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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Automatic Ride Control

Last week I could finally pick up my new Turbo Coupe after a long long waiting time (there were problems with the Swiss DMV...long story)
It drives nicely and is a real beauty! There's no car like it, really special.

There is this problem with the Automatic Ride Control though: While driving the "firm ride" lamp flashes four times every other minute or so. When I flick the switch to firm ride the lamps flashes two times but doesn't stay on as it should from my understanding? All I learned is that those are codes about in which corner of the car is a problem.. Does anyone know what I could do to make it work or where I have to start?

Many thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 11:41 AM
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IF the codes are the same as the early SC cars, then this is the list of codes:

ARC Codes

This says the 4 flashes are the front left actuator; take the cover off it and see if it moves when you switch it.

It seems to say two flashes and nothing else can be the "system pass" indication.

I don't know if any of this is applicable to your car, though.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 12:08 PM
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I thought you had to jump the pins on the DLC test port for the ARC connector to retrieve the codes - at least that's for the 89-95 SC.

The late model factory service procedure ( without the super star 2 tester ) quick test ..

1. Using a jumper wire connected to a known good ground, ground circuit 209 (White/Pink) Pin 3 at date link connector

2. Start engine, run for five seconds. Disconnect jumper for one second, reconnect ground to Circuit 209 (White/Pink). Record DTCs flashed on instrument cluster FIRM RIDE indicator.

System pass would be a 1 1 … two flashes but not in rapid succession.

I would start by visually inspecting the ARC actuators / shock at the LH front ( driver side ) make sure its plugged in .. and then swap the shock actuator side to side to see if the code moves with it to determine a bad shock or actuator, or some other part of the system.

Do the Firm / Soft relays cycle when you turn the car on ?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 01:12 PM
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dDubb, do you know if the foxbody arc actuators and system are the same on the turbocoupes?

I've never worked on the older ones...

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your help guys! When I flick the switch with the ignition on, I hear sort of soft clicking noise coming from the right front somewhere (it's not loud, I don't hear it with the engine is on). I didn't look if they move though. I took off the covers to look at them and gently tried to move them; but they didn't move at all. So I applied some WD40 hoping it would lose them a little but nothing changed during the drive afterwards (about an hour). I didn't even see where exactly they actually should move... I'm not a mechanic.
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Originally Posted by dDUBb View Post
Do the Firm / Soft relays cycle when you turn the car on ?
How do I check that exactly? Or is it the clicking noise I hear when I turn the ignition key to on?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabian View Post
Thanks for your help guys! When I flick the switch with the ignition on, I hear sort of soft clicking noise coming from the right front somewhere (it's not loud, I don't hear it with the engine is on). I didn't look if they move though. I took off the covers to look at them and gently tried to move them; but they didn't move at all. So I applied some WD40 hoping it would lose them a little but nothing changed during the drive afterwards (about an hour). I didn't even see where exactly they actually should move... I'm not a mechanic.
I'd first find both the factory service manual AND the Electrical Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (FSM and EVTM) for your year 'Bird.

If you watch, the actuators should rotate about 90* between firm and not-firm as a friend actuates it inside for you. Pay attention to the LEFT front, see what it does, and see if the RIGHT front does the same.

You may have to take the actuator off the shock, then watch the actuator, well, actuate.

RwP

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-18-2018, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grog6 View Post
dDubb, do you know if the foxbody arc actuators and system are the same on the turbocoupes?

I've never worked on the older ones...
I dont know, im just speculating. They didn't change much between 89-95 .. about the only change Ive seen is the ARC module itself was upgraded about 1992, if you've ever pulled one apart there are a lot of little resistors inside and not so much in the 92 version. Its almost a standalone system - all it receives from the PCM is a signal for the high speed ( firm ride ) operation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabian View Post
Thanks for your help guys! When I flick the switch with the ignition on, I hear sort of soft clicking noise coming from the right front somewhere (it's not loud, I don't hear it with the engine is on). I didn't look if they move though. I took off the covers to look at them and gently tried to move them; but they didn't move at all. So I applied some WD40 hoping it would lose them a little but nothing changed during the drive afterwards (about an hour). I didn't even see where exactly they actually should move... I'm not a mechanic.

How do I check that exactly? Or is it the clicking noise I hear when I turn the ignition key to on?

Yes, that clicking noise when you turn the ignition key to the On position should be the Firm and Soft relays cycling - there are two of them so it can sound a bit noisy but those should both be working. Id do like RalphP says and pull the actuator off of the top of the shock ( there are two tangs to squeeze in and it simply lifts off ) .. you will see a mechanism inside that will rotate when the firm ride is activated if you note the orientation of the actuator - also check the top of the shock where the actuator mounts - if it is not fully seated, it will not turn or if the valve. Check the valve stem and the actuator for any damage due to an improper installation - then proceed with the "process of elimination" by swapping the actuators and see if the code travels to one side or the other if no physical damage is indicated during inspection.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll try that and see what I can find. I couldn't see any damage, they look like new. The car was hardly driven for 31 years, it has 1'100 miles on it, 300 of them being from this year. So I suspect that these little motors on top of the shocks are sort of blocked because they have never been moved. I hoped they just needed a little greasing but the WD40 I applied didn't help... maybe they need something greasier...

dDUBb you said that there should be two relays, does that mean I should hear clicking from both sides of the car? I just hear it coming from the right front.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 05:50 AM
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Not relays, actuators.

The actuator swivels through about 90* of motion clockwise/anti-clockwise, depending on if going firm or not-firm.

RwP

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 10:43 AM
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It has both, the relays get triggered by the module and battery power is directed through them to the actuators. The relays are what you hear when they cycle or switch, the actuators and shocks are virtually silent in operation. One relay turns the actuators clockwise, the other turns them counter clockwise, and they’re mounted right next to each other, so the noise would emanate from just one area

-Matt
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-19-2018, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabian View Post
Thanks, I'll try that and see what I can find. I couldn't see any damage, they look like new. The car was hardly driven for 31 years, it has 1'100 miles on it, 300 of them being from this year. So I suspect that these little motors on top of the shocks are sort of blocked because they have never been moved. I hoped they just needed a little greasing but the WD40 I applied didn't help... maybe they need something greasier...

dDUBb you said that there should be two relays, does that mean I should hear clicking from both sides of the car? I just hear it coming from the right front.
Mine are in the trunk, but yeah Im trying to move on from that, we need to look at the actuators at this point

You should be able to take a small flat head screwdriver and turn the actuator mechanism inside of the actuator "motor" … or do like I said, try this for the 3rd time - swap those actuators Side to Side and see if the code travels its the easiest and cheapest way to help figure out this issue. Im not going to say this a 4th time.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-20-2018, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dDUBb View Post
You should be able to take a small flat head screwdriver and turn the actuator mechanism inside of the actuator "motor" … or do like I said, try this for the 3rd time - swap those actuators Side to Side and see if the code travels its the easiest and cheapest way to help figure out this issue. Im not going to say this a 4th time.
I got it the first time... and said that I will try it and that I'm thankful for your help. Probably a misunderstanding...
I hope I find some time this weekend to take the actuators off an move the motors and swap them. Thanks for the help already!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Problem solved: One motor was on hard and the others on soft, that confused it and gave the error codes. So my mechanic manually set the right rear on soft and now it works! When I flick the switch to firm the little lamp stays lit and I feel the suspension getting harder. When I'm in auto mode the lamp still blinks once from time to time, I guess this is normal since the system seems to work correctly? I don't have a manual to look that up unfortunately.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-17-2018, 07:20 AM
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The light comes on when the system is in firm, be it from the auto shifting or you setting it manually.

Hard braking will do that. Vigorous directional changes will do that. There's a few other items that will kick it to "FIRM" while on auto, but I don't remember what else can.

RwP

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