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Old 05-13-2000, 02:02 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 42
I have a 97 E420. Last summer I purchased a set of Borbet Type TD wheels. They are 18x8 with a 35mm offset, tire size is 235/40-18. At the same time I also replaced the tires for my factory rims in the OE size. FWIW, I bought my wheels at the Tire Rack in South Bend.

I had driven about 8k mile with no problem, when I started to notice a roaring sound at high speed (70+ mph) and a vibration in the steering wheel in the 50-55 mph range. I tried rotating and replacing differnt wheels with the factory wheels to see if I could narrow it down to a particular wheel. I had no luck, and since it was October, decided to put the factory "winter" rims on the car and figure out the problem later. But when I did this, I still had the steering wheel vibration at 50-55 mph.

I assumed this to be an alignment problem, so I took the car in to my MB dealer. They told me it was not the alignment, but that the wheels were out of balance. Sure enough, when I got the car back, the vibration was all but gone.

Flash forward to this spring. I put the Borbet's back on the car and take it to NTB to have the wheels balanced. The guy looks at the tires and says that the insides are wearing faster than the outsides on the front tires but the rears are okay, and that my alignment is off. Being that I didn't keep track of what wheel came from what position, I think that this is some "coincidence", but they don't alignments for MB's so there's nothing in it for him to lie. Anyway, the wheel balance did not help.

Anybody have any ideas before I possibly waste a grand on a new set of tires?

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Old 05-13-2000, 06:36 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 530
Your rims may not be round, therefore constantly throwing the balance off.

One (or more) tire(s) may not be round.

The sidewall could be destroyed on one or more tires.

I'd screw with the tires before the rims though. Put something really cheap on and see if it gets rid of the problem.

Then, if it is still there, it is most likely the rim(s). Also, have your camber and toe realigned to spec.

If you have any more questions, drop me an email.

Sorry to hear about your woes. I have the exact same car (1997 W210 E420 Pearl Black/Ash)

1997 Mercedes-Benz E420
Michelin Pilot XGT Z4
soon to be
Michelin Pilot HX MXM

1997 Mercedes-Benz C280
Michelin Pilot SX-GT

1988 Mercedes-Benz 260E
Michelin (Pilot HX) MXV3-A
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Old 05-14-2000, 02:26 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 42

Thanks for your suggestions, but I forgot to mention that through all this, my car has continued to track as straight as it did when I first got it. I have read about other W210 owners having alignment issuses, so I'm a little leery about having that messed with.
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Old 05-14-2000, 03:43 PM
MB Shop Retiree
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Hockessin, DE
Posts: 1,047
Well there are many parts to an alignment.

Here is alink that TireRack has that will help educate you about the Alignment process:

I am not sure which one it is (Toe, Camber, or Caster) but I believe on of them can be off and give you the vibration while still drive in a stright line.

Also, here is an article on Mounting and balancing. This is also worth reading:

MBs are notorious for becoming out of alignment easily, and wearing tires down on the sides (at least in my experience) which I why I bought a lifetime alignment plan and got the dealer to right down the specs to make sure that they are doing it right.

I would print these articles out and take them to your shop to make sure they understand what needs to be done, and have them do everything, and do it right.

Chirag (Charlie) Patel

- 99 Mercedes-Benx ML 430 V8 w/custom TV, Video, UHF, speaker system
- 93 190E 2.6 (4-sale) w/ an amp, equalizer, and CD-changer, integrated w. stock stereo for integrated cellular phone speaker system
- had a 93 190E m103 3.2, 5-speed trans,
- had a 88 300E 2.6
- had a 84 300TD w/275k+ miles
- 2001 C-Class - Maybe (if 190E sells)
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Old 05-15-2000, 12:52 PM
Posts: n/a
I'm with DSinger on the "out-of-round" issue. Large diameter wheels with low profile tires do have a tendancy to get "damaged" more easily -- it's the price one pays for looks and performance. I'd bring my rims/tires to a reputable tire shop and have them check the rims to make sure they're not bent. Just my 2-cents.

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Old 05-18-2000, 01:20 PM
Moderator and Tire God
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 2,091
Out-of-round issues can be easily found. The vibration will not go away at any speed if it's a wheel problem. At low speeds it is less noticable but still there. Tires are a little tougher because the vibration at low speeds will be almost not there but, the sound the tire makes will give it away. Balance problems come and go at different speeds.
Alignment issues can always be a problem because the specs for any car have a variable built in to allow for component wear and road irregularities. So even if your car is within the specs it may still not be perfectly aligned. Some performance alignments even add in camber to increase cornering traction but, that does sacrifice tire life. Tire wear that is circumferential and smooth does indicate a camber problem or excessive cornering speeds. Tire wear that is circumferential and feathered or staggered like a stair step indicates a toe in or toe out condition (toe in for outside edge wear ... toe out for inside edge wear).
Hope this helps

Luke Pavlick
Performance Specialist (ASE Certified Master Tech)
The Tire Rack
(click banner at top of the page
to visit Tire Rack)

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