Published on July 31st, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Why Did BMW Engineers Install A Complicated Air Suspension System
Did they want it to be more intelligent than the Mercedes Air Suspension System?
The luxury car segment has been a highly profitable segment for its main players for decades and only in the last decade or so we have seen new players getting noticed.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been dominating the segment until Lexus and Porsche decided it was time to take a slice or two.
Then there was the occasional try out by Volkswagen and Infinti but nothing for the abovementioned brands to worry about.
So, one of the key features of this segment is about ride comfort. The crown for ride comfort was at one time held for years by Citroen with its DS and later the Xantia with their hydropneumatic suspensions systems. Very unreliable for various reasons, they however provided unrivaled comfort and handling.
Then came Range Rover and they too delivered great comfort but unreliable systems. So, when BMW decided it was time to dabble in this engineering, they looked at an air ride system instead of liquid filled suspension system.
For the BMW 7 Series E65/E66 manufactured between 2001-’08, engineers went with an innovative rear air ride system. The BMW Dynamic Drive system uses active anti-roll bars to keep the vehicle level. However, as an option, buyers could purchase the optional Electronic Dampener Control (EDC) that tunes the compression and rebound of the damper to the movement of the wheels and body for a comfortable ride over badly maintained roads.
This BMW developed air ride system is highly integrated into the vehicle’s sensors and systems. It can even be said that this air ride system and suspension system use more sensors than the engine.
The air ride system has more than 100 codes that can be set by the two modules that control the chassis system.
Air suspension uses an electrical air pump or compressor to supply pressurized air to absorb the shocks of driving on the road. The air struts are a component of your BMW’s suspension system that helps to maintain the vehicle’s height by resisting compression via the air pressure from the compressor.
However, when there are problems with the air struts, a number of things can go wrong with your BMW’s suspension, including handling and even worse, irregular chassis height.
BMW suspensions are a little more complex than that of the average car, and therefore any minor problem can lead to bigger issues. One component can become worn or damaged. If caught early, the repairs should be minor.
If you ignore it, things will likely get worse and you will be confronted significant suspension problems that will lead to more expensive repairs.
One of the most common air suspension problems is a leaking air spring. With time, the rubber components of these parts will deteriorate, creating holes and tears and causing air leaks.
The source of the leak is above the bags. There are hoses that run along under the spare, red, and blue.
The clips above the bags themselves after installing should be snug and snapped. If the pump is running non stop the leak is bad. Also if the pump runs after about a minute and senses no movement in vehicle height, it will stop automatically.
So, now you know why many second and third owners of these luxury BMW’s have their cars sitting outside workshops riding the ground for months as the repair costs are high and sometimes as high as the used selling price of their luxury BMW (we have been informed that it could cost between RM15,000 to RM30,000 and a used E65 is priced around this price today).
However, it must be noted that when the system is working well, the driver gets superb dynamics and ride comfort.