Is my 4matic working properly? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Question Is my 4matic working properly?

I have a 2003 S500 4matic with snow tires on it. I did an interesting little experiment this morning. There was a small hill with ice on one side and dry pavement on the other. So I drove the car part way up and stopped with the right tires on the ice and the left tires on the pavement. I figured if I hit the gas somewhat hard, the 4matic system would shift power to the (left) tires that had traction, and I would take off up the hill no problem. Wrong! The right tires started spinning on the ice. The lefts must have gotten a bit of power because the car did move up the hill, but very slowly. So does this system only transfer power from back to front, and not side to side? Does it have open front and rear diffs that send most of the power at each end to the tire with less traction? Or is there something wrong with my car?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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For comparison I went back a few hours later in my 2003 Subaru WRX, which has (newer) snow tires, full-time AWD, and limited-slip rear diff. It had rained a bit so overall traction was if anything a little worse than before. I started in the same position as before and launched the Subie fairly hard. At least one of the right tires spun but the car seemed to find a fair amount of traction and accelerated well up the hill.

So what's up with the Benz? Is it not getting traction or is the system actually deliberately slowing it down?

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 04:47 PM
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As far as i know, only the very latest evo has yolk suspension, ie shifts power from left to right.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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^^My WRX does it on the rear wheels.; the STI may do it on the fronts as well. One limited-slip diff is pretty common.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 09:04 PM
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The 4MATIC system is not a proper high performance 4WD system. Such a system would involve limited slip differential (Torsen) and a viscous coupling for F-R torque split, with the default being close to 50-50.

The WRX has a proper 4WD system, but the 4MATIC uses the brakes to simulate the effects of a real LSD. It's a poor system for a high performance car.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2008, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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^^That makes sense but somewhat disappointing. Do the ML vehicles use the same system?

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2008, 09:35 AM
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The 4-Matic idea also used on most of MB SUV is great idea, but has a technical problem with the delay the system has. When I hit throttle in our ML on gravel in about 1 sec the system needed to apply the brake -the wheel was burred to the axle.
It works much better on low range in SUV, what I contribute to the fact that wheels turn slower.
So in order for the system to be most effective >> go easy on the throttle.
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