Rattling/Vibrating noise on a W220 s-class - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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#1 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 12:09 PM
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Rattling/Vibrating noise on a W220 s-class

I've done some research on the forum, and I know it is hard to pinpoint a problem without hearing it, but this is what I am experiencing:

When I start the car up, there will be a very small vibration on the driver's side. From inside it almost sounds like the dash is vibrating. It may be coming from somewhere near the left side of the car, closer to the engine area or below the car.

When I am near a wall driving, I can hear a rattling type noise, almost if there was snow in my wheel well, but it's clean. I have a little tear on my tire, could that be it, or perhaps this is connected with the vibrating I hear when idle?

Through my research, I see that it may be possibly a failing catalytic converter. It only vibrates at certain times though, and not always. Are these symptoms indicative of this? I have 118k miles, too S55 AMG.
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 01:55 PM
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It sounds like your catalytic converter. When mine started going bad I didn't hear it all the time either. When I did hear it it was at idle and slower speeds only. Your test of driving near a wall is a good one.

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#3 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 02:13 PM
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Aside from the noise, can it have bad effects on the car if it isn't taken care of? Around how much is it to fix?
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#4 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 02:44 PM
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The breaking apart catalyst will eventually plug the converters and then your car will strand you. I don't know if there is any serious damage done if you let them go that far, but I doubt it.

And I also don't know about an S55 AMG but mine were replaced under the federally mandated warranty of 8/80,000. The dealer invoice for MB I saw was for $1200 to replace both sides (complete pipes from manifolds back to muffler).

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#5 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 04:12 PM
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Before you replace the cats, check the heat shields around the exhaust system. They can bend from road debris and rattle against the body. They are considerably less expensive than catalytic converters.

Take your car to a shop and have them check for rattling heat shields before you take it in and tell them you think the cats have gone bad. They have monetary incentive to replace your cats (oh, and by the way, straighten the heat shields while they are under the car).

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#6 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 04:19 PM
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If you can reach underneath your car with a rubber mallet hit the converters one by one (there is 2 per side) and listen for a noticeable metallic rattle. This will confirm weather or not there is in fact loose material in your converters. The material inside is honey comb shaped and only allows flow when the material is in the proper position, if it rattles itself too far sideways then flow can become restricted or blocked entirely. This will cause misfires, engine stalls and if it remains plugged no starts.
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#7 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 06:09 PM
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Ditto to DrJfrmLA. Other things can rattle under there and there are metal brackets that might be loose.

Plus I forgot about the "definitive test" for bad cats. Tap them with a rubber mallet yourself, that's exactly what a exhaust shop or MB dealer will do first. If I remember correctly, mine are all clearly visable without removing any under-belly pan.

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#8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 03:12 PM
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I figured out what was causing the rattle and vibration! It wasn't the catalytic converter, but listen to this:

I opened up the hood and tried to see where the noise was coming from. It was coming from my ABC pump reservoir area. I looked closely, and it was loose - there was a bolt missing from the part which connects it down and keeps it stable. That was causing the metal pipe to vibrate and make that sound.

I just replaced the little bolt and tightened it, and it stopped vibrating as it was now held down. A pretty easy and cheap fix!
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#9 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 04:45 PM
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Good deal crashtest!

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