R Class Rear Suspension Air Bag Replacement - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Old 01-19-2011, 03:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Date registered: Mar 2009
Vehicle: '06 CLS500 Black, AMG Sport PKG 20" Antera. '06 R350 Silver, p1 PKG,Airmatic, 22" Antera Wheels
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 48
R Class Rear Suspension Air Bag Replacement

I just replaced both of my rear suspension air bags. My R class has the full Airmatic suspension, which I have already replaced myself the front ones last year at $1000 x 2. I found a company Air Suspension Kits, Air Shocks, Suspension Parts, Struts - Arnott Industries, which sells remanufactured suspension parts. I bought the set of two rear air bags for $299, compared to $550 each ($1100 for both rears) from MB . I installed them yesterday, and so far they are performing like OEM. The air bags are manufactured by Continental, which makes tires, and have a division which is Contitech that makes air bellows and other air suspension related parts. Arnott offers lifetime warranty, as I was hesitant because I thought their would not perform as well or that they would pop when loaded, but so far I am pleased. The replacement is so simple, as it also comes with instructions. The steps for removal are the following:
1.Raise up the vehicle from the body or rear cradle to allow rear tires to drop down.
2.Remove Compressor Fuse located in Engine Compartment (The second large orange 40 amp fuse is the compressor's). Remember to remove key from ingition.
3.Once vehicle raised from rear, removed the rear tires
4. Remove the airline at the top of the air bag on the opposite side from the wheel with an open 10mm wrench and remove the adapter from the line, as the new one already has such piece.
4. Pry the air bag down from the top with a flat screwdriver to release it from the locking pins at the top.
5.Remove the air bag by squeezing it through.
6.Remove and install the white securing pins with a flat screwdriver
7. Install the new air bag with the air inlet towards the inside. Make sure the bottom is seated properly to match the notch.
Reconnect the airline and ensure that it is all the way in and that the colored marks on the airline are against the fitting in the airbag (just push it hard until it cannot go more).
8. Reinstall tires, lower vehicle (the vehicle will drop the wheels into the wheelwells), reinstall the fuse, and turn on the car so that compressor fills the bags (you may hear a couple of pops, but they are normal).
9.Check tha the vehicle does not drop all the way into the wheelwells, as it is a sign that you still have an airleak (leaking air at the connection fitting is the most likely problem), otherwise, you are done!
texas008 and guess313 like this.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Date registered: Dec 2008
Vehicle: 2000 ML320, 2006 R500
Posts: 22
How long did it take you to replace the Airbags?
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Date registered: Mar 2009
Vehicle: '06 CLS500 Black, AMG Sport PKG 20" Antera. '06 R350 Silver, p1 PKG,Airmatic, 22" Antera Wheels
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 48
Suspension airbags replacement time

It took longer to jack up the car and remove and install the wheels as I have 22" rims on them, than to replace the air bags. 30 minutes to replace both aigbags, and about 1 hour to jack up the car, remove and install the wheels, as it is hard to hold the align the wheels and hold them in place to screw in the lugs. Before I tried bending the air suspension links from the sensors to have a lower ride, but it messed up the level, as the right side is about in inch lower than the left, and you can feel it at the wheel because it always pulls to the right, even in flat roads. I disconnected all the airlines at the distribution valve in the engine compartment, and unplugged the battery, even the memory battery under the front passenger floorboard (removed the compressor fuse as well and key from ignition). That company Arnott sells the front air shocks for MB SUV's for $499, compared to $1300 at MB. They even buy your old ones for about $50, and they pay for the shipping. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Date registered: Aug 2006
Vehicle: 2000 E430 4Matic, 2000 Z3, 2007 R320 CDI
Location: MD burbs
Posts: 406
thanks for the writeup. Will no doubt come in handy when mine fails out of warranty...
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Date registered: Oct 2009
Vehicle: 2007 GL450; 2000 SL500 (AMG Sport); 1999 CL500;
Location: West Michigan, USA
Posts: 196
Needed This Air Bag Info

One of my R Class airbags just developed a leak at 72k miles. This Arnott info will be very valuable.

Thanks for the post!

P.s., still love the R class (R350).
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Date registered: Mar 2009
Vehicle: '06 CLS500 Black, AMG Sport PKG 20" Antera. '06 R350 Silver, p1 PKG,Airmatic, 22" Antera Wheels
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 48
Suspension airbags lifetime

I was talking to the Mercedes Parts clerk, and he told me that on all Mercedes air bags only last about 68k miles. I think that the climate conditions such as cold weather adversely affect the life as I had to replace my front ones at about 60k. I was damn pissed, because these cars are not cheap and the parts are damn expensive as well, but oh well, I wanted MB.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Date registered: Sep 2010
Posts: 14
Airmatic system is a POS!

Other than the totally unreliable Airmatic suspension system, the R500 we've had for 4 years has been a fine car. One front Airmatic strut has been replaced at 34K miles and the other at both 34K and 68K. One or both of the rears have also failed in the 45K range (can't remember back that far). It is sad that Mercedes have become less reliable over the years. I am (so far) happy with my latest Arnott front replacement and will be ordering rear replacements from Arnott today as one or both of the rears are failing again.

If I could replace this piece of crap Airmatic system with some other reliable system I would, but it is too integrated into the car.

Anyone else have them fail so regularly?

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Old 02-03-2011, 03:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Date registered: Mar 2009
Vehicle: '06 CLS500 Black, AMG Sport PKG 20" Antera. '06 R350 Silver, p1 PKG,Airmatic, 22" Antera Wheels
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 48
Suspension airbags lifetime

I don't like all the money spent repairing them, and all the hassle with the leveling, but I like the way it lowers itself on the freeway, and how it gives a better stance with 22" wheels. When we had the rain here in California, the streets were flooded, and it helped because I could raise the vehicle a few inches while other cars would get water inside their cabins. I would say that it is a close match between the benefits and the problems, and although my wife nags me for getting one with this option, I am still happy with it.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Date registered: Sep 2010
Posts: 14
R Class Rear Suspension Air Bags Replaced In One Hour!

While I still think the Airmatic system is a POS that should have a 100K warranty from Mercedes, at least 3 of 4 corners of my (wife's) R500 have Arnott air suspension components.

A few months ago, I tried and failed to install the front passenger Arnott strut and ended up paying a local shop $200 labor to take care of it for me. One of the rears has been leaking for about a month, so I ordered a set from Arnott (only sold in sets), and tentatively went about trying to install them on my own.

I am happy to report that I was able to complete the install in about an hour! Just as clscruizer350 mentions above, re-installing the wheels took longer than installing the suspension components!

Ironically, since the time I ordered the rears, the final POS Mercedes strut has taken a dump and is leaking worse than I've ever seen (and I have seen 6 or 7 leaking on this one vehicle in the last 4 years so consider myself a professional). So it appears I will have a full Arnott air suspension system before February ends! Now if I could just figure out how to install the front strut on my own I could save myself $200 more. Any tips or hints out there?

Thanks for reading.

gbooks
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Date registered: Mar 2009
Vehicle: '06 CLS500 Black, AMG Sport PKG 20" Antera. '06 R350 Silver, p1 PKG,Airmatic, 22" Antera Wheels
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 48
If you remove minimal components to just allow tou to remove and replace the strut is fairly simple, but it is a bit harder than the rears. There is a large bolt that holds the strut fork to the axle. Then the tie rods from the rack and pinion and the stabilizing bar. There is a black plastic strap tied around the strut that holds the brake line. It is locked with a plastic pin at the tip of the tie, so you push that pin out with a small phillips screwdriver and the strap is loose, so you can reuse it for the new one. Do not lose that small pin, which is about 1/4" long, otherwise the strap will not lock and you will have them dangling. Once you have removed those parts, then you move to the top in the engine compartment. There are three nuts that hold the strut in place, 2 visible, and one inside the hub. You will need a 13mm deep socket to remove the nut that is insode the hub. But before you remove all the nuts, disconnect the airline with a 10mm open wrench. Remember to remove the compressor fuse located at the passenger side of the engine compartment (it is the large Orange 40 amp fuse to the right, as there are only 2 orange fuses) so the compressor does not turn on unnecessarily. Do not leave the key in the ignition while raising the vehicle. Once the airline is and the nuts are removed, the strut should drop a few inches, but it will not clear the well. You need to step on the axle and compress the airbag to clear the well. You will need to maneuver the fork ( turn the bottom end of the strut sideways) so it clears the driveshaft. This should allow you to clear the entire well and remove the strut out of the vehicle. If you step on the axle too hard, make sure you do not damage the level sensor at the top of the leaf, or cause the driveshaft to come out of its differential (front).If it does, just push it in with your hands until you hear a click. You should be able to remove it with little effort, depending on how you maneuver the strut. Installation is done in reverse order. First secure the top, without installing the airline until the end, so you can compress it when putting the fork in place. The tie rods tend to turn, so you will need an air gun with more than 200 pounds of torque, or an open wrench with a star socket. The big bolt is important to be tighened well, because it will rattle when driving (I learned this way), so you need to hold one end of the bolt while turning the other. This should do it, just put the fuse back when you are done, and start the car so the bag fills up.
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