bit flatter, but you have no control over how much lift the coilovers give. I'm a big fan of the air leveling system. It works very well when all the pieces are there and hooked up right. Worst case get a junkyard compressor - the compressors are pretty reliable. They've been using the same basic design since the 80's and it works well.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:09 pm

Quote :
It would be like having regular shocks. No height compensation, the stock springs are a bit soft and count on the air leveling to take up the load. So when you are empty in the back it would look fine, and when you have stuff in the trunk it would sag in the back a bit.

I'll add that over time the rear springs sag a little, so having no air for support can cause the back end to droop with a full tank of gas. If you're doing conventional shocks, I'd put a fresh set of springs in as well, or better yet use a set of stiffer custom made coils.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:31 pm

Gotcha, thanks for that info, all the best to everyone for the holidays!
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:43 pm

How often are these compressors supposed to run and how loud are they? Mines pretty loud when I first got car I thought it was fuel pump going out.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:52 am

doctorthor wrote:
How often are these compressors supposed to run and how loud are they?  Mines pretty loud when I first got car I thought it was fuel pump going out.

...different ones will be somewhat different loudness even when new.

...compressor will run for up to 45 seconds, a couple minutes after you start the car. If it runs the full 45 sec while lightly/not loaded you have a problem somewhere, leaking. When loaded it will run the full 45 sec., pause, then run again until the load is compensated for.

..if it runs frequently while you are driving the car lightly loaded (just driver @ 175 lbs) there may be a problem.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:15 am

I have a 98 with about 160,000 miles on it. My compressor rattles like crazy when it cycles. I've tried to remove the shield to see what makes it rattle but the shield will NOT come off! If there a special way to remove it? Also, is there a cheap compressor that I can use to replace mine if I cannot get it to stop rattling so loud?
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:45 am

Denton_NOLATX wrote:
I have a 98 with about 160,000 miles on it. My compressor rattles like crazy when it cycles. I've tried to remove the shield to see what makes it rattle but the shield will NOT come off! If there a special way to remove it? Also, is there a cheap compressor that I can use to replace mine if I cannot get it to stop rattling so loud?


You aren't going to get it to stop. The compressor is coming apart on you. Just replace it. They get loud AS HELL before they finally stop working. I say just deal with it until it actually fails. That's what I'd do anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:49 am

I thought it may be leaking I sprayed soapy water where the lines go to the shocks. Didn't see any bubbles. Guess I'll pull compressor check there. Do the shocks internally leak possibly? Thanks.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:01 am

Wonder if you put a gauge on output see if your getting good pressure from compressor.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:07 am

doctorthor wrote:
I thought it may be leaking I sprayed soapy water where the lines go to the shocks. Didn't see any bubbles. Guess I'll pull compressor check there. Do the shocks internally leak possibly? Thanks.

More often than not, the rubber air bags go bad and leak air externally. If you have factory shocks, you'd be able to see the bags. If you have the Delco replacements, the bags are surrounded by the shock body, and you wouldn't be able to see them.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:45 am

Abaddon wrote:

doctorthor wrote:
I thought it may be leaking I sprayed soapy water where the lines go to the shocks. Didn't see any bubbles. Guess I'll pull compressor check there. Do the shocks internally leak possibly? Thanks.


More often than not, the rubber air bags go bad and leak air externally. If you have factory shocks, you'd be able to see the bags. If you have the Delco replacements, the bags are surrounded by the shock body, and you wouldn't be able to see them.

If they're originals they're probably gone. Check and see if the bags are dry rotted like mine were.
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PostSubject: Re: Write-Up: Rear Self-leveling Air Shocks   Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:36 pm

Got my rear Monroe's installed. Made a big difference in high speed corners on the highway:). Feels much more stable. I hardly ever hear the compressor running now. pressurized the old shocks on the bench the bags were leaking bad. Not a bad 60 dollar investment easiest shocks I've ever changed.
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