Porsche Cayenne Air Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Tips)

In this brief article, we are going to discuss the different Porsche Cayenne Air Suspension problems, what the causes are, and their troubleshooting Tips.

What are the most common air suspension issues in a Porsche Cayenne?

The most common Porsche Cayenne suspension issues are:

  • Uneven Ride Height
  • Corner Sagging
  • Suspension not lifting
  • Tips on replacing Air Spring
  • Tips on Rebuilding the Air Compressor

Porsche Cayenne Suspension Set-up

The Porsche Cayenne is categorized as a mid-size Luxury crossover that was launched in 2003 and is currently in its 3rd generation. 

The Front suspension set-up in a Porsche Cayenne is a coilover Damper with a Double-wishbone arrangement.

The standard Rear suspension is a 5-link independent suspension (lower control arm, Upper control arm front, Upper control arm rear, Trailing arm and a Toe control arm) with a Torsion bar & coil springs.

The Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S Models came with Air suspension as standard instead of coilovers.

The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) Damper Control is a system that controls the Air suspension pressure and the Damper’s damping rate using solenoid control along with the help of accelerometers and ride height sensors. The Porsche 955 and 957 Cayenne models that had the air suspension option, also came with PASM.

The Cayenne 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. This system shares several components like the air compressor with other Volkswagen group mid-size SUV’s like the VW Touareg and the Audi Q7.

Uneven Ride Height

  • One corner sits lower than the other at normal ride height
  • Air suspension works fine; no issues with raising and lowering at all 4 corners

Root Causes:

  • Sometimes, due to road impacts, over time, the ride height sensors lose their reference ride height position.
  • In these situations, the sensors would need to be recalibrated 

Troubleshooting Uneven Ride Height: Ride Height Calibration

  • Plug the ‘Porsche System Tester’ Diagnostic Tool into the OBD II port. Select “Air suspension” -> “level adjustment system” -> test step “Calibration”.
  • Make sure that the vehicle was already set to Normal Ride Height condition. Switch ON the ignition so that the compressor comes ON in order to develop enough air pressure to lift the vehicle if necessary
  • The system first fully raises and fully lowers the suspension and then moves to the normal ride height position. The system then asks for the actual/measured ride heights of 4 corners and also displays the ideal height required at each corner.
  • Measure the ride heights using the body and wheel references mentioned in the Porsche service instruction documentation
  • Enter these values in the interface. 
  • After entering the values, the suspension performs calibration. Depending on whether the values you entered were higher or lower than the ideal values the suspension at each corner adjusts itself.

Corner Sagging

  • Corner suspension loses ride height after parking
  • When pressing the ride height button height does not change; the car icon appears on the center display showing the car is at normal height.
  • Sometimes one corner suspension drops during driving
  • After dropping the corner rises but soon loses height again

Troubleshooting Corner Sagging: Air Leakage

  • If there is a loss of suspension height in spite of a properly working air compressor, then the air leakages could be the next thing to suspect.
  • Air leakage related suspension sagging generally is seen when the car is parked overnight and sometimes even over a period of days.
  • 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.
  • In the Diagnostic tool, use the “Air Filling/Venting Set-up” Inspection/Test to fill air into the system. Then spray springs with soap solution to check for leaking.
  • 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 Porsche Cayenne air spring.

Suspension not Lifting

  • Suspension does not rise after sitting low
  • Compressor working noise is heard
  • In some cases there appear 2 error messages indicating Failure in the: 
    • PSM and
    • the Air suspension

Troubleshooting Suspension not Lifting

  • Use the diagnostic tool use the “Level Control” -> “Active Test” to fill air into the system by running the compressor
  • First, listen to see whether the compressor turns on 
  • If the compressor does not turn on there is one more diagnostic test you could try
  • Go to “Level Control” -> “Special Functions” and try “Fill air reservoir”. See whether this test causes the compressor to kick in.
  • See whether the suspension raises. If it does not, then it means that the air springs are not getting the required lifting pressure from the compressor.
  • To find the reason, it would be useful to measure the pressure developed by the air compressor. Check this against the normal working pressure, which will be mentioned in the Service Instruction.
  • If the pressure is insufficient, then this could be due to either:
    • A faulty air connection at the compressor outlet
    • Compressor internally worn out
  • You will need to remove the compressor and inspect for leakages
  • Replace the compressor in your suspension system
  • Although it is a 100% solution, you could try to rebuild the air compressor referring to the tips mentioned in this section.

1437 Control Position not Learned Error

  • This is a Fault Code that is detected usually when the vehicle displays error messages indicating Failure in the: 
    • PSM and
    • the Air suspension

Troubleshooting 1437 Control Position not Learned Error

  • When this fault code is detected by the Diagnostics, it usually means that either 
    • The suspension control needs to be calibrated, or 
    • There is a possible fault in the level control module
  • For Calibration procedure, please refer to this previous section.
  • The other possible issue could be a faulty ride height sensor or a ride height measurement linkage.

Tips on Replacing the Air Springs on a Porsche Cayenne

  • 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 Porsche Cayenne Air Suspension problems, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

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