"Autotechpat" does have a point. But b4 replacing the rear suspension, i suggest u check out the "ride height" sensor underneath the car, just above the differential. Assuming u still hear the compressor firing up @ the beginning, of course. While ur down there, u should clean those air bags, kinda like u would for ur dashboard.
If you have had any work done on the car recently, which required the car to be jacked up or put on a lift, your mechanic may have disabled the air suspension by turning off the switch inside the trunk on the driver's side. This is to prevent damage to the air suspension while the car's weight is not on the wheels.
You can just open the trunk and turn the switch back on.
It is a good idea to turn this switch off when you are changing one of he rear tires, or when the car will be sitting for a while unused, since the air compressor under the hood will come on periodically to keep the rear suspension pumped up. If the car is not being used for several weeks or more, this could cause the battery to go dead, and if that happens, even the keyless entry system won't work.
Another problem could be the rear suspension sensor is bad, the air compressor under he hood is bad, or one of the relays under the hood is bad.
Several of the relays under the hood are the same, so, if turning the switch in the trunk back on doesn't fix the problem, you can open the relay/fuse box on the driver's side fender well under the hood, and try swapping aroung some of the relays to see if the compressor starts working. Your owner's manual should tell you which one runs the air suspension.
The rear air suspension is a big problem with these cars. There are several companies that have aftermarket exchange/rebuilt suspension units. I am not sure if anyone does a conversion kit for these to revert back to a standard coil and shock suspension. Jaguar and Range Rover had a similar system but there was an aftermarket company that sells a kit to convert to a trouble free conventional spring and shock suspension.
i had this problem and others but not all is doom and gloom. on my lincoln a sensor was bad and got replaced and all seemed well..for a while. what killed the sensor was the fact the drivers side airbag had tiny cracks that leaked and the car would lower until the bag would roll on itself and hold air so that i never knew exactly what prob was. anyhow i was on ebay and bought a rebuildt airbag from sucore comp, i think its in calif. they are under a 100 each and best money ive spent in years! works excellent and no complaints i did eventually replace the pump later but the car was a mint 97 and i like it. just a warning the airbags are not the same on all towncars..you can put up toa 97 on any towncar but a 98 up has a smaller seat so if you put a newer on an older it will shatter. there is a cheap adapter you can buy that is used as an insert to put the older on a newer. just an option and best of luck
you air suspension isnt working. its very costly believe me i spend wayy to much money and then my wife called Strutmasters.com and got us a conversion kit and now we have lifetime warranty and we dont have to worry about this problem again.
Go here for the air system http://www.suncoreindustries.com don't change it to coils its a waste of the car and if you cant pay this you're driving the wrong car, sorry not meant as an insult but you should always look at the side costs of any car even or especially the used ones.As my grand-ma said the cheap is too expensive for the poor.
To "Visitor" on March 12, 2011: I wasn"t insulted, just thinking that you spoke before considering other possibilities! Yes, as a matter of fact I AM poor & I have a '96 Towncar! My situation was this: My father-in-law could no longer drive his Towncar after his last stroke & rather than just selling it he gave it to my wife & me! I'm sure your grandma also heard of the saying "don't look a gift horse in the mouth"! When we were asked if we'd like the car, which I really didn't want (gas guzzler), we said "yes"! It has plenty of things wrong with it but the bottom line is it gave us a vital 2nd car (very convenient) for running errands, etc. I would NEVER have bought it but as a gift...Sure!
Call Strutmasters!!!!!!! This is exactly what happened to me with my 1999 Lincoln. There was a leak in my system and I was not happy about the pricing the dealer gave me so I decided to research it a little and found a great company online called Strutmasters. They were very helpful and solved all of my problems!!! Good Luck
The Town Car has really good air suspension system, meaning all of them suck but better then a continental. So usually unless you hear it leak and the pump keep pumping, or the air light is on. The level sensor on the rear axle or on each rear tire may have been disconnected. Make sure you check the accordion looking sensor, its about a foot tall and it expand and contracts, you can also take it apart, and grease the connections with electrical grease, the track that is a metal slide switch. If your compressor just keeps running and you hear the air leaking. YOU need a new bad. VERY expensive. If the pump does not even turn on and the rear is down, or off to a side, a sensor needs to be checked. It also has an electric valve connected to the top of the air bag, this switch can have a poor connection and stay open or closed. Its usually a connection. BUT bags do blow out at about 12 years old for sure!