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1997 S500
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HEY HOW IS EVERYONE DOING?
IM NEW TO THE FORUM, AND I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY S500. ITS A 1997 S500 SEDAN WITH 100,000 MILES. WHEN IM DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD I CAN FEEL EVERY BUMP OR CRACK IN THE ROAD. ITS LIKE MY SUSPENSION IS NOT WORKING AT ALL IN THE REAR. A "THUD" LIKE SOUND COMES WHENEVER I GO OVER A BUMP OR MANHOLE COVER. MY SUSPENSION DOESNT CREAK OR MAKE SQUEAKING SOUNDS, BUT IT SEEMS AS IF IT IS VERY HARD

CAN ANYONE DIAGNOSE THIS PROBLEM?

OH BY THE WAY I GOT THE CAR A YEAR AGO AND WHEN I GOT IT THE "HYDRAULIC FLUID" BOTTLE IN THE FRONT LEFT OF THE CAR WAS ALMOST EMTY, BUT I HAVE FILLED IT WITH FLUID I PURCHASED FROM THE DEALER
 

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1997 S600 (sold)
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4,660 Posts
Classic failed accumulator symptoms.

See the post in the "knowledge base" thread at the top of the forum entitled, "The messy truth about accumulators."

Brett
 

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1997 S500
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ARE U SURE THEY ARE THE ACCUMULATOR BECAUSE I HAD THE CAR LOOKED AT AND DRIVEN BY A "INDEPENDENT MERCEDES MECHANIC" AND HE SAID IT WAS THE UPPER SHOCK BUSHING OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT WHICH IS ABOVE THE STRUT. HE SAID IT WASNT THE ACCUMULATOR, BUT I DONT KNOW IF HE IS CORRECT.
 

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1997 S500
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
is the suspension sphere the same as the accumulator? Does that go on top of the strut? how much does that cost to repair?
 

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1997 S500
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
oh by the way i forgot to mention that the rear of my car is not sitting lower and it doenst "bounce" when im driving.
 

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92 500SEL to 01 E320T current 2014 lexus LS460
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If your resevoir was empty, where did it go? The Spheres/Accumulators are kind of balls filled with nitrogen and a rubber diaphram. They are connnected to the hydraulic struts (shock look alike) via a line. When it ruptures the oil displaces the gas into the accumulator, the nitrogen vents off. When the sphere fills up the hydraulic strut becomes rigid since you can not compress oil. The strut could have a bad bushing but that is probably secondary
 

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If your resevoir was empty, where did it go? The Spheres/Accumulators are kind of balls filled with nitrogen and a rubber diaphram. They are connnected to the hydraulic struts (shock look alike) via a line. When it ruptures the oil displaces the gas into the accumulator, the nitrogen vents off. When the sphere fills up the hydraulic strut becomes rigid since you can not compress oil. The strut could have a bad bushing but that is probably secondary
 

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1996 S600
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200 Posts
RE: Brett's right again, durn

Depending on who does the work, and whether you run into corrosion issues (don't blow up the gas tank with the misapplication of a propane torch), you're looking at about US$ couple-three grand -- being conservative. As Mr. Guenther describes, the "shocks" on these vehicles were an unconventional (thinking outside the box is not necessarily always a good thing) system of fluid run through hydraulic lines ending in a sphere (literally) of gas divided from the fluid by a diaphragm. The gas in the sphere compresses yielding shock absorbtion. Your car's mileage and years have taken a toll. Welcome to the enviable world of the W140. Take to heart another forum member's mantra: engineered like no other car -- draw your own conclusions.
 

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1997 S600 (sold)
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US$ 2-3000 sounds steep even for dealership labor.

There are 2 or 3 accumulators depending on the system in the car. They are about $100 each (more probably from a dealer). Surely it's not $1500 in labor to install them. Or are you talking replacing both of the rear self-levelling struts as well?

Brett
 

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95 S500
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31 Posts
Hey sounds like my friday project i just did. Rear end on my 95 s500 was realy sitting low, like there was no shocks or anything. first thing i did was checked the hydraulic reservoar,because it has "rear self leveling shocks" NOT CHEAP talking about $600 each at dealership, and YES it was empty so where did it all go???, a this time car is allready on the lift and i'm trying to see if there is a leak of fluid somewhere, so i found righr rear line that comes from top of the shock into the other line which connects to accumulator all wet from fluid.

I looked on the left shock everything was totaly dry. Hm i think a found my problem, next thing i did is added 1L on mercedes fluid from dealership $18.50 a liter just to ops check if the rear end is gona come up, and to se exactly where is it leaking from. So i added 1L of that fluid into the reservoar, started the car, after one minute the whole rear end came up like it should be.

same time i'm looking at 60 drops a minute of that fluid coming down the line.I got new line orderes $47, pulled the shock out, replaced the line, filed the hyd. reservoar, and now everything rides great, my car has 155K miles on it, so i can not expect 100% comfortable ride. please check my s500 website with the pictures of this project and other great infos. I bought my s500 10 days ago, and it needs mayor overhaul, so far i'am recording everything i do and posting it to this website. www.mbnz.sedamosmina.com Hope this helped. Z man

 

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1996 S600
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200 Posts
Worst case scenario is swapping struts = $$$. Brett's right about the cost of the spheres, c. US$100 or so, but if the struts have to be replaced, too, then they're in the US$600 or so range. Hold your mouth just right and maybe some less expensive item has given its last full measure. Good luck.
 

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1997 S500
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64 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You guys are saying when the accumulators go out the rear end sags. But the rear end of my car has never sagged. So which one do you guys say i change first. im more leaning towards the side of the accumulators. Has anyone changed a bushing for the strut? what symptoms did u have for that problem? Im confused...

you said its gonna cost 3 grand? for what

$200 for accumulators and mayber $250 for labor.
 

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I can't remember what I paid for the spheres I think they were £95 each. (genuine Merc) Labour was about £250 to fit. The car did not sag but the ride quality started to deteriorate. Basically the rear end started to feel stiff as hell causing a jiggly ride and the rear end would start to slide mid bend when you hit a bump. Also the bushes in the rear shocks started to squeak as the spheres not working properly obviuosly puts unecessary load on the bushes,
hope this helps,
cheers Graeme
 

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1996 S600
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200 Posts
Read the posts again, 19. A very firm rear is probably the accumulators. Sometimes these spherical pieces are only part of the problem and other parts are also compromised, sometimes by corrosion to various fittings. Like many repairs to these complex cars, "some disassembly required." This is time and, where you are, dollars. What I sugested was the worst case; "conservative" estimate meaning a high one. You could get lucky.
 

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1997 S600 (sold)
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4,660 Posts
Carjoy's worst case scenario cost of US$2-3000 includes

replacing both rear self-levelling struts. They're $500 or so each (more if you buy from the dealership).

And, you might need to replace corroded hydraulic lines like zman and pcmaher had to. See pcmaher's web site:

http://v12uberalles.com/Rear_Struts.htm

Like you said yourself, start with the cheap stuff. Do the accumulators first.

Brett
 

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95 S500
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31 Posts
Well after replacing the cracked line on the rear shock like i have described above, now I have another problem.
Every time car is parked and off,in about 30 minutes rear suspension drops down, after I start the car maybe 2 minutes, comes back up to normal, no leaks, and the fluid is at the right level too. Later I have found that i missed the bleeding part LOL [:(] I tried doing it today but I ended up ckecking air filters (dirty!!) oh well I guess it's a project for tomorrow. I have a shop changing the rear axle on Friday because boot i broken, and they can't replace the boot only it has to be axle with the boot, according to my VIN #($225 used)better than $1000 new. I'll keep you guys posted.
Zman http://www.mbnz.sedamosmina.com
 

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Even I am confused

Please understand that accumulators are a "consumable" item - meaning after about 100K miles or 8-10yrs, either way they will probably go, usually 1 at a time... that's the "harshness".

RARELY will the actual reatr strut go, many times there will be minior seepage that some mechanics will over reason for replacement too.

1) replace the accumulators first - ebay or a discount internet parts house should get a new replacement set (all aree OE approved manuf) for about USD$200 for the basic parts. Yes, labor can be negotiated. A experienced shop who has done the job can replace in less than 3hrs, good guys in 2 hours...then it is up to the shop tp give your hrs and their hr rate depending on where you are (my area USD$65 a hr) based on either BOOK hrs or their actually experienced in hrs

2) AFTER replacing the accumulators THEN you can consider struts - if they are leaking or you have some other lingering doubt. Struts can be had for at/under USD$400 a pir... then again your labor issues.

I did replace both accumulators and struts at the same time - I am freaky like that - but the accumulators would have been enough and in my case the struts were a upside waste
 

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92 500SEL to 01 E320T current 2014 lexus LS460
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Peter Guenther said:
If your resevoir was empty, where did it go? The Spheres/Accumulators are kind of balls filled with nitrogen and a rubber diaphram. They are connnected to the hydraulic struts (shock look alike) via a line. When it ruptures the oil displaces the gas into the accumulator, the nitrogen vents off. When the sphere fills up the hydraulic strut becomes rigid since you can not compress oil. The strut could have a bad bushing but that is probably secondary
Ok guys the "accumulators" were under $100 each the last time I checked, MB might be a little higher. The "hydraulic struts" were $500 each, again MB might be higher. My MB service rep gave me the "if the struts dont leak they are probably good". The accumulators are usually a 80K or so item.
I had a "good indy" do mine $400 or less including new fluid with flush and new exhaust donuts since it was easier to get to the parts by droppig the rear hangers. I figure I saved $100 or so. The job is messy, the oil will run out especially if the spheres are filled, and the fittings are usually tough to get at. If the car settles it could be a leaking valve, the engine driven pump driven in tandem with the power steering pump sends pressurized oil down the line and it is either used, or bypassed back to the pump. The valve is controlled by the arm attached to the sway bar. Mine started out bouncey, and got firmer. The $3k is probably a little high.
 
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