Thumping and Rattling on New Strut Installation - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thumping and Rattling on New Strut Installation

I posted part of this problem on one of Dave's threads on his CLK project, but at this point felt that I needed to start my own new thread, rather than continuing to hijack his.

I spent some time on the ground under the 2003 S430 Saturday, replacing the leaking left rear Airmatic strut (Arnott replacement under their life-time warranty.) All went well, until I drove it after finishing the job just before dark, and discovered a major rattle/thump-thump from the area.

I parked the car to wait until Monday to see what I had done wrong. After mentally replaying the job about twenty times, I finally concluded that I had simply missed the lower eye on the strut when I drove the bolt thru, and the strut was now just sitting inside the lower cross arm. The SDS should have given me an error code of ID-10-T! (cowboyt will know how irate I am at the idiot who screwed-up the simple job, namely me.)

So, I went back under the car today to fix the problem - but I didn't find what I expected.

The bolt was properly thru the lower arm and strut eye, and all fasteners were in-place and tight.

Well, something was loose, so I jacked the lower cross arm to the proper installed position, and removed the nuts from each of the three large fasteners on that arm. I then applied anti-seize to each fastener, feeling that I would rather take a chance on over-torquing the bolts, instead of risking leaving one even a little loose. They are now really tight. I checked the torque on both ends of the anti-sway bar link, and on the three nuts on the top of the strut. Every fastener that I touched on this job is triple-checked to be in the correct position and fully tightened.

When I started up the driveway for the test run, the thumping and rattling started immediately, with absolutely no change from the first run.

At this point, I have not a clue as to the source of the thumping and rattling. I can push the left rear fender down an eighth of an inch, and clearly hear a clunk. I would appreciate any helpful comments...

I am SO looking forward to moving into my new shop, where I can work on perfect concrete floors, or even on the new lift, instead of on my back in an unpaved driveway...

Wally
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 09:04 PM
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I had that problem. In my case, the strut wasn't fully seated down on the lower control arm's peg, the one in the middle of the LCA. A short drive around my neighborhood, and I heard a loud, "BANG!" Drove carefully back home, and sure enough, the strut had fully seated. I tightened those little lock screws, and I haven't had a problem since.

Could it be that the strut isn't fully seated on the LCA?

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 01:23 AM
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Hi,

I don't have a CLK, never seen the point of a 4 seater rag top
@cowboyt Left (or right) Rear Strut doesn't have a Ball joint on it's LCA, it's bolt through a bushed eye in strut at the bottom

Is the top mount under the rear shelf trim piece tight, I see no mention of that end ???????????????

If that's all tight and good, I suspect a bad strut

If @wallyp bought it from Arnott he's likely got that Chinese one that @4DGeorge sent off for credit

HTH,
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Last edited by Dave2302; 03-12-2019 at 01:27 AM.
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave2302 View Post

If @wallyp bought it from Arnott he's likely got that Chinese one that @4DGeorge sent off for credit


Hi Wally,

I have said this in the past and will say it again, Arnott has GREAT Customer Service but their QC leaves a lot to be desired. I went through the same when I did mine. My mechanic won't touch them anymore unfortunately because of having to do the job over and over again. He said one time he had to change three in the row till he got one that worked the way it was supposed to. So my bet is on the strut itself
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 07:24 AM
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@Dave2302 : you're right, I actually saw that, and apparently I had a "senior moment" afterwards.
@wallyp : What I would try next is get a pair of Rhino Ramps or similar and back the car up those. This way the suspension will be under load. Then, with you under the car listening, have someone (that you trust!) push down the car that 1/8 inch so you can hear the clunking.
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2000 S430 (Dad's car, used for special occasions)
2000 S500 (wife's DD: my first W220 project car)
2003 S600 ("sex on wheels"--second w220 project car)
2003 S430 (one of two current DD's--third W220 project car)
2005 E320 CDI (the other current DD--first W211 project car)
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 08:03 AM
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Are you certain that the bolt is properly through the eye on the strut?

After all, if Dave can install one incorrectly, I reckon anyone can...

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Absolutely positive that:

The bolt is thru the strut eye, and tight.

All five fasteners on the bottom end (Inner and outer end of the cross arm, strut eye, and two on the sway bar link) are properly placed and tightened.

All three fasteners on the top end are tight, and appear to be at the correct position.

The strut is oriented properly. With the eye on the bottom, and the three fasteners on the top, it can only go in one position.


So, I am pretty well down to a faulty strut. At least this one doesn't leak...

Wally
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 10:07 AM
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Are you certain that the bolt is properly through the eye on the strut?

After all, if Dave can install one incorrectly, I reckon anyone can...
Oi !!

I haven't installed one like that !!

I think it was a garage who fitted one to one of @cowboyt 's cars

@wallyp , from all you have done and double checked my money is on a duff strut


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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave2302 View Post
If @wallyp bought it from Arnott he's likely got that Chinese one that @4DGeorge sent off for credit
Nope... It's not my Chinesium one. It's still sitting in the garage waiting for a ride to be shipped. ;-D

As for the aforementioned clunking being described here, it sounds exactly like mine did before replacement. The clunking (in my case) was a failed shock absorber. Driving over any small bumps, like entering\exiting a driveway, result in a slightly harsh thump. Driving along any slightly less than smooth roadway gets you a dull rattling noise.
Sad to hear the reports on Arnott's QC.

Side question: anything special you guys do to keep the FRONT sway bar end link bolts from repeatedly loosening up? No matter how tight I make them, they both loosen up within a week or two and go back to squeaking like an old truck with failed ball joints. I guess Mother-Benze was saving money and weight by not using self locking nuts? I've never seen a vehicle with so many plain nuts. I think that's just...well...nuts!
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 01:25 PM
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@Dave2302 : yep, it was a garage.
@4DGeorge : turns out that with my Lemfoerder kit, it came with nylon self-locking nuts. Otherwise, I'd just use blue Loctite.

Regarding Arnott's QC, I wonder if that's limited to to their remans, or if it also applies to their "new manufacture" struts. I've only had one problem, but they sent out what looks so far like a good replacement, and on the double.
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2000 S430 (Dad's car, used for special occasions)
2000 S500 (wife's DD: my first W220 project car)
2003 S600 ("sex on wheels"--second w220 project car)
2003 S430 (one of two current DD's--third W220 project car)
2005 E320 CDI (the other current DD--first W211 project car)
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