Audi Q7 Adaptive Air Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the Audi Q7 Adaptive Air Suspension problems, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.

Most common Adaptive Air Suspension issues in the Audi Q7

The most common Q7 Audi Adaptive air suspension issues are:

  • Adaptive Suspension Warning
  • Unable to Change Drive Mode or Ride Height

How does the Audi Adaptive suspension work?

AUDI’s Adaptive Suspension works in the following manner.

The Adaptive Suspension functionality gives a “Drive Select” System. The Drive Select will customize throttle response, suspension dampening, Ride Height as well as steering feel with a dial or via the MultiMedia-Interactive (MMI) touch-screen menu. 

The Drive Select functionality is a holistic system that shifts the entire behavior of the vehicle based on the driver selecting any of the Drive Select modes.

When selecting any of the Drive modes, the Suspension will undergo these changes.

  • The system receives “Real-Time” inputs from the level sensors and Acceleration sensors (road profile inputs).
  • With these inputs, the DCC control Unit controls each individual damper’s settings.
  • Each Damper is Dynamically controlled and adjusted every few milliseconds, in Real-time, all with the intention to make the vehicle behave in either a ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Comfort’, ‘Off Road’ Manner

The valve within the damper is Electromagnetically moved instantaneously so as to alter Damping flow-rate

The Primary Audi Drive Select Modes are:

Dynamic

 

The priorities in this mode are Precise control and responsiveness. Throttle response is quickened and gear shifts happen at higher RPMs. The steering feel is also stiffened to allow for more accurate steering input.

Comfort

Comfort mode makes the suspension feel Softer by adjusting the Damping. The Ride height is set to Normal Ride Height. The System also loosens the steering wheel resistance work to dampen the road feedback to the wheel. Electronic throttle is relaxed and transmission is set to shift gears at lower RPMs.

Off Road

In the Off Road Mode, the Audi Q7 suspension is set to maximum ground clearance – a maximum of 25.4 centimeters with the adaptive air suspension (standard suspension height is 22 cm). 

Auto

A balanced setting that is well suited for regular everyday use. It focuses on balancing comfort and performance.

There are additional Audi Drive Select Modes as well depending on your particular Audi model.

The Adaptive Air Suspension system consists of air struts at 4 corners, an air compressor, an air tank reservoir/accumulator, a solenoid valve block to distribute air pressure to the struts, and a control system to manage all of these. 

Suspension Ride Height for each Drive Mode is controlled through the Air suspension pressure using solenoid control along with the help of accelerometers and ride height sensors. This system shares several components like the air compressor with other Volkswagen group mid-size SUV’s like the VW Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne.

Adaptive Suspension warning light

  • The yellow suspension warning light appears showing a fault in the ride height adjustment
  • The Green suspension light also blinks later on
  • When pressing the ride height adjust button, the height does not change
  • In most cases, one or more Corner suspension/s loses ride height after parking

Root Cause:

  • The loss of suspension height, could be due to multiple reasons, the two main ones being:
  • Air leakages somewhere in the system
  • Valve Blockages
  • A slow air leakage causes sagging generally when the car is parked overnight and sometimes even over a period of days.
  • This fault can be confirmed using the VCDS Scanning/Diagnosis tool
  • Before starting the scan clear all Fault codes that have already been stored
  • Start the vehicle and change suspension height to lift the vehicle by selecting “Lift” option

Troubleshooting Suspension Warning Light: Leakage

  • You need to Scan the Fault codes while the vehicle suspension is trying to lift itself. This can be started by setting the suspension to ‘Lift’ mode.
  • In the case of leakages, the system does detect and display the error code 01583
  • Air springs are known to wear out and crack at the rubber bellow surface gradually after accumulating mileage. They generally would last 70K to 80K miles depending on usage.
  • In a high mileage vehicle, the air springs would be the first place to check for leakages.
  • Fill the Air springs by either 
    • Turning ON the ignition, or
    • In the Diagnostic tool, use the “Air Filling/Venting Set-up” Inspection/Test to fill air into the system, OR 
    • If the diagnostic method is not possible, then you can pressurize the air spring through the inlet using an external air compressor
  • After spraying the soapy water solution, wait to see if there are white foam bubbles that stay at one spot even after wiping it with a finger.
  • In cases where the leak is major, you even hear a hissing noise coming from the leakage point and be able to locate it by ear.
  • Once you have confirmed that there indeed is a leak, the air spring has to be replaced. Read this section to know tips on how to easily replace your Audi air spring.

Troubleshooting Suspension Warning Light: Valve-Block Leakage

  • The DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) will mostly show up as :

“02250 – Function Deactivation; Valve Duty Cycle

 001 – Upper limit exceeded

  • Use a soapy water spray to detect bubbles at the valve block air connector fittings
  • If there is a crack or damage at the valve block body, then it will need to be replaced.

Unable to change Drive Mode or Ride Height

  • Rear/Front suspension alone is stuck in the “Off Road” (highest suspension height) height setting
  • The Adaptive Air Suspension control Diables other ride height options and does not allow ride height adjustment

Initial Diagnosis:

  • Sometimes an Adaptive Suspension Reset could unlock the system. Follow the steps in this section to do a Reset.
  • Using VCDS diagnostics scan for DTC’s
  • The most usual to appear in this situation are 01400 and 02250
  • The 02250 trouble code points to the Valve Block of the air suspension as a potential defective component

Troubleshooting unable to change Ride height

  • The valve block distributes air pressure to the individual air struts and receives air from the compressor
  • From the symptom of Rear suspension not able to move, it is possible that the valves connected to the rear suspension might not be opening and closing as per the control system’s instruction
  • There could be 2 reasons for this
    • A blockage in one or more valves due to internal corrosion
    • An electrical fault within the Valve block leading to malfunction
  • The first thing to do is to carefully dismantle and inspect all the valve connector fittings to the valve block and check for any deposits or corrosion.
  • If needed replace the damaged individual valve connectors
  • Do a leakage test for all the connectors using soapy water solution, just to make sure that the connectors were fixed properly and that none of them are loose.
  • If a valve connector blockage is not the issue, then the valve block will need to be replaced

Suspension Leaning to one side

  • The Audi Q7 Adaptive Suspension, sometimes, has different ride heights at the corners. 
  • This makes the car look like it is leaning to one side

Root Cause:

  • In the course of daily use, the Suspension sensor arms can get knocked out of the mean position that was originally set at the Audi factory.
  • When this happens, the Self-adjust mechanism of the suspension does not Level the car Flat, or in other words, one side (either left or right) Ride height is self-adjusted by the Suspension System at a different ride height compared to the opposite side.
  • The Leaning Problem can be solved using a Diagnostic Tool
  • The ‘Calibration’ function within the Diagnostic functions can automatically adjust the corner ride heights by following the steps explained in this section.

Calibrating the Q7 Adaptive Air Suspension

  • You can solve the Leaning Problem using a Diagnostic Tool that you plug into the OBD 2.
  • In VCDS Select ‘Control Module’ -> “34- Level Control” – “Options” -> “Security Access” and then “Adaptation”
  • In order to access the Adaptation (calibration) module, you will need to enter the access code of the vehicle
  • You will need to input the 4 corners’ Ride Height in the software starting by entering “01” as the ‘Channel number’ for the ‘Front Left’ suspension and then clicking ‘Read’
  • The diagnostics shows the reference (factory set) values at each corner
  • You will need to input the actual ride height values at each Channel (corner) measuring from the wheel center to the bottom of the fender in the vertical direction
  • It then runs a program which will self calibrate and correct the ride heights at each corner to the factory set values

Resetting the Audi Q7 Adaptive Air Suspension

In the center console navigate to 

  • “Vehicle” Page
  • Go to “Air Suspension Wheel change” and Check-mark the Option
  • Switch OFF and then Switch ON the Ignition
  • Navigate back to “Air Suspension Wheel change” and UNCheck the Option

Tips on Replacing the Air Springs on an Audi Q7

  • Before removing the air spring for replacement, be sure to relieve the air pressure from it at the valve block, which is located in the underbody near the rear bumper.
  • Relieve the left or right air spring valve by loosening the connector gradually. If this is done suddenly, then you could risk damaging the O-rings within the air connector fitting.
  • While replacing the Air Spring, be sure to cut off the portion of the line that was squeezed or stretched in the old fitting after disconnecting. The reason being that the old used portion  of the air line could crack and cause a potential leak.

Pro-Tip:

  • Some aftermarket brand replacement bellows tend to give a higher service life as compare to the original OE spare part
  • Moreover, some aftermarket replacement parts also come with a lifetime warranty instead of a limited warranty offered by manufacturer

Tips on Rebuilding the Air Suspension Compressor

  • This applies to air suspension from all generations
  • To check for compressor issues, you need to dismantle it and check the Piston, Cylinder and Piston ring condition.
  • The best course of action would be to replace the compressor, but for economic reasons, you could also try using a repair kit (Piston rings and 2 o-rings) to rebuild the compressor. 

The rebuild option does come with risks as there could be issues in the compressor other than just the piston and rings.

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Audi Q7 Adaptive Air Suspension problems, what the causes are, and how these issues could be effectively dealt with.

References 

Audi MediaCenter Model Updates Official Page

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