Simon Paul

RX300 2004 - Air Suspension Compressor

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Hi All,

The suspension air compressor on my 2004 SE-L has become very noisy, although it still works, albeit slowly.

I assume the piston rings have worn out.

A new one supplied and fitted is more than the car is worth, so I wonder if anyone knows of options (not springs) to pursue?

Arnotts don't have ones for cars that old and I've not been able to find anyone to repair it.

Any ideas?

Best

Simon.

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Most people don't bother repairing anything to do with the air suspension and change to springs instead. I believe it's over £500 for one air strut and given the age, it's likely that they'll start to go any time soon, so you could get the compressor sorted and then have to start on them.

Much better to cut your losses now before it becomes a money pit.

If you really want to get it repaired, a quick google shows loads of places in Surrey but obviously they may be more building site and/or garage compressor-oriented rather than automotive ones but got to be worth a call to find out.

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Looks like a used item on evil bay is about £300 .or you could just buy used coil struts and do away with the air suspension.depending on your budget.

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Thanks Herbie. I had a strut replaced a couple of years ago and it was £1k when I could justify the cost because of the vehicle's age.

I'll look into a repair first off as all else seems OK at the moment. It's "only' done 90,000 miles.

I saw the one on ebay Mr Shandy and it does have a 3m warranty but I think that's plan B.

Plan C is the springs route but thanks for the feedback both of you.

Simon.

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1 hour ago, Simon Paul said:

Hi All,

The suspension air compressor on my 2004 SE-L has become very noisy, although it still works, albeit slowly.

I assume the piston rings have worn out.

A new one supplied and fitted is more than the car is worth, so I wonder if anyone knows of options (not springs) to pursue?

Arnotts don't have ones for cars that old and I've not been able to find anyone to repair it.

Any ideas?

Best

Simon.

When it comes on, how long does it stay on for?

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PCM, for maybe 20 seconds but it's quite noisy, much more than it used to be.

So slow + noisy = my thinking the piston rings have gone.

The car's used by madam every day and I wanted to pre-empt the thing collapsing.

 

Simon.

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I'll have to time mine next time it comes on.

We can compare notes!

( Maybe once a every other journey. When it was coming on a lot, it was a leaking strut for me... )

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Anybody have experience of the model (or similar) with conventional springs and air suspension to evaluate ride/handling comparison? I suppose various shocks might make quite a difference anyway.  Must say the air suspension on my RX450h doesn't ride as smoothly as some cars I have had with steel springs and is particularly more jarring for pot holes.  A dealer told me that Lexus had discontinued the air suspension on the 4th Generation RX 450h.  Whether this is because the air suspension has proved too troublesome, is no better than steel springs or just to contain costs is conjecture.  Anyway, interesting that converting to steel springs a is a fall back alternative for OP. 

 

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I've never owned or driven anything with air suspension but, having been a passenger in a couple of RXs with air, I honestly can't see much difference. Certainly not enough difference to justify the extra complexity and extra cost of putting things right with an air system if anything goes faulty, anyway.

When we were looking for our RX300 we purposely avoided the SE-L variant for that very reason.

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Maybe the advantage of air suspension depends a lot a lot on the particular model when I was deciding between SUV's test reports on the Q5 said it was much better with it.  My only previous experience with air suspension was many years ago on a 300SE Mercedes. Unfortunately, there was a leak and if I left the car for more than a couple of hours the suspension lowered and it took perhaps 4 minutes or so before the compressor stopped and the indicator light showed the car could be driven.  There was a small purge tank for draining off the water of the compressor and this was situated under a front wing, I seem to remember.  (Perhaps modern air cars don't need this?) That car did ride nicely though, certainly better than a smaller engined version of the car with springs I drove. 

I would suggest it might be helpful if the OP could get a ride in the equivalent model with springs to check the difference for himself.  

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I once replaced the compressor on an LS and so I took the old one apart, very basic actually and the little piston appeared to made of plastic, or maybe it just felt like it.  One of the things that can make the compressor noisy is the three rubber mountings becoming worn, but they are replaceable.  I paid £75 for a used compressor but it was only slightly less noisy.  Personally I think air is way overrated.

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Yes, I think the innards of the pump are probably pretty basic, hence my wish to try and keep it going.

All the automotive compressor companies I have found, deal with air-con pumps not suspension pumps though, so the hunt continues.

I have a new style Range Rover too and the air suspension on that is really good - smooth, doesn't roll much, so the system can work but I'm struggling to find someone to fix it.

Heigh ho...

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6 hours ago, Simon Paul said:

Yes, I think the innards of the pump are probably pretty basic, hence my wish to try and keep it going.

All the automotive compressor companies I have found, deal with air-con pumps not suspension pumps though, so the hunt continues.

I have a new style Range Rover too and the air suspension on that is really good - smooth, doesn't roll much, so the system can work but I'm struggling to find someone to fix it.

Heigh ho...

When I took my old one off I connected it to a 12v Battery, what a racket, it sounded like a jackhammer!  Good luck with it, and keep us updated.

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On 8/19/2019 at 5:40 PM, PCM said:

I'll have to time mine next time it comes on.

We can compare notes!

( Maybe once a every other journey. When it was coming on a lot, it was a leaking strut for me... )

... about 8 seconds when it's on.

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19 hours ago, The-Acre said:

When I took my old one off I connected it to a 12v battery, what a racket, it sounded like a jackhammer!  Good luck with it, and keep us updated.

Whereabouts is the compressor?

I'd be curious to know...

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1 hour ago, PCM said:

Whereabouts is the compressor?

I'd be curious to know...

I imagine yours is in the same place as the LS which is under the front drivers side wheel arch cover.

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Too be honest if you only need the compressor any car make will do it's only a few wires etc and maybe modify the frame mount ,it only pumps air after all .

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I had a similar problem with a 16 year-old Merc S500 I bought four years ago - - - noisy air-pump - - -

Then it became very noisy !

 

I hauled it into my local indie and together we discovered that the (intergrated) mounting assemply was rotten - and repair was innappropriate - - though the pump assenbly was fine - - - -

So maybe a worn mounting on yours?

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