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  #46  
Old 08-02-2002, 10:23 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
Well, everyone here knows I'm cheap, lazy and stubborn.

With respect to the stubborn part, I still think its the brake caliper sticking on the side that's pulling, combined with a warped rotor.

Rotor warpage is easy to check with a dial runout gauge, either on your own or at a brake shop. If you keep warping rotors - you have a bad / sticky caliper.

Ken300D
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  #47  
Old 08-02-2002, 02:07 PM
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Piotr

hmmm, something sounds familiar. just recently I replaced both front struts in my 190 d. my sister's boyfriend helped me, and because he never drove a MB, I let him take it for a spin. When he came back, he asked if the car always takes so much effort to keep in straight line. After driving it myself, I could not believe how much out of alignment it got. The car was trying to go left and right all over the road. So I went to the alignment specialist. Guess what? alignment was fine. So the next thing was to get two new tires (yes, from tire rack). Because after driving for 20 years I firmly believe that Michelins are the most overrated and overpriced tires ever offered for sale in the USofA, I bought a pair of Yokohamas (same performance as compatible Michelins at 1/2 price). Problem solved !!!! car drove like a charm. For a month. And then the old problem returned. Front end just felt loose. Two separate mechs went over the car and said that front/rear suspension was just fine. Now, two month later, its still a little loose, but driveable.

As for your problem, I vote for the intermittent caliper problem-sticking but only occasionally and after your break fluid gets hot.

By the way, don't get sucked into the "more expensive is better" trap. essentially, all major brands in the "all season, high performance, and touring" categories deliver the same performance. the differences are so small, that have to be measured with a stopwatch on the track under controlled conditions. I guarantee, that when driving the same car, nobody of the above could distinguish between Michelins, Dunlops, Yokohama mamas, or Bridgestones (I agree that Firestone is BAD).

Ok, now come and tell me how I'm wrong and that You definitely CAn tell the diff. Right!
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1985 190D 2.2l Sold-to Brother-in-law
1996 Mustang 3.8l -"thinks it's a sports car"
1988 Grand Wagoneer - Sold (good home)
1995 Grand Cherokee Ltd -"What was I thinking??!!"
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  #48  
Old 08-02-2002, 02:32 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
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You bet ya! If not now, eventually. Making such a statement about tires is similar to saying all cars are alike.

I've approached this question professionally for near 30 years. If you can't tell the difference, you either aren't sensitive or don't pay attention. If you had thousands of case studies as I have you will see that Michelins stay at the good performance they come with at least twice as long as any other tire. For many the performance difference is immediate. The Michelins outwear and stay round while doing so.

With 9 out of 10 of the most important drivability concerns fixed by tires, putting Yugo tires on your MB just cause they are round and black is asking for problems. Get a good deal on a good product but like all things you get what you pay for.
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Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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  #49  
Old 08-02-2002, 02:49 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 70
Ken & Piotr -

I did the Ali Al-Chalabi caliper road test - drive 15 miles and don't touch the brakes, coast to a stop (without getting killed on Miami's freeways), then get out and feel the rotors. Mine were cool to the touch.

Question: If a caliper were sticking or pulsating, thus grabbing the rotor and perhaps warping it, wouldn't the rotors be super hot? Mine are cool. BTW - since getting Michelins and a good alignment, the car doesn't pull anymore. It just shakes after 10 minutes of driving.

Question: With only 50k on the car, would I be looking at new struts so soon? That has been my major concern with this car - I thought the suspension components would last around 100k or so after reading so many posts on here. What's the typical lifespan of some of these suspension parts? Is my car out of the average?

Should it feel like my teeth are coming out everytime I hit a road reflector? Several months ago, the car drove like a Cadillac (sorry guys!). Now it feels like a go-cart. What's funny is that I love this car so much - if it were not a MB then I'd drive it until something came flying off the car, then I'd worry about it. But, I look forward to it feeling like a Benz again!

Thanks,

Mark E.
Ft. Lauderdale
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2 X 1997 C280

Last edited by 767Flyer; 08-02-2002 at 02:59 PM.
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  #50  
Old 08-02-2002, 03:41 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Montreal
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At first , I thought your problem was a stuck caliper, which only becomes stuck after heating up for a while.Shaking would be caused by the caliper grabbing a warped rotor.However, if this were true, when you experience your problem ,your wheel would be hot to the touch,abnormally dusty, and you would feel your car holding back. I had a brake sticking problem on my Scirocco.Changed everything(pads and rotors, which were due, as well as calipers,master cylinder, lines,and finally, booster.). It was finally a pin hole in the booster diaphram. The pressure would build and brakes would stick more and more as I drove, from the diaphram not releasing.Let the car sit for 1/2 hr and cool down and brakes were fine again.
Although this may info doesn't solve your problem, hopefully it helps diagnose future problems for someone.
John
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1985 VW Scirocco (Mint-Summer)
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  #51  
Old 08-02-2002, 03:50 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,255
Torque Converter?
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  #52  
Old 08-02-2002, 03:57 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
What does not make sense is apparently lifting the car up, removing the front wheels and putting them back on corrects the problem and makes the car work ok for a few days or hours. This would suggest some suspension joint is damaged and given a particular manuever, it finds an off design position. Lifting it up and letting the wheels hang seems to get the joint back to design conditions, but the damage lets it slip back out of position when it is driven a certain way and a particular load is applied. How this could be affecting the brake caliper is not clear to me. I like the brake caliper concept, but once the rotor is warped how does fiddling with the tires, or buying new ones for that matter, correct the warped rotor situation? And then have it come back? If some suspension joints were replaced, I would have them checked again. Maybe they were not installed exactly correctly or they were damaged by the installation or the subsequent driving? The final explanation has to cover all the symptoms, or you cannot really believe the problem has been fixed.

As for tires, well, I am not a racer although I do drive hard now and then. I am basically cheap so I have no penchant for the highest performance tire at the expense of the tread life. I am also not interested in a tire that requires lots of seasonal attention to keep it balanced. I am concerned with the tire staying round and all the belts/rubber bonded for the life of the tire though. These are more important to me than track figures, and the fact that I have tried half a dozen tire brands on just one car is testament to my frugality.

The point is I differ on the opinion of Michelins noted above. In my experience their tread lasts longer, they handle all road conditions as well as the winners of tire tests, and stay structurally sound for the life of the tread, which in my driving style has shown to be 10,000 to 15,000 miles more than other similarly rated (speed ratings of V and 4 season traction) tire brands. My experience is the Dunlops, Yoko's and especially Pirelli tires do not. My 190E 2.3-16 came with Pirelli "V" rated tires and they lasted less than 12,000 miles before they suffered a tread separation and became unbalancable. I got just over half the tread life with Dunlop SP8000's and the Yokohama equivalent compared to the Michelins. Same for Goodyear's "Gatorbacks."

After 200,000 miles I have concluded Michelin Pilot XGTV4's are the most robust and safest. I have never had an alignment problem with the car, and only the Michelins have all 4 tires wearing precisely evenly with one rotation over 43,000 miles. They are just about shot, but the best I got with a less expensive tire was around 25,000 miles, and I have always had to have them balanced more than twice over that time. So, they cost 50% more, but they last more than 50% longer and require less than half the babysitting and attention of the other brands. In my book that puts me ahead.

Jim
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Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #53  
Old 08-02-2002, 07:52 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 70
Thanks guys - yes Jim, there's something about lifting the car off the ground and putting it back down. I'm still going to go with Steve B. and check out the shocks/struts and strut mount bolts. Again, is it uncommon to see shocks and/or struts go out at 50,000 miles? The dealership foreman mention the back end was a little loose and some about maybe the rear differential.

Thanks guys

Mark E.
Ft. Lauderdale
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2 X 1997 C280
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  #54  
Old 08-02-2002, 08:17 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
Mark,

Lifting the car up for a while and letting the suspension hang unsupported may be affecting the oil and gas pockets in the struts. I am assuming, like other MB's the struts have a high pressure Nitrogen gas chamber to keep the oil in the strut pressurized so it does not cavitate when shock is working. Cavitation causes the shock damping characteristics to change to the point where the shock doesn't function as designed. How letting the unit hang and stretch out fixes this momentarily is not clear to me, and it would depend on the exact arrangement of the innards of the strut. But it seems likely there could be something here.

Anyway, ifvyour problem is shocks/struts and I think that is unusual at your mileage. So is a loose rear end or a problem with the differential question raised by the dealer service guy. The car should be under warranty at 50,000 miles, and if you bought it from a MB dealer it should have been Starmarked and have a warranty up to 100,000 miles. Struts normally don't go out quickly, but I did have one on my 190E 2.3-16 go in the first 5,000 miles so it is not unheard of, and should be a warranty item.

Good luck, Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #55  
Old 08-03-2002, 03:12 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 70
Thanks Jim - I think I'm just going to go for it and put new front shocks on. I've read on here about Blisten being the way to go. Also, since everything else is brand new, maybe go for struts as well? Alright, stupid question - where exactly is the strut? In relation to the shock... Does AllData show any of this stuff so I can get a view etched in my head? I'd love to get exploded views of this cars inner workings. Are the any books out there that would help?

Thanks

Mark
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Miami, FL
2 X 1997 C280
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  #56  
Old 08-03-2002, 09:21 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
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When I suggested the shocks I asked how many miles you had. it is hard for me to believe that shocks would be bad at 50k.

Has the car spent much time on a Florida lime rock road? We see such activity here in N Florida all the time and it tears the poop out of suspensions. I didn't think they had such roads in S Florida.
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Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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  #57  
Old 08-03-2002, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 70
The car has only seen highway miles since I've had it. Back and forth on the turnpike to work. That's it. I bought this car used. At the time it had about 37k on it. It drove beautifully for about a year, then the ride went bad. I got a VMI before I bought it, took it to a good import shop, and they gave it a clean bill of health. Carfax (for what it's worth) showed nothing. It spent it's life in Colorado Springs before I got it. I found crayons and a pacifier jammed underneath the pax seat - it was a family car. Maybe dad drove the hell out of it - I don't know. I do know that I've put a lot of money into the car that I didn't expect: tranmission computer, motor mounts, A/C compressor, evaporator, condenser, fuel pump, water pump, mod valve, control arm bushings, drag link, steering damper, 2 sets of tires, etc. The VMI showed a head gasket was replaced at about 3k, and that's was about it. Most was covered under extended warranty, but even they have given up paying out. I even got worried that the car really had been wrecked - I got it rechecked and they said it hadn't. That's why I have posed the question if any or all of these parts typically go bad at 40-50k. The only thing that has run great is the motor - just had it's 50k check and it's smooth as silk. I bought a new '97 C280 and the only problem it's had was it needed a new a/c compressor and transmission computer. All covered under warranty. I put new tires and control arm bushings on it, and it's drives great. So, I do know what a C280 is supposed to drive like. I hope you see my frustration. The car's been in the shop more than I have gotten to drive it. Now bone-jarring road reflectors and bumps, and car shakes. Raul at Ultimate must think I'm crazy; could not duplicate everytime. The MB shop foreman did feel the vibration, but the next time he drove it - you guessed it, could not duplicate. So I'm guessing I should just drive it until something actually BREAKS so the warranty company will talk again - I've tried to be proactive and keep way ahead of the car. So I'm always open to suggestions - did I buy a lemon?

Thanks!
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Miami, FL
2 X 1997 C280

Last edited by 767Flyer; 08-03-2002 at 12:14 PM.
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  #58  
Old 08-03-2002, 04:00 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
I don't think you bought a lemon.

The hardest thing to diagnose is a randomly occurring problem, which you've got.

I really feel sorry for you. But, in a way, I'm sitting here thinking that I'm not the only one that these kind of things happen to. I had the famous check engine light that kept on illuminating, and after throwing about $4,000 in parts and labor at it over a 6 month period at two MB indpendents and the dealer, it turns out it was just a blocked egr tube, just like Stevebfl posted. If only I lived near Steve's shop, I'd be his best customer for life...
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #59  
Old 08-03-2002, 04:42 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 70
Yeah, I know I'm not the only one. Probably sounds like I'm being a whiner. But money is money. Since moving to Florida I've been very disapointed in the quality of the work done on my car. The dealerships have obviously been my LAST resort. I have the feeling that there is no $$ in trying to isolate what very well may be a small ticket item. Boy I miss my mechanic in Kentucky! The dealerships I've used down here have been move 'em in, move 'em out, and customer service just isn't there. I'd be happy to leave my car with Steve and his crew just to solve this thing. But, it's a couple hundred miles away.
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Miami, FL
2 X 1997 C280
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  #60  
Old 08-03-2002, 04:59 PM
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Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,508
I don't know about you, but considering the time and money you've put into the car so far, If I lived only a couple of hundred miles from Steve's shop, I'd have the car at his shop by Monday morning.

Hell, it's only 350 miles from So. Cal to Las Vegas, and I can make it there in 3 hours. If you leave in the morning, you can get there, gamble for an hour, and then drive back home in time for lunch.

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Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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