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Do I have a suspension leak?

857 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  RRToadHall
Overnight, my 2006 RRS SC will lower to what appears to be access height. As soon as I start it up again, the compressor will kick on and the vehicle raises no problem. When idling the compressor will kick on every now and then for a few seconds. This is the first vehicle I’ve owned with air ride so I am not sure what is “normal” I just had it at my LR mechanic for a different repair, which they had overnight, and there was no mention of anything wrong with my suspension. I’ve sat in the vehicle after shutting it off and there is no obvious leak. It seems to adjust to however the ground is, level or not. What are some signs or ways I can see if there is a leak, and where?
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usually cracks form and leak on the front struts first. They form at the point of the most use which is usually between normal and motorway heights. When you park at normal height one or two of these cracks may be very slowly leaking. As is lowers due to the leaks more cracks will open up and leak even more. As the Rover drops past the last of the cracks that leaks the cracks that do leak are closed and seal on the strut surface instead of the outside of the bladder.

You start your Rover, the compressor fires up and adds to any air left in the tank. Since the air bladders usually fill quickly to normal height the cracks that leak are quickly bypassed. You are at the point where there are leaks when parked. Th compressor has to cycle for a few seconds to keep the air tank full. When you drive the bags flex and the compressor will run even more. Pretty soon your compressor will get weak and won;t be able to keep up.

That is how minor leaks go from an annoyance to strut replacements needed and if ignored long term you then need to rebuild your compressor or purchase a new one.
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Soapy water in a spray bottle. Park in wading mode support the body with jack stands or cribbing rearward of the suspension with about one inch of room. Place a floor jack under the strut. Set the suspension to normal mode. Spray the bladder down on all sides... yes you are going to get wet and dirty. This first round will give you the bag flex range of just above normal to wading mode. Jack the strut up a a couple inches. You should have a couple inches of compression before the air in the bag starts to lift the rig. Again spray the bag down on all sides This second round will give you the flex range of upper normal down to lower normal. At this point you should be seeing cracks at the roll in the bladder. You may have a leak at this point at one of those cracks. Go slow and look for bubbles.

You now need to take chalk or a grease pencil and mark how far you were able to check, remove the jack stand or cribbing and drop the suspension to access height. Get the floor jack under the approved jacking position where the door meets the fender on the "frame" There will be minimum air in the strut but still enough to show leaks at the cracks below your chalk marks.
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