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Damping: brake accumulator

How to detect the suspension hydraulic accumulator failure

DIY diagnostics of the suspension hydraulic accumulators is performed in several stages.

As a start, examine the components and their mounting locations: there should be no oil traces on them.

Next, you have to detach the connector from the accumulator and to try applying pressure to the membrane using tools at hand. If it is easily curved, then the part is faulty.

To evaluate the components condition special marks can be put on the hydraulic suspension expansion tanks. In this case, the inspection is performed in the following way:

  1. First you have to check that the tank is filled with fluid to the normal level.
  2. Then raise the body to the uppermost position by activating the ground clearance adjustment system and mark the fluid level in the tank.
  3. Then you have to set the body in the lowest position and again mark the fluid level. The interval between the two marks should be at least 7 points. If it is less, the accumulators function improperly.

A more complex diagnosis is carried out at a service station using special equipment.

You may identify that the suspension hydraulic accumulator needs inspection by the following symptoms:

  • deterioration of the suspension shock-absorbing properties;
  • strange sounds while driving;
  • ground clearance reduction;
  • shocks on the vehicle  bottom when driving on rough roads;
  • the suspension malfunction indicator lights up on the dashboard;
  • the steering wheel pulls to the side;
  • increase of the effort required to turn the steering wheel.

Causes of the suspension hydraulic accumulator failure

These parts are rather durable. Their faults are mostly caused by non-compliance with the requirements for servicing the hydraulic suspension. Since nitrogen tends to evaporate, the accumulators should be charged approximately every 150,000-200,000 kilometers to maintain the required pressure. The increase in this interval may result in an ultimate pressure drop, which increases the risk of the diaphragm rupture.

Besides, the car manufacturer regulates the hydraulic fluid replacement intervals as well. In older cars, it is approximately 50,000-60,000 kilometers, in modern models it is about 120,000 km. The fluid replacement can be combined with the system flushing, which is also performed every 120,000 kilometers. Neglecting these recommendations results in jamming of the valves, disruption of the pipes flow capacity and the pump burnout.

Usage of substandard oil in the hydraulic suspension system can lead to premature destruction of the membrane and other seals. In case of emergency it is acceptable to fill the system with engine oil without additives to reach a service station.

Replacement of the suspension hydraulic accumulator

It is advisable to replace the parts in set. The sequence of steps in carrying out the work depends on the car design and the number of accumulators used in the suspension system. When planning a DIY replacement, you need to specify the procedure in the vehicle technical instructions.

Generally, the parts removal and installation is simple. All you have to do is relieve the pressure in the system and use a chain pipe wrench to unscrew them, then install new ones.

On some cars the subframe must be removed to replace central hydraulic accumulators. In this case, the parts installation is best to be entrusted to professionals of a service station.

Suspension Accumulator: High quality car parts
FEBI BILSTEIN 03277 Brake accumulator cost £ 72,93 Parts Details
  • Pressure [bar]: 23
  • Thickness [mm]: 138,5, 166
  • Inner thread [mm]: M10 x 1, M16 x 1,5
  • Content [litre]: 0,5
  • Fitting Position: Rear
  • Weight [kg]: 1,3
  • Vehicle Equipment: for vehicles without leveling control, for vehicles with leveling control
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  • Diameter [mm]: 105
  • Condition: New
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FEBI BILSTEIN 22496 Brake accumulator cost £ 34,86 Parts Details
  • Pressure [bar]: 30
  • Content [litre]: 0,4
  • Fitting Position: Rear Axle, Left and right
  • Weight [kg]: 1,65
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FEBI BILSTEIN 26674 Brake accumulator cost £ 34,29 Parts Details
  • Pressure [bar]: 30
  • Colour: Green
  • Content [litre]: 0,4
  • Fitting Position: Rear Axle left and right
  • Weight [kg]: 1,650
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FEBI BILSTEIN 22525 Brake accumulator cost £ 34,11 Parts Details
  • Content [litre]: 0,45
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FEBI BILSTEIN 03278 Brake accumulator cost £ 82,47 Parts Details
  • Pressure [bar]: 57
  • Inner thread [mm]: M14 x 1,5
  • Content [litre]: 0,75
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  • Weight [kg]: 1,75
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FEBI BILSTEIN 23793 Brake accumulator cost £ 34,11 Parts Details
  • Content [litre]: 0,4
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  • Weight [kg]: 1,650
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FEBI BILSTEIN 38290 Brake accumulator cost £ 58,68 Parts Details
  • Outer thread [mm]: M36 x 1,5
  • Content [litre]: 0,385
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