Restoring Normal Ride Height After Repair (P38)

EAS ECU ConnectorIntroduction
Background: Specific Owner Experiences
Summary of Unofficial Recovery Procedure
More Information

Photo at right by Ron Beckett: EAS ECU Connector under left front seat.



Perhaps the most annoying feature of the Range Rover air suspension system is its propensity to go into a "hard fault" mode when a problem occurs, and remain stuck in that mode even if you repair the cause of the problem. For example, if an air spring springs a leak while out in the field, the "EAS Fault" message will appear and the car will settle to the bump stops. Even if you replace the offending air spring (a very easy procedure -- see the Air Spring Replacement page), the air suspension system will remain in hard fault mode and stuck on the bump stops.

If you are fortunate enough to have a Rovacom Lite or similar, you can reset the fault condition and restore normal operation. For the rest of us, however, getting out of this type of fault condition (even though you have fixed the underlying cause) takes a trip to the dealer. When you (like me) are a few hundred miles out in the desert and far away from the nearest dealer, this is effectively the end of your trip.

Fortunately, diligent efforts by fellow Range Rover owners Ron Beckett and Dennis Altman have turned up alternative solutions that can often work in emergencies like this. Using the methods described on this page, the suspension can at least be restored to normal height and (as long as you have really repaired the problem) you can continue merrily on your way.

CAUTIONARY NOTE: Use these methods at your own risk; none of them are suggested by Land Rover. These are temporary measures, taken at your own risk.  Every ECU will react in it's own way, depending on the fault, and the ECU's mood that day!!

Background: Specific Owner Experiences
Specific owner experiences are provided below since each situation is slightly different and may elicit different responses from the mysterious ECU! Pin numbers refer to pins on connector C117 on the EAS ECU under the LH front seat)

Ron Beckett's Experience
Ron Beckett first reported (circa 2004) the basic method here when he had to drive a 4.0/4.6 which was in hard fault mode to the mechanic after fixing an air spring leak that had caused a hard fault. The mechanic told him to unplug Connector C117 and repressurize the system by jumpering pins 1 and 8 to run the compressor. Then, just plug the connector back in and start up the engine. The car "rose majestically" to its normal height, in spite of the "EAS FAULT" message continuing to be displayed. Ron them disconnected the connector again and drove off with the vehicle maintaining normal height for the entire trip. .

Dennis Altman's Experience
Dennis Altman expanded on the above method after having a hard fault in his EAS (2006). He tried to level the system manually by disconnecting C117 and jumpering the individual solenoids, but found the LF was on the bumps 3 mornings in a row even though the valve block had just been rebuilt. Then he realized he had accidentally interchanged the LF and RF air hoses, probably causing the hard fault to appear in the first place. After installing a jumper from pins 7-18 to stop the annoying "beep beep beep" every 30 seconds, he decided to de-pressurize the system so he could swap the fronts to where they belong. Dennis re-connected the ECU and started up (accidentally leaving the jumper on), assuming that the ECU would let all the air out and drop the suspension to its bump stops. Instead, the compressor fired up, and she "rose majestically" to normal height. He got 3 sets of hard fault beeps, then the dash cleared up. He still had the christmas tree, but she went up and leveled on her own!!!!! 

Other Owner Experiences
In 2005 another owner wrote in to say he tried the procedure described by Ron Beckett above, but found that when he reconnected C117 the car majestically stayed put, right on the bump stops. Most likely, in his case the car had already entered the "extremely hard fault" mode in which the "slow-20mph" message appears. Indeed, this brings up another observation by Dennis (from bitter experience) -- if the cause of the fault still exists when you attempt the above recovery procedure, you end up with an even harder fault with a "slow-20mph" message after about 20 minutes of driving.

Summary of Unofficial Recovery Procedure:
Combining the owner experiences related above, we come up with the following procedure that I consider most likely to succeed:

1. Repair the cause of the problem (blown airbag, etc).

2. Instal jumper from pins 7-18 to stop the annoying "beep beep beep" every 30 seconds. Put it in from the back of the connector, so it won't be in the way of jumpering the solenoids if you want to (see the manual pump-up of air suspension page).

3. Jumper the compressor to fill the tank -- ie connect pins 1 (power feed to ECU from delay turnoff timer) and 8 (power line to compressor). Note: (Note: To avoid overpressurizing, you can also monitor pin 13 -- when it switches up to 12 volts you are up to pressure).

4. Re-connect to the EAS ECU, start up and let it level. At this point, you can drive it away, but it is safer to continue with steps 5-7.

5. Shut off the engine.

6. Disconnect the ECU (Connector C117 under the LH front seat)

7. Drive into the sunset and get it fixed ASAP!!

Please do not blame the contributors if these methods don't work.

More EAS Information
Range Rover Suspension Details and Mods
Replacing an Air Spring
Air Spring Replacement (Bladder Only)
Arnott Generation III Air Spring Upgrade: firmer on hwy, softer off road and more travel
Compressor Diagnosis and Replacement
Compressor Rebuild Procedure
Compressor Field Repair / Temporary Rebuild
Valve Block Details and Repair
Disabling the EAS
Emergency Bypass of EAS
Extended Profile Selector
Lifting the Air Suspension
Manual Pump-up of Air Suspension
Parts Sources for EAS Components
Repair Details
Replacement with Coil Springs
Low cost and generic parts sources (including suspension parts)
Strutmasters US maker of alternative air suspension parts; low cost supplier of Range Rover air spring bellows.
Airbag Man (Low cost Australian supplier of RR air suspension springs, compressors, parts. Worldwide shipping).
Arnott Industries (makers of air spring bladders)
Andy Cunningham's Air Suspension Operation Page
Andy Cunningham's Air Suspension Troubleshooting page
Mechanical and Electrical Upgrades


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Page revised February 2, 2012