The AA Blog: BMW F11 Air Suspension – The truth

Categories:BMW, BMW f11, F11 air suspension

The infamous F11 air suspension fault, the truth, the cause and how to fix it for good.

F11 Air Suspension

If you’re experiencing a problem with your F11 with the rear of the car is sat on its arse, your not the only one.

Every single BMW F11 owner will, at some point have an issue with their air suspension, and it doesn’t matter what mileage your car is on.

A quick tip: The sooner you spot a problem with your air suspension, the less money it will take to fix it

The truth

Wherever you are in the UK, don’t take your car to your local garage. (unless you live in Northampton of course – bring it to us)


The first thing that mechanic will do is stick his diagnostic computer to your car and it will find nothing.

After finding nothing on his computer, he will then give your his ‘professional’ advise on changing both your air suspension bags at a cost of £380 (depending on market prices) which will do nothing and you will be in the same situation and out of pocket.

The truth is, most ‘professional’ garages will have no idea what the cause is and will just advise on replacing everything to do with the air suspension which will include, both bags, airlines and the compressor will cost you over a £1,000.

The cause

Over 95% of F11 air suspension drops are caused by, not the bags, the airlines, or the air compressor.

The cause of the problem is, the compressor solenoid valve and it costs £66 (again – depending on market prices)

And the secret is, you might not even need to buy a new one! Continue Reading..

How to fix it, for good!? (DIY)

It’s now time to repair your f11 air suspension for good! If you know that your compressor is in good health and the easiest way to check this is to take it out by removing the rear black box cover that is protecting it from the weather and removing the compressor from the car.

This is very simple task and someone with basic common sense will be able to do this without issues.

Follow this guide P-2985.pdf ( on how to remove the compressor from the car and the compressor bracket.

Once you have removed your compressor, you’ll now need to take it apart

You’ll need to dry out the desiccant beads inside the compressor as these will no doubt be wet.

Watch this video below on how to take apart your compressor, notice that in the video the guy shows you the solenoid valve being corroded. This is the first cause of the problem.

Fix permanently with a conversion

If you’re looking for a more permanent fix then you can buy a spring conversion kit for your F11 BMW. The kit is an easy fit and will take around 1.5 hours.

You’ll need to either code out the air suspension compressor to spot the error messages or you can remove the fuse for the air compressor to stop it running and burning out. The fuse your looking for is Fuse 182 which is located in the boot area.

Now you’ve dried your desiccant beads, take a good look at the solenoid valve which will look like this

the f11  solenoid valve

If the middle part is stuck, rusted together, try and tap to free it, if this works, you have just saved yourself £66 pound on a new one.

Clean it up and put it back together on your compressor. Reverse everything you did to take it apart and test your air suspension.

Did it work? If it did, great work you’ve just saved yourself a hell of a lot of money.

And if it didn’t, it’s okay. Take your time, you might have missed something, check the connections of the airlines are tight, you might want to listen out for any air leaks, listen around the valve block and the air bags. Did you make sure the solenoid valve was free after tapping it? The solenoid valve is the number one cause of f11 air suspension problems, double check you have freed it.