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2003 E500, base model, non-4matic, 1965 Shelby GT350, 2011 Hyundai Tucson GLS, 1989 Honda RC31/GT647
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76 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

Well I ended up replacing the front Airmatic due to chaffing and wear on the shocks..GOOD move, turned out one of the bladders was nearly cracked through and cracked badly..Not bad for 120K miles. I also replaced upper control arms and lower ball joints while I was at it.

Driver's side rear was sagging with normal ride height setting and would leak all the way down within 40 minutes. Held air in the HI ride setting..diagnosed to faulty internal selenoid on normal ride height. No codes in the STAR except "To Low Do Not Drive"

I ordered 2 OEM Bilstien airbags and rear dampers to go ahead and get the complete system replaced.

Worked great for 1000 miles and 60 days...the car rode a bit hard for the last mile to work, but ride height was normal, came out from work and it was flat in the back. Hooked up my STAR diag computer and manually pumped it up, drivers side pumped up, nothing on the pass rear...then because of the extreme angle the drivers side buckled sideways...oh crap!

Next test the pump runs fine but all I hear is internal clicking on the selenoids and air flow out of the airbag within the upper housing. Both sides failed within 20 minutes of each other. I flat bed the car to the shop.

So I order a set of Arnotts (the same as the front..now they have rears). Next day air to Guam..3 days later they Install easy, drivers side and pass side both pump up, BUT, a leak is heard under the housing just behind the wiring connector on the pass rear side. I switch the shocks to the opposing sides..same shock leaks...OK bad shock..but am I THAT unlucky?

I start the pump up test on my STAR diag system again, both sides pump up, and I disconnect the electrical connector on the pass side to see if it defaults closed and holds air...NO DICE. By the way I am looking for codes to pop up...yup codes show a missing shock pass side rear, open circuit..blah blah. But no codes when it is connected and leaking.

So I have now proven the control unit and wiring is good, and I have a bad shock..

How prevalent are defective parts like this? An OEM Bilstien going bad one side followed by the other side within 20 minutes of each other sounds ridiculous...But an Arnott (I love their stuff), going bad out of the box???

Is Karma catching up with me?

Last item. Installing the OEM Bilstiens, the original hose clamp was removed from the remote resevior for ease of installation...Bilstien now states the warranty is now void regardless of the defect or fault The selenoids are completely unreaalted, but they refuse to refund or replace (under warranty) the defective units because 1. the hose clamp was removed, 2. The airshock was completely compressed therefore damaging the air bag's integrity???. This is the main reason I went with Arnott again.

Really?, completely compressed causes damage..that is what happens when it fails completely and utterly.

Any tips on getting Bilstein to pony up even 50% for the $1500 I just spent on BAD airbags??

I should hear in a couple hours if Arnott will next day air a replacement to me.

Keep you all updated on my progress.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,129 Posts
I wish I did.
All I can say is that Arnott is very conscious of keeping a good rep and they may
very well pony up to eat the overnight fees to Guam. Especially as they are a site
sponsor and should know that David is posting his saga here.
Not surprised about Bilstein's stance. They are tough to deal with. A friend made a
home made set of coil overs and one failed in a week. He told Biltstein what happened
and Bilstein bounced the warranty.
Lesson; don't tell Bilstein anything. Just tell them nothing other than a part failed.
 

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04 E500 Sport, 96 S320, 05 BMW 545i, 08 SL350, Honda S2000
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15 Posts
Hi.. I own an 03 E500 w/Airmatic which recently started riding roughly on rough/uneven surfaces at low speed... but drives perfect on the highway. The command is also showing no malfunction and I never noticed any drop in ride height even after being garaged for more than two weeks. Anyone have any idea on what's wrong with my suspension?

Just want to be absolutely sure before I run out and replace them pricy shocks... or the air bladders. Any thoughts on Arnotts parts?

Thanks in advance...
 

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2003 E500, base model, non-4matic, 1965 Shelby GT350, 2011 Hyundai Tucson GLS, 1989 Honda RC31/GT647
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76 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
danieldjx

You may want to check your ride stiffness settings...normal (no lite), sport I (1 lite), sport II (2 lights).

Next check your ride height setting, could get bumped on possibly.

Lastly, is it just stiffer, does it not respond to the rough roads? Does the car float around at highway speeds? What speeds are we talking about for the rough ride?

Many variables to diagnose, if you can be more specific it may help.

How many miles on your car?, How many miles on the suspension? Has the suspension been replaced previously? Any oily residue on the rear shocks/dampening control units?

Is the roughness felt in the rear, front overall? Is the steering affected?

These questions are a good start to figuring it out.
 

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04 E500 Sport, 96 S320, 05 BMW 545i, 08 SL350, Honda S2000
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First of all THANKS for your prompt response..

You may want to check your ride stiffness settings...normal (no lite), sport I (1 lite), sport II (2 lights).

--- ADS settings are at normal.. No lit LEDs...

Next check your ride height setting, could get bumped on possibly.

---Ride height is at normal as well... The LED is not lit..

Lastly, is it just stiffer, does it not respond to the rough roads? Does the car float around at highway speeds? What speeds are we talking about for the rough ride?

--- the shocks seem to respond to the ADS switch on the center console.. When sport mode (2 lit LEDs) I can actually feel the stiffer damping however if I drive on uneven/rough surfaces or loose gravel I feel as though the shocks are bottoming out with an occasional thud sound. I feel as though the shocks traveled to the very top and hit the top mount. This happens at very low, almost crawling speeds up to about 30mph. Any thoughts? No malfunction on Command as well. Two weeks ago I purposely not drive the car for four days just to check if there is any change in ride height. Sorry to say that after four days the ride height is still the same at all four corners. So I concluded there are no leaks in the system.

Many variables to diagnose, if you can be more specific it may help.

How many miles on your car?, How many miles on the suspension? Has the suspension been replaced previously? Any oily residue on the rear shocks/dampening control units?

--- 38,000 miles n the car and never had any work done on the suspension yet.
--- No residue or oil on the shocks as well.

Is the roughness felt in the rear, front overall? Is the steering affected?

--- Mainly in front. But I sometimes notice my rear suspension hop and slide as I enter a bend on the road with a few rough patches of asphalt. And also a bit floaty feel at highway speeds even with the dampers on sport. The local MB service keeps telling me everything is working fine and can't seem to be able to give me any answer to what is causing the rough ride. And changing them shocks are the last on my list as they cost a cool 1,000US$ each for the shocks alone.

These questions are a good start to figuring it out.

Thanks for your help...
 

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1994 SL500 / 2002 E500
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64 Posts
Hi Danieldjx

I have exactly the same problem with my 2002 E500. It is almost as if there is not enough air in the system I get no errors, no sagging even when left parked for days without use. I replaced front shocks with Arnott ones and it is still the same. 90,000km on the clock.

Can it be a controller or valve in the system that is not functioning properly?

MB says there is nothing wrong with the car.

Anyone with any thoughts on this?
Gabriel
 

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2005 E500S4
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349 Posts
Hi Guys,
How long have you owned your cars? I am curious if this is a change from what you are used to or if you just purchased the car and do not have a baseline for what it used to feel like before the problem arose. Does the car not exhibit the problem when the dealer drives it or do you feel it when the dealer is driving it and they maintain it is operating normally?
 

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1994 SL500 / 2002 E500
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64 Posts
Hi Jpuzas

I bought the car a couple of year ago and the problem was always there from the beginning. Initially I thought it is just the way the airmatics should feel, but I have driven a 2004 and a 2006 model since and they have much better damping than my car. I think the ride is getting marginally harder as the car gets older, but it could be my imagination.

There is no way that I can use sport 1 and 2 function. I think my comfort is comparable to another car's sport 2 setting!!

When the dealer drives it the problem is still there, but they claim it is the way the car should be.

I do no think it is a problem with the shocks, and it is also not a leak as it never sags when left standing. I think it is another component in the system that is not reacting fast enough with the result that the shocks do not get enough pressure fast enough. Unfortunately I do not know how the whole system works and therefore do not know how to pin point the problem.

Gabriel
 

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@dunnman99, did it turn out to be the arnott's and is your issue now fully resolved?

Have been dealing with similar issues. Received a "Visit Workshop" message on dash about 3 weeks ago. Took it into an indy shop that had STAR and they told me that the issue is a "short / open circuit on the air return-valve at the top of the strut". Evidently this valve can't be purchased separately and is a single part along with the strut. I've been running on an Arnott strut for my front driver's side for approx 1.5 years now with no issues until recently. Contacted Arnott and they were great and sent me a new strut. Replaced it, and the same exact issue appears per the diagnostic tool. Indy says that the strut is still bad, and that Arnott probably just replaces the air bags and not the electronic components, but I'm thinking that my luck can't be that bad...


Now i'm getting nervous because I drive approx 100 miles a day to and from work and carry children in the car. The indy guy assures me that its safe to drive on, but should I be worried? Compressor seems ok albeit a bit delayed. The car doesn't drop in height overnight. The only other thing I noticed is that the new o-ring that came with the new strut for the air return valve wasn't placed on the line with the new strut, but the guy (who's too lazy now to put back the o-ring) says that shouldn't be related to the short issues. Ordered a new Hella relay just in case as well. Anyone have any ideas? Most importantly, is the car safe to drive on?
 

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2003 E500, base model, non-4matic, 1965 Shelby GT350, 2011 Hyundai Tucson GLS, 1989 Honda RC31/GT647
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76 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Update Arnotts rule

OK.
The Arnott air bag was bad on delivery. To answer your question, Arnott replaces the valve and check system , I do not know about the electronics.

Checking back on other posts, we could have popped the top off the leaky Arnott and most likely corrected the issue, but it was new and lifetime warrantied. Arnott stepped up and next day aired the replacement and gave credit for my return postage fees.

The valve was mechanically leaking at the o-ring. The code only popped when the connector was pulled from the shock top.

You may want to spray some WD-40 or electrical contact cleaner inside the connector terminal on the cable going to the car body, and check for pin breakage or wire breakage.

I would think if you didn't have the code open/short shock terminal before the instrallation and it occurred after, but there is no leak...think what did you touch. The connector isn't fragile, but the exposure and dirty environment takes the toll.

Good luck.
 

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need help to find part

i have 2004 E500 4Matic . i am looking for the front left Air Shock . i need to know if any of you guys know any good place's to buy that part little cheap thank you
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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I would Go with Arnott Industries. Lifetime warranty and almost 1/3 the OE MB price.

If the car has a lot of miles I would consider doing both fronts.
 

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any discount codes for Arnott Industries

hey does any one know if there's any promotion code for ARNOTT INDUSTRIES.com i am looking to buy Air SHOCK E500 2004
 

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2003 E500, base model, non-4matic, 1965 Shelby GT350, 2011 Hyundai Tucson GLS, 1989 Honda RC31/GT647
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76 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Update on Arnotts

Just had one of my fronts begin leaking down overnight on the "normal" ride setting. I set the car on the rissen ride setting and stored overnight with no leak down. About 3 days later the driver's side followed suit.

Called Arnott and opted for the advance warranty replacements. I pay full price for 2 front struts and shipping, and return them at my cost, Arnott refunds me the outgoing shipping and replacement shock cost upon return.

The new ones arrived and they are a newer design than the originals, they have a longer bladder, SS cover on the bladder and a bellows cover on the lower sliding section of the strut. It looks to be more weather and road crud resistant than the original models for the 2003-2009 E500 non-4matic.

Got both sides taken out and installed in about 45 minutes per side. DAS computer aired them down and filled them back up, all tests passed. Only one issue...The DAS states you should air down below 5 BAR, yet I could only get them down to 6 BAR, I even used my lift in my garage to put some pressure on the struts by lowering the car while deflating them...no-go.

Unbolted the 3 nuts on the upper control arm and pulled them, a bit tough to leverage the struts over the lower control arm, but did it with a little swearing and elbow grease.

New ones ride a bit more firm, but no leak down for 48 hours...Happy overall.

Now to ship the old ones back and cross my finger to get $1100 back.
 

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hi i have a 2005 e500 4matic and the front right shock just went down almost to the tire is there a way to fix the airmatic or do i have to replace it
 
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