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Back Talk – Rear End Held High

Photo and crude drawing by: Rich Birdsall

Question from Dennis:

I read on your old hawk site a while back that you drove a town car. My dad’s 1991 town car is really high up in the back. if it sits overnight it will be normal but when you drive it it goes up really high. The car bounces in the back so much the car is almost un-drivable. How does he get it to go back down?

Photo By: Rich Birdsall

My Answer:

Ah yes… My Town Car. The source of many an enjoyable ride and the emptiness of my wallet. If you look at the picture I’ve posted I drew a really basic sketch of what I think your Father’s problem may be.The Lincoln Town Car has a component called Rear Air Ride that constantly monitors the height of the car while the car is on. It sounds as if the rear air ride height sensor is constantly registering a low car. It is adjusting the car all the way up in the rear because it “thinks” its sitting on the ground. I would think the sensor is bad, but since it is adjusting I’m guessing you have a broken sensor pivot arm.

The arm in question snaps with a plastic ball joint to the frame and on the other end to the sensor. These dry out and become brittle with age. just hitting a bump can break them. Whatever height the rear of the car was at when it snapped it where it stays. Since your fathers car is a 1991 I would say the age is ripe for a plastic failure.

Now, you can try to order one of these from Ford but I’m not sure if they even manufacture them anymore. Your best bet might have to be a junk yard for the sensor or the pivot arm. I have built them from a couple of zip ties and a coat hanger in the past by simply bending the hanger into a skinny loop the same length as the original pivot arm. You place one side of the hanger loop on the frame ball piece and twist a couple of times. then loop the sensor ball piece in the hanger and pull it to the other end. A little twist of the hangar will hold it in place so you can zip tie both ends in place. This is a temp fix however until a replacement part can be obtained as the coat hanger will bend under heavier driving conditions. If you need help with building the temporary part or finding the part we are speaking of in general under your Dads car, give me a ring in the studio!


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