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Killawattz

93 Buick Riviera Rear Air Suspension/Heat

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Hello everyone, I recently replaced the heater core in my 93 Riviera, which was quite the ordeal.  After I was done, I was trying to figure out also why none of the lighters worked in the car.  The front lighter had some nasty food residue in it, cleaned that out, still nothing.

Checked fuses and sure enough the 20 amp fuse for the cigar lighter (wait...20 amps for a lighter?) was blown.  Replaced it, and all of a sudden the air compressor kicks on for the rear suspension and scared the absolute shit out of me.  The air suspension has never worked since I bought the car...til I replaced that fuse.  Now I bought the car in late April of last year, and have put about 15k miles on it, all with no air in the rear struts.  I'm worried they may have been damaged due to that abuse.

So I guess what I'm asking is, is there any way to tell if the struts are still good?  How often should the compressor be turning off/on?  I'd rather not burn out the compressor if the struts are bad. The compressor runs for maybe 5 seconds once every 20-30 minutes, the rear of the car then raises up, and I can jump up and down on the back of the car and it holds air pressure.  I took it for a quick spin around the block and didn't notice the compressor turning on.  

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5 seconds every 20 to 30 minutes of driving time is not bad. If it runs that often with the ignition OFF then that will be a problem.

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Your 93 Riviera didn't come with the typical "air suspension system", but rather a "self leveling system".  A typical "air suspension system" has air shocks that you can fill manually.  A "self leveling system" activates when a lot of weight is placed either on the back seat or in the trunk.  The shocks receive a burst of air from the leveler until the car's rear is in a level position with its front.  It's located under-carriage and centered just north of the gas tank.  The system activates when the ignition key is turned to the ON position.  It will continue to "maintain" the level while the car is on (either while driving or parked).  If your shocks are receiving air from the system every few minutes, then you either have a leak in the hoses to the shocks or your "self leveling system" is malfunctioning within it's components.

You can check out how the system works by reading your 93 Riviera Service Manual.   

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In my experience, if the car is more than 5 years old and you have air suspension, it is going to leak a little or a lot.

The shocks can leak a little or a lot as can the lines, connections on the lines and the pump. The amount of time your

pump is running is quite good for a car that old. I would leave it alone for now. If the leak gets bad, you will need to start

changing parts starting with the shocks, or just disconnect the system and do away with the feature if you don't want to spend a lot of money on it.

Being a 93, I would think the only parts still available to repair it would be the shocks. If your car sits too low all the time in the back with the system'

disconnected, there should be conversion kits available for your car that have different springs for the rear that will allow the car to sit level

when unloaded without any help from air shocks. There is a company in California that sells conversion kits to do away with air suspension

on pretty much any model of air suspended car. I have one of their kits on my 2009 Lincoln  Town Car. The only problem is that on some cars like my

Lincoln, there is no way to get rid of the "Check Air Suspension" message on the dash. On many makes of cars they give instructions on how to cut a certain wire to get rid of the light.....but no way to do it on my Lincoln without also disabling my low fuel message and door ajar message, overheating message, etc. so I just ignore the message.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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Dave is giving you good info........... the rear struts (part of the rear suspension) has the shock built in and on your Riviera there is a built in airbag

within the strut.......this makes it difficult to switch to something like air bags.    You could get under the car with some soapy water and check the connections for leaks.

The pump assembly is located on top of the rear suspension so everything is there if you want to check it out.......replacement struts with air assist are no problem to find if you want to install new,  but you leak might be in the line or the pump assembly.

The 1986 - 1993 Riviera is a step sister to the Reatta and share lots of parts and problems.   Jump over to the Reatta discussion and you can pick up lots of info about your Riviera.

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Thanks for the info guys, I've been driving it and I don't hear the compressor kicking on enough for me to be concerned. I'm not attempting to switch to air bags.  At least to me, the rear struts are almost like air bags, without air they don't work, the back just hangs.

 

Rides like a dream now.

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