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 FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns

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gliderguy
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PostSubject: Sorry just one more problem, need help with   Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:27 am

So i noticed the air pump outside near the battery was constantly running, I pulled the fuse(anything else connected to this)? So I got underneath and all of the air lines where off!!!!!!!!! Now is there anyway I can just run a regular shock or should I replace the air shocks and all new lines? If I can ide like to run regular shocks.. I need some recommendations if you can on what I can do? And any part #s.. Thank you all for all of your help........


Lance

1995 buick Riviera 3.8sc seris 1 motor
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:35 am


_________________
'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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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:42 pm

A line kit is less than $30 from the dealer - search the forum for the part number, keywords 'air line kit.'

New air shocks are less than $80 the pair as long as the parts counter guy you talk to is not a scheisster. Monroes or Gabriels. A new pair of OEM Delco shocks are less than $100 from RockAuto.Com.

If your air pump is working, you probably want to run air shocks. In my experiece they will last more than 100,000 miles in normal use. The way the Riv rear end is sprung, you need the air shocks to get the stiffness needed when loads change, especially when running fully loaded. I am not aware of Nivomats (self-adjusting shocks) for the Riv. Based on what you have told us so far, $130 and a couple hours will get this fixed like new.

Albertj
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No-Lift
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PostSubject: Auto Leveler Problem/“Non-Air” Rear Shock Replacement?   Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:34 pm

Part1:
I’ve had a problem with the auto leveler with my ’99 ever since I bought it last year. It refuses to go down after it pumps itself up. I don’t mean by loading the trunk. I just mean by driving around for a while when you come back the rear will be skyhigh.
Once it would go up you have to disconnect the hoses to get it to go down. My solution at the time was to disconnect the power going to the pump so it stays down. It may also go down if you disconnect the link from the height control box to the a-arm so it thinks the car is way high. I think it did but it was last year when I checked it out so I’m not 100% on that. If anybody has had this problem I’d be glad to hear what they did to fix it. It would seem to be in the pump release solenoids or the level sensor itself.

Part 2:
I’m soon to be in the process of installing 1” lowering springs so I’m going to be replacing the struts/shocks. If I can’t get the rear auto-leveler problem fixed I’d like to replace the shocks with some “non-air” type. Has anybody done this? Is there any shocks available that would replace the air shock with a standard type?
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:58 pm

Search this site for F250 rear shocks.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:31 pm

Consider getting a good used height box from Ed Morad. Search site for web link to his EBay site.

I bet the height boxes are repairable but I have not had a reason to tear into one yet.

Albertj
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dreww
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:01 am

I just bought an aftermarket air compressor for my shocks.
comes with a switch and a gauge to monitor the pressure in the shocks.

was $100 new...just an idea.

and new "stock" pump is over $300...used, I dunno.
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:51 am

GM has been using nearly the same rear leveling system for like 30 years. You should be able to find something similar in a junkyard for cheap. They are mostly reliable, it's usually the shocks that go bad. Look for similar year Park Avenues or Rivs in the junkyard. Heck, I think I saw somebody selling one in the classifieds here! Check the For Sale section.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:22 am

Agree with Derek - once you fix the leveling system it should work OK. In my experience the OEM air shocks are good for ~100,000 mi. plus or minus some thousands. Thinking about it I've never actually worn them out. The first set I replaced at ~50,000 miles and now I know I should not have. The second set I replaced because the cases rusted and bulged. They still "rode" however. I now have about 190,000 on my Riv. happy

Also, thinking about it - non-enthusiasts like the air leveling system until it breaks. Sometimes it breaks from their neglect, sometimes not. But I notice that when they go in to a dealer to get it fixed, the price gets 'em, they want to get rid of it and they bad mouth it. The bad-mouthing is understandable - I have seen dealers charge well into 4 figures to fix the air-ride - not the Magnaride system, which is more, just the air system. rolleyes

Thing of it is, it's not that tough to fix it yourself as long as you are smart about buying the parts. To avoid a call back the dealer will install new OEM air shocks, in your case also a new level switch, and possibly also a new compressor and a new air-dryer. At dealer list prices just the parts will run almost a grand. Doing the repair yourself is not that bad, and the compressor and level switch are good bets used from Ed Morad (use search function this site) or your local auto recycler.

Gabriel used to sell shocks you could bolt in as replacements, but I don't know f they are still available. OEM air shocks are fine. A number of people on this Editboard like the Monroe Max-Lifts, they bolt right in and are less than $100/pair.

Probably all that's up with your leveler is that one of the limit switches failed. The box is just an arm connected to a couple switches. One switch is tripped if the ride is too low - it sends an 'enable' signal to turn on the air compressor to pump air into the rear air ride shocks. One is tripped if the ride is too high - it sends an 'enable' signal to a solenoid that lets air out of the air ride shocks.

There is not much more to it. teach

It is possible that someone replaced your leveler with an aftermarket (if the first one failed out of warranty) and botched the job. One way to botch it is to install the aftermarket leveler to a power line that is not switched on/off with ignition. Then any schmo can activate your leveler by sitting on your back bumper. Another way is to mount it such that it excessively gets dirty or splashed with water.

One way you could get us to help you better with this would be to get under the car and take pictures of the leveler and post them. The only thing this helps with though is to confirm that you have a factory system in, which you most likely do. They look pretty much the same model to model except for the arm that senses ride height, and on each model they only bolt in one way. I have no idea if the box for one model can be used on another.

Finally, read the thread of the F250 shocks carefully. I think you will see that people who are happy with the conversion are also people who do not, or at least do not expect to, carry loads of any consequence (passengers, golf clubs, whatever). With the air shocks, I can load my Riv with passengers and cargo and it will still adjust to correct attitude and the rear end will still have adequate suspension travel. You will have to ask the F250 crowd if the butt end of the Riv sags or not with a trunk full of luggage and three adult passengers.

Hope this helps hi

Albertj


Last edited by albertj on Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:58 am

Nice thorough reply Albert! You have more time than I do!!
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:25 pm

I am hospitalized this week. Not grave, not chronic, recovering OK but I will be here at least 1-2 more days.

Albertj
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ibmoses
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:33 pm

albertj wrote:
I am hospitalized this week. Not grave, not chronic, recovering OK but I will be here at least 1-2 more days.

Albertj

Do you think its something you got in Asia?

Get well soon! yay

Bert tavis
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:00 pm

No, not at all. Without going into details, I had a (nonviolent) incident at home.

Albertj
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Rickw
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PostSubject: ALC   Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:27 am

The compressor head has on exhaust solenoid that can go bad and prevent air from exhausting even when commanded by the height sensor. I had the same problem with my 98, Removed the compressor and found that the exhaust port was clogged with corrosion. The comp. head is alum./ white metal and it filled the cavity with crap. Unfortunately for me, while disassembling the compessor head I damaged the solenoid and ended up replacing the whole compressor with a used one from Marad's. (under $100.00). Before removing anything you can check operation of everything easily by jacking up rear of car slightly to gain access to the control rod on the height box, gently remove the rod where it connects to control arm, turn key on, get back under car and move arm up or down, hold for a number of seconds, there is a delay in the system, forget how long, but you will hear solenoid click if it's working and air exhausting if port is clear. Must be quiet around work area to hear this. Vise-versa, move rod in opposite direction and compressor will fill shocks up. Complete operating procedure is the Manual. Just don't have it near me at the moment. The above is from memory and experience, espesially after damaging what would have been a perfectly good compressor had I been a little more carefull. If you need more info let me know and i can copy the data from the Factory Manual later. Good luck!
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Ryan from Ohio
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PostSubject: Air ride question?   Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:31 pm

Tonight it seemed as if the air ride wasnt working?

When you turn the car on should it be noticeable the rear end pumping up? Like can you see it? Hear it? Feel it?

Looks like its sitting low. Also it was a bumpy ride home...????

I worked on the brakes the last two nights. Im hoping I didnt damage the air ride or car due to where I jacked the car up.

Circled is the bar I jacked up on:


I noticed it went up into the car a bit?

Advice!
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1995 Riv
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:14 pm

With car in run position you should be able to here air compressor (outside under car running). I was looking at my rear brake on drivers side and the emergency brake cable was running through a hole and the metal was smashed on it probably making it so it wouldn't move. You can see it easily probably even with the wheel on. Just a tip. Also the brake line drivers side rear wheel comes from the passenger side as a crossover line was rusted out. If you look at yours unless you plan on making one I wouldn't do more than look at it they are very weak. I found some pac-25 polymer brake line at Auto-Zone which you can bend with your hands, Advance doesn't have it. Hope your pump is working.
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1995 Riv
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:18 pm

One more thing the owners manual shows four points to jack the car they are marked on body. Any where else seems not too good. How is your motor you put in running it looked good.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:08 am

The air level module is located on the driver's side and the compressor assemble is located behind the passenger wheelwell. The hoses run almost through the trunk well away from the point you highlighted.
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Ryan from Ohio
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:34 am

Ok,

so that big bar looking piece that runs from pass to drivers side I used to jack up on should hurt anything? Like I said I noticed it moved up about 1" but seemed like it was real solid other than that.

I will check them cables tonight to make sure I didnt pinch them. Agreed that parking brake cable is a gigantic PITA. It doesnt flex much!
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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:08 am

Also, I noticed in the pic that the bladder of the visible air shock is dry and cracked somewhat.
After having jacked the car up from the body and letting the suspension hang as low as it can go the shock boot has now been stretched further than it has been in probably a long time. Could have opened up up a leak there.
Try spraying some soapy water on the shock boots and any of the hose connections you can get to and find the leak. That is if the compressor is producing air.
Try jacking from the lower control arm in the future, unless you really need to let the suspension hang that far down.
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Ryan from Ohio
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:41 am

That picture is not mine BTW. I stole it from this site to circle where I jacked my car up at.

My air shocks look similar though. I will take the tire off and jack it up from the control arm. start it up and see what they do tonight hopefully.
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Ryan from Ohio
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:23 pm

But to answer another question:

When you turn the car on when outside should you be able to visibly see the rear end rise up?

Also if so- how much?
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:27 pm

You may not notice the air ride moving the car up, depending on how/where it's parked and its attitude before you start.

If it is heavily loaded while off with passengers and luggage - takes about a car full to do it - you'll notice. It is pretty impressive to me how the air ride adjusts the attitude of the car. Those bloomin' air shocks are good for a half to 3/4 ton - I forget which - of passengers and their stuff.

Albertj
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Ryan from Ohio
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:36 pm

Well she drove the car to work tonight, so I just got it back here a bit ago. I went down and tried to listen for the pump. All I hear is chimes and then fuel pump I think.

I took 2 pics and some measurements.

From the ground to the top to the start of the trim. Drivers side about 26", passenger 27 3/8" so ya something is afoot!

Now I gotta question how I jacked the car up! frown frown frown frown Because thats about the amount I saw that bar flex! Im afraid I may have bent something! evil

Im going to try getting it into the garage tonight or tomorrow when my Uncle gets home (I dont have a garage!).

Drivers:


Passengers:
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Ryan from Ohio
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Automatic Leveling Control (ALC) Concerns   Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:12 pm

Well it seems I went and did it now- whatever I may have done.

I got in the garage, pulled the wheel off. Took some pics- which will be at the end of the post.

The shock got shoved ALL the way up in it frozen solid! I pulled the air line off and nadda! Got under the passenger side, touched the air compressor- nadda! Checked the fuse and swapped it with another 60 under the rear seat- nadda! Swapped the relay in the other box with another like one- nadda!

To make sure it was the shock we took the nut off the top of the tower and the spring snapped the arm right down in place in a hurry... Took 450 Lbs of two people to push the rear end back down to get that nut on!

So the cars out back my place now out of commission.

Now Im trying to figure out WHY all of the sudden the air pump died. The only thing I can think of is I put a radio in the car yesterday! I had the front panel of the dash off. Im sure I jostled some wires...

Advice please! The G/F is so peeved right now- and of course I "broke it". Im afraid its going to have to goto the shop for this one though. my back is fried and Im not comfortable getting under the car like that... Im going to unplug the radio tomorrow just for yucks. You never know but I find it hard to believe after ALL the radio's Ive installed over the years...





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