We recently took in a 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII which looked as if the front suspension was missing. It looked as if the front tires were resting on the fenders — not good. Google the Mark VIII and you’ll quickly find that these cars had an air ride suspension with rubber bladders that were known to develop a leak. On this particular car, the leak must not be too bad because after you start the car the front end rises to the appropriate height. It takes a couple of minutes and then everything looks fine.
But what would it cost to replace the airbags bladders? From what some owners are saying, the replacement cost is somewhere between $1000 and 1400. But these same people also mentioned an aftermarket alternative from Arnott, Inc. Instead of replacing the airbags bladders, they offer replacement coil springs for $399. I’m not sure how difficult it would be to remove them, but it would seem to be a better long term option if they have to be replaced periodically.
This is the second Mark VIII we have had traded in during my time at the dealership. It’s a car that still catches my attention. Despite the fact that it looks like a stretched and flattened Ford Taurus, it reminds me of a Jaguar XJ-S. The interior has the same amount of space: most of the leg room is given to the front seats while the back would be best reserved for children or luggage. But the leather seats are comfortable and the interior layout is very nice. And the performance would be similar: Lincoln’s 280 hp V8 vs. Jaguar’s 295 hp V12.
I wouldn’t mind having one of these as an every day driver.
4 thoughts on “1996 Lincoln Mark VIII : Leaking Air Suspension”
Do you really mean “airbags” or did you mean “airshocks”?
Yeah, I guess airbag is the interior safety feature. Maybe air bladder is the correct word? It’s actually a rubber bladder.
Coil spring conversions are a great way to fix air suspension problems in a cost-effective way. As you note the Arnottinc.com price is just $399 for that while the original equipment price s going to be a lot more. Of course it sounds like you may have a leak and you may be able to replace that with an Arnott Air Spring for just $99. if not fixed it will burn out the compressor / dryer assembly.
Converting it won’t take long and pretty much should last for the rest of the car’s life. (Arnott gives a lifetime warrantee anyway.) Here is how you would do it:
Paul, thanks for the helpful guide. It makes the repair seem easy enough for a backyard mechanic.
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