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2003 S430
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read MANY posts on the air ride system and thought I had an understanding or how it works???

I bought a kneeled 2003 S430.
She would not rise at all.
Pump ran but no rise..
The first step is to get air to test the system.
The compressor was found to be weak, full of water and the manifold was corroded. Both replaced.
I now have air pressure to the manifold but NO rise..
I will test for air leaks once I get air to the struts..

Here are my repairs so far.
1. Blocked up car with no weight on tires. Struts in a lowered position, but not bottomed out. I read NOT to let the pump elevate a collapsed suspension
2. New air pump.
3. New manifold
4. New 40 amp fuse
5. New pump relay
6. Note. The suspension was COMPLETE collapsed when I got it..

Testing.
1. Engine running. Press rise button. Compressor runs for 2 minutes and shuts off with a Swish sound..

Problem.
The car never rises.
Testing.
1. Cycled pump several times. 5 times
2. I Jacket the car up an down to see if movement of the struts would activate the manifold to add air. No effect.
3. I feel like the manifold is not sending air to the struts.. My next step is to remove the airlines at the front struts to test for air pressure.??
My only reservation is about disturbing the problematic front struts by removing the airline.

Suggestions: ??

Questions:
1. What is the proper way to add air back to a system that has been completely discharged.?. Ie flat on the ground...
 

W220 Moderator
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Hi,

I think I can maybe explain the problem here based on what you say above, about lifting it a bit ;)

Think about this, with the Car raised a little, the Height Sensors are registering that the Car is not dropped, so the Airmatic Module will be signalling the VB to lower or maintain height, not pump it upwards.

I'd be seriously tempted to try it for a while bottomed out :wink

Another thing that can happen, (not saying it has, but it can), is that with old struts, raising the Car with the Wheels drooping when working on it allows the Airbags in the struts to dislocate, and then they don't seal up so the Compressor can't pump enough air and times out. Not sure if that may apply ??

Try it with the Wheels on the ground, Car lowered, it may take a few goes of Compressor running, and pushing the switch to "Raise" but you never know your luck. Also while the Compressor is running put your ear to the wheel arches to see if you can hear any hissing, right front might be a challenge as the Compressor will be humming away ;)

Failing that, at this stage of the game, an hour or so on SDS to look at what is going on, "Fault Codes" "Actual Values" "Testing" and "Actuations" before you buy expensive stuff like Struts.

HTH,

Dave
 

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2002 Mercedes ML320, Mercedes 190E 2.3L (sold), 2001 Mercedes c320(gone)
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Sorry for the issues you have.

have you run all the pneumatic tests?

What errors do you have?

It would seem you have a malfunctioning system especially around the valve block, maybe there's an electrical problem or poor electrical connection, the pump could also be weak

Here are a few things to do:

*Assuming access to sds or other capable tool

1. Diagnose the system

2. Run pneumatic tests, this is crucial, for each test the pump will run for about 40s while setting testing optimal operation, optimum height, and leaks. if within this time the height is not achieved,the system reports the problem, a vital test, as it will tell you if the compressor is optimal, the valve block,and the struts are leaktight. Run all the system tests as provided under the pneumatic tests submenu of the airmatic section.

If necessary, assuming no leakage or faults with the test.

Clear the codes.

Reset control unit from initial startup

Attempt to raise using the push button, if it fails, check if any codes were thrown.

Next thing is to manually raise the car. Note that you can actually raise it from dead flat, if the compressor is optimal. I've seen that like thrice.


Under the actuations, you will find menus to raise the vehicle manually or automatically.

I like to use the manual lower and raise method to test things. You will have the F keys to use when doing this.

Remember that these later steps may not be necessary if you have faults and the leak tests fail. You can focus on the problem areas.

(Optional) In addition, you can attempt to clear the air lines, maybe get suitable adapters, disconnect the air lines from the tires, flush with workshop air. Do same for the reservoir line, the compressor to vb line etc. Then reconnect and rewind tests.
 

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2003 S430
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36 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Test 2..
1. Lowered car further into suspension.. pump cycled twice.
2. Open air lines on front struts. No air presence.
3. Removed all structural out puts at manifold. Cycled pump.
4. NO AIR being triggered to strut ports.
5. Removed manifold.
Bench tested with 12 volts. All ports actuated.

Associated manfunction..Air ride. Visit shop.


Now what.. I don't have access to star tool..

Now I think it ecu controller?? I have not see any posts about that type of failure..
 

W220 Moderator
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Hi,

Airmatic Visit Workshop message means that there will be a Code in there, but regular Diagnostic machines don't see all Codes / all Modules on these Cars.
Do you have any other lights or messages, hell even if you dont, start Engine and turn Steering Lock to Lock a few times, then see what happens, this resets the Steering Angle Sensor, usually needs doing after a Battery Flat / Disconnected.

OK, now I understand that you don't have SDS, but SDS is the only Diagnostic machine that will diagnose and find this type of Fault.

A cost free thing, for a bit of your time is to get under the rear and make sure the single height Sensor is intact, including the linkage, that is up above left Driveshaft and link goes to Rear Sway Bar, similar check the 2 front ones, just by Upper Wishbone Bush, links connect to Upper Wishbone.
Also, I can't remember if you said you have done this, but check all fuses in all 3 Fuse Boxes, stranger things have happened.

The other option is to guess and change parts until it is fixed, but tbh say you change the Airmatic Module first, even if you get an identical p/n from breaker, or a brand new one from MB, it will need coding on SDS at least Checking, and probably an adjustment.
Similarly, if you change all Height Sensors, or even one or 2, then Airmatic will maybe need Re-Calibrating with SDS.

If you intend keeping the Car, like most of us do, SDS can be bought for as little as $450 depending on your IT skills.

If you just want to fix it, but not spend on SDS, bearing in mind that it could, at this stage cost you a load of money on parts you don't need, then my advice would be find a local indie who has SDS and be prepared to pay him a couple of hours to diagnose it not just a code read, but all the tests, actuations etc too. Make sure he is aware of that last BOLD bit of my sentence ;)

Or maybe you can put a post here "SDS reqd in Tennesee" or similar and see if there is someone from here local to you who may be able to help you for some beer tokens etc :wink

HTH,

Cheers Dave
 
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2003 S430
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the note Dave.

You say check all fuses related to suspension.

Can you please list them? I got No 1. but no others

1. Main 40 amp fuse, passenger side engine compartment.
2.
3.
 

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2000 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, 2005 E320 CDI, 2006 S500 4Matic, and 2006 S350
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Dave's right. A couple of months ago, with the '03 S430, SDS saved my backside with all the tests that it can do. This led me right to the problem. Turned out to be a leaky valve block. The car just clicked 150,000 miles. So, a secondhand valve block with only 66,000 miles went on there, and problem go bye-bye. I'd already replaced the pump with a new Wabco unit (new air input filter, too) and both front AIRmatic springs with some Arnott remans, since they were due, so AIRmatic on that car is now set. Tight as a drum.

BTW, here's another way SDS saved someone. He has an S600 TT. Car had a virgin EIS in there, wasn't programmed to the car. Was throwing, if I recall, an SRS code. SDS also told us that the EIS wasn't programmed to the car. I thought, "well, that's odd...do those have the X-number of starts before either things quit or they self-marry to the car?" So, we crossed our fingers, told SDS to Go Forth And Program that EIS...and bye-bye errors. Previous owner had been driving on an unprogrammed EIS, can you believe it? Only SDS could've fixed that problem, too.

If you're going to keep your car and work on it yourself, SDS really is a must. My SDS setup, ready to go, was $600. It's saved me well in excess of 50 times that much money in the last, what, two years?
 

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2002 Mercedes ML320, Mercedes 190E 2.3L (sold), 2001 Mercedes c320(gone)
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Hi....

When you get the car on sds, as Dave has said, let them do a thorough check. Its good to use the Quick Test option in sds and you will see all control units with errors shown as f or F(F appears to be faults directly related to the module in review and f is for errors as a result of error in another module), look through each one taking note of any issues that read 'short circuit', you may first disable any shorted modules by removing the fuse.

This ensures you have eliminated short citcuits in the system which can cause erratic problems. This is a crucial step taking care of electrical shorts.

for your case the 2 module groups you will be most concerned are;

The airmatic and the SAMS.

If you have eliminated all shorts, the errors should be cleared from module memory.

Proceed to run tests on the airmatic system (remember to clear errors first).

If the operator understands the process, they can reload the control unit like its a newly installed one, using the initial startup option from the airmatic menu.





Sent from my ZTE G720T using Tapatalk
 

W220 Moderator
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/\ +1 ...................... with one addition ....................

F Indicates Current Fault Code

f Indicates Old / Stored / (maybe intermittent but not currently present) Fault Code

i Indicates something in Event Log, or Info pertaining to a Fault

Cheers Dave
 

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2003 S430
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
More testing..
1. I'm still trying to find someone with an SDS tool for testing.
2. I did use my generic obd2 scan tool to clear codes.. (I understand it WILL NOT see all codes)
I did find two codes. That returned after clearing and restarting.
a. Current fault - P0335- Powertrain - Crankshaft position sensor A circuit
b. Pending fault - p0410 - Powertrain - Secondary Air injection system.
3. I was going to attempt to remotely trigger the air manifold to fill the air tank and struts to allow me to limp to the repair shop. but.. with the connection plug removed from the manifold I could not get the compressor to turn on.
How ever when I plug the manifold back in the compressor will kick on for 30 secs, go off and purge. The manifold never directs air to the struts or tank.

4. I cycled the steering wheel to center the ESC.
5. I tested the fused
F32-40a - power ONLY when the pump is running.. Correct
F46 - 5a - good.
F9 - I dont seem to have an F9 fuse ?????

Questions :
1. Fuse F32 - SHould this be powered ONLY when the pump is running?
2. Where is my F9 fuse.
3. Is it normal for the pump NOT to work when the Manifold is unplugged?
4. I am ready to buy a scan tool.. What does everyone suggest?
 

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I have a new hint for u, from work i did for someechanic friends working on ann R500...

So the car had no leaks anywhere, all tests passed but front left strut won't rise.

Finally the culprit was the ride height sensor! Sds was getting a ridiculous 110mm height and no readings even when you raise the car manually.

So i checked the error codes and saw it, further looking showed it to be attached to a kind of rocking arm attached to the upper arm that opens and closes as the struts rise or fall, this is measured by the ride height sensor which tells the airmatic control when to stop, current height, summarily feedback on the height.

We noticed the little plastic rocking thingy was detached on one side so it was not getting any heigh information so that side will not rise.

Heres a picture of what I'm talking about.

On fixing it back, a 3 day old problem was gone.


Sent from my ZTE G720T using Tapatalk
 

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Be safe, as much as possible dont get under the car if you don't need to or if you don't have the right Equipment. If you get the tires up, take off the plastic mud/dust guard and you will see the level sensor, you may not need to go under.

Ensure all sensors have a snug fit and those level actuating arms are connected

These are just addendum stuff,your primary issue appears to be different.

Let us know the results of your scan when you do it.

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2003 S430
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Some airmatic progress

I had some success with my flat airmatic system last night.

Note: I will be taking the car to the shop when it can be driven for code testing.

Here is my test and results.
1. Unplugged manifold plug. Added 6 wires and mapped the outputs. Each port can be triggered with a
12 pulse to send air to the port..
2. Jumped power to the compressor fuse to run pump.
3. Routed air to the tank
4. Routed air to Front struts..up up UP UP.. it came.. Such joy from a little event...:grin
5. Pump off, routed air to rear struts...ssssss.ss.s.s.s.s. I heard a leak..

So tonight I get to jack the car up and search for rear leaks. Hopefully a cracked line??

I noted that the front struts appear to be the newer design.
The front struts are still aired up 12 hours later.

Thanks for all of the input.

Kenneth
in TN.
 

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2003 S500
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The air lines attach to the tops of the struts inside the car, under small pop-off covers on the package tray under each corner of the rear window. Any hiss under the rear of the car is almost certainly a failed strut diaphragm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
More strut progress. Suspecting leaking rear struts, I made an air fitting to test the rear struts with my shop air..

Hissssssssss.s.ss.s..ss

So I removed the struts.
On the bench for testing..
Right rear had no lifting capacity.. air blew straight through.
Left rear would rise when given air.. Once air pressure was removed it made a great sound like a bag-pipe/kazu..
Buzzzz,whine,pssiplop.

So the question now is what is the preference for rear shocks.
And where to buy?.


The car is a 2003 S430 with 80K. I think its worth investing in??

Would you ever buy uses struts?
Repros?

Thanks again.
 

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2000 S430, 2000 S500, 2003 S600 TT, 2005 E320 CDI, 2006 S500 4Matic, and 2006 S350
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First, a 2003 S430 is, generally speaking, very much worth it. Yours is a low-mileage car on top of that, so yep. I have a silver 2003 S430 that just turned over 150,000 miles and drives like brand-new. Matter of fact, I drove it to work today, and it's one of the cars I drive most often.

I would buy Arnott remanufactured air springs in a heartbeat. Matter of fact, most of my cars have those; they're good stuff. Best not to go too cheap on this; you don't want to have to do this job again in a few years, so I wouldn't buy used ones off of a car unless I could see them and I *knew* they were recent vintage. No more than 4 years old, and they'd *have* to be Arnotts if they're used. But really, I'd just get new Arnott remans.

Whatever you do, AVOID EBAY CHINESIUM LIKE THE PLAGUE!
 
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Yeah, that'll do it. :)

For replacement types, either Arnott remans or new Bilsteins. Bilstein is the OEM and thus their struts should last just as long as the originals did. I used Arnott remans for mine, because Arnott (who rebuilds the original Bilsteins) uses thicker air bags when they rebuild a strut, so they should last even longer.
 
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Some airmatic progress

I had some success with my flat airmatic system last night.

Note: I will be taking the car to the shop when it can be driven for code testing.

Here is my test and results.
1. Unplugged manifold plug. Added 6 wires and mapped the outputs. Each port can be triggered with a
12 pulse to send air to the port..
2. Jumped power to the compressor fuse to run pump.
3. Routed air to the tank
4. Routed air to Front struts..up up UP UP.. it came.. Such joy from a little event...:grin
5. Pump off, routed air to rear struts...ssssss.ss.s.s.s.s. I heard a leak..

So tonight I get to jack the car up and search for rear leaks. Hopefully a cracked line??

I noted that the front struts appear to be the newer design.
The front struts are still aired up 12 hours later.

Thanks for all of the input.

Kenneth
in TN.
How did you reroute the compressor to just the front and then just the back. Can you plz explain in further for me plz i am having exactly same problem as you
 
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