Air Suspension Problem

OlliePoly

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Hi all,

I bought my 2014 Limited last June (2021) and it’s been awesome. Air suspension worked great up until the winter. It seems, especially when it’s cold out, that the air suspension gets all jacked up on the highway. When in Aero mode, no matter the time of year, the truck pulls left - needs about a 10 degree steering wheel input to the right to balance it out. It also seems to lean lower on the driver’s side. Even had a time in February where the left side was visibly lower than the right, would not level, and a “payload capacity reached” code lit up.

Dealership diagnosed this as a faulty compressor, $2000 fix, with an unknown ETA of part arrival. It sat at the dealer for 7 weeks before I finally said cancel the order and give me my truck back. I had them refill the system with nitrogen, in hopes of removing any moisture throughout the lines, and it still pulls left when Aero mode activates.

Does anyone have a similar situation with advice/insight? I am at a loss for words. System goes through all the different heights without issues for 90% of the year, but there’s definitely a problem with Aero mode.

I just purchased the equipment necessary for AlfaOBD and plan to adjust the ride height settings on the left side in order to balance this out. Not sure if this will fix it or not. Trying to explore some options before a $2000 compressor repair or a $2600 air suspension delete/swap to conventional suspension.

Any insight is appreciated.
Aidon
 

crash68

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Evacuate and purge the system with nitrogen a few times to remove the moisture that most likely causing your issues. Do a good leak check of the air bags themselves also, usually need to have them fully extended to find the leaks
 
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OlliePoly

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Hi Crash,

Dealer charges ~$450 to purge the system. Had them do it once and it hasn't fixed the Aero mode issue, but the rest of it seems to function just as it did throughout the warm months since I bought it. Not sure if that's due to the purge or if that's due to the rise in temperatures in Michigan. I've called around to several shops and nobody except for the dealer seems to get involved with the nitrogen side of the air suspension systems. Would love to know if anyone knows of an independent shop that is involved with air suspension in the Metro Detroit area.

I also had a personal disagreement with the dealership's diagnosis. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a faulty compressor imply that the entire system would not behave properly? Mine only seems to be related to the driver's side. In Aero mode, it pulls left, implying a lower driver side. During regular driving conditions (40-60mph with normal ride height) it still pulls left, though it's much less noticeable. Tried fixing it with multiple wheel alignments and that hasn't seemed to work either. In addition, whenever it was left sitting overnight, it only ever leaned lower on the driver's side. The passenger side seems to work flawlessly year round. Now I'm not a rocket scientist, but I would wager that there's some kind of leak on the driver's side and the compressor is working to compensate for it. Thoughts?

When you mention a leak check, I assume you mean raise it to "Offroad 2," and spray some soapy water over the bags and lines to look/hear for air escaping the system?
 

LouM

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I haven't had to work on my system so hopefully some one that knows will chime in here.
As I understand it there are sensing links on all four corners of the truck to monitor the height,
if one corner is low that would lead me to believe that it is a linkage or sensing issue for that corner.
If possible a different dealer that has someone familiar with the air ride system would be good or if you
are young and flexible enough to still be able to get down and back up from working on your truck check
all the linkages and find the sensing arrangements for each corner and see whats up.
 
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OlliePoly

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Lou,

Thanks for your reply. Under most conditions, the truck sits completely level and can operate through all of the ride heights. It seems to be something directly related to when it goes into Aero mode. If disabled and left in normal ride height, it tracks a lot more straight with only a slight pull to left. I am setting up the AlfaOBD and will get some numbers from the computer system on ride height. Planning on changing the O2 sensors in the coming weeks so I will check out the linkages while I'm in there.

Aidon
 

Bandit517

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I would verify the links are still attached to the ride height sensors and the control arms. Also if it's effecting the drivers side specifically I would verify the valve is functioning properly. One thing that's very unfortunate is that air suspension isn't anything new. Yet across all manufacturers they don't give their techs proper training on troubleshooting and repairing the system. And because it doesn't cost the company money after it's out of warranty, they can just throw parts at it on the customers dime until it's fixed.
 

BWL

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Thinking the steering problem is more of an alignment issue or worn steering components as the ride height being uneven can throw it out a little, but not as much as you're talking about. I had the left side on the bump stops this winter and the right side normal and I didn't notice any pulling. If it works in the summer, but not winter it's moisture in the system, but a refill does nothing without vacuuming out the system. It's a half day job and quite pricey as you're already aware and any leaks mean it will just keep recurring. There is a member here selling a Carli commuter suspension kit. I think all you'd need is the spring mounts in the rear to switch over to coils with something like that. Coilover front struts are a straight swap. Definitely more budget friendly in the long term as the air is costly to fix and repair and seems endlessly problematic in the cold. Also if it airs up and down the compressor is working so if it drops 1 side or corner or front to back it's more likely the valve block is the issue. Ultimately though if there's a leak anywhere the nitrogen will escape and the system will replace it with glorious moisture rich fresh air and the problems will come back. Behind the right side tail light there is a filter on the fresh air intake line. I suggest replacing it as it is there to dry the air as well as filter it, but it's small and therefore has minimal moisture capacity, but does help. Sometimes a bit of airbrake antifreeze down those tubes cures the problems temporarily, but it will eventually require a vac and purge all the same afterwards as there's no way to drain it once it's absorbed all the moisture it can.
 
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OlliePoly

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Thinking the steering problem is more of an alignment issue or worn steering components as the ride height being uneven can throw it out a little, but not as much as you're talking about. I had the left side on the bump stops this winter and the right side normal and I didn't notice any pulling. If it works in the summer, but not winter it's moisture in the system, but a refill does nothing without vacuuming out the system. It's a half day job and quite pricey as you're already aware and any leaks mean it will just keep recurring. There is a member here selling a Carli commuter suspension kit. I think all you'd need is the spring mounts in the rear to switch over to coils with something like that. Coilover front struts are a straight swap. Definitely more budget friendly in the long term as the air is costly to fix and repair and seems endlessly problematic in the cold. Also if it airs up and down the compressor is working so if it drops 1 side or corner or front to back it's more likely the valve block is the issue. Ultimately though if there's a leak anywhere the nitrogen will escape and the system will replace it with glorious moisture rich fresh air and the problems will come back. Behind the right side tail light there is a filter on the fresh air intake line. I suggest replacing it as it is there to dry the air as well as filter it, but it's small and therefore has minimal moisture capacity, but does help. Sometimes a bit of airbrake antifreeze down those tubes cures the problems temporarily, but it will eventually require a vac and purge all the same afterwards as there's no way to drain it once it's absorbed all the moisture it can.
BWL,
Thanks for the input. I have a feeling that it is not steering related, as it tracks straight for the most part, but when increased load is put on one side - like taking a turn at high speed - the steering will be off and then fix itself within a few seconds or so. My money’s on there being a leak on the driver’s side, but we shall see. I’m taking it to another dealer in 2 weeks to have a fresh set of eyes. First dealer said the compressor was failing, but I call BS. It goes through all 5 settings except for the one time when it was really cold (drivers side on bumpstops, passenger side perfectly fine). We will see what they think.

I just set up AlfaOBD and adjusted the ride height sensors to compensate for the lean and it seems to have helped a bit. I will test it on the expressway tomorrow.

Part of me really wants to save the system and keep the vehicle stock, but another part of me is saying just swap to conventional suspension for no more headaches. I guess I will take the summer to weigh my options.
 
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OlliePoly

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Alright, I've been playing with the AlfaOBD app and stumbled across something that made a lightbulb go off. I was viewing some of the status information regarding the system with the engine on, as well as with the engine off. When the engine is running, the spring pressures seem to be pretty consistent: FL 8.92 bar, FR 9.74, RL 6.18, RR 6.59, tank pressure 7.96 bar. However, when the engine is switched off, readings become as follows... FL 7.96, FR 7.96, RL 1.10, RR 5.22, tank pressure 8.10.

A significant drop in pressure once the engine is shut off tells me there is some kind of a leak on that spring/bag. Am I correct in this line of thought? And if that's the case, how did the dealership miss this?
 
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OlliePoly

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For those that are interested,

I wasn't happy with the first dealership's diagnosis, so I went to another local dealership and dropped it off there. I dropped it off about 2 weeks before my appointment, and they still managed to diagnose within a couple days - I was impressed. In addition, they were able to tell me the specifics behind their diagnosis.

Turns out, there was a leak in the rear left, as I assumed. AND the compressor was faulty. They quoted me about $3200 to replace the compressor, some sensors, and some lines/hoses in that corner. However, they also thought the front left was leaking slightly, but they wouldn't be able to properly diagnose until the rear left was addressed. This could have added another potential $2200 to the repair bill.

At this point, I just decided I'd rather spend $3000 to switch over to conventional suspension. A local shop is finishing the truck up for me today. I will have to use AlfaOBD later to disable the ASCM and remove the "immediate air suspension service required" warning light. I liked the idea of the air suspension, and I liked how it rode when it was operating properly, but I don't think it's worth the headaches and stress after a few years of ownership. ESPECIALLY if you're in the rust belt like me.

Hopefully this helps somebody else down the line. Thanks for all of your input.

Aidon
 
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