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You may remember my rant here a couple of weeks ago where I complained about tailgate rattles and other things that were not covered by may 'same as a new car' extended warranty.
Well rather than pay the $200 for dealer to fix rattle with TSB, I studied the latch more closely. To make the door close more tightly I loosened first the latch on the tailgate itself, but found it was already as far back as is could go in the bolt slots. Then I looked at the catch in the floor of the car. Using a t-40 Torx bit (Sears, $6.49) I was able to loosen the two bolts a turn or two and slide the catch forwards about 2mm. I then drove the car a bit and played with the rubber stops settings.
Final result is that the main rattle has gone completely and teh car feels noticeably more vault-like over bumps. There is still a small rattle that sounds like a cable inside the door very occasionally making a small noise but probably 5% of what I had.
Happy days.
By the way - can you believe that after sending the car in for a power steering leak, and them faffing about for two days with their lost warranty paperwork (no loaner), and me asking specifically when I picked up the unrepaired car if they had topped off the power steering fluid, they gave me the car back with no pwer steering fluid, steering howling wildly...
Brian
 

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Good info. I had mine at the dealer the day after my warranty expired - turns out there was no TSB in Canada for the tailgate latch. The fix that worked best for me was common old rubber surface guards - available from Home Depot for a few cents. One installed on either side of the latch worked like a charm; much better than felt on the latch or adjusting the black tailgate stops.
 

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didn't know that's what rattled

What did it for me was putting some felt on the rear hatch where the bump stops on the body contact it. My bump stops had been screwed all the way out...

ken
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ken - a suggestion

If your bump stops are all teh way out then I would strongly suspect that your door seal is not being sufficiently compressed and as a result you are living with too much noise.
I would recommend trying this experiment:
1. wind your two rubber stops all the way in.
2. close the tailgate so it is fully latched
3. push forward on the bottom of the tailgate
- if it moves more than a mm or so then I would consider doing what I did with the two torx screws that hold the catch in the floor to tighten the tailgate. This will tighten the body structure over bumps and reduce road noise. Honest!

Another thing to check is how your tailgate aligns with the rear lights and body panels. Mine is now ever so slightly recessed. If yours is standing proud, i.e. sticking out to the rear, I would again consider moving forward the floor catch.

Just $.02 worth...
Brian
 

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ok I am a new ML 2002 320 owner- and I have the car just 2 months with 16000 miles on it- I bought the car from a MB dealership-

I now hear rear tailgate noise- ( I think that is what it is) the car shakes and rattles so badly over bumps that it feels cheap and not the heavy sturdy car Id expect- I do enjoy the car, looks and the brand new navi I had instaled by MB- BUT does the 2002 qualify under the TSB Rear Tailgate adjustment for the tailgate noise? (In addition I have that electronic noise coming from the fan in the fuse box) Since I have to have that fixed under warranty I am wondering if the dealership can fix any other KNOWN issues while its in for service-

Particulary the noisy tailgate


Kinda pissed I have to bring this in for service just 2months in

Comments appreciated

Thanks
Matt
 

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I’ve never really had any problems with the tailgate on my ML being noisy until the last 5K miles or so. I adjusted the stops and even adjusted the latch as far forward as it would go, but it still made enough noise to bother me. I used a piece of paper placed between the stops and seals and the tailgate to judge the fit and I discovered that with the stops out enough to keep the tailgate still, the seals were not tight.

After further investigation, I was able to move the latch forward another quarter of an inch and this resolved the noise. The latch (attached to the body, not the tailgate) is adjustable after loosening the two Torx bolts. These bolts fasten screw into a steel plate that is held captive inside the body panel by a steel tab that keeps it from falling into the cavity, but allows for some adjustment. This steel tab was preventing my latch from going further forward. I was able to bend the tab and allow extra forward movement simply by hammering on the bottom edge of the latch (using a piece of wood between the hammer and latch to prevent damage). This jammed the latch tightly against the plastic trim piece that it sits in and the tailgate is tight and noise-free. Just an FYI for those with noisy tailgates.

- RODNEY
 

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rudeney - 4/21/2005 3:52 PM

I’ve never really had any problems with the tailgate on my ML being noisy until the last 5K miles or so. I adjusted the stops and even adjusted the latch as far forward as it would go, but it still made enough noise to bother me. I used a piece of paper placed between the stops and seals and the tailgate to judge the fit and I discovered that with the stops out enough to keep the tailgate still, the seals were not tight.

After further investigation, I was able to move the latch forward another quarter of an inch and this resolved the noise. The latch (attached to the body, not the tailgate) is adjustable after loosening the two Torx bolts. These bolts fasten screw into a steel plate that is held captive inside the body panel by a steel tab that keeps it from falling into the cavity, but allows for some adjustment. This steel tab was preventing my latch from going further forward. I was able to bend the tab and allow extra forward movement simply by hammering on the bottom edge of the latch (using a piece of wood between the hammer and latch to prevent damage). This jammed the latch tightly against the plastic trim piece that it sits in and the tailgate is tight and noise-free. Just an FYI for those with noisy tailgates.

- RODNEY
Hey Rodney, how does the adjusted tailgate line up with the back of your car though (say, the tail lights)? Isn't it sitting "indented" now?
 

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Thanks Rodney for that helpful tip, I had already tried adjusting the lock but had not tried the judicious use of force.

I used a rubber mallet on the lock (after loosening it) and was able to get the door to latch with the panel slightly indented with reference to the body.
 

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Another way to remove rattles is to secure the rear license plate with four screws instead of just the top two screws. This makes a big difference to the sound when closing the rear hatch.

DelJ
 

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Check your tires and tire pressure as well. I changed the tires on my ML and it rode like a different truck[:D]
 

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Hey Rodney, how does the adjusted tailgate line up with the back of your car though (say, the tail lights)? Isn't it sitting "indented" now?
It’s not bad at all. The tailgate might sit a few mm’s forward of the D-pillars and tail lights, but it’s not enough for a passerby to notice. I’ll have to take some photos (when I get the time!)

- RODNEY
 
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