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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
New front tires in Feb; alignment in spec; P/S fluid level @proper level and no leaks found; no vibrations in-town, medium, and highway speeds; serpentine belt in good condition.

Recent events before steering worsened:
Drove 10.5 hours stopping every 2 hours. Then stopped for an hour and drove 30 minutes down dirt roads w hills. When I got to final destination, I didnt drive it again for 5 days when I left for the return trip home, and immediately felt a difference in the steering.

The resistance isnt as if there is no P/S, but takes a noticable effort more to steer, mostly at in-town speeds. Any thoughts?
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Any thoughts? Unfamiliar enough with this model.

Rack-n-pinion failure of some sort?
Steering linkage binding?
Hydraulic hose deteriation?
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Check tire pressures first
Thanks for the response.

Tire pressure was checked before leaving on trip and before leaving on return home and finally checked upon arrival home (next morning when tires were cold) - pressures are in-spec.
 

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Premium Member
2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
How many miles on the car and have you ever replaced the PS fluid? Look at it and smell to see if it has darkened or smells burned. AFAIK MB has no recommended fluid change interval but it should be replaced at some point.
 

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2007 E320 Bluetec, 2008 320ML CDI
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2,492 Posts
P/S pump not producing correct pressure? Binding steering components? Agree with test of fluid. Might be worth it to unload the suspension and see what the steering effort becomes.
Skippy


Sent from phone.
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
P/S pump not producing correct pressure? Binding steering components? Agree with test of fluid. Might be worth it to unload the suspension and see what the steering effort becomes.
Skippy
Will check with unloaded suspension.

Whats the method to test P/S pressure?
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
How many miles on the car and have you ever replaced the PS fluid? Look at it and smell to see if it has darkened or smells burned. AFAIK MB has no recommended fluid change interval but it should be replaced at some point.
138k miles. Not sure if P/S fluid has been changed by previous owner. Good idea to change it out !
 

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W210 E 240
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10 Posts
I once had a similar problem only sorted by replacing the rack (with a second hand unit - wasnt expensive) Filter not maybe dirty? Think it is integrated in the bottle.
 

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2005 W215 CL500
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3,583 Posts
The symptoms you describe are the classic ones associated with failure of the parameter steering assistance. My car has this and it is additional electric powered assistance to the rack. So, your p/s pump is still working but feels heavy at low speed because the additional assistance is not working.

So, the question is do you have parameter steering?
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The symptoms you describe are the classic ones associated with failure of the parameter steering assistance. My car has this and it is additional electric powered assistance to the rack. So, your p/s pump is still working but feels heavy at low speed because the additional assistance is not working.

So, the question is do you have parameter steering?
Thanks for that great response. According to two different "VIN lookup websites", it appears this car has it ...

Code Text
213 PARAMETER STEERING
231 Unknown
[...]

So, the way I understand it, at this moment (without googling), not only does this car have a P/S pump unit, there is an electrical component that assists the mechanical, at lower speeds.

This makes a lot of sense and I certainly appreciate you dropping in with the feedback!
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for that great response. According to two different "VIN lookup websites", it appears this car has it ...

Code Text
213 PARAMETER STEERING
231 Unknown
[...]

So, the way I understand it, at this moment (without googling), not only does this car have a P/S pump unit, there is an electrical component that assists the mechanical, at lower speeds.

This makes a lot of sense and I certainly appreciate you dropping in with the feedback!
Found after a search ...

From Manufacturer: ThyssenKrupp Presta SteerTec GmbH

'Maximum safety thanks to parameter steering.
Speed-sensitive parameter steering from ThyssenKrupp Presta SteerTec makes for relaxed driving on long journeys and steep mountain roads while at the same time providing easy maneuvering in town.

Parameter steering with variable centering from ThyssenKrupp Presta SteerTec meets the highest safety and comfort requirements.

An electrical sensor continuously measures the car’s speed and controls a special valve which opens steplessly according to a specific characteristic depending on speed to release the required amount of oil to a hydraulic system which boosts steering feel.

Parameter steering has proved successful as an optional extra in various Mercedes-Benz models. True to the motto “only the best is good enough”, our developers have taken parameter steering to the next level of technical achievement – called parameter-setting with variable centering. The driver feels this in terms of a palpable gain in driving stability and safety. Unwanted steering movements are kept to a minimum while the vehicle remains firmly under control.'
 

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2005 W215 CL500
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3,583 Posts
Happy to have helped...though not sure of the fix.:eek: Though, on second thoughts, I think it is linked to the system which determines wheels speed...the abs sensors...so, a visit to a dealer to get the codes read will probably pinpoint the source.
 

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12 GL450
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13,900 Posts
Jack the car up on 2 ramps. Look at every component on the rack. If I'm not mistaken, there is an electric plug for parametric steering that is connected to the rack. It is some kind of harness type thingie with a plug. I vaguely remember it when my steering rack was changed. It is quite possible that during your off-roading adventure, this could have gotten loose as you said that this was the last thing you did before the symptoms occurred. There is a good chance that this is what happened. Find it, unplug it. Clean the hell out of it with contact cleaner from radioshack. Pray like hell, then plug it back. Let's everyone crosss their fingers. Good luck!

Oh, I think there is only one electric connection on the rack so if you find it, that will indeed be the one.

If I'm wrong, will some guru correct me so the OP doesn't have to get dirty and sweaty.
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
FIXED: Steering resistance has increased (harder to turn)

Okay, thanks go out to "renault12ts" and "Cancer_Researcher" for pointing out the possibility that something went amiss with the Parameter steering system.

So I got the front end up on my (DIY wheel) stands and crawled under the car (US - driver's side), where the rack-n-pinion unit is.

Sure enough, the two wires that go to the Parameter steering plug got "yanked" out of the plug. Actually, the wires got "shredded" at two points. (probably ran over a small tree branch which "grabbed" the wires, eventually stretching the wires, thus breaking).

I un-clipped the plug, soldered a new section of wire (about 4 inches of new wire) to the plug. (NOTE: one wire is gray, the second is grey with a red stripe). Cut the bad section of wire out and then soldered the other end of the new wire to the original. Sealed everything up with shrink wrap, plus electrical tape, then connected the plug to the module and went out for a test drive - voila! Fixed.



Thanks again to all who posted responses!
 

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Premium Member
2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
Congrats! But don't you have a belly pan under that section of your undercarriage? It looks like that would have prevented something thrown up from yanking those wires loose.
 

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2001 E320 (W210)
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Congrats! But don't you have a belly pan under that section of your undercarriage? It looks like that would have prevented something thrown up from yanking those wires loose.
There is a belly-pan, but it doesn't reach to the extreme sides of the uni-body. So, if you open the hood, stand on the driver's side and look down between the engine and strut tower, you can clearly see the ground, from the front to the back of the engine. Just enough of an opening available to a stray branch to reach up and snag the wiring.

Honestly, they should have routed this wire differently. The wire originates in front of the shock tower (from a bundled harness) and drops straight down, then makes a 90* turn horizontal and travels back along the lower body, then reaches across to the plug.

What they should have done is route the wire from the harness, across the [top of the] shock tower towards the firewall, then drop straight down to the plug. IMO, anyway.
 

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2001 E320 - Brilliant Silver/Ash: 107,000+
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17,193 Posts
There is a belly-pan, but it doesn't reach to the extreme sides of the uni-body. So, if you open the hood, stand on the driver's side and look down between the engine and strut tower, you can clearly see the ground, from the front to the back of the engine. Just enough of an opening available to a stray branch to reach up and snag the wiring...
OK, thanks for explaining that to me.
 

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2000-E320, 2012 Buick Enclave, 2004 Ford Ranger, 1973 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
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194 Posts
Last week I had my A/C compressor replaced and after I got the car back I notice I had this issue too. At first I thought maybe they had disconnected the power and so I did the lock to lock thing, but it didn't help. I looked to see if the plug noted above was plugged in and it looks good. I had the fluid changed out about a year ago and it looks good and the level is also good. Does anyone else have any ideas? Is there a fuse that could be blowned? I looked in the fuse box in the engine compartment but didn't see any that were labeled with anything to do with the steering. Any help would surely be welcomed! Tim
 
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