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'03 CLK320 cabriolet
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

Hoping I can get some assistance here -- I have two separate issues at hand. '03 CLK320 cabriolet, 84k miles.

First issue: I lowered my W208 about a couple months ago from the stock springs using the Eibach Pro-Kit and original shocks. While I was on the stock suspension, everything was nice and even. Ever since then, my driver's front side is significantly lower (~0.5") than my passenger side and the rear driver is maybe ~0.75" lower than the rear passenger.

What I've already figured out: I don't think it's the shocks as I've rocked all the corners of the car pretty hard a few times to observe excessive bouncing; after two oscillations the car ceases vertical movement so they all seem fine. Also, when I'm driving there is zero bounciness so again, I'm fairly certain it's not the shocks.

So what else could it be? There are no squeaks or sounds, nothing as far as out of the ordinary noises or sensations could attribute to this. I know there's a possibility of the springs not being seated correctly in the perches as well as the top of the spring or spring pad not seating correctly in the top mount. I'm also aware that my friend who installed them might have not preloaded one side (i.e. torquing all suspension bolts down with the car's weight on the frame). Are there any other possibilities for my lean? I've researched leaning problems like mine upon lowering on other makes of cars, and some say to check the sway bar links and make sure they're a.) not broken and b.) pointing upright rather than parallel with the ground. Anything else I'm missing? Seems like a pretty easy modification and it's driving me crazy that my car is cock-eyed. I'm going to have a shop uninstall, switch the sides, and have them reinstall.

Second issue: This one is a bit trickier. When I'm driving at low speeds (0-40mph), I can feel a sort of vibration only in the footwell as though it were behind the dead pedal and in the gas pedal. It seems to have a high point, as though there was something stuck on the rotor and taps the caliper or pad every wheel revolution; it still has a slight shimmy on the amplitude trough though. It happens everytime I'm in between this speed range, and seems speed dependent. It occurs whether accelerating or decelerating, but there is no extraordinary pulsation in the brakes. It can still be slightly felt at speeds over 40mph and appears to decrease with speed. I may be paranoid but I *think* can still feel a subtle shake in the steering wheel and floor at 60-70mph. If I shift into neutral while coasting, I can still feel the vibration so I've ruled out the driveline. It may have started after I installed the springs but I can't be certain (I do recall though that the ride was silky smooth prior to installing the springs).

What I've already figured out: When I changed my springs, I also put on some 18" aftermarket wheels. To eliminate the wheels being the problem, I switched to a friend's set of 18" Monoblock IIs and still felt it. I then went back to stock 16s and sure enough, it's still there (though deadened a tad by the thicker tire sidewall). I've since had the stock 16s rebalanced then aligned, which helped with my tracking and steering slop a bit but not the vibration itself; here are the current specs.

Driver side front camber: -2.3*
Passenger front side camber: -1.8* (difference is due to suspension lean, I'm guessing)
Both rears camber: -1.8*
Front toe: 1/16" side
Can't remember rear toe but I'm pretty sure it was within spec
Caster: 6.1

My 16s are straight as far as I know, the tires are still fine (no broken belts or low PSI) so I don't think it's the wheels. I've had the suspension bushings checked, though I don't know how thorough my shop was with that. Same with the wheel bearings and the tech said the driver front was slightly loose so he tightened it up to no avail.

Any other ideas? I'm going into another shop to get a second opinion (Capitol City European). My current list of things for them to check is:

- axle, rotor and hub runout
- all suspension bushings (incl. LCA, thrust arm, sway bar, tie rod)
- wheel bearings
- shocks (just to make certain)
- steering damper
- all suspension components incl. LCA, UCA, all upper and lower ball joints, tie rod ends, sway bar links
- rotors/calipers/pads

Sorry for making this so long; just wanted to be thorough in my explanation to decrease the need for explanations and such. Thanks in advance!
 

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'03 CLK320 cabriolet
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Discussion Starter #2
Anyone have any ideas, especially on my 2nd issue?

Even the dealership couldn't figure it out and I'm starting to despise the problems I've been having with this car.
 

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I have an 01 clk55 with the same vibration problem. I had it on the lift this week in drive and it seems to be coming from the middle portion of the driveline. It is either the u-joint or the center support bearing. Let me know if you have got it resolved.
 

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Assuming it didn't look or feel like it's doing now, the spring install is on the short list of reasons. God forbid you have the (the passenger Side) springs on the wrong ends.

Also; using the stock shocks with lowered springs is asking for bad results. It sounds like it already is, that much bounce in the travel is bordering on dangerous. If you're pushing down more than about an inch the shock(s) is wasted and needs to be replaced with a sport shock that's custom made shorter that won't blow out. Lose the oem shocks. They weren't designed to be used with a sport spring and even a new oem shock will die very quickly
 

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When you did the spring change did you have the car under load when you tightened the LCA bolts? If you did not you are binding the bushing and that is causing the car to sit a diff heights. I had this problem with another car of mine. Just loosen the bolts and bounce the car then tighten them back up.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Surprised to see all these responses after a half year of no responses! I'm usually on the "other" MB sites so nice that I poked around here. Anyways, I've had practically the entire front looked at and really the only things that changed were a new steering damper and rebalanced all tires and wheels; one of the wheels on the front was bent so that helped the vibration quite a bit (it's now moved to the rear of the car) but I still feel like I have a wobbly driver's front wheel. I've long since stopped trying to figure it out without having someone look at it. I am having Bilstein Sports, KMAC camber/caster kit, and #1 W210 rear pads installed this week so maybe it's something as simple as the initial spring installer missing something (as I noticed the wobbly wheel after the install but I can't be 100% sure). Anyways, after I ensure all the front suspension is correctly installed then I'll see where I stand.

I have an 01 clk55 with the same vibration problem. I had it on the lift this week in drive and it seems to be coming from the middle portion of the driveline. It is either the u-joint or the center support bearing. Let me know if you have got it resolved.
I don't know if the vibration and me lowering the car are relevant. I THINK the vibration problems started after install of the Eibachs but I can't be sure. I was actually thinking about the flex discs and CSB so I'll get those looked at but again, those wouldn't have anything to do with installing springs.

Assuming it didn't look or feel like it's doing now, the spring install is on the short list of reasons. God forbid you have the (the passenger Side) springs on the wrong ends.

Also; using the stock shocks with lowered springs is asking for bad results. It sounds like it already is, that much bounce in the travel is bordering on dangerous. If you're pushing down more than about an inch the shock(s) is wasted and needs to be replaced with a sport shock that's custom made shorter that won't blow out. Lose the oem shocks. They weren't designed to be used with a sport spring and even a new oem shock will die very quickly
Well, my friend did the install with a floor jack so who knows what exactly went on. Anyways, I already have Bilstein Sports ready to be installed this week as well as have the shop installing them make sure the springs are sitting correctly in the pads and perches.

I know it sounds silly but have you checked the spring pads and the springs are located correctly?
Pretty sure 1s are on the front and 3s are on the back. My reply above states that I'll have the fitment ensured this week.

When you did the spring change did you have the car under load when you tightened the LCA bolts? If you did not you are binding the bushing and that is causing the car to sit a diff heights. I had this problem with another car of mine. Just loosen the bolts and bounce the car then tighten them back up.
Again, no idea how my friend exactly did it. I'm sure the shop that will install my shocks will make sure the suspension is preloaded before tightening all the bolts.
 
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