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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I want to start a clean thread on my problem:

1. 2000 S430
2. developed leak at front strut tops only when jacked up- no sinking overnight, etc
3. let it go for a few months until suddenly I got warnings during drive time.
4. replaced front strut seals based on forum DIY info and car aired up completely and worked fine for a week
5. started to get messages again
6. checked strut seals for leaks (none) and changed to hella relay; car aired back up for a couple of days
7. got messages again and car sits very low, but doesn't rub tires. It will not raise back up at all, whether I restart it and compressor runs, or I press raise car button and compressor runs.
8. find factory strut seal instructions and realize I probably destroyed the inner bellows by airing it up with the tires touching the ground (anyone else do that, or do it and not destroy the bellows?)

Discussion:

I want to make sure of the diagnosis before replacing parts. The obvious culprit is my screw up with the strut seal job, BUT;

a. If the bellows were 'destroyed' why did it air up completely and work for a week?
b. If the bellows developed a slow leak, why can't the car overcome it and air up now like it did after the seal job?
c. If the bellows leak got worse, why can't I feel any air coming out the small hole I cut in one boot when the compressor is running? (the boots are otherwise intact)
d. There might be a possibility that the acute event precipitating my strut seal job was not related to the strut seals. Maybe that leak had not changed but something else had failed, and was the reason the car sank later after the seal job. Having leak checked connections and hearing the compressor run, I don't know what that could be.

Additional info:

I never had a problem with the rears up to the last set of messages, and they are either fine now or a little low, I don't have ride height specs to verify that. Perhaps the computer lowered them to match the fronts.

I sprayed soapy water on the compressor and manifold block connections and see no leaks

All help greatly appreciated.

Bill
 

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2000 S430 156k (11/12)
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Having dealt with this issue, I have some contribution to this problem you're having.

Item #3 Waiting that long may have weakened your compressor because it had to keep supplying the system more than usual.

You haven't stated the mileage but I am guessing around 110-140k and life of a strut is known to be around 100k. So, I don't think top seal leak repair procedure and the failure of the air bags in the struts may not be directly related.
Start the car, get out and try lifting the front fenders above the front wheels and listen if you hear any hissing while lifting. If you do, you may have bad struts.
But, hearing the compressor running and the car not raising is a problem and need further diagnosis.
 

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2000 S430 156k (11/12)
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507 Posts
Thats not much at all. My rears were replaced at 80k and the fronts at 133k.
The road conditions, driving habits and age alone could lower the longevity of the struts. As I stated earlier, the last part of the "strut top repair procedure" may have a large contribution on the failure.
Do the hissing test and see what you come up with.
 
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