Lincoln Navigator Suspension Failure: The Usual Suspects

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re experience suspension failure in your Lincoln Navigator.

First, know that it’s not just you. Air suspension failure is a common issue for Navigator owners. Due to their nature, the failure of one or more components in your air suspension is inevitable.

Let’s take a look at the components which are most likely to fail in the Navigator’s air suspension.


The Navigator’s Air Bags

If you take your Navigator into the mechanic for an air suspension failure, nine times out of 10, the air bags will be the first thing they check.

The air bags in your air suspension are what keeps the car suspended off of the wheels. They are made of a flexible rubber.

Over time, these components simply just wear down from doing their job. They puncture and crack like anything else made from rubber or plastic.

It’s important to note that when one air bag goes out, the others are soon to follow. Since they all bear similar loads, they tend to wear out at more or less the same rate.

A leaky air bag doesn’t just affect your ride comfort. Because the bags don’t inflate as easily, the compressor needs to work much harder. This leads to the compressor wearing out early, which explains this next entry.

Test it at home


Fill a bowl with soapy water. Use a small paint brush to apply the soapy water to each of the air bags. Wherever you see bubbles appear on the surface, you have an air leak.

Take note of where they are. Then, use some nail polish or a metallic marking pen to mark their location.


The compressor is the powerhouse of your air suspension system. It generates the pressurized air that’s used to inflate the system and pushes it to the air bags.

Without a working compressor, you don’t have an air suspension.

The compressor in your Navigator runs on on/off cycles. It has a limited lifespan. Therefore, when other components are failing and the compressor tries to pick up the slack, it significantly shortens its own working life.

For this reason, the compressor often goes out in air suspension systems. This is especially true when other problems go ignored.

Unfortunately, in addition to being a common issue, the compressor is also one of the most expensive components to replace.


Test it at home

The easiest way to test the air compressor is to use your ears. You should barely hear the compressor running, if at all.

Listen to your compressor cycles. If it runs too loud or too long (more than about 10 seconds), it likely needs service or replacement.



Ride Height Sensors


Your Navigator employs a ride height sensor at each wheel. These sensors determine how much each air bag needs to be inflated for the car to maintain its ride height.

They are precise little components that suffer from two major setbacks: they are electronic AND moving parts. Both electronic and moving components have high failure rates.

Like the air bags, these will likely fail at about the same rate as each other. If one is busted, the others are sure to follow soon.

Test it at home

The only way to really test these sensors at home is to visually inspect them. This may be difficult without a true lift to use at home.

If you receive an error code, a local auto parts store may be able to read it for you and give you a diagnosis.

A Better Choice for Your Navigator?

If this has you feeling overwhelmed, there are other options. Once air suspensions go, they can become an endless stream of repairs (and money out!)

While you can continue to fix pieces of your air suspension one by one, this will be an expensive and ultimately frustrating way to keep your Navigator on the road.

An alternative is to just ditch that air suspension altogether and convert to an old-school coilover system. This genuine Strutmasters conversion kit allows owners to convert their Navigator suspension to sturdy, dependable coils for less than $600.

For comparison, if you completely replaced your Navigator’s suspension at the dealership with another air suspension, you’d end up paying over $4,500 just for parts!

Better yet, this suspension kit is so simple, it can be installed at home with simple tools and about an hour per wheel. Instructions are included and we’ve also posted a handy installation video to help out!

If it seems like replacing your Navigator suspension with a Strutmasters kit is the right move (it usually is!), order online today or give us a call at (866) 664-0252. One of our suspension experts will be happy to make sure you get exactly what you need.