Jaguar XF Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the most common Suspension issues that occur in the Jaguar XF,  what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

Top Suspension problems in Jaguar XF

The Top Suspension Issues in the XF are:

  • Upper Control Arm Failure
  • Front Shock Absorber Strut Failure
  • ‘Suspension Fault’ diagnostic Error message
  • Hissing Noise when engine is running
  • Collapsed Front Suspension

What Suspension does the Jaguar XF have?

The Jaguar XF first generation, called XF250, was produced from 2007 to 2015. The XF is currently in its second generation X260 since 2015. 

The front suspension is a Double Wishbone with Air Springs and Anti-Roll Bar.

The Rear Suspension on the XF is a Double Wishbone with Air Springs and Anti-Roll Bar.

The XF Air Suspension

AIr Suspension is optional in the XF Saloon whereas in the XF Sportbrake, the Rear air self-leveling suspension comes as a standard. 

Apart from the air suspension the ‘Adaptive Dynamics’ dynamic suspension also comes as standard on the XF SportBrake. Adaptive Dynamics basically means that the dampers read data from sensors at 4 corners of the vehicle every few milliseconds to calculate the most appropriate damping rate that is required at that instant.

Upper Control Arm Failure

Symptoms:

  • Steering Wheel Vibration. 
  • Steering Wandering. 
  • Clunking Noises.

Troubleshooting Upper Control Arm Failure

  • In a majority of cases, Steering wheel vibration at high speed is an indication of an issue with the bushes and the Ball Joints of the upper control arms
  • A Wandering steering is yet another sign of the worn-out joints of the upper control arm
  • The front suspension Camber setting is done by adjusting the bolt positions using an eccentric washer. But this is under the assumption that the control arm bushings have enough elasticity left in them.
  • Once the Upper control arm Bushings fail, this will lead to a movement of the Upper Ball-joint position when the vehicle suspension experiences Road loads. And therefore all the wheel camber and alignment settings get completely disturbed, leading to wheel vibrations and handling problems.
  • When the control arm moves excessively, it contacts the body while the suspension moves. This causes the clunking noises.
  • Once the Upper control arm has been replaced, the wheel alignment for both wheels need to be done.

Front Shock Absorber Strut Failure

Symptoms:

  • Front end feels Bouncier going over bumps
  • On a rough road it feels as if the front end is losing grip as you increase speed
  • Poor Handling
  • Knocking and squeaking noises from the front

Troubleshooting Front Strut Failure

  • If your vehicle has crossed 50K-75K miles, then it could be due for a shock absorber replacement. Due to long-term internal wear, the shock starts becoming ineffective over time.
  • If the front strut shock has started leaking oil due to a failed oil-seal, then it means that the shock will no longer be effective.
  • One good way to tell if your shock has failed or not is to do a Bounce Test. Put all your weight on one of the front corners of the vehicle pushing it downwards. Keep oscillating the corner till you feel that it has reached its maximum height. Once you take your hands off the corner, observe how it settles. If it takes more than 2 oscillations to settle, that means the damper has failed.

Pro-Tips:

  • Inspect the Shock Absorber bottom mounting Bushes and replace them if they seem worn-out or Torn
  • While fitting a new shock absorber, always, Tighten the Top mounting bolts first and then the Lower mounting bolt.
  • Also make sure that while tightening the Shock bottom bolt,  the Wheel Hub is supported at its normal ride height. For this you can either use Blocks, a screwjack or a jack stand.
  • If the shock bottom mounting bush is tightened at any other ride height, then when the car is lowered to normal ride height, the Bush will rest in a twisted condition and will have a reduced Bush service life.

‘Suspension Fault’ diagnostic Error message

Symptoms:

  • Applies to only vehicles with Adaptive Air Suspension
  • Message says, “Suspension Fault” and “Adaptive Dynamics Fault”
  • No abnormal noises coming from the suspension while driving on rough roads

Root Cause:

The fault happened because the Air compressor was not able to generate the required pressure within 2 min.

This could mean one of two possibilities:

  • There is a leakage within the system that is not allowing the air pressure to build up
  • The compressor is faulty or is worn out

Troubleshooting Air Suspension Fault Message: Ride Height Sensor

  • Use a good Diagnostic Tool to Scan for Error Codes
  • The most commonly occuring error code is the one that says, “Height Sensor Permanent”
  • First, check all the Suspension electrical connectors to each of the Spring Struts and the Ride-Height Control Sensors. It would be a good idea to clean each of the connectors anyway before moving to the next step.
  • Use a Multimeter to test for electrical continuity and data continuity at each of the connector terminals.
  • In case of any broken connections, replace or repair where necessary.
  • The next most probable part of the suspension would be the Ride height sensors. These sensors consist of a mechanical lever connection to the electrical sensors.
  • Remove the problematic sensor and inspect for linkage damages
  • Since it is not a serviceable part, it would invariably need to be replaced

Hissing Noise in XF when engine is running

Root Cause:

  • Once the engine starts, the compressor automatically comes on as well and tries to maintain the air pressure that is required for the suspension to function.
  • The Hissing noise is basically from a leakage point within the Air circuit. The fact that it is continuous, also gives us a clue that it is indeed from the air suspension system. The air suspension system tries to maintain pressure all the time. The leakage creates a drop in pressure, which the compressor tries to overcome by overworking.

Troubleshooting the XF Hissing Noise

  • The leakage could be located anywhere in the system
  • But you can start with the weak points in the system, like Rubber Air Bellows (Air Springs) and connection joints, like the connections above the Air Spring
  • Also closely inspect the Air Springs themselves. Air bellows undergo massive wear and tear. Towards the end of the Air bellow’s service life, it develops cracks that would potentially turn into a leakage
  • For a procedure on how to spot leakage points, refer to this earlier section.

Collapsed Front Suspension

Symptoms:

  • Red light Displaying “vehicle low” is on
  • Complete loss of ride height at both front wheels
  • Loud Hissing noise once the car is started

Troubleshooting Collapsed Front Suspension

  • Hissing noise points to an air leak somewhere in the air circuit
  • Try to get as close as possible to the sound and try identifying the leakage position by ear
  • While an air leak is possible anywhere within the circuit, there are certain joints or connections that are more prone to leakages, namely, The Air suspension “Retainer Valve’. This is a replaceable part available from spares and is very easily replaced.
  • The next most obvious location would be the Air Spring itself. To check the Air Spring for leakages, do a very simple leakage inspection using Soap water. If there is a leak, you can see it as ‘White Bubbles’ that stick and do not drip down.
  • Eventhough only one spring might have a leak, for 2007 and prior models, the front had a single height sensor. It is possible that the air control valve was attempting to self-level the ride height and in this process exhausted the air out of the opposite side completely.
  • After rectifying the leak, you should use a Diagnostic Tool to read all the fault codes and confirm whether you have covered all the faults within the system.

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the most common Suspension issues that occur in the Jaguar XF,  what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

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