is Air Ride Leveling system necessary or just fancy option - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 12-29-2003, 11:30 AM   #1
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Default is Air Ride Leveling system necessary or just fancy option

I have a 1991 SSE it has an air ride leveling system sensor that the mechanic says needs to be replaced. Cost is $550 (canadian $).
Can I just remove the air shocks and put in regular shocks?
Or did GM put in weaker coil steel springs with this option to have them "work together"?

I assume this option is for "leveling" the car if you are carrying heavy friends in the back seat or concrete sacks in the trunk or a trailer with a heavy "tongue" weight.

Oddly enough I could not find any mention of this option in my owners manual (maybe I'm blind).

Thanks in Advance,
Mike
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:36 AM   #2
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I believe it'* just a luxary item....

When I had all my shocked replaced on my 91, my mechanic suggested I didn't get the air ride controlled ones... to save me some $$$.... but I got them anyways because they were only like $30-40 more pre strut.
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Old 12-29-2003, 11:46 AM   #3
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No it is not necessary unless you do end up putting a heavy load in the rear or you have a leak. Really unless it has a leak its not necessary at all, just convenient. If the car looks and stays level, save your $ till you're comfortable replacing it. You can test it out yourself if you want, and see if you have one to begin with. Under the hood you should see on the drivers side what looks like a smaller version of what almost looks like a motorcycle engine, at least the heads of one. It'll have cooling fins on it just like an air cooled motorcycle would. This would be your pump, if you have nothing that looks anything like it then get a new mechanic. Under the car at the rear on either the left or right side (can't remember) you'll have a little box with an arm that comes out and attaches to the frame of the car. This would be your sensor. You can pull that arm off the frame and move it up and down to see if the sensor or the pump is bad, but if its your pump and you let the arm go down it'll drain all the air out of the rear and your pump, being broken, won't reinflate it and you'll have a real nasty riding car. BTW, it'll only move up if the ignition is on.
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Old 12-29-2003, 02:44 PM   #4
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My air suspension was bad by the time I got the car, and fully functional junkyard units were used to replace it. They work...

Thing is, when the car was in storage, the battery would die after a while because the car would slowly lower when parked, and it'd get pumped back up again when it got too low. Drainage!
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Old 12-29-2003, 03:18 PM   #5
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If you ditch the ELC system, pull the fuse, and go with manual air shocks. You can still adjust the level/ride comfort that way. Jr's3800 just did this. He loves it. (he did it to a non-ELC equipped 95 SE)
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Old 12-29-2003, 04:10 PM   #6
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$500 CDN sounds like too much for the sensor - If you look under the rear of the car near the control arms you will see it. You may be able to swap it out yourself with a much less expensive unit.
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Old 12-29-2003, 06:57 PM   #7
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$498 plus tx CDN for the ELC sensor, I have the same issue right now, the sensor arm is only $24 bux

Is the part universal??
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Old 12-29-2003, 08:04 PM   #8
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I had new struts put on my '89 Olds a few years back. The additional cost for the air-controlled ones wasn't worth it, so I went with the standard style. You will do fine without them, especially on a car of that vintage.
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Old 12-29-2003, 08:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim W
$498 plus tx CDN for the ELC sensor, I have the same issue right now, the sensor arm is only $24 bux

Is the part universal??
The rest ($475) is all labor? Or is there another part involved here?
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Old 12-29-2003, 09:44 PM   #10
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Mark, that sensor is expensive.

For 92-95 from www.gmpartsdirect.com :

Quote:
GM PART # 22119572
CATEGORY: All
PACK QTY: 1 CORE CHARGE: $0.00
GM LIST: $394.25
OUR PRICE: $224.72
DESCRIPTION: SENSOR
96-99 uses a different part number, slightly cheaper.
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