Air suspension
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Thread: Air suspension

  1. #1
    JUNIOR ROVER johnno42's Avatar
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    Air suspension

    Just after a general heads up regarding air suspension.

    I have read through the sticky note and I am clear on the test procedure and the valve box rebuild procedure. However the guide I referred to suggested a need to release the air out of the system using appropriate software.

    I followed up on some of the software and it seems it plugs into a socket in the footwell somewhere via a laptop and appropriate cable.

    Is this socket only for the EAS or is it for the ECU as well? Does the software cover everything or do I need different types of software for different things e.g. motor, suspension? What is the best software to buy?

    Should I buy a little dongle that resets a suspension hard fault (whatever that is)

    Is it worth fitting valves so the air can be blown up with an external compressor?

    cheers

    John
    Landrover - making mechanics out of drivers since 1948

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  3. #2
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    There's a diagnostic port in the passenger footwell. Using most generic OBDII readers you should be able to see and possibly modify engine management settings. For all of the other computers in the car (EAS, HVAC, BECM, ABS, AUTO etc) you will need a specific diagnostic computer designed for the P38.
    There's a bunch of different ones, and I'm pretty sure all the info is on the main page, although it might be a little outdated. I use a Nanocom, was quite pricy, but it does all the stuff I need.
    If you are going to be doing all the work on it yourself it's a good investment to make, but at the very least I would recommend the EAS diagnostic software.
    Yes, I believe it is worth fitting a valve to the air system to blow it up. I had a compressor failure the other day and while I was playing with the system trying to work out the issue I ended up on bump stops. I simply pulled into the nearest servo and pumped up the system with the tire pump and drove home. Thankfully my compressor failure was an easy fix, the grub screw on the piston crank had come loose on the shaft of the motor.
    Keep asking questions, I was in your shoes not long ago, and the learning curve on these things is steep, but now I've rebuilt the EAS valve block, rebuilt the 4.6, replaced window winders, and a myriad other small things.
    Have fun!
    1995 P38 4.6 HSE

  4. #3
    SOPHOMORE ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    The first software you need is call EAS-Unlock V3. Cable can be DIY, or buy one on eBay. There is a V4 available from RSW which does a whole lot more, but still not everything on the car.

    Nanocom is definitely the best thing to have for all the P38 systems.

    If your felling brave, you can depressurise simply by pulling each of the airlines !! Best way is to unplug the compressor, and then use up as much air as possible, by raising & lowering the EAS a few times. Then pull the airlines.

    If you're fitting valve to the tank line, make sure you use good quality fittings, or the system sill gradually leak overnight.

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  6. #4
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    Get a Nanocom. It works well and does pretty much everything that any normal guy should get involved with. Faultmate is for guru types or for folks willing to make the effort to really learn WTHIGO. Powerful enough to get at pretty much everything giving plenty of opportunities to really mess things up if you don't know exactly what you are doing. The other P38 specific interrogation systems have significant limitations. I bought a Lynx. Don't. Currently debating whether my conscience will let me sell it on E-Bay to help fund a Nanocom.

    EASA-Unlock V3 does exactly what it says on the tin. Pretty much a one trick pony but its a darn good trick. When Lynx mucked up my EAS, Unlock V3 was what I needed to unwind the problem.

    Clive

  7. #5
    JUNIOR ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    Its easy to depressurize using jumper wires on the connector under the drivers seat. You can see pictures at the main page, Repair operation details, manual eas operation, jumper wires. Keep in mind that pin 1 only has 12v for a couple minutes (from memory) so you need to turn the key one click to give it continuous power. Then jump to the exhaust valve and the solenoid valve for each air spring. Its handy to make a 4 prong jumper so you operate the compressor and each corner independently (compressor not needed for deflation of course). You should find instructions on this on the site.
    I have got by with the RSW reset tool and jumper wires for years. I installed emergency inflation valves and a pressure gauge on the tank line. With this setup, finding leaks is much easier. I have never felt the need for more sophisticated software than the reset tool. I originally built a RSW laptop cable but didn't want to carry a laptop and wanted the simple reset tool that resides in the glove box.
    '99 Range Rover HSE
    '02 Audi S6

  8. #6
    JUNIOR ROVER johnno42's Avatar
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    Re: Air suspension

    Thanks for the advice guys - sounds like the majority vote is to fork out for a Nanocom.

    Thanks for the alternate advice NorCal - sounds like as a minimum I need some sort of reset tool - and for an extra $280 I get a whole lot of functionality so I suspect I will go Nanocom. The only thing standing in my way is that I am cheap
    Last edited by RRToadHall; February 17th, 2017 at 06:42 PM.
    Landrover - making mechanics out of drivers since 1948

  9. #7
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    if you are considering buying a diagnostic tool ask yourself is this the only computerised car I
    will be working on , if the answer is no consider buying one that reads all cars not just the rovers , this may save you buying two readers, just a comment as I have purchased a nanocom ( good dedicated tool) but in hindsight I should have not been cheap
    Last edited by RRToadHall; February 17th, 2017 at 06:42 PM.

  10. #8
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    READING all cars (Land Rover, BMW, GM, etc.) is quite a bit different than being able to set parameters or control the EAS on a P38, etc. Reading all cars can be done with any inexpensive "code reader".

    On the other hand, a Nanocom can be initially purchased for one specific Rover model, and if one happens to own other Land Rovers, that same device can be unlocked by the manufacturer, for an additional fee, to use on that second or even third vehicle.

    There are many universal devices out there that will read/diagnose/manipulate etc. all cars, but those can cost in the thousands, and only make sense IMO, to a professional mechanic or someone who has "unlimited" personal funds.

    I just ordered a Nanocom for my P38 and should be receiving it Tuesday. Exciting!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Thank you,

    Samer
    Current: 1996 P38 4.6HSE
    Sold: 1986 D110 CSW 5-Door

  11. #9
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    Quote Originally Posted by johnno42 View Post
    The only thing standing in my way is that I am cheap
    Now that could really drop you in the kitty litter!

    Being economical by combining low cunning with careful sourcing is just fine and probably an essential part of P38 ownership. Being cheap is why most of our cars came with issues. A sure route to do-overs, frustration and spending twice or thrice on the same job. Not forgetting time wasted under the car instead of in it. Its easy to overlook the effects of ageing on rubbery, resilient and plastic things. Lot of things have just got too old to safely disturb rather than being worn out. You have to accept that sometimes the right way is to fix everything related to the problem rather than just do the single obvious repair. DIY to me means I can spend indy labour charges on more parts to do a proper job.

    My EAS is a good example of why going cheap wouldn't have been a good idea. Car came to me at 77,000 miles with one almost new airbag the rest original. By 80,000 miles I'd replaced the 3 originals too. Now up at 88,000 miles I've done the valve block and just refurbished the compressor. Compressor teflon seal had gone hard in places and was starting to break up so clearly end of life. All working much better. Cheap way would have been to do jobs as needed, possibly with used parts. I did it in stages. Air bags, valve block, compressor. realistically took about 4 times as long as it should. Sensible way would have been to set aside a weekend and do it all in one hit working at a relaxed pace. Could do it all in a day now I've done it once.

    Rule one for the P38 gremlin colony is "never instigate a problem at a convenient time".

    Clive

    PS Every P38 came with happy gremlin family. Was not an optional extra!

  12. #10
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    I've just fixed a problem on my 98 P38 with RSW's software and their supplied OBD2 cable. Worked just fine.

  13. #11
    JUNIOR ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    Quote Originally Posted by johnno42 View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys - sounds like the majority vote is to fork out for a Nanocom.

    Thanks for the alternate advice NorCal - sounds like as a minimum I need some sort of reset tool - and for an extra $280 I get a whole lot of functionality so I suspect I will go Nanocom. The only thing standing in my way is that I am cheap
    The EAS Unlock Suite from RSW is a free download and Storey posted a You tube on making your own OBD cable. So you would have an EAS reset tool for $10-$15. I have had two P38's over the last 17 years and I've never once needed a Nanocom. The EAS is the only specialized function that I have needed on the OBD, most everything else is generic, like the Service Engine light and standard codes. The P38 doesn't have an extensive and useful on board diagnostic like newer cars so a fancy reader is going to give you the same fairly useless code reading as a cheap one. I have Ross Tech system for my Audi, which works on all VW/Audi without locking into one vehicle. It also resets the P38 generic stuff so has done the job when I needed it for the P38. Black Box designs the Nanocom to be used for one vehicle so they can hit you again when you change. I doubt the Nanocom would even exist if RSW hadn't developed the EAS reset. The owner of Black Box used to post on this site, a real jackass in my opinion. I wouldn't want to give him any money. The bottom line is that an expensive code reader doesn't do much for you on a P38 unless you have BECM issues and I'm not sure if a Nanocom will help you there. You would want the BECM doctor then. For that money, you could overhaul your EAS and not have any faults to worry about. Also worth noting that you really only get a hard fault if you have EAS issues while driving. Which pretty much means you have to ignore a leak for awhile until the compressor can no longer keep up. I haven't had a hard fault in years.
    '99 Range Rover HSE
    '02 Audi S6

  14. #12
    SITE ADMINISTRATOR RRToadHall's Avatar
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    Re: Air suspension

    All this is covered in the appropriate diagnostic gear section. Nobody needs to run out and buy a nanocom. Storey's freeware does the job just as well now as it did when he developed it. A cheap generic OBD will cover most everything for the engine. Other subsystems fail so rarely you have to give thought to really needing a dedicated bit of gear. What do I use on most everyone's car I work on? An old beat up Innova 3130 I purchased on clearance sale for around $80. It easily handles over 90% of what I need to check.
    I've learned so much from my mistakes,
    I am thinking about making a few more.

  15. #13
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    I'm no mechanic but I'd be lost without my nanocom. My Rover started out with duff door locks, a bad battery, bad MAF, O2s and a persistent EAS fault. None of those faults are unusual for a P38 and they're all fixable IF you know what's wrong. Without the Nanocom I'd have been stranded on several occasions. It's not exactly cheap but it brings peace of mind. Also, it has paid for itself so now it's cheap after all
    My other Range Rover is a Jeep Cherokee XJ.
    I definitely need help!

  16. #14
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Air suspension

    I went with the nanocom as it was small and easy to take with me in the car. I didn't want to use laptop software as 1. I don't have a windows PC, 2. If I did I wouldn't want to have my laptop being handled and prodded by my inevitably oily fingers.
    The nanocom is great in that it can just be popped in the glovebox and it's always on hand in case of emergency.
    Just something to consider while you make up your mind.
    1995 P38 4.6 HSE

  17. #15
    JUNIOR ROVER johnno42's Avatar
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    Re: Air suspension

    Well that opened a can of worms ... obviously lots of strong views around code readers. Thanks everyone for their opinion. I tend to share troppos view in his last post and like the idea of it being small and self contained.

    PS Hi Clive "I am cheap" = "attempted humour", it was funnier before old toad edited out my asterisks, anyways thanks for sharing
    Landrover - making mechanics out of drivers since 1948

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