ECS (Electronic Controlled Suspension)

History

The ECS system was introduced into the Verada series in the first of the KR XI models as an option.  It was discontinued in 1996 when the KS Verada was introduced due to ongoing problems with the system.  This system allowed for a sports mode in the suspension as well as 1 degree of raising the vehicle 35mm above std for rough roads for speeds under 75kmh and added to this one can further raise the vehicle another 15mm when the vehicle is stationary.

The main 2 problem points with this system is 1/ Airbags and 2/ The air compressor (located on top of the auto trans)

The problems with the airbags vary, one problem with the front suspension is debris puncturing and airbag and thus it deflates leaving the front of the car very low.  Another problem is when people jack up the vehicle with out first having fully raised the vehicle.  Why this causes a problem I do not know however the bags do get damaged from this practice.

The compressor is a simple one, either from a leaking airbag causing the compressor to run too long or from continuously raising and lowering the system.

There were other problems with solenoids, and anyone who has seen this system can attest to the fact there are heaps of them and height sensors.

Workarounds

If you have one of these systems (or in some cases want one) there are several workarounds you can use to keep the system active either in full mode or in a more manual mode.

The system is controlled by an ECU located in the rear right quater panel behind the inside trim.  Located nearby are 3 solenoids.  There is another bank of 4 solenoids located on the chassis under the battery and another 4 located in the top left of the firewall in the engine bay.  Under the front right guard, in front of the wheel, there is a storage tank with sensors fitted.  Each strut has and airbag which covers the top of the strut and seals at the top of the strut shaft.  This is how the system lifts and drops the car.  The top of the strut shaft is hollow allowing the air to pass as the ECU sees fit.  While this is an overall description of the system, it should suffice for what is needed to work on the system.  There is much more to it, some of which I have not been able to discover, i.e. the need for 11 solenoids all up!!

Before the compressor on my car went I had the opportunity to experiment a big to achieve different ride heights and settings.  First of all I had a play with the height sensors and I was able to drop the car about 30mm (just like a set of Pedders Sports Ryders ).  Shortly after my compressor got very noisy, due to age, not from frigging about with it, so I went on the hunt for a new one.  Mitsubishi can supply one for a mere $1250.00  ouch  I then found one here in Melbourne, aftermarket for $330.00 including a solenoid to allow the air pressure to bleed off and lower the car again.  On the factory unit this solenoid is part of the compressor.  There is someone who can rebuild these compressors, they are a very simple design, however I do not know who this person is at this stage.

As for the airbags, again there is someone  in Melbourne who can reco these with the struts but again I am still yet to find out who this person is.  I know that through Magnas-R-Us you can get them done but the source would be a lot easier.  The struts have 2 main problems, the usual problem of leaking oil and gas seals.  The airbags can either perish, get pinched or get holed by a sharp object.

Replacement options

If you have one of these systems and you want to replace it for any reason be it because of faults or simply to upgrade you suspension there are a few options.

With out air in the system the car will drop almost onto the bump stops front and back.

If the bags and struts are fine you may wish to get Enzed to make up a couple of fittings using your original piping so you can manually lift or lower the car.  This is very handy if you want a low car but also need to lift it a bit because of a heavy load or towing.

If you need to completely remove the system, you will be able to take everything out, front and back, including pipes with exception to a/ the main wiring loom and b/ the pipes that go from front to rear.

As for the struts themselves, it is quite complex so I will try and be brief. 

The platform heights (this is the seat the spring sits on that is welded to the strut itself) is about 35mm different to that of a standard strut.  The springs have a different coil arrangement and thus are softer than std as the airbag helps hold the car off the ground.  The coils are also slightly larger diameter to go over the airbag it self.  If you try to put standard springs into a bag type strut, you will end up with a car that looks like it has been lowered 35mm with the result of a mismatched spring rate as well as the std springs will not fit over the spring platforms.  If you try the airbag type spring in a std strut, you will have a car so low it is almost un drivable.  The reason I have gone into a little detail is that I tried a few combinations as I was trying to save a few $$$ and also out of curiosity.  At the end of the day you have 2 options.
1/ Go to Pedders, they can supply you with a strut and spring of either High, Std or Low.  The strut they supply is made to cater for the strut top and in the case of the front it also caters for the bearing.  On the airbag struts the shaft diameter is also different thus you can not use standard struts with airbag tops.  Confused?  well you should be lol

2/ The other option, which is the one I took was to go to a wrecker, get front and rear struts from a KR or a KS, TS (v6).  The rear struts cost me $70.00 for the pair and the fronts cost me $140.00.  Both were out of a TS V6 and were quite new.  Total cost was less than a pair of fronts alone and this way I got the correct tops.  I then fitted Pedder's Sports Ryder springs which I got for $144.00 a pair and I was off.  I mainly did this because I am very fussy about having things as they should be, ie the tops and spring diameter.  Although the conversion is a great idea, it is slightly more exy than the std setup as they do not sell as many and in future should I need to replace any components I will have to try and remember what I did to begin with.

Well although this is a bit long winded, I hope it saves you some time frigging around and allows you to go straight to the combination you require.

Madmagna : Monday, 25. August 2003 21:24:48