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Discussion Starter #81
I have read that their "new" units are NON-adjustable. I would really prefer to keep that option.

I have just called my local dealer. Re-manufactured units are $745 each. New ones are not available.

Looks like the only option for new units with adjustable stiffness is to get a Bilstein strut @ about $650 a piece. That is pricey, considering that I got the car for 1k and had it all fixed for another 1k :))
 

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Hi,

First things first, have you contacted the EBay Seller to see if they will send you a Strut to replace the one with the faulty Valve ??

We all get a dud part now and then, and that could be causing the harsh ride, and they might work OK for a few years yet :dunno:

If you either don't want to take a chance again fair enough :wink or ...........
If they won't reply, go through Paypal, get a Refund :wink

So, what you are saying above, /\ /\ /\ , that to me is a no brainer ...........

A Non Adjustable Strut is not an option, if some function is on the Car it should work :wink
Bilsteins, you'd really need a full set, to make sure they are matched, and how do we know how long they will last ??

So MB it is, we know they will last a long time, I've personally seen them go to 170,000 miles as long as the outer boots don't get torn by careless Mechanics doing work near them :rolleyes:
Considering our whole discussion about this, I don't think that price of $745 is too "Out Of The Ball Park" :wink

Cheers Dave
 

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My statements above, (re Arnott "Rebuilt" Struts) are related to an article I read on this Forum today, which is saying that Airmatic Struts will no longer be available, as all the core units are old now, and have other problems aside from just the Airbags, and all these struts have fitted is new Airbags..........
Hence my comment above, they are Repaired, not Rebuilt :wink

Cheers Dave
However, "repaired" Arnotts have thicker walled airbags and improves seals, both better than the OE Bilsteins. The "rebuilt" struts also retain the selectable ride firmness, while "new" Arnott's apparently don't.

True, there are other strut components besides the airbag and seals, and a complete rebuild would address them. Wonder if Arnott will be doing that?

If one buys the OEs, you're buying the same weak design factors you had before.
 

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Discussion Starter #84
Both of my old struts are working and not leaking. They have "VIBRACOUSTIC" sticker on them. I assume they are aftermarket replacements. Car does not drop at all. It is the ride on the uneven surface that made me worry a little. I have also discovered that I had 40 Psi on my rear tires last night. I have deflated them to 32psi and it rides little bit better.

Hi,

First things first, have you contacted the EBay Seller to see if they will send you a Strut to replace the one with the faulty Valve ??

Yes, I have contacted them. I will definitely return both of them back. Quality is not good. When I was putting my old shocks back the valve on one of the struts got removed instead of line connector - meaning they did not assemble it right. Dust boot on the other one just slid down showing the rubber bag. This 2 things make me really wonder the quality of the struts.

We all get a dud part now and then, and that could be causing the harsh ride, and they might work OK for a few years yet :dunno:

Honestly I would not want to use those struts. The ride with them was like on the old horse wagon without any kind of suspension :)))

If you either don't want to take a chance again fair enough :wink or ...........
If they won't reply, go through Paypal, get a Refund :wink

They are not too exited about the return, but they will have to take it back.

So, what you are saying above, /\ /\ /\ , that to me is a no brainer ...........

A Non Adjustable Strut is not an option, if some function is on the Car it should work :wink
Bilsteins, you'd really need a full set, to make sure they are matched, and how do we know how long they will last ??

I have Bilsteins on the front, so brand new ones should work fine.

So MB it is, we know they will last a long time, I've personally seen them go to 170,000 miles as long as the outer boots don't get torn by careless Mechanics doing work near them :rolleyes:
Considering our whole discussion about this, I don't think that price of $745 is too "Out Of The Ball Park" :wink

That $745 was for 1 strut from MB. So $1500 for 2 struts is out of discussion for me. I will hold on for now, but most likely I will go with reman Arnott's.
Yesterday I have chatted with Arnott representative and asked what is their reman process and he confirmed that they are replacing air bag, o-rings and test the shock itself. Only ones that are good - are rebuilt.
 

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Good to know about the Arnott remans. Will keep that in mind as time goes on. The ones they sell, though, apparently are still "good" except for the airbag and seals, so for now, it appears it's still a good deal for us.

When that option goes away...looks like it'll be Bilsteins. I'd buy the new Arnotts if they were adjustable.
 

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Discussion Starter #86
Last night I let my wife drive the S430. Today I got a text: "I liked how your car rides".....

Any idea what that means? :)))))))))
 

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Last night I let my wife drive the S430. Today I got a text: "I liked how your car rides".....

Any idea what that means? :)))))))))
Yeah, it means it *was* your car! :-D
 

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If one buys the OEs, you're buying the same weak design factors you had before.
Hi,

I'm not so sure about the OE's being weak design ...........

I have changed a few at 120,000 miles + , and seen a car with 3 original ones still going strong at 176,000 .............
I replaced an "Overnight Droop" Rear one on that particular S 500, and that had a split Gaiter noted on Service records 2 years beforehand :wink

I also recently replaced an ABC Strut on a CL 500 at 120,000 , and I doubt that Car had ever had a Fluid and Filter change in it's life. It's owner is "Fix It When It Stops" mentality :rolleyes:

I've only seen a very few at 70,000 + , and those had split gaiters ............

IMHO a part that does 100,000 + miles isn't badly designed, how many regular Suspension Struts do this kind of mileage?

I think it's just that we hear about these MB ones a lot more because they are dearer to replace, so Owners make more noise :laugh

We regularly do Ordinary Struts and Springs on cars with 30,000 miles and less .......
A lot of this is down to Potholes etc :wink

Road "condition" will also be a factor in how long an Airmatic or ABC Strut will last :wink

Finally, how many get changed due to "Bad Diagnosis" ...........

I recently advised a Guy on here that he did not need to replace an ABC Strut which had been recently replaced with a Genuine MB one. He was saying that some "Top Qualified Mercedes Master Technician" at his local MB Dealer had told him that the Strut was bad, when clearly, (to me), his problem was a Valve leaking off internally..........

Finally, he took my advice and did the VB first, and low and behold his "droopy corner" was fixed :wink

Cheers Dave
 

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All true, Dave - but reviewing the threads on this forum, you see a LOT of complaints about Airmatic, and most about ether struts or valve blocks.

When I traded my '05 at 65,000 miles, I had experienced no Airmatc problems. But, I had to replace the upper seals on both front struts of my '02 at around 25,000 miles (but due to age, the car was out of warranty, it was expensive).

Frankly, I love Airmatic, and wouldn't ever go to coilovers or back to springs & shocks. I had Airmatic on my '10 W221 and have it on my '13 as well; I just hope it meets the experience you have had in replacing them.

As I understand it, Arnott fed the improvements in the seals they are using back to Bilstein, which uses the newer design now; I cannot verify this, it is something I read a few years ago. I am not sure Bilstein adopted the thicker-walled air bags; the thinner ones were a common point of failure.
 

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Discussion Starter #91
Some more bad and good news about the car.

Bad news: 2 days ago as I was driving to my friends house I have heard some unfamiliar rattling from under the car. It drove fine, just rattle on a hot engine. Next day my wife helped me with identification (I was listening under the car and she was revving the engine) :) I had bad rear right catalytic converter :((

Good news: $250 later I had new cat installed :)

Good news: I have installed new tires on the back.

Bad news: front tires are balanced, but there is a strong vibration that starts at about 60mph and remains even at 80 mph. I have already tried swapping the tires left-to-right. I have already adjusted the wheel bearing. Vibration is still there. Probably will have to replace front tires soon :( Have plenty of rubber on the current ones, but they are just bad :(
 

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"Vibration" is a pretty generic description. NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) auto engineers have a lot of descriptors to try to pin down the cause of a vibration (or noise or harshness). Sharp or soft feel, frequency (wheel speed, engine speed, driveshaft speed, etc.), apparent location, etc., etc.

Apparently, you suspect the front tires, so this may be tire, wheel, suspension, or something else. A tire may be perfectly balanced, but may have a broken or shifted belt, or be out of round, or off from side to side.

If you think that it is a tire or wheel, jack up one side of the car and swap the wheel assemblies front and rear. See if that makes a difference. If not, swap the other side. If that still makes no difference, you may have a suspension problem.

If it isn't a wheel or tire problem, driveshaft problems can seem to come from somewhere else. So can a shifting harmonic dampener ring...
 

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Discussion Starter #93
Hi, all
I am back from a 2500 miles trip. The drive was "shaky" but ok. Car made it back and forth without any issues. Once we made it to our destination I went to check the balance on all wheels. As soon as tire guy removed all weights from rear wheels they have balanced out @ 0.0 on one wheel, and @ 0.5 on another wheel. Front tires were out of balance as well. Unfortunately it did not solve the issue with car shaking at speeds above 70 mph, although it reduced slightly.

I also lifted car and checked all suspension bolts, driveshaft flex-plates, driveshaft support. All is good.

I have also changed my engine oil. A mechanic friend was suggesting to use some high-mileage oil, but I decided to still put in Mobil 1 0w-40.

Now I am back home and I plan to go to the tire shop that does road force tire balance. I hope that they will balance tire out completely and properly. If not - my last try will be 4oz of dynabeads in each tire.

Rear passenger center vent was not blowing and I fixed it. Apparently the small electric plate brakes off and blocks the arm that opens the vent. I have fixed the arm and glued the electric plate. All works great.

Hope will have more good news tomorrow after visit to a tire shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #94
Time for some more updates.

I have made a big mistake when I ordered tires for the back. The ones I got where Continental ContiSport SSR 3. These tires are run-flats. I took car to a tire shop and they have performed the road-force balance and they have brought some "good" news. 3 of my 18" AMG monoblocks are out of round. The rear tires are run-flats and needs to be replaced to match the front ones.

I got a quote from a local alloy wheel repair for straightening the wheels: straightening - $150 per wheel, or $250 for straightening and restoration. I am not sure I will go that route. For $1000 I can get a complete car for parts, not just rims :))

Have anyone changed 18" AMGs to some aftermarket wheels? Any recommendations?

In the meantime I went to Costco and got all 4 new BFGoodrich tires. It made whole lot a difference. There is still some vibration, but I can totally live with that.
 

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I haven't gone from AMG wheels to aftermarket ones; actually I did exactly the opposite. Indeed, I'd go for 16", not-so-kewl genuine wheels before I *ever* went for the "31337" KewlDudeRockinBlingBaby 18" aftermarket ones, after I learned the following lesson.

My '03 S600 TT had 19" rims on it. They were basically Chinesium copies of the AMG style. I didn't know they were made in China until I went and got new tires from Costco. One tire was leaking. Turns out it was a cracked rim, so I had a look at all of 'em, and each of them had been rewelded multiple times. Every one of 'em said made in China, too. I was *so* annoyed....

So, I got on eBay and bought four "newly refurbished" 19" x 9.5" genuine AMG wheels. They're from a W215, but their offset of ET46 is close enough to the W220's factory offset of ET44 that it's not a problem. I verified they're the real McCoy, took 'em to Costco, and had 'em re-mount these brand-new Bridgestone Potenza tires I'd just bought from them onto these AMG rims. They work great and look great. Price per rim, shipped, was something like $160, if I recall correctly, so $640 for all four. But I'll only have to do it once. And since all rims are now the same width, I can use same-size tires and do a proper full rotation, going forward.

It really is cheaper to go first class, folks. I ain't messin' around with any Chinesium aftermarket horse-hockey anymore. Lesson learned.
 

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Discussion Starter #97
So, I got on eBay and bought four "newly refurbished" 19" x 9.5" genuine AMG wheels. They're from a W215, but their offset of ET46 is close enough to the W220's factory offset of ET44 that it's not a problem. I verified they're the real McCoy, took 'em to Costco, and had 'em re-mount these brand-new Bridgestone Potenza tires I'd just bought from them onto these AMG rims. They work great and look great. Price per rim, shipped, was something like $160, if I recall correctly, so $640 for all four. But I'll only have to do it once. And since all rims are now the same width, I can use same-size tires and do a proper full rotation, going forward.

It really is cheaper to go first class, folks. I ain't messin' around with any Chinesium aftermarket horse-hockey anymore. Lesson learned.
I have looked and looked and did not find any decent rims at a good price. The sets that are sold there are $1500+. Plus I have already got the new 18" tires, so I will stick with existing rims. I might straighten them 1 at a time.

Another thing that I am considering right now is to sell this one and get a 2004+ car.
 

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Discussion Starter #98
Beware though that most used rims on eBay are damaged or out of round
When I talked to alloy wheel repair specialist he said that they are getting many of such wheels for repair. He claimed that wheels made at that time where made from softer alloy, so they bend in case of accident and do not brake. I am not sure if that is the case.

I have came across one web-site that was selling refurbished wheels, but they are out of stock as of right now.
 

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Beware though that most used rims on eBay are damaged or out of round
Yeah, you've got to find someone with a lot of good feedback. I was fortunate to find such an outfit who had what I was looking for in stock. Snapped them bad boyz UP!

I have looked and looked and did not find any decent rims at a good price. The sets that are sold there are $1500+. Plus I have already got the new 18" tires, so I will stick with existing rims. I might straighten them 1 at a time.

Another thing that I am considering right now is to sell this one and get a 2004+ car.
Then you're in exactly the situation I was in with my S600 TT with those brand-new Michelin Pilot Sports ($1,100 of tires there). Didn't want to just throw those away, either.

Good wheels like what you're looking for do come up from time to time. Not sure about California's market, but out here, we do see a reasonable amount of S430's and S500's with AMG Sport Appearance Packages and thus the 18" rims. Really, they do come up. Most of the ones I see are head-on or rear-end collisions with little side (and thus wheel) damage.

If you do sell and get a newer car, then also consider a 2003 model unless you're looking for a 4Matic. The chief reason is that the '03's had the easier-to-DIY 5-speed transmission. Of course, the '04's and later got the MOST-based COMAND head unit, so aftermarket swaps are easier. That's the trade-off. I chose the transmission, since I don't care if my COMAND head-unit is D2B or MOST.

If you get a 4Matic, though, all 4Matics have the 5-speed, so you might as well look for an '04 or newer the ('03's are still good, though). You'll just have to deal with the 4Matic bits, and 4Matic LCA's are somewhat more expensive, but you can still DIY it, so that's not really a show-stopper.
 

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