Just bought 2003 s500 - airmatic problem - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 02:42 PM
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Exclamation Just bought 2003 s500 - airmatic problem

I just bought an 03 s500 4matic with the front dropped to the floor.. Airmatic/shock finished assuming?

I got a good deal on it and was aware of the problem.

My question is, what's the first thing I should check? And replace?

I did check the top of the shocks and the rubbers had hairline crack on both of them.

Once I start the car I do hear a 'ticking' type of noise from around the drivers side bay and then after a while it stops, possible that the pump is still working?

Common sense tells me that due to the crack on the shocks the Pump was on non stop and eventually burnt out and the car dropped to the floor?

Is there a possibility to save the shocks by getting the repair kit?

I'm a complete noob in the benz world so any kind of headsup will be appreciated along with links/DIY to do work regarding this.

I am a handy man and have worked on cars ( pulling engines out etc) have access to tools and all too.


Thanks in advance

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#2 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 04:49 PM
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Welcome to the forum, S500-03. One of the first things you should have seen on the W220 forum is a grouping of threads toward the top of the first page, labeled "Sticky" in the title, a pin symbol, and a blue background identifying them as "stickies." One of the stickies is the W220 S-Class Encyclopedia; it says "Start Here" in the title.

Start there. You will see why.

Warren

2005 S500 4-Matic
with Gateway 500 iPod integration

1978 450SL restoration project

Formerly: 2000 S500
with Ice>Link iPod integration
Moto V710 phone with MikBox
Upgraded Voice Control

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#3 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 05:02 PM
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Hi skylaw,

Thank you. I did do a little search after I posted this.

Is there a way to test/make sure the airmatic pump is still good? After that I was thinking to maybe do the epoxy method or repair kit depending on if I can arrange the special tool needed.

Thanks again
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#4 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 05:11 PM
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If you don't hear the pump trying to lift the car when it is fully down, either the airmatic relay or the pump itself is bad. Both are discussed at length in the Encyclopedia.

Warren

2005 S500 4-Matic
with Gateway 500 iPod integration

1978 450SL restoration project

Formerly: 2000 S500
with Ice>Link iPod integration
Moto V710 phone with MikBox
Upgraded Voice Control
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#5 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 07:16 AM
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I notice that theres this "ticking" from this "relay/module'? if you take a look at the video posted below. it turns on for a bit..then shuts..after a while turns back on. its not "LOUD" but id like to know whats the function of that? anything to do with the airmatic?

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#6 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 09:29 AM
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Well, we're back at Airmatic. I wonder why?

Beautifull cars with substandard suspenssion system called Airmatic.

To address your issue: When you press the button on the dash (to lift the car), the car does nothing, correct? That would indicate a blown fuse #32, faulty relay, or fried compressor. So you need to check it in that order. Get FEW 40amp fuses, and start there. If the fuse blows as soon as you try to raise the car,....your compressor is toast! Time to order a new relay and the pump. Once you replace that, you can concentrate on finding the leaks on the shocks. You have several options there. Stock shocks, Arnott air shocks, or Arnott coiled replacement. Doing the top seals might be another option, but it's a "bandaid" that will help until the bladders fail (unless bladders are your problem to begin with!).

My advice: Get the compressor going, replace the shocks (if needed), and enjoy the car. The reason I said "if needed" is because you are not sure at this point that the shocks are leaking. It may be leaking from the valve, or any of the PVC hoses, but to find what's leaking, you will need to pressurize the shocks, hence......get the compressor going first.

If I was in the room when they designed this system, I would not let them! If the directive "from above" was to make it work, I would at least insist on putting an additional nipple on each shock, that the owner could reach with a hand operated air pump (like some of my motorcycles have on the front fork!), and inflate the shocks manually in the emergency (of course it would not work if the bladders are torn, but it would work in the case of failed compressor, valve, or lines). Once the car is sitting on the tires, there is no other help but the towtruck, and that's just poor engineering.
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#7 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielsand View Post
Well, we're back at Airmatic. I wonder why?

Beautifull cars with substandard suspenssion system called Airmatic.

To address your issue: When you press the button on the dash (to lift the car), the car does nothing, correct? That would indicate a blown fuse #32, faulty relay, or fried compressor. So you need to check it in that order. Get FEW 40amp fuses, and start there. If the fuse blows as soon as you try to raise the car,....your compressor is toast! Time to order a new relay and the pump. Once you replace that, you can concentrate on finding the leaks on the shocks. You have several options there. Stock shocks, Arnott air shocks, or Arnott coiled replacement. Doing the top seals might be another option, but it's a "bandaid" that will help until the bladders fail (unless bladders are your problem to begin with!).

My advice: Get the compressor going, replace the shocks (if needed), and enjoy the car. The reason I said "if needed" is because you are not sure at this point that the shocks are leaking. It may be leaking from the valve, or any of the PVC hoses, but to find what's leaking, you will need to pressurize the shocks, hence......get the compressor going first.

If I was in the room when they designed this system, I would not let them! If the directive "from above" was to make it work, I would at least insist on putting an additional nipple on each shock, that the owner could reach with a hand operated air pump (like some of my motorcycles have on the front fork!), and inflate the shocks manually in the emergency (of course it would not work if the bladders are torn, but it would work in the case of failed compressor, valve, or lines). Once the car is sitting on the tires, there is no other help but the towtruck, and that's just poor engineering.
Hi, Thanks ALOT for your help, I really appreciate it.

I got the car towed at my place last night and just looked around for a few minutes. I noticed the fuse (orange 40amp) was not burnt. does that mean the pump isnt toasted? When I press the button to raise the car, I dont hear or feel any difference either.

1 question, once you press the button to raise it up do you hear the pump running? noticeable? because as I mentioned before, I don't hear anything.

I just got the relay from the dealership but now also thinking to pick up the pump to plug it in later tonight to see if it does anything.
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#8 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 10:40 AM
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There are three 40 AMP fuses in the pass side fusebox under the hood. The middle one is the Airmatic one, the one in the back of it is the smog pump fuse, and the first relay next to it is Airmatic relay. This fuse is powered only when the Airmatic compressor is supposed to work, anotherwords,..you will not have constant power there (to avoid confusion). Pull that fuse and check it out.

If you have a good relay (you can substitute ANY relay, they are all the same in the box), and the good fuse, pump HAS TO work (and you can hear it clearly), if the pump is running, it will run until two things happen,.....either the car reaches the height demanded by the height sensors, or the pump gets hot, and blows the fuse!

Take the belly pan off, pull the pass side wheel, and remove the wheelwell liner. That will expose the pump. Check ALL connections (on the pump AND on the valve). Something might be unplugged/damaged/wires broken/chewed up by rodents, etc. If the fuse is NOT blown, and the pump is NOT running, that's the ONLY explanation.

You can also remove the pump, and bench test it for operation. A simple multimeter, and some 12V power supply, will tell you the status of the pump. If you need a new one, look on Ebay. I got the original MBZ pump and Hella relay BNIB, for like $325 shipped.

Hope this helps. And when you resolve the problem, please let us know.
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#9 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 06:45 PM
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Today on the way back home I bought the airmatic pump from the dealer..$430.

Started pulling the old one off when I noticed one of the connector just wouldn't come out..after over an hour of just trying to pull one connector off I decided to just brake it off by forcing a flat had..even after braking it it STILL wouldn't move..when I looked carefully I noticed connectors were glued/melted together!!! I guess from over working it fried?

Now I'd like to know if the dealer would just sell the connector itself? Tomorrow I'll call them up.

I'm REALLY hoping that it was just the pump because it looks like no one even touched it before.

Another thing, when I disconnected the plastic thin vacuum pipe from the old pump there was air that leaked for a few seconds from it, what does that mean?
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#10 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 07:10 AM
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A little air escaping from the tank is normal. Question is,....why was the fuse not blown, if the connector on the pump was "melted together"?

Hook up the new pump (if the dealer doesn't have the harness with the plug, visit some junk yards!), and you should be ok.

If you get the harness from the junk yard, just cut the wires, and splice them onto the remnants of your harness (easy fix with some shrink tubing). Your old pump was obviously working "overtime", so you ARE having a big leak somewhere, but it will all be clear with a working pump.
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