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  #1  
Old 11-27-2001, 09:47 PM
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Bilstein HD shocks on an E320

Hi,
I just had the Bilstein HD shocks installed on my 210 E320. I chose the HD's to improve handling and ride. Now that they are on they seem really firm. Like too firm, it makes the car handle great but ride very strange. Does anyone know if these are adjustable shocks or some other measure I can take to improve the ride. Will the ride improve after the car settles? Thanks for any help.
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  #2  
Old 11-27-2001, 10:12 PM
Robert Boyer
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When you say rides 'strange', what exactly do you mean?

I had Bilstein HD's put on my rear about 6 months ago. I'd be anxious to share experiences with you.

I put them on my 420 SEL, which benefits from rear-end help. Rear end handling is dramatically improved - especially above 70. In fact, above 80, the control for a car of this size is intoxicating.
Yet, they do rebound quicker than the comforts. And this is probably what you're noticing. And you will feel more road at low speeds.

Looking forward to your reply....
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  #3  
Old 11-27-2001, 11:05 PM
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Robert,
The ride seems too harsh for the car, by that I mean you really feel the bumps and short vertical travel in the shocks at slower speeds. It handles the curves much better than before but it rides like there is 40lbs of air in the tires. Hard to describe, but having owned performance sedans before from BMW and a new generation Corvette, I think I know how it should feel. I know it's subjective, my first thought was they shipped me the sport model instead of the HD models. Do you think these will settle after a while? I know I'm fishing now.....Thanks for your help and interest.
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  #4  
Old 11-27-2001, 11:36 PM
Robert Boyer
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Thjese are typical symptoms of new HDs. I don't experience that quite as much because I have a big SEL, much heavier, and this dampens the shocks somewhat.

Yes, I think it will settle with time. Drive on it.

By the way, go for a nice long (200 miles plus) high speed highway jaunt. After a while, the gas in these HD's pressurizesd to the point that you're like riding on firm air - a most exhilarating feeling, almost nirvana-like. They won't do this on short around-town trips, but will excell under the conditions I've noted.
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  #5  
Old 11-27-2001, 11:59 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll see how they are after a few hundred miles
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2001, 07:56 AM
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I recently put HDs at all 4 corners on my '92 300D. I also upgraded to 16" X 7.5" wheels with 215/55-16 tires (yes I know they're too tall-will be replaced w/ 225/50s). Before the HDs the car was way too uncontrolled, especially at higher speeds (65mph+) and felt too softly sprung. With OE 15" wheels and the HDs, the damping was clearly more aggressive, and rebound quicker. Diminished ride quality a small bit, but assuredly worth the payoff in control. Still too softly sprung, though.

Now, when I installed the 16s EVERYTHING improved, and I don't quite understand why. Ride quality's slightly improved (near OE now), damping is perfect, body roll is diminished and the springs feel about right (for a luxury-oriented car).

Just my $.02...hope it helps.
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2001, 09:57 PM
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Thumbs up

I think you made a wise choice if you drive long distances and drive the car "hard" on the streets. I put HD's on a 126 body (300SDL) and loved them. They were recommended by a very experienced tech and he was right on the mark. I obviously don't agree with "blackmercedes" as my experience was quite the opposite. I also don't subscribe to the "they kinda knew what they were doing" theory since a lot of factors enter into how the cars come out of the factory, and cost sure is heck is one of those factors.
Regardless, the heavier cars seem to "like" the stiffer shocks, and in fact probably need more damping than the standard shocks provide - it is a matter of physics. If you model the dynamic response of the car using a typical second order equation, the spring, mass, damper parameters represent the springs, the weight of the car, and the shocks. The heavier the car, the more damping required for a given response to an input, which could simply be how the car react to hitting a pothole in the road, for example. So, lighter cars, such as 190's probably "feel" and ride real hard with HD's, and heavier cars don't.
If you drive the car easy I imagine it will feel real stiff or hard. If you don't, it won't.

The comment about the ride improving on long trips also makes sense because the shock itself is a small version of a spring/damper system. The fluid provides the damping and the air in the shock acts like a spring. The longer you drive, the hotter the air becomes. The result is an increase in air pressure, which offsets the damping of the fluid, so the two coefficients become more "equal", and the ratio of the two forces (air pressure to fluid flow "damping" force) changes to provides a more even, and less severe response to road perturbations. Driving around town generally will not heat up the "air" in the shocks to any significant degree, so the ride remains hard and therefore not one that most people would like. The fluid is essentially incompressible, which means its characteristics don't change much with temperature, so the air is affected to a much greater degree.

I bet that a MB engineer would tell you that the heavier models should come out of the factory with HD shocks on them as standard, and that anyone who drives their car "hard" would benefit from them as well. The cost factor over several thousand cars would be significant, ergo standard shocks out of the factory.
Beancounters rule more often than we like to think.

I think you are in the middle weight range with your car and once you drive it a while the shocks may "soften" a little. If you still don't like the ride, go to the larger wheels and I imagine you will have the same benefits that Michael had when he went to 16" ones. He added weight and a few other factors that made the HD's a closer match to the overall tire/wheel/shock/spring/car dynamics.

Another thing you might try is to leave them on the rear for high speed stability, and put the standard ones on the front. That would probably improve the street ride, and give you a solid improvement on higher speed, long trips.
Just my thoughts.
Drive the car and enjoy it!
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1997 S600 Coupe
2002 Lexus SC430
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Owned:
1993 500 SEL
1994 E320 (wife's car)
1987 300 SDL
1978 450 SEL
1980 300 TD (wife's car)
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2001, 10:57 PM
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Redflash, thanks for the editorial, you made some very good comments. If you look at the German MB site you will see that they offer a "sport" E class model that has as they call it "low slung chassis" which means it has a sport suspension and shocks. The US version has the soft shocks for the boulevard ride that the target demographics probably enjoy (over 50). Anyway, I'm going to leave them on and see if I grow into them or they soften up a bit. I love the car, just wanted to tighten it up a bit.
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2001, 08:54 AM
Robert Boyer
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Redflash:

That's exactly what I did, upon some recommendations and common sense: on my W126, put the Comforts on front and the HDs on rear.

True: when driving slow or short trips not allowing the shock to heat up, you feel the road to a greater degree. But on driving hard and long, its great. In fact, with the C's on front and HD's on rear, I do feel at times that my SEL behemouth handles like (dare I say) a BMW 328. I ascribe this to the HD's on the rear. This size of vehicle demands them.

Glad to know I'm not alone in my thinking.
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2001, 12:35 PM
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Hmmmm, I didn't think there was any price difference between the 'C' (comfort)and 'HD'? This renders redflash's comments of 'cost-cutting' mute. They are just different shocks for different applications. As told me by Stu Ritter (30-years MB-tech, trained in Europe), the HD's were designed for cars in heavier-duty evironments: under-developed roads in Europe, Canada, and various other locales worldwide where Mercedes are sold. It does make sense though, that the larger cars would benenfit from the stiffer valving.

Of course the factory knows what they are doing, why else would MB have made cars that perform so well and last so long? Sure they're not perfect, but no car ever will be - I just think it is the opinion of many here that MB has come the closest so far

Regards,
- Ryan
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  #11  
Old 11-29-2001, 12:35 PM
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A while back I had the opertunity to change the back shocks in my 190e and was debating wether to put the HD's on the back. I decided not to just to keep all wheels the same. While you all are on the topic how to you think my 190 would have done if I had put HD's just on the back.
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2001, 05:15 AM
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dieseldude, unfortunately I have paid a higher price for HD's when I have purchased them, so either I was ripped off, or there is a cost difference for the various types of Bilstein shocks. That may or may not have anything to do with the type installed on the cars out of the factory, it was only an opinion of why most MB's headed to the USA don't have HD's or some other model shock installed.
The basic point I was trying to make was that HD's do make a difference, and are very good options for certain Mercedes models, and certain styles of driving. Your information from the old hand tech added another good reason to use them; that being if you live in a rural area or drive through rough road conditions routinely.
I would also argue that "the factory" has many components, and I doubt one design or production decision rests with one person or is made solely with performance factors in mind. If performance factors do drive those decisions, more power to them!
Besides, if "the factory" got it right all the time, this website would not get the traffic it does since many of these topics would never come up.
__________________
1997 S600 Coupe
2002 Lexus SC430
2004 Lexus RX330 (wife's car)
Owned:
1993 500 SEL
1994 E320 (wife's car)
1987 300 SDL
1978 450 SEL
1980 300 TD (wife's car)
1969 280 SL
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  #13  
Old 01-03-2002, 01:03 PM
apb apb is offline
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ECLASS

Did the HD finally soften up a bit?
I am debating whether to get those or Koni adjustables.
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  #14  
Old 01-03-2002, 01:09 PM
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Mine definitely softened up, but just a slight bit. Ride is near original now, but handling/control is far superior.
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1995 E500 street car
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  #15  
Old 01-03-2002, 01:52 PM
jcd jcd is offline
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HD Experience

I put HD's on all 4 corners of my 1977 300D. They have softened up versus when first installed, but not to the point where I lost the nice tight feel and good handling that I enjoy.

JCD
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