Airmatic problem - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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#1 (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 10:37 AM
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Airmatic problem

Starting the end of last year, when the weather got cold, the front of my R350 drop to the floor in the morning, not everyday, but every other day almost. It raised up after car was started, then I thought that was a new found feature of Airmatic. Until one day about a month later, It couldn't raise up anymore.
Searched the forum like I used to do, and thought that must be my front structs were leaking, ordered two front struct from Arnott ($1000 for both), and took the car to a local garage. The good people there looked at it, and told me that my Airmatic valve was leaking, the structs were good that they couldn't find any leak. Replaced the valve, car still couldn't get up. Towed it to the MB dealer, was told the compressor went back. Replaced the compressor and relay ($1250 ), drove the car back fine. Waited next morning, the car still hold up, went to return the Arnott structs ( 20% restocking fee charged ). The second morning, the front of the car drop again like what it happened before.
Took the car the MB dealer again, they retested the leak, no leak, no error code, not lowed the two days they had the car.($0) Took it back, well, it drops just like it used to again, one day, it even dropped couple time, in between the time I went into stores to get something.
Again, in the dealer this morning, the leak technician came out to talk to me, and will test it again. The car is parked in the level ground each day. The pattern of the problem I still dont know, it's out of warrenty so I wouldn't want them to replace all but the faulty one ... just too much stress for this problem, as told it is Unusual.
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 12:43 PM
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Far from being unusual, airmatic problems are prevalent across all MB models... just do a search. Replacement of the airmatic parts is simply another maintenance item just like brake pads. You should get used to it. Yeah, it sounds like the dealer is picking your wallet with each replacement part. I suggest finding another mechanic.

... and this important discussion continues.


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#3 (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 01:31 PM
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He meant it is an unusual Airmatic issue, that they can't figure out which part of the system is bad.
He also said it might be normal for the car to be lowed in couple days during cold weather, but mine was driven everyday. The problem is intermittent, and leak was not detected, so I was wondering if it is an electronic issue.
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#4 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 05:43 PM
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So depressing, had the car back from the dealer today, they couldn't find anything wrong with it, the second time!! They had it for almost a week, first time was two days.

And surely, when I came out to drive it tonight, the front end was dropped. Turn on key, it raised up then drove to the mall, came out less than tow hours later, it was dropped again!

So frustrated. Should I go to another dealer? But the one I went to is Morristown NJ who just changed my airmatic compressor.
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#5 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by stevosteve View Post
So depressing, had the car back from the dealer today, they couldn't find anything wrong with it, the second time!! They had it for almost a week, first time was two days.

And surely, when I came out to drive it tonight, the front end was dropped. Turn on key, it raised up then drove to the mall, came out less than tow hours later, it was dropped again!

So frustrated. Should I go to another dealer? But the one I went to is Morristown NJ who just changed my airmatic compressor.
Maybe try and diagnose it some more yourself.

When my front struts went, the car wouldn't always drop, sometimes it would drop in a couple of hours, sometimes it would stay up for two days. When it did start to drop I could hear hissing from the wheel well, and I could feel the air coming from the top of the 'bag' on the strut. Maybe go check your car every hour or so after you've parked it at night, measure it and see if you can hear anything.

2006 R500 Pano, Airmatic, Parktronic, HK sound, Nav, Keyless Go / 2003 CLK430 Convertible HID Nav / 2003 E320 Sport - Sold
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#6 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 09:57 PM
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Looks like it may be the valve body as it appears to do this only when cold, the small valves inside may be sticking. The valve body sits atop the pump.

ERIC.

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#7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 06:14 AM
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Thanks ...

The valve is new too.

If structs are bad, it would be strange that both front ones decide to drop or hold at same time? sometime in couple hours, sometimes in days. Yeah, I almost want to set up a video camera to capture the moment when it drops.

I put the car in "Sport" last night, and it holds this morning, I will see how long this last.
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#8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 07:08 AM
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Thanks ...

The valve is new too.

If structs are bad, it would be strange that both front ones decide to drop or hold at same time? sometime in couple hours, sometimes in days. Yeah, I almost want to set up a video camera to capture the moment when it drops.

I put the car in "Sport" last night, and it holds this morning, I will see how long this last.
Both my front struts failed within a week or two of each other. Originally since the front of the car was dropping fairly evenly I thought it couldn't be the struts since they both can't have failed at the same time, I was wrong.

Keep checking your car every so often, see if you can hear/feel a leak.

Also, maybe rise the car before switching it off for the night. Maybe that will make the leak more likely.

2006 R500 Pano, Airmatic, Parktronic, HK sound, Nav, Keyless Go / 2003 CLK430 Convertible HID Nav / 2003 E320 Sport - Sold

Last edited by y2b4sure; 02-17-2011 at 07:12 AM.
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#9 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 08:43 AM
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Struct leak

I still wasn't able to catch the moment when the car started to lower. Over the long weekend I left the car untouched, it lasted over 3 days, before it dropped again last night.

After it lowered, I unlocked the door when key, I could hear the valve noise and the car started to rise up a little bit, without turn on the engine. Then I put my ears closer to the front wheels, I could here the noise of air hissing, and noticed one wheel dropped faster than the other one. I couldn't put my hand in tween the gap of wheel and panel to reach for the air bag to feel the air. The raised gap was small and come down fast enough to see motion. I believe I have the structs leak, right? Right after that, I turned on the engine, the car rised up completely, and stayed up after I turned off the key. The tructs leak slower with a full charged air bag?

I called Arnott this morning, for them to ship back those structs I have returned. They charge me 10% retocking (instead of 20%) but added on shipping ($40), so this round trip costed me addictional $120 on top of what I have spent for this trouble. Only hope this will fix it all .. sigh.
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#10 (permalink) Old 03-07-2011, 06:39 AM
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Fixed

Had my local garage changed two Arnott structs for me. After $3000, and a month later, with a new pump, a new valve, and two refurbushed front structs, the car can finally hold up.
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