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  #1  
Old 12-31-2000, 12:17 AM
Jay Gibbs's Avatar
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I just had full E55 suspension installed on my 1999 E300 turbodiesel (springs, shocks, swaybars, etc.) The results are AWESOME, but more on that and part numbers for anyone else who may be interested- but that's for another post...

My question surrounds alignment of wheels after such a suspension change. I instructed my MB dealer to do 4 wheel alignment after suspension swap. They told me that they checked alignment afterwards, and everything was still within specs so no alignment was needed. (I was surprised by this since the ride height dropped about 1" in front, and 3/4" in rear) which would SEEM to indicate a difference in geometry, hence the need for alignment?? Is this unusual, or are tolerances so wide that this could be possible?

Also, I still have the factory 16" wheels and tires on this car, but intend to switch to the 18" AMG setup as on the E55. The dealer also said that although alignment was o.k. after suspension swap, that I should have alignment checked again after I swap the wheels and tires to the 18's. I've had many cars that I've updated the wheels and tires to a "plus two" setup but have never considered realignment afterwards necessary. Am I wrong? Should alignment be checked after such a wheel/tire upgrade? Many thanks!

J.G.
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2000, 12:47 AM
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Not sure what you are saying about the alignment. Did they align it or not. If they aligned it and it didn't need changing that is different from them doing anything else.

The ideal suspension would be one that had NO toe change with change in ride height. I find the 210 chassis pretty good in this respect. I lean on all cars I align to see the change in toe. When I hang my 280 lbs I get at least as much deflection as your ride height change. I wouldn't expect any more toe change than the tolerance in toe.

Unless you have different spindles the camber will go negative with lower ride height. They probably are going to find this acceptable as there is no ready correction in the front of a 210 chassis. To get a camber change a bolt modification kit must be installed at probably all four lower control arm pivot points. I'm sure your dealer stocks these items but they take a lot more work so they might tend to accept the negative camber as a minimum compromise. If they did align it they should have a print out.

As to a second alignment after the tires, well you wouldn't like my recommendation here. You are not going for performance here. You are going for looks. Everything you are doing is destroying what the best automobile engineers in the business built. You are going to have to make a lot of compromises from here out. When I align those behemoths of wheels I always add considerable toe-in to cover for the extra deflection caused by the added weight and adhesion.

Unless the etc. in "(springs, shocks, swaybars, etc.)" included stiffer control arms and bushings alignment becomes a reaction to tire wear and a correction for driveabilty not a meeting of numbers from now on (with the big wheels).
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2000, 02:21 AM
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I hate to get into this discussion as feelings and impressions are hard to argue with.

Seventeen inch factory wheels are less of a compromise than are 18 inch wheels. I am at home so I can't verify whether there are different part numbers for the AMG suspension control arms, but I can say from experience that all the control arms in the rear have changed numbers almost every year as they stiffen the bushings and links themselves.

Three and a half sets of tires. I won't ask how many miles. I just stress what a compromise it is to be driving on tires that need to be replaced. I haven't personally owned a car with less than 16 inch wheels on it in 14 years. They all were factory wheels and even at that I have had to put up with tire noise and driveability problems way more often than the higher profile tires. My current car is a 97 BMW 540i. It has the smaller wheel option with 225/55R16 tires. I have been real close to buying the factory sport wheels at 17in., but I'm not because I recognize it as a vanity issue and I'm not going to put up with the problems it causes.

When I upped the tire size on my 928 Porsche from 225 to 235 I had to increase the toe-in about 4mm (more than the factory tolerance) to keep the tires from wearing on the inside. The Carrera I had before that had perennial tire problems. BTW my wife has always driven the big MB which until the BMW was always our out of town car.
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  #4  
Old 12-31-2000, 02:46 AM
SKY
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Hey blackmercedes

Just out of curiousity, ur C230 did not have sport package when u bought it right?
u only put on a set of 17 inches wheels with tires...
and u didn't need to change suspension even though u don't have the sports package?


[Edited by SKY on 12-31-2000 at 04:37 PM]
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  #5  
Old 12-31-2000, 02:36 PM
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Steve,

Thanks for the response. I did not go into excruciating detail with the dealer regarding their "alignment check"- I assume from their response to me was that the car was put on the alignment rack, the values checked vs. the appropriate values, and the determination made that no adjustments were required. They also did not charge me for anything relating to the alignment check. From past experience with MB dealers, I'm sure that HAD there been any adjustments needed, they wouldn't have hesitated in making the adjustments, and then promptly charge me handsomely for the work.

The "etc" in the suspension componentry refers to sway bar bushings, brackets, and new spring pads to adjust the ride height to the same value as the E55-(distance between bottom of wheel arch lip to the center of the wheel center caps) I did not change control arms or bushings. Also, not scientific, but (I have a good eye)- eyeballing the wheels, I don't notice much in the way of negative camber beyond the wat the wheel angle looked like prior to the suspension installation.

As for my "destroying what the best automotive engineers in the business built".... I ask you why then was there a company called AMG at all? And why in the world would a company such as Mercedes have ultimately BOUGHT that company? Because, I submit, there are always improvements that can be made to an existing mass-market platform. Factory cars for the most part are designed with many compromises in mind, so as to be palatable to the largest group of potential buyers.

I do realize that my parts replacement will be a compromise.
Am I am willing to accept the stiffer ride, and increased tire wear? Yes. Will I have to dodge potholes more actively so as to avoid bending expensive rims? Yes. Does the buyer of a FACTORY ORIGINAL E55 have to accept the same compromises? Yes. We all have different priorities. I happen to enjoy carving through twisty roads while ALSO getting anywhere from 26 to 40 miles per gallon! Call it having my cake, and eating it too.

I would also submit that overall, Mercedes has been making more compromises to reach a bigger audience (and make more money)in recent years. My '99 E300 (prior to suspension change) didn't have that "utterly unflappable" feel that my old 123 body car had- the E class was considerably more bouncy and soft feeling. Part of this may be due to factory shock choices- I found the stock shocks on my E300 were Sachs- (I guess they COST less than Bilsteins that came on my 123.) They sure as heck ride alot differently (read poorly) in comparison. I would also submit that the quality and "texture" of materials isn't what it used to be either.

I appreciate your opinion Steve, but given the nature of this website and the forums, I think there may be alot more people like me out there who feel, while still producing a GREAT car, the Mercedes of the 90's and beyond is going TOO mass market and diluting an otherwise fine product.

J.G.
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2000, 06:03 PM
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The problem with your concept of AMG and suspension improvements is that suspentions, tires, etc. are interdependent. Just changing one aspect (mostly for looks) winds up overall with a negative impact. If you know all the variables and accept the consequences, more power to you.

Occasionally I see some one foolish enough to do these projects completely. Unfortunately, comprehensively altered suspension systems cost more than are practical. If you want a different car it is almost always more practical to buy what you want than to cobble it together yourself.

I see lots of cars ruined by alterations you are talking. I'm sure each owner swears by the performance they acheive and I'm sure there are many well thought out "compromises". I don't want to be offensive but I would suggest that your opinion of "mass marketing" concerns apply even more to the High performance packages that the manufacturers are producing. How much do you think they care if it works if bulging wallets demand a race car.
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  #7  
Old 12-31-2000, 10:11 PM
SKY
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Re: SKY and Steve...

Thanx John
So did u put any aftermarket stuff?
or just the wheels and tires and leaving everything else in its stock parts?
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  #8  
Old 01-01-2001, 05:04 PM
SKY
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John,

I am not that much into cars, just started to get to know them not long ao, so excuse me if I ask some stupid questions..

so what you are saying is even though the 17 inches wheels/tires are heavier than the original ones...the car will stop in a shorter distance because of the wider tires and bigger wheels?????

Thanks for your suggestion and wishing you a happy new year

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  #9  
Old 01-01-2001, 08:10 PM
SKY
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Quote:
Originally posted by blackmercedes
SKY,

The increase in unsprung weight was not too bad, considering I went from a 15" steel wheel to a 17" alloy wheel. The tire weighs more, but the difference in driving is in the compound.

The Michelin MXV4 that was OE on the car is NOT a performance tire. It is designed to provide long life, a quiet smooth ride, and reasonable traction for someone driving the car far below it's capability.

Tires like Michelin Pilot Sport, Bridgestone Pole Position, Dunlop SP9000, etc (Max Performance category) have much more traction available. Traction for accelerating, braking, and cornering.


John Shellenberg
Your car has Michelin as the OE??? My car has the Goodyear Eagle LS.....I want to buy a set of performance tires..(high or ultra-high, no need for max performance) with each tire costs around less than CDN300...which ones do you think is good? with less roadnoise, good traction, long life...etc
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  #10  
Old 01-02-2001, 11:42 AM
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John,

Just following the thread, I noticed your posts concerning tire prices. You might want to check prices at "The Tire Rack." For the tires you mention, The Tire Rack had prices about $50.00 per tire LESS than the prices you quote from Costco. FYI- Michelin Pilot SX GT 235-45-17 for $190.00 each vs. your price of $240 from Costco for the 225's.

I've purchased many, many sets of tires and wheels from them over the last 10+ years, and have never had a problem, nor found a lower price. (I'm currently waiting for my 18" AMG's and Michelin Pilot Sports to arrive later today!)

Just my two cents worth.

J.G.
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