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Help with air suspension

116 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  GLblinded
The previous owner of my '98 Valkrie fitted the air suspension from a Goldwing. It has worked fine for the eight years I've had it. Now it doesn't. This will be a long thread, sorry.

I was going to add a couple psi and, when I pressed the switch, it dropped a few (as usual), but didn't rise the way it has. Did some research, and found the pump has a desiccant chamber, so unmounted it and removed the cap. It had plenty of oil in it, which, I assume, came from back spray from the shock. I cleaned it out and replaced the desiccant, remounted, and it still won't pressurize the shock above about 24psi. I assumed disturbing the O-ring seals made them leak. Found some somewhat thicker replacements for all but the one for the cap - no joy. I found a source for the cap seal, which should be here soon.

I found a pump on eBay for an '89, and refreshed the desiccant in it, but the cap seal really leaks. If I pressurize it through the tire filling outlet, the cap moves and blows a lot of air.

If it still doesn't work, any ideas? Anyone here that has had the pump fail this way, and do you have a solution?
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The previous owner of my '98 Valkrie fitted the air suspension from a Goldwing. It has worked fine for the eight years I've had it. Now it doesn't. This will be a long thread, sorry.

I was going to add a couple psi and, when I pressed the switch, it dropped a few (as usual), but didn't rise the way it has. Did some research, and found the pump has a desiccant chamber, so unmounted it and removed the cap. It had plenty of oil in it, which, I assume, came from back spray from the shock. I cleaned it out and replaced the desiccant, remounted, and it still won't pressurize the shock above about 24psi. I assumed disturbing the O-ring seals made them leak. Found some somewhat thicker replacements for all but the one for the cap - no joy. I found a source for the cap seal, which should be here soon.

I found a pump on eBay for an '89, and refreshed the desiccant in it, but the cap seal really leaks. If I pressurize it through the tire filling outlet, the cap moves and blows a lot of air.

If it still doesn't work, any ideas? Anyone here that has had the pump fail this way, and do you have a solution?
I have never seen a 1500 on board air pump fail. In any manner. Does the pump run? You may need a gold wing service manual to test its operation. And diagnose the problem. So is it a goldwing air shock? If not, I could see why hydraulic oil got into the desiccant chamber. Maybe a switch is sticky.
According to all the data I have (the PO provided a lot) it is a complete Goldwing system, but the arrangement is very different, because of space limitations. The air valve and pump is several inches below the inlet to the shock, so any spray back would come down the hose and into the valve, from there to the pump. Yes the pump runs, but just doesn't produce the pressure it used to. I'm hoping it just developed a leak from the oil on the large O-ring. The O-ring on the 'new' pump, which also runs, leaks a lot, so that part is subject to fail, given I removed the cap and then put it back with the same O-ring. I suspect that, when they used to sell desiccant replacement kits, they came with fresh rings. Looking for a service manual that covers the pump service. Note that no internal parts for the pump are on any of the parts fiches, except the parts that fit the desiccant chamber, mostly NLA.
According to all the data I have (the PO provided a lot) it is a complete Goldwing system, but the arrangement is very different, because of space limitations. The air valve and pump is several inches below the inlet to the shock, so any spray back would come down the hose and into the valve, from there to the pump. Yes the pump runs, but just doesn't produce the pressure it used to. I'm hoping it just developed a leak from the oil on the large O-ring. The O-ring on the 'new' pump, which also runs, leaks a lot, so that part is subject to fail, given I removed the cap and then put it back with the same O-ring. I suspect that, when they used to sell desiccant replacement kits, they came with fresh rings. Looking for a service manual that covers the pump service. Note that no internal parts for the pump are on any of the parts fiches, except the parts that fit the desiccant chamber, mostly NLA.
By the way, the desiccant can be reused. If oily, wash it with a mild degreasing ‘dawn type’ soap/water. Then dry in the sun and lastly, microwave it until it is warm/hottish to the touch. And air dry in the sun again.
Regarding the system setup, I might try to raise that pump or explore another option to prevent oil transfer to the desiccant chamber. The presence of oil in the air side of the system could be causing the seal damage. Just a hunch here, but the air side isn’t supposed to have any hydraulic pressure in it.
The pump gets some push-back from the shock when the air valve is opened, until the pump starts to build pressure; the pressure on the gauge has always dropped a bit when this happens, If the shock has sprayed some oil into the line, it will come with the air through the valve, assuming it does push a bit of oil into the line, I found a post, not sure if here, from someone who removed his shock and laid it down horizontally, and a small amount of oil dripped out. He was assured this was normal, which indicates at least some oil can come out of the shock.

The man who mounted the valve and pump tried his best to find an better location, but ended up with the pump mounted just above the transmission, in front of the alternator, and the valve under the rider's seat, in front of the battery. I can't find any place else for either. I can link to the write-up on the Valkyrie forum, if you care. I did, however, attach the air line out of the pump so it points up towards the tank, forming an inverter 'P' trap, which may help block any oil flowing from the valve. It doesn't take much oil to fill the gaps in the desiccant tank, so I don't think it was more than a few milliliters.

I was able to dry the desiccant in the pump I found on eBay, but couldn't get the oil out of what I had. I even tried soaking it in brake system cleaner, but it stayed brown. I have the same size granules from a shop air dryer, they just don't change color, which I put into it. I added an indicator card visible through the window, for inspection.

One of the O-rings I ordered arrived today, so fingers crossed that's all I need. Someone on the other forum suggested that there might be a rebuild kit for the pump, but I can't find anything.
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The pump gets some push-back from the shock when the air valve is opened, until the pump starts to build pressure; the pressure on the gauge has always dropped a bit when this happens, If the shock has sprayed some oil into the line, it will come with the air through the valve, assuming it does push a bit of oil into the line, I found a post, not sure if here, from someone who removed his shock and laid it down horizontally, and a small amount of oil dripped out. He was assured this was normal, which indicates at least some oil can come out of the shock.

The man who mounted the valve and pump tried his best to find an better location, but ended up with the pump mounted just above the transmission, in front of the alternator, and the valve under the rider's seat, in front of the battery. I can't find any place else for either. I can link to the write-up on the Valkyrie forum, if you care. I did, however, attach the air line out of the pump so it points up towards the tank, forming an inverter 'P' trap, which may help block any oil flowing from the valve. It doesn't take much oil to fill the gaps in the desiccant tank, so I don't think it was more than a few milliliters.

I was able to dry the desiccant in the pump I found on eBay, but couldn't get the oil out of what I had. I even tried soaking it in brake system cleaner, but it stayed brown. I have the same size granules from a shop air dryer, they just don't change color, which I put into it. I added an indicator card visible through the window, for inspection.

One of the O-rings I ordered arrived today, so fingers crossed that's all I need. Someone on the other forum suggested that there might be a rebuild kit for the pump, but I can't find anything.
I’ve not seen a pump rebuild kit for the on board compressor. a hydraulics company may have a fluid trap in line filter that will keep oil from traveling with air. Regarding the air shock, I’m now wondering if oil was ADDED to the shock. People do some fun things sometimes. It would make sense if oil was leaving the shock chamber because of an over full condition. It should have a little bit of oil in it, but not like a full hydraulic shock would need.
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