Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

Chassis Vibration at 50-60mph ...

13538 Views 59 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  TimeCapsule
My S500 coupe is experiencing a chassis vibration between 50 and 60mph. The vibration is more pronounced in the morning when the engine is cold. I originally thought it was coming from an unbalanced wheel. I have had the wheels re-balanced twice at two different places just to make sure and the problem is still there. It almost feel like a harmonic balancer in the engine may be out of balance. Is this possible? I do not know enough about Mercedes engines to know what might be happening. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
1 - 20 of 60 Posts

· Registered
'92 400SE, '02 TL-S
Joined
·
41 Posts
My S500 coupe is experiencing a chassis vibration between 50 and 60mph. The vibration is more pronounced in the morning when the engine is cold. I originally thought it was coming from an unbalanced wheel. I have had the wheels re-balanced twice at two different places just to make sure and the problem is still there. It almost feel like a harmonic balancer in the engine may be out of balance. Is this possible? I do not know enough about Mercedes engines to know what might be happening. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Might be Drive Shaft out of align..... Is the vibration constant or only when you accelerate?? If it's more pronounce when accelerate and/or idling... check distributor caps and spark plug coils....

Good Luck....
 

· Registered
92 500SEL to 01 E320T current 2014 lexus LS460
Joined
·
3,885 Posts
140 vibration

Join the club, my 92 has the same issue, MB spent weeks on it during the warranty period. The drive shaft, ball joints, bushings, steering damper and lots more were replaced. On some mornings it is smooth as glass on othe days the steering wheel moves back and forth. My service advisor, and shop manager said it was the "car" MB made some changes in ride height, there also have been opinions that it is the tires developing flat spots when sitting. Most recently I wasd told that replacing the lower control arm bushings with a newer version could fix it. The magic word is "could", new motor mounts did not make any difference. I am tempted to get rid of my Michelins, and try Firestones, they have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. I suspect tere is a fix, but no one has ever guaranteed it. My wife does not notice, but it does go away when it warms up. This vibration is common knowledge, search the threads.
 

· Registered
CLS63 AMG
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: 140 vibration

Join the club, my 92 has the same issue, MB spent weeks on it during the warranty period. The drive shaft, ball joints, bushings, steering damper and lots more were replaced. On some mornings it is smooth as glass on othe days the steering wheel moves back and forth. My service advisor, and shop manager said it was the "car" MB made some changes in ride height, there also have been opinions that it is the tires developing flat spots when sitting. Most recently I wasd told that replacing the lower control arm bushings with a newer version could fix it. The magic word is "could", new motor mounts did not make any difference. I am tempted to get rid of my Michelins, and try Firestones, they have a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. I suspect tere is a fix, but no one has ever guaranteed it. My wife does not notice, but it does go away when it warms up. This vibration is common knowledge, search the threads.
Peter - It would definately appear that we are suffering from the same dilemma. I put a set of new wheels and tires on the car about five months ago and it did not change the status of the vibration. I also had the car lowered two months ago with H&R springs and that did not change anything. So I definately know it has nothing to do with either of those two things. As for the lower control arm bushings - I am assuming that you have not tried that yet. It definately is less pronounced once the car (or whatever) warms up. As for it happening under acceleration - I have not noticed that as a contributing characterisitic. It is almost like the front wheels are out of balance. Anything over 60, 70, 80 is as smooth as silk and there is no hint of a vibration anywhere. Do you know what the cost would be to change the control arm bushings? I will do a search and read some of the other posts. Thanks for replying.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Before you chase all the potentially expensive drive-train problems, completely rule out r...

Before you chase all the potentially expensive drive-train problems, completely rule out rims and tires. Sometimes a shop will lie just to get rid of you. Both a dealership and a tire shop "failed" to diagnose my problem correctly.

Take the rims off and examine the inside of them yourself. Make sure they're not bent like mine were. You can balance a bent rim and it will look okay on the machine, but once it's on the car under a load you'll still get the wobble.

If you've hit a big bad pothole or utility rut in the last few months, chances are you bent a rim. I bent two. Luckily, I was able to hammer the dents out (NOT a good idea, you could crack an alloy rim that way) and trade the car. The wobble wasn't nearly as noticable, but I knew it was still there. The only real way to fix it was to replace the rims.
 

· Registered
1987 BMW M6
Joined
·
11 Posts
Shimmy & Conrtrol Arm Bushings

Some folks below have mentioned possibly replacing control arm bushings. My experience with control arm bushings is that they cause shimmy or vibrations only on braking when the bushing is called on to take the thrust of de-acceleration. This is a VERY common BMW problem and I fixed my M6 by installing urethane bushings. But if the shimmy occurs all the time (not just on braking) then I don't think control arm bushings are the issue. I would look at the drive shaft bushings or U joints.
 

· Registered
99 S320 (Sold at 280,000 miles) 2010 S550, 2008 C300, 08 SLK
Joined
·
446 Posts
I honestly can't contribute any info regarding motor mounts or drive shaft issues in reference to vibration, but I do have experience in vibration caused by bad/defective tires.
First, I would not recommend buying tires from any discount "center" or "club"-type store to be installed on the type of cars in this forum. (I won't mention any names, but I think you get the picture).
They tend to buy "seconds"...why do you think they can sell them so cheap? The tire manufacturing process does have SOME variation in it and that variation will show up in a non-round tire or a tire with a sidewall with variation.
When you get tires installed or balanced, ask for Road Force Balance. This device is similar to the balance machine we're all used to seeing, but it has a roller in the back which puts pressure on the tire as it spins (makes the tire think it's on the car).
This roller then detects and measures any variation in the side wall as the tire spins...called Road Force Variation. It will also detect if the tire is out of round...because it's possible to balance a square tire with enough weights!!
The variation is measured in pounds and any tire over 9-10 pounds of variation will give you problems
(I've had tires purchased from "clubs" have close to 40 pounds of variation!)
This type of balancing costs more ($60-$90) but in the end it's worth it especially with finely tuned suspensions.
Lastly, you can get tires with "cold spots" on them. This happens in ANY climate. When a car sits for a peroid of time the tire developes a flat spot in it. This varies with companies and is probably due to the composition of their particular tire "recipe"..maybe carbon content. This flat spot will disappear after a while.
Hope this lends some insight.
 

· Premium Member
2016 E350 4matic Luxury Sedan, 2011 E350 Avant Garde Cabriolet
Joined
·
2,006 Posts
I consulted the dealer about this problem..and paid big bucks for it! The following was the explanation I got. The vibration (shimmy) CAN be caused by any (or all) of the following. Bad shocks, bent wheel, bad bushings on control arms (lower and upper), bad tires.

According to the service manager the most common is flat spotted tires caused by the weight of the car. Evidently, the W140 body style is considerably heavier that the tires are capable of supporting when left sitting overnight. He increased the tire pressure to 40 PSI in the front and VOILA, no vibration. Some tires are not capable of supporting the weight (mine were Falkens, bought by the PO) and some are (I have Continentals on it and they seem to be holding up).

If you do this I take no responsibility and of course your ride will not be nearly as soft and comfortable.
 

· Registered
'95 S420
Joined
·
19 Posts
Kiawah, thanks. This does help. I am not sold on the car sitting on the same spot overnight only because this subtle shaking happens when I am doing errands all day long or even after 5 hour drives. Always 50-60mph. So annoying. I can feel it in the steering, so it must be front end related? I will try the balancing, but think that it is the wheels. Thank for the input though this helps very much.
 

· Registered
'95 S420
Joined
·
19 Posts
Just talked to my mechanic about the same thing. 50-60 MPH vibration. He noticed that the bearings are slightly loose in the left front wheel. He showed me how the wheel moves slightly back an forth. I am having the bearings repacked (or replaced) depending on what is necessary. I will let you know the results if you are interested. The mechanic thinks that this is my problem. I feel the vibrations through the steering wheel at 50-60 mph.
 

· Premium Member
SL55, 300SE, GL450, Daytona 955i
Joined
·
10,334 Posts
marioz - 11/27/2005 6:16 PM

Did you ever find a solution to this problem? I have the SAME problem. 50-60 mph.
add me to the long list...
 

· Premium Member
SL55, 300SE, GL450, Daytona 955i
Joined
·
10,334 Posts
DaimlerChrysler - 11/28/2005 11:17 AM

I consulted the dealer about this problem..and paid big bucks for it! The following was the explanation I got. The vibration (shimmy) CAN be caused by any (or all) of the following. Bad shocks, bent wheel, bad bushings on control arms (lower and upper), bad tires.

According to the service manager the most common is flat spotted tires caused by the weight of the car. Evidently, the W140 body style is considerably heavier that the tires are capable of supporting when left sitting overnight. He increased the tire pressure to 40 PSI in the front and VOILA, no vibration. Some tires are not capable of supporting the weight (mine were Falkens, bought by the PO) and some are (I have Continentals on it and they seem to be holding up).

If you do this I take no responsibility and of course your ride will not be nearly as soft and comfortable.
I'll add more PSI to my tires first thing in the morning and will see what will happen, but for now let me ask you this...
why does it happen only at 50-60mph? i mean i ve been doing 130-140 mph and the it was smooth as silk, only vibrates at 50-60mph, wont a flat spot in the tire cause the car to vibrate at any speed?
 

· Registered
'95 S420
Joined
·
19 Posts
Will do. I'll post a reply when I get the car back this Thursday. According to what I have read, the front wheels for the 140s really take the brunt on everything. Brakes, shocks etc. due to weight and steering. Mine has 177K so it might be about time that the bearings needed some help.
 

· Premium Member
SL55, 300SE, GL450, Daytona 955i
Joined
·
10,334 Posts
lol...mine has 260k...
 

· Premium Member
2016 E350 4matic Luxury Sedan, 2011 E350 Avant Garde Cabriolet
Joined
·
2,006 Posts
The faster you go the more aerodynamic lift your car gets and it literally starts to lift off of the pavement (think of the bottom of an jet wing and you'll understand). This is why the formula one cars have all the fancy multmillion dollar spoilers on them- to force the car back down onto the track. When you go faster the car and tires begin to lift up causing less weight on the tire, suspension, etc. On the BMW 850i's the suspension would automatically lower itself above 100 MPH to create more drag to keep the car on the road (in addition to a nifty "hunkered down" look!).

If the shimmy has started to happen all of the time it's possible that your tires have been damaged like mine were. I replaced mine with Continental ContiTourings and so far (with fingers crossed) the problem hasn't come back. The Continentals are what they're putting an the new MB's as standard tires, or at least they were this summer when I changed mine.
 

· Registered
92 500SEL to 01 E320T current 2014 lexus LS460
Joined
·
3,885 Posts
On my 92 the upper control arms, steering damper ,drive shaft, and rear end were replaced under warranty. I paid for new "hydraulic lower arm" bushings, sway bar bushings and arms, engine and tranny mounts, steering damper, and probably more than I want to admit. Vib still there, I would say since rotating the tires and having MB balance (roadforce)? it it sill comes and goes!
 

· Registered
1992 400Se; 1984 230CE
Joined
·
78 Posts
My car has recently picked up the classic 45-55 front end vibration. The car is driven no more than once a week so I strongly suspect the tires are developing flat spots.

One radical solution - which I wonder if anyone has tried - would be to jack up the front of the car when not being used (obviously not a remedy for a daily driver) so that there is no weight on those front tires when not being driven.

I wonder if it would damage the front suspension to have the wheels "hanging" for a long period of time ? I know on W111 and W113 models it was never adviseable to let the wheels hang free.

All the best.

NAB
 

· Registered
92 500SEL to 01 E320T current 2014 lexus LS460
Joined
·
3,885 Posts
That is a radical approach, higher pressures, road force balancing, is probably the answer. On my car they replaced the Pirelli tires with a v rating to michelins with an H and put a sticker on the cluster that said to limit the speed to 120. I guess the softer tires did not flat spot, I notice a certain flat spotting with my wagon and really starting to dislike Michelins.
My professioal tire guy (specializes in tires from golf carts to trucks)told me heavier car more pressure.
I dont hear any issues from the armor plated (heavy)versions , it would be intersting what they run as to pressure.
The shop forman at my local MB dealership says there was a class action suit and people got a coupon, but MB does not talk about it. I was solicitated about buying my coupon but never got it ($4,00)in 95 I think.
As the "teutonic" female says in the letters " we have attempted to satisfy your issues during the warranty period".
 

· Registered
'95 S420
Joined
·
19 Posts
NBA;

Great idea! Like those extending brace arms that come out of the side of mobile cranes to keep them steady and in some cases lift the wheels off the ground? Give those German engineers time and a reason and they will build it.

The ULTIMATE parking break.

Plus no need for LoJack, just follow the scrape marks in the pavement.
 
1 - 20 of 60 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top