Fixing the Tahoe’s Autoride system

Posted by on September 15, 2009

We’ve got a 2002 Chevy Tahoe that we’ll probably keep forever since 1) it’s paid for and 2) it hasn’t given us any real problems yet. We don’t do much beyond the recommended maintenance, so when it passed 85k miles in August we took it to our mechanic to check out a few squeaks and rattles. It turned out those squeaks and rattles were nothing major so we were out the door for $212.50, excluding the $700+ they wanted to replace the Autoride compressor.

Autoride is a suspension feature on GM SUVs (Suburban, Avalanche, Yukon and Escalade) that keeps the vehicle level under load and varies the amount of shock damping on a real-time basis according to road surfaces, speed, steering, and load conditions. Well, at least that’s what the 2002 Tahoe brochure says it does. The ride control system checked out electrically but the compressor wouldn’t run. If that had failed due to leaking shocks we were looking at another chunk of change on top of the $700 to replace those. Ou-freaking-ch. Since we’d already been driving it sans leveling system for a while I decided to continue using it like that while I weighed my options.

After a few weeks I finally crawled under the truck and found a part number (15070878 in my case) on the compressor. With a few well crafted Google searches I found a thread in this forum which pointed to the OEM parts manufacturer where I nabbed the compressor and aftermarket shocks for $538 shipped. With the non-GM shocks we lost the variable damping but picked up a lifetime warranty – a fair trade in my book. Now all I had to do was install this stuff.

I borrowed Pat’s floor jack, impact tools, and jack stand for the job, though you don’t need the car in the air if you’re replacing only the compressor unit. The pump cage is on the outside frame rail behind the driver’s side rear tire and mounts with 3 bolts in keyhole slots. I loosened the bolts and bashed it a couple times with a BFH to break the corrosion. After disconnecting the barrel shaped electrical plug, high pressure line, and a hose that pulls fresh air hose from near the fuel lid the whole thing dropped right out. The 3 Torx screws holding the pump on the vibration mounts took a little extra persuasion in the form of penetrating oil and an impact driver before I could disassemble the old unit. I cut the wires on the plug leaving plenty of pigtail to connect to the new compressor, reassembled all the new parts back in the mounting cage, then mated the new electrical connections with the old plug.

The shock replacement was straightforward enough, just make sure the suspension is at full extension to take out the old and install the new shocks. I used a second jack to compress the springs slightly, relieving tension from the shock mount bolts so they could be removed. The new shocks lack the electronically controlled damping feature like the stockers, so Arnott provides emulators to trick the computer into thinking it has OEM shocks. This eliminates possible error messages on the dash. I cut the old plug from the stock wire leads, connected the devices using the supplied crimp-style butt connectors, and mounted the computer-fooling device on the frame rail behind the compressor.

With the truck back on the ground I fired up the engine to test the new setup. Jen and I climbed in the back but the compressor didn’t kick on. I added a couple bags of sand and 8,000 Adventure Guides flyers but was still stuck in an oh shit moment. I crawled back underneath to to find the electrical plug just dangling there – duh. The pump turned on this time, but I could hear air escaping from the system. Since I’d left the mounting bolts loose, I pulled the cage out for another look. Upon close inspection of the old system I spotted a small red O ring between the air dryer and the compressor and remembered seeing a similar one in the replacement kit. Once that was in place the system worked like a champ.

During the checkup our mechanic said the back rotors were pitted and the pads were almost shot so I ordered those parts as well. They didn’t arrive in time to save my labor, but at least I’ll have something else to write about in a few weeks.

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Comments (83)


  1. Gordon says:

    I just pulled the compressor out of my 2001 Suburban since it had stopped working. I cracked open the motor housing and water poured out along with all the electrical magic (you can still smell the residue of the magic)! I’m not sure if I need to replace just the compressor from Arnott, or should I replace the entire kit including the dryer. The dryer cannister feels a little heavy and some water comes out when you shake it. What did you find with your dryer? How did your sensor (filter sensor?) look? Thanks.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      I reassembled using all the original parts which were still in good shape. Arnott supplies only the compressor so you’d need to find the other replacement parts elsewhere. Good luck.

    • Gordon says:

      I ended up replacing the entire unit instead of just the compressor. I figured with my luck something else would fail (dryer, solenoid, etc) where I couldn’t get a replacement part and then be on the hook for the full amount. Now that the compressor is working, it runs every 3-4 minutes or so while idling…heading to the GM dealer tomorrow to try and find the leak. If the shocks need replacing I’m torn between OEM and aftermarket. What’s been your experience with the aftermarket?

      • Kevin Shoemaker says:

        I can’t say that I notice any difference in ride quality w/OEM shocks vs aftermarket shocks. To me it seems about the same as it was before. My wife (the vehicle’s primary driver) hasn’t complained either so it must be all good.

    • Gordon says:

      I went to the dealer to get confirmation that the shocks are leaking…they are…and decided to go with the OEM shocks. I bought them from Arnott Industries but went through eBay and Bing. Arnott offers the shocks for $479 plus ~$20 shipping, but on eBay they have them for $479 with free shipping. If you search through Bing for the shocks, you can get 8% cashback on eBay purchases. So, using Bing, eBay and getting the shocks from Arnott’s listing my total cost was $440 instead of $500. Thanks for the info.

  2. James Deboer says:

    Hi Kevin
    i have the same problem with my 2001 tahoe
    can you give some part numbers for the compressor and the shocks?

  3. Mike says:

    Just replaced my compressor using the entire assembly I bought at one of the local Chevy dealers. Seems to be working right. I can hear it kick on when needed then shut off. How can I reset the “service ride control” light? It is still coming on and staying on. I tried pulling the fuse but that did not work.

  4. Daniel Mease says:

    Hi Kevin,
    I have the the same model & year as you with the same problem. I was wondering how difficult the air lines & plugs are to get off the shocks?

    Did you also use the rebuild kit from arnot for your dryer or did you not bother with it? If you did use it, how hard was that?
    Thank’s for the help & your very detailed info & pictures are great!!!

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      Each air line connector has a small wire clip that secures it in place. I removed the clips w/needle nose pliers and the connectors came right off. I used the original dryer so I can’t offer any insight on the Arnott rebuild kit.

    • Doug Lehman says:

      Last June I replaced both the shocks and compressor bought from Arnott. It’s very simple to do. Arnott supplies you with instructions for rebuilding air dryer.

  5. Michael Carter says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your post as it has been a tremendous help to me as I’m currently in the process of changing out my compressor. I have a question regarding the wiring though. I’m having trouble with removing the old wires and connections in the connector without ripping the whole thing out, so how exactly did you connect the new wires from the compressor to the connector? My other alternative would be to just cut the other end of the connector off and wire them directly together.

    Thank you.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      I cut the wires close to the old equipment leaving several inches connected to the original plug. I stripped the ends and crimped them in the butt splice connectors that were already on the new pump. You can kinda see the cuts in the 4th picture and the connectors in the 5th one.

  6. Brian says:

    How do these mods affect the stability control system. Does installing the Arnott kit throw any codes related to stability control?

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      The Arnott folks explained that the modules in the kit (see 7th picture) emulate the responses of stock shocks so the computer doesn’t trow any error codes. Give them a call, cause I’m sure they can explain it much better than I can.

  7. Dave says:


    I just want to say your write up is great.
    I have a couple of questions.
    Can you tell the difference between the OEM and the Arrnott shocks?

    You lost the real time valving what does that mean?

    Is it true that your tahoe no longer sits lower after 50+mph?

    Do you know how i can test the compressor?
    Did you get code on your message center?
    IF so what code was it?
    Check air ride, etc?

    I know my shocks are dead. The rear sits lower than the front. My tahoe has 135K miles. and the shocks have not been changed. Trust me! So I have the task to revive the suspension on our tahoe!

    Something tells me that my compressor must be dead too. I can’t hear it kick on. I am not getting an error code.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      The OEM shocks have a connector for air and another for electrical, while the Arnott shocks only have the air connector. I cannot tell any difference in ride quality.

      I didn’t test my compressor since the motor housing was damaged, but I’m guessing if you short the blue and white wires, ground the black, then put 12V on the red it should complete the circuit. You can find the ride height sensor behind the drivers side rear tire at the 10 o’clock position (see picture #10). With the connecting rods unhooked you can move levers up and down to simulate load changes which should engage the pump.

      I never got any codes or messages on my Tahoe, I just noticed that the pump never turned on even under heavy loads. Call the folks at Arnott. They can explain the system much better than I and will be able to answer all your questions.

      Good luck.

  8. Mike Standifur says:

    Thanks for the writeup. I put new shocks on my 02 Tahoe today. Went great not as big a job as I thought it would be. The “Service Ride Control” Light did not come back on after I put the Arnott Shocks and the modlues on. I am ordering the Compressor tomorrow. Thank you so much The dealer wanted $600.00 for 1 shock this after I had them put a new Ride Control Module at $1000.00 I lost it. I still dont know if it needed it. Glad I found your write up. Great products and great people to deal with. Thanks again.

  9. Geoff Burnham says:

    I have talked with the Arnott folks about the same problem I have with my 01 Tahoe. What I don’t seem to understand is – if you order the Arnott shocks that fool the autoride system why do you need to worry about the compressor. Isn’t the compressor unnecessary? I need to replce all four shock since I have 3 leaking oil. Is there any difference in installation or problems between front and rear?

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      The Arnott replacements are also air shocks so they do use the compressor. The “fooling” part only applies to the way the original shocks operated at high speeds. I didn’t replace the front shocks, but to my knowledge only the rear shocks use the compressor.

  10. Bruce says:

    I replaced the front and rears yesterday with the Bilsteins from Arnott and my 02′ Tahoe rides like new. Without the luxury of a lift and the top nuts of the fronts rusted out, the project took about 4 hours start to finish and is a straight forward, easy project for a backyard mechanic to handle.

  11. Justin says:

    If the Factory shocks are still good but the pump is shot will the aftermarket pump work with the factory shocks?

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      You can get Arnott’s replacement pump P-2204 without the shocks. It should be exactly what you need, but I’d check w/their support group first to be sure.

  12. Bob says:

    Thanks for all the great info. I am guessing that when you install the Arnott rear shocks and deactivate the dampening system you should be able to use standard shocks on the front. Does anyone know other than dampening what the front shocks are intended to do. I intend to call Arnott on Tuesday after the Labor day weekend and get all the details from there teck support.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      To my knowledge the front shocks are not air shocks, but they may be hooked into the Autoride system for dampening. Let me know what the Arnott folks say.

  13. Jimmy Richardson says:

    Hello– Seems like i have one of the same problems as all.. My autoride has quit working so i was told to take the Compressor off and hook direct power to it and see if it works then. So i did that and it came on fine. So i then checked the fuse under the hood that is listed as ride control. It was also fine.. Can anyone give me any advice??? Thanks for the help…

  14. Ray says:

    Can I just replace the Autoride suspension with regular shocks and forget about it? Can I expect a safe and good ride? 2002 Yukon XL wqith 190,000 miles.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      Your ride may be fine, but the stock shocks have sensors that tie into the vehicle computer. Once they are disconnected it will generate error codes.

  15. Al says:


    Great write-up. At the 175K mile mark my compressor has stopped turning on and now my dashboard indicator says (service ride control).

    When I told my mechanic buddy about it he mentioned that on several occasions he has run across this problem but when he investigated it turned out to be an electrical problem. He immediately asked me if I had the truck aligned recently and as a matter of fact I did. The reason he asked was because when the alignment shops do alignments with trucks with the autoride system, they often disable the auto ride system (usually by pulling the fuse) because when the truck is on the rack occassionally the autoride system will “flip on” and change the ride height of the truck, causing the alignment equipment to give back inaccurate readings. He told me that sometimes the technician will forget to put the fuse back and the system will stop working and the light will go on.

    When I pulled the fuse panel, I realized their was a fuse sitting on the floor of my truck that I didn’t notice before. Unfortunately, when I pulled the fuse panel under the hood and on the dash board I didn’t see a spot where a fuse was missing. Do you know which fuse slot is for the autoride system?

    Any insight you can provide will be appreciated.


    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      If you found a 30 AMP fuse it goes in the slot labeled RTD. I added picture #9 to show the location in the fuse panel under the hood.

  16. charby says:

    HI all
    We have a 2001 Yukon Denali XL with 120K and the Z55 CHASSIS PACKAGE BI-STATE REAL TIME DAMPING CHASSIS PKG. This is the rear auto leveling (with compressor) plus front “electronic” dampening shocks. Basically the fronts are driven by the Suspension Control Module – thus the cable connector at each front shock.. Seem there is limited info in the GM manual as to how to check / confirm the functionality of the shock. (Of course if the code scanner doesn’t return a code it “must” be ok… ya right.) Per my manual “Once the solenoid is pulled-in, the supply voltage is pulse width modulated (PWM). The amount the shock solenoid valve is activated is based on inputs from the driver Tow/Haul switch, road inputs and the PCM”. Basically black magic… I contacted Arnott and the front Bilstein they offer are passive units (no electonically controlled dampening) with a bypass sensor to act as a load for the Suspension Control Module. I have an email into Monroe regarding the 40044 units and how to test them. My problem is the ride is annoying. I too had the compressor bite the dust – it was the pressure sensor but that is not available as a spare part. Replaced the compressor module and this returned the auto leveling, but I suspect the fronts are shot and this is causing the “brail driving” experience. I’m going to use the “seat of the pants” test and disconnect the electronic feed to the shock and go for a ride. If there is not change that it’s either the module or the shocks. Next I’ll check for voltage drop across the shock solenoid. Checking the pulse width modulated signal will be a little harder as this really needs to be monitored during driving and the response time could be difficult to monitor if its adjusted in milliseconds (again no specs of this either). I’ll need to think about this one. I would be interested to know if anyone else has experience with testing this portion of the ride control circuit. If all else fails I’ll throw $500 dollars at the problem and call it done.

    • Jimmy Richardson says:

      Charby– You said you replaced the compressor module and it started leveling again. Where is this module located?? That may be my issue but i don’t know anything about this… Thanks—JIMMY

    • Jason A says:


      Sorry if this hits you way too late, but I noticed you said you replaced your compressor and auto level has returned but the fronts feel like your driving by brail… I don’t believe your shocks are what are making your vehicle feel that way. Shocks are simply meant to dampen the return rate of the spring (basically so the vehicle does not jump up in the air after the coil springs are compressed). If you feel like your front end is wandering (which was the same feeling I had in mine) try replacing the pitman arm, the dropman arm, the inner tie rods and the outer tie rods. I did that along with adding a steering stabilizer and replacing my compressor and rear shocks. Results: WOW… it feels like my ’01 Tahoe just rolled out of the dealer parking lot. If I misunderstood your reference “driving by brail,” I apologize about the misunderstanding. I hope you were able to get everything fixed. For everybody else, Arnott now offers rear shocks that act as remanufactured OEM shocks for about 379.00. They are not “passive shocks” and work just like factory fresh. Good luck to everybody!

    • Butch says:

      Hi ,

      The PWM can be measured if you have a oscilloscope – you can snag one from ebay for 100- 150 bucks.I would really like to see how the PWM signal changes with the road conditions.
      So the rear shocks are variable damping as well as height adjustable?

    • Rick says:


      Currently dealing with the exact thing you wrote about ……. including those Monroe shocks 40044. Wondered how it all sorted out for you? What you learned? and any insight you could provide.

      Thanks ……

  17. Derek S says:

    Hey i have a 2000 tahoe with autoride and can not find the compressor. Used to hear it kick in all the time and now it has stopped and i just recently put new arnott shocks on. I see the key hole like holes where the compressor is in your pics but mine is not there. is it located somewhere else on the 2000 model? it is driving me crazy. Hope someone can help.

    • Derek S says:

      Hey guys i found it. On the 2000 tahoe the compressor is on the passenger side inside the frame rail in front of the rear wheel!

  18. Kevin O'Brien says:

    Kevin, I have a 2002 Tahoe and I have had the Compressor replaced once already (less than two years ago) Recently the compressor has been making louder noises and staying on longer and mostly when the car is empty and just cranked. I thought about just pulling the fuse but wasn’t sure what that would do for me. I am not mechanic savy so I think I would be headed to the repair shop one way or the other. Advice?

  19. Trey Hardy says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Great article on the Tahoe. I have a 2005. I recently replaced our pump assembly. I used a company out of Florida called Suncore. Our dryer was broken and Arnott still does not sell that part. I got the whole pump assembly from Suncore and it worked perfectly. My parents have an ’04 Suburban. This weekend we replaced the shocks with the remanufactured OEM’s from Arnott. Thanks to your details, the switch was a breeze. However, I have one question for you. When we put everything back together, the pump did not run. I can hear the solenoid clicking to turn it on, but the pump will not run. To trouble shoot, I took the new pump off my Tahoe and it did the same thing. Then we put both pumps on the Tahoe and they worked perfectly. We even put power to the pump on the bench and it started right up. It appears that the computer is telling the pump to turn on, but it is not powering up. We tested the RTD fuse and it was fine. I tried to put a test light on the plug under the car to determine whether or not the red power wire had power. From the trouble shooting, I can only determine that it has something to do with the vehicle. Any suggestions?

  20. Pete says:

    I have an 02′ Tahoe with same problems, I suspect I am going to have to replace all four shocks and the compressor. Arnott seems the way to go if I am going to stick with autoride. The rebuilding the compressor dryer seems a little scary. And I see the OEM emulators have to be mounted somewhere on the frame. I was also considering a “conversion kit” from “strutmasters” still deciding wich way to go. BTW anyone needing a dryer may want to check out “suncoeindustries” they have rebuilt ones for $45. The rest of thier products appear to be pricey though.

  21. Johnstone says:

    Hi Guys,
    Has anyone had a problem where the pump runs for a minute or two every time we get in the car. Then it stops running. When it was really cold out last week (single digits) it was running for several minutes…as if it was leaking.

    Is this a symptom of bad shocks, leaking o-rings, faulty electronics, etc.?

    How often should the pump come on? Every time you go to the store? Ours starts up every time. It’s a 2002 Tahoe LT.

    Thanks for any advice!!

  22. Tom C says:

    I have the opposite problem as everyone else here it appears. My wife’s 04 Yukon Denali XL (75K) has recently started jacking the rear end up too high. The pump runs for a minute or so when the vehicle is started even though its already sitting too high after being parked since the prior day. I guess the good news is there aren’t any leaks. For some reason the system thinks the rear end needs lifted. I’ve done a quick visual check on the sensors to check for damage, although I will admit I have not removed the wheel well covers to get a real good look. Where do those sensors connect? Its not to the compressor assembly, is it? I’m hopeful someone can give me a little insight on possible causes and where to look prior to me running to the dealer and letting them convince me its a major issue with a control module or some mysterious electrical problem. Arnott’s website states the sensors and control modules are typically good for the life of the vehicle.

    • Brian says:

      I have the same problem as Tom C – I had a blow out the other day, and now my rear is really high and it will pump it up as high as it can then just stay that way. Where is this sensor and what does it look like so I can see if my tire blow out damaged it maybe?


      • Kevin Shoemaker says:

        You can find the ride height sensor behind the drivers side rear tire at the 10 o

        • Brian says:

          Great – I will check that out tonight – I remember when changing the tire, that a lot of inner well parts had been rubbed by the shredded tire – unluckily it was on a very busy bridge with no sholders, so I had to ride slowly on the rim for about a mile or so to get off the bridge so I could change it safely and it did ruin the rim unluckily.

        • Brian says:

          Actaully I could not wait so I went out and took a look at it in the parking lot and have found that the arm on the sensor on the passenger tire is not horizontal it is almost at 12 o’oclock. I tried to pull it down with my hand, but look like it some how needs to be reset or pulled down to the horizontal position level with the frame? Any advice on how to do this, or do I just need to buy a new one?


  23. Carl says:

    I have an ’02 tahoe with the rt front shock leaking, and the rt rear is leaking down causing the air pump to run more than it should to keep the air in it.

    I would love to do away with the air ride all together and just put a good set of monroe shocks like a normal tahoe. Searching these blogs, sounds like Arnott has the emulators to plug in place of the shocks. I’ve also heard that a 22 ohm resistor can be wired in insteads of the emulators from Arnott. Does anybody know anything about this? What wattage should the resistor be?

    Also, if I leave the air pump to the rear shocks unplugged, will it throw a light? If it will, how do I do away with the air ride without throwing a light?


    • Pete says:

      @ Carl you may want to check out “strutmasters” they have a kit to convert to a “no-airride” think they also have a way to override the code.

      • tony m says:

        I bought the conversion kit for a 2001 tahoe from strutmasters. Works great superb ride compared to oem. Only catch is that u need a working compressor. I am on my third one. The original,gone, the an arnott pump which lasted two yrs. Now everything is good on my truck except the pump. Does anyone know about any type of resistor that can be spliced in to replace the problematic pumps?, I can’t see buying a new pump when I have a passive suspension.

  24. Jessica says:

    Hi I have a 2005 tahoe and I had to change the ride height sensor on the passenger side and now the service ride control messages is on and I dont hear the pump running anymore. Does the system need to be reset after changing the sensor? How can you tell if the shocks are leaking? How will I know if it needs a compressor and maybe just new shocks? Where is the RTD fuse for a 2005 I checked under the hood in the fuse block but the fuse I tried to check will not come out and if I force it is probably going to brake I think it was a 60amp fuse. Please any help would be great thanks.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      I’m just a DIYer myself so I don’t have any answers for you. Hopefully another reader can help out.

      • Kevin NY says:

        Can anyone help me? I have a 2000 Tahoe new body style. The dealer told me that my shocks and compressor were no good… So I order some from Arnott OEM for rear and Bilstein for the front. I install the shocks and now I have two compressor but neither comes on when I connect them. I only hear a click sound and thats it. So i was wondering if I’m doing something wrong or I’m forgetting to connect something. Someone told me about it can be the grounds but I cant see what I’m doing wrong with that.

  25. RON NELSON says:

    Kevin, Great job of describing the replacement of the compressor and shocks. The compressor on my 2000 tahoe is just ahead of the muffler on the passenger side. Thanks again, Ron

  26. Chris says:

    Awesome post! I have a similar issue with my 01′ Tahoe and greatly appreciate all the photo’s and detailed repair process you shared.
    I guess it’s time to replace my pump, as I have already replaced the air shocks (from Arnott) a few months ago…

  27. Trond Fjedseth, Norway says:

    Hello – from Norway

    I have read your posts.
    I am about to replace the Autoride system on my 2004 Tahoe LT Autoride. Looking through your post I see that you did not choose to insert new Autoride damping shoocks on the rear. What is your experience after the change? What did you “loose” (in practical driving) or what did you gain?

    best regards from Oslo, Norway
    My project: – see “Kategorier”

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      For suburban and highway driving I’ve noticed no difference in comfort or handling, though I must say I’m not a particularly critical driver.

  28. Mike says:

    Instead of going with the bilsteins and bypassing the auto ride, get the rebuilt ones from Arnott. they are like brand new with updated air bags and no bypassing the system. Unbolt them and plug in the harness and air line and Ur done no fuss no muss and retain your ride! I used them and am compltely satisfied. Only 349.00 on ebay after you send your old ones back. Free shipping bothways too. Arnott is the way to go.

  29. Jesse England says:

    Hello Kevin,

    I love the whole string, lots of good info. I have ’01 1500 suburban, same as you I think. just got it. I tested the pump and it comes on fine. It won’t however, level the vehicle when actuating the sensors. Has anyone figured out where the control module for the autoride is located?

    • Mike says:

      It should be inside the right rear of vehicle to the right of the wheel well. Behind the panel that hides the rear blower motor and HVAC assy.

      • Mike G says:

        hey we have a 2003 tahoe with auto ride that works sometimes. Light comes on every now and then. We need some ideas of what may be going on. Can anyone help?

  30. Bill Bonner says:

    I have a new twist to a auto ride problem. I have a 2002 Tahoe that I brought new in 2002. It is garage kept and only has 30,000 miles on it. Their is no rust or corrosion under the vehicle.My auto ride system works perfectly in warm weather but, as soon as the temperatures drop below 50 degrees the service auto ride starts to come on. I took the vehicle to my Chevy dealer but it sat overnight and by the time they got to it the next morning the light would not come on. They said that they tested for trouble codes and the history code showed that the ESC or brain of the system was bad. I’ve never heard of a ESC before but I guess they meant the control module. They said it would cost $1100.00 to fix it. After reading this forum and finding out where the control module I decided to try a experiment. I hung a drop light under the vehicle as close to location where I believed the module was located. The drop light actually was inches a way from what I think was a wire junction box. It had a large covered bundle wire going up through the floor. I think this wire bundle is feeding the rear blower and the control module. Anyway the next morning was about 40 degrees and when I started the Tahoe up the compressor came on and leveled the vehicle and no warning light. I continued to do this for several days and no warning light and the system worked perfectly. I then left the drop light off one night to test to see if this was a flute. Upon start-up the warning light came on and no operation of the compressor. So for some reason the Auto Ride is affected by the temperature. 60 degrees and above it works fine and temperatures below that it starts to malfunction. I have found that when the temperatures go below 40 degrees my drop light does not provide enough heat to keep the module warm enough. My next experiment to keep things working was to turn on the back blower unit with the heat set on high. After about 5 or 10 minutes, I could turn the vehicle off then restart it, and everything would work fine regardless of how cold it might be.
    Question; How do you remove the inside back panel to get to the control module? I would like to check it for a loose or cracked connection. Ant have any thoughts on this? The dealer thinks I’m wacko. Any response would be appreciated.
    Thanks Bill Bonner

    • GreginTexas says:

      Bill, I finally got done finding all the problems with the air suspension on my 2002 Yukon XL Denali. Here’s what I had to do. Replace both rear shocks, they were leaking, replace the airlines, one had something in it that would ON OCCASION BLOCK THE AIR FLOW TO THE RIGHT SHOCK. Finally I had to replace my 6 month old compressor and rebuilt filter, I ppurchased this form Arnott. I would recommend their shocks, I purchased the bypass type and they are great. Unfortunately they do not offer a new filter with the pump assembly only a rebuild kit. The filter has a sensor (exhaust to deflate the shocks when needed) AND a check valve (to hold air in the shocks) that tend to fail. This failure cause my new compressor (from Arnott) to fail prematurely. I was able to coax the GMC dealer in my area down to $419.02 out the door verses the $185 and change from Arnott. You can buy the filter rebuilt from suncore, I didn’t want to test the quality, or but a new one fron GMC for a little over $100. It seemed to me with a sensor involved and the need for a good check valve the dealer was the better option.
      In the long run I spent $870 and it works like new now. BTW, I ran the air lines in a new wire conduit ($5) from Autozone and zip tied it gently but securely to the wire harness that held the original lines. This saves about 3 hours of labor taking the harness out and apart and then reassembling it.
      I Hope this helps you and many more!!!


  31. Danny says:

    Great photos, very clear and well described. I may need to do the same with my ’02 Subie. I’ve carried several heavy loads of bricks and the Autoride isn’t working. I’ll follow your lead.


  32. justin says:

    just got a 00 yukon xl and found it had bad rear shocks they are the autoride what is the difference in the oe replacment vs the “fooler” shocks? i will call arnott but was wanting user info! also how do i tell if i need front shocks? do they pump up? i cant see an air line just a conector with 2 wires!

  33. Chris says:

    very cool info, I’m doing the same thing to my 2001 Sub, but, abandoning the auto ride idea in favor of straight out good ole fashioned air shocks that are manually filled. $94 complete. Thanks for the pics, now I know what I’m into. The GM replacement pump is ridiculous, like the truck, hate the parts cost.

    • Hank says:

      Have 02 Sub with AR. Thinking of doing the same with Monroe shocks that can be pumped up to 1100#. Any problems? cost is about $80 at Auto Zone. Sub was giving C0660 code. Thanks.

  34. lloyd says:

    Hi Kevin
    I replaced my 2002 Tahoe rear shocks with heavy duty ones as it was too expensive to replace the compressor and shocks. Do you know how to bypass the air ride sensors so that the message center notification goes off?

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      The Arnott kit has a module (right side of picture #7) that fools the system into thinking it has the original shocks. They may sell that item separately.

  35. Chris says:

    GREAT Thread. Thanks Kevin for the info. I have been dealing with a cooked autoride for a while. So glad I found this. Will be giving it a go in the very near future….

  36. Roger Bickel says:

    Could you please send the skematic for a 2002 Tahoe, Air Ride pump? I have to install it myself,, really could use your help..Thanks, Roger Bickel.

  37. Rich W says:

    I have an 05 Suburban and I replaced the OEM shocks with the Arnott Rebuilt OEM units a couple of months ago. The Arnott units are working great and the rebuild is high quality – they look like new units. I’ll be a lifetime Arnott customer!

  38. Dallas Mike says:

    Well written. I just ordered a rebuilt compressor/dryer and will install this weekend. Happy New Year!

  39. David says:

    I have 2003 Chevy Tahoe w/auto ride, I just replaced the entire pump/dryer unit and check this fuse and the pump will still not run. Can anyone give me some guidance on what I need to check or replace now. Thanks

    I also have the service auto ride on my display.

    Any help would be great thanks.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      You might check the ride height sensors. Maybe pop the connector off the ball and cycle the arm up and down while checking continuity on the wires.

    • Alan says:

      David – I also have a 2003 Tahoe and just had the whole assembly off the truck today. I was getting the Service Ride Control message and I knew the truck was not riding properly. I ordered a new compressor from Arnott and it will be here Wednesday (3/10). Today I decided to remove the entire assembly and I noticed two wires that had corroded and were just hanging (ah, that could be an issue). I took it off, bench tested the compressor and it came on. I rewired, put it back on the truck, but the compressor won’t come on (I hear a click, but that is all). The error message is gone and the truck seems to ride better (maybe the electronic damping is working again?) but no compressor even under load (I hooked up my camper to make sure it was under enough load). I also checked the fuse and it was fine. I guess I don’t have any advice for you but am in the same boat. Maybe if one of us figures it out, we can post our solution. Good Luck

  40. jim d. says:

    Should the motor for the shocks come on every time u start the car.

    • Kevin Shoemaker says:

      The motor should only run when triggered by the ride height sensor. This can happen if you’ve added weight to the vehicle or parked on an incline thus shifting the load to the rear axle.

      • Kevin Stewart says:

        I have a 2001 Suburban with autoride and shocks need replacement the value of the truck is $6k and replacement parts are $1300 if I do the job myself. I can’t seem to bring myself to spend this amount of money for it. Can I disable the autoride and repalce with standard shocks without having issues other than a service light on?

  41. JIm says:

    I have a 2001 Tahoe. I’ve had to replace several compressors. It seemed to go out so got another new one. When I put the new compressor on it just clicked but didn’t come on. Looked at the rear shocks and found one with the bladder ripped. Ordered new shocks and replaced them making sure everything was done correctly. Started the engine but the compressor didn’t come on even though we put a heavy load on the back of the vehicle. Turned the engine off and then just turned on the ignition and again heard a click but no compressor. New compressor, new rear shocks all GM. Now what?

  42. Eugene Plygunov says:

    Amazing article! Many thanx!

    I have 2005 Chevy Tahoe w/autoride, the rear shocks are airleaking.
    I’m going to order the Arnott’s shocks from the Ebay, but I can’t understand, what is better (billstein+arnott or arnott’s rebuilt oem), the opinions in comments differ.

    Best regards from Moscow, Russia

  43. Jeffro says:

    I had the rear air compressor on our 2007 Tahoe LTZ replaced maybe right at 3 years ago. Well after it got fixed it was QUIET. Then it started to make a louder noise every time i turn on the car for 10-15 sec. Mechanic that did the work said that was normal. Took it a few months later to the Chevy Dealer. They said I had leaking shocks. right at 120K Miles. Got those changed. Still makes that noise every time I start the Tahoe. And suggestions? Thanks for your quick replies. I do pull a boat and put the rear end in the water at the boat landing a good bit. I was told the 1st time the compressor had MAJOR water in it and caused it to me the VERY loud noise.