It’s considered quite common for an air suspension compressor relay to fail. Usually, the reason behind the failure is a leak somewhere in the system that overworks the compressor and then causes it to burn out. So, In case your air compressor isn’t working, it’s wise to perform some diagnostic work to ensure the compressor rather than blaming a circuit issue.
What is a relay and how it functions?
Relays are just the switches that work to facilitate closing and opening the circuits electronically as well as electromechanically. It functions to control the opening and closing of the circuit contacts of an electronic circuit. So, if the relay contact is open (NO), the relay is simply not energized with the open contact. While it is closed (NC), the relay is not energized given the closed contact.
Relays are generally used in manufacturing, control panels, and building automation to effectively control the power along with converting the smaller current values into a control circuit. Well, this is the whole point of relays, the supply of amplifying effect help to control the large voltages and amperes. The thing is that if low voltage is applied to the relay coil, there is a possibility that a large voltage can be switched by the contacts.
It is recommended by professionals to use preventive relays in order to detect overload, overcurrent, undercurrent, and even reverse current to make sure that the electronic equipment is protected. Furthermore, it is also used to heat the elements, switch the starting coils, switch on audible alarms, and pilot the lights.
How air suspension compressors work, common failures
An air suspension compressor facilitates the system with the required pressure. It consists of an electromotor that runs the cylinder piston via a connecting rod. It’s normally switched on and off by a relay that is controlled by the ECU. So, the air that is sucked in is actually compressed by the movement of the piston. The valve block functions to send this compressed air through the airlines to the pressure reservoir or the air springs.
If you look at an air suspension system, the electronic control unit is usually considered to be the brain of the system. With ECU as a brain, the compressor can be described as the beating heart of the system.
Though it’s a fact that a compressor does not continuously run, So, when it fails to function properly, the system will probably perform quite poorly and will shut down soon. That’s why the compressor is considered a vital component within the air suspension system.
Common air suspension compressor symptoms
There are multiple possible symptoms of a malfunctioning compressor.
Quite much time is required to change the vehicle’s continuous running and, ride height, in the worst-case scenario, not operating at all.
It is not that difficult to find out that whether a compressor is burned out or not. From discolouration of the labels on the compressor, melted connectors to a burning smell when disassembling the unit are also common indicators.
According to experts, it is considered wise to replace the relay when replacing a compressor. Try to understand that it’s a wear and tear part that can get sticky over time. So, when there is a leak observed in the system, the relay does not stop switching the compressor on. Generally speaking, this is harmful not just for the compressor in the long run, but for the relay as well.
Problem regarding defective compressors
In most cases, the issue of a defective compressor is usually the result of a failure in another part of the air suspension system. Therefore, It is recommended to make sure that the entire air suspension system is properly checked for leaking components and always seals after replacing a compressor.
As per the professionals of this field, it is better to verify the airtightness of the seal between spring and strut. Also, check the valve block connectors, Voss fittings and condition of the airlines themselves.
Well, a water and soap solution is commonly used and it actually works well in detecting a leak.
Check holes or tears in the air springs and, stay focused as not all leaks are easily found. Sometimes, a leak is located on the unfolding edge of the air spring, which usually stays hidden at normal system height.
It’s true that most compressors look externally identical, but there are a lot of internal differences that are integral. The piston and rotor are effectively balanced in order to prevent premature wear and tear and vibration of the bearings and piston rings.
Furthermore, the quality of windings and the carbon brushes are important for proper and smooth operation. The extremely smooth surface of the cylinder wall is done using a CNC machine to prevent piston ring wear and tear.
Learn to test air suspension compressor relay
It becomes a serious matter of concern for many people to know how to test an air suspension compressor relay. The simplest and easiest way to test the compressor relay is with a fused jumper wire. Never ignore taking all of the necessary safety precautions if you prefer to attempt this method.
It is important to know that the information below is quite generic and for educational purposes only. Make sure to follow the factory repair information for your specific application. One way of testing the compressor relay is by swapping it with a relay of the same design.
Keep it simple, and prepare by putting on your safety glasses. As each model differs, it is recommended to consult a repair manual in order to determine which terminals are on the relay. Carefully remove the relay from the power distribution box. Just bypass the relay by attaching a fused jumper wire right between the terminals in the power distribution box for the (output) portion of the relay.