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  #1  
Old 10-18-2002, 12:54 PM
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Update - Steering Vibration better, need more input

Could a worn out steering coupling or steering gear be a cause of an intermittant steering wheel vibration? What about the rubber mounts and bolts that mount the steering gear - shop manual says replace bolts, don't reuse?

The steering linkage is tight. But, when I push/pull the wheel at 3 and 9, I do get a clunk. The rest of the steering linkage is tight and all less than 13 months old - including tie rods, drag link, idler, steering shock. Wheel bearings are good. It COULD be the tires, I will rotate them. Based on those results, I'll get a GSP 9700 involved as necessary.

But would like to know if steering gear or coupling could cause an intermittant vibration, that's particuarly bad on fresh asphalt and smoothest on good concrete...

-brian

P.S. I want to thank (again) the forum members that have helped me so far. Changing my struts made this vibration slightly worse than it was, BUT it reduced 99% of the vibration I WAS feeling near the gas pedal - particularly around town I have no vibration anymore in the gas pedal.
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2002, 01:08 PM
LarryBible
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You MUST go to the source of the vibration. Non rotating parts such as a loose linkage, slack in steering etc. are not vibration sources, they are vibration transmitters/aggravators. If you have a rotating assembly that is vibrating for whatever reason, shocks, linkage, steering boxes, columns, etc. will worsen the vibration because this looseness allows the rotating part to have impact against these loose parts as it bangs back and forth.

You are moving in the right direction. I will bet a dollar to a hole in a donut that the SOURCE of the vibration is tire balance. For this you usually don't need the sophistication of the 9700. Any good computer balancer in proper working order is capable of adequately balancing your wheels. The key is that you MUST use balance weights on two planes, inboard and outboard. It is very common for the tire stores to NOT use a weight on the outer plane because some customers complain about scratching their aluminum or alloy wheels.

Where the 9700 comes into play is when there is a tire with excessive road force variation (stiff spot.) The 9700 has a pressure roller that loads the tire while it rolls and measures the road force. It can resolve where to rotate a marginal tire on the rim in order to minimize the effect of the stiff spot. Very few tires, depending upon brand, require this level of attention, a competent operator on a decent computer balancer will get the job done.

The decent computer balancer is the easy component to find, they are all over your town, now the competent operator is a different story.

Best of luck,
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2002, 02:14 PM
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I agree 100% with Larry Bible.

Get a proper tire balance with wheel weights on both the inside and outside lip of the wheel.

You'd have to have a tire with excessive "wheel force variation" that would cause a normal tire balance machine to be unable to balance your tires.

In other words, all tires have soft and stiff spots around the side wall of the tire. If the difference between the soft spots and stiff spots is too great, wobble will develop, and a normal machine can't correct for this. A GPS 9700 can identify these spots on the tire, and show the operator how to rotate the tire on the wheel and where to put the weights. If a tire has too much wheel force variation, then it can't be balanced.

But he's right in the 90% or more of these type of vibration problems are caused by improper tire balancing.
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  #4  
Old 10-18-2002, 02:26 PM
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I don't want to downplay balance, but I have reason to believe my mechanics shop did a good job re-balancing the tires first balanced by Costco.

In the event that I have a flat tire in an unknown place, I may not be able to find a fantastic balancing shop. So, I'd like to eliminate both (a) the immediate source of the vibration and (b) looseness which can aggreviate the vibration (as mentione by Larry).

This is why I'm particularly interested in experiences with the steering gear.

Thanks, other suggestions are welcome as well.
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:06 PM
TANK
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md21722

ONLY get your tires balanced by an MB TEch with the machine mentioned by Larry and Suginami OR at a MB Dealer. This may sound trivial however this is absolutely CRITICAL. Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:07 PM
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Tee Hee Hee - I recall the story of my 1995 E300 (sold). The MB dealer here in town was unable to get the vibration it even after replacing a tie rod and balancing the tires three times. They claimed there was no problem. I even had the tires balanced on the car and there was still a vibration. Balance isn't everything.

-brian
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:07 PM
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I've got a similar issue with my '87 wagon. Haven't been chasing it too hard because I've been busy with the non-Mercedes parts of my life!

I've got a steering wheel vibration which comes & goes. Mostly it's not there, but every once in a while it appears. Highway speeds only - greater than 60MPH. Unlike everybody else, I already have had a GSP9700 balance done on this car. It passed with flying colors. The car definately was smoother following the balance - but the intermittent vibration remains.

Personally, my bet is on lower control arm bushings.
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:10 PM
TANK
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md21722, is your car a 1995 E 300? If not take the advice and possible save yourself some money. I had my lower ctrl arm bushings redone and drive shaft loop. Only after that AND tire balancing were my vibrations history..
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:12 PM
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I've had new and old tires balanced several times in some cases with no change in results.

Then one day, I buy a different set and voila! No more vibration!

Sometimes it's the tires themselves...
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:15 PM
TANK
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This is true. Only michelins hold up on my sdl. Weird, I know.
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  #11  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:19 PM
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The car is a 1987 with dealer control arms replaced in August to cure a HARSH intermittant vibration that was more like a thumping. I keep hearing about driveshafts - what all was done to yours? MY center support bearing and support are original but at last check were "okay" - not torn and bearing not making noise to mechanics stethescope. Maybe I should change them anyway?

Can I conclude that the steering gear or steering coupling would not aggrevate vibrations in the system?
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  #12  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:24 PM
John_Schwarz
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Hi jcyuhn -

If you do track down your vibration, please post the results. My E420 has some odd vibrations in the front end at highway speeds too. On the surface one would think it was tire balance - but the E has been there through the original wheels, multiple balances, new wheels, new tires and new tires again. We can rule out balancing!!!

Over the past year the front wheel bearings have been replaced along with the center link and dampener. So, that leaves things like bushings as you noted.

Aside from the odd vibrations at various highway speeds, the car is very sensitive to changes in the pavement surface - changes direction easily, bumps & expansion joints take the car a couple degrees off course. Nothing too annoying, I subconsciouly correct and don't even think about it anymore. But then I drive some of my friends' newer cars (LS400, C240 and 540i) and get secretively jealous over how smooth their steering feels!!!

I used to live in Plano and the roads were much smoother. I moved to Seattle last year and roads are terrible, so this has been bugging me alittle more than it did. And I will confess, I changed the rims from the OEM 15" to 16". The current tires or Pirelli P3000s - so far I'm very happy with them (on par with Michelins for ride quality and road nise).
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  #13  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:29 PM
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John,

How many miles on your car? In some cases shocks and subframe bushings are to blame. I went out West to Montana and the wind gusts blew my car ALL around. Go from pavement to bridge and the car would jump - hard to keep in lane! Two local MB mechanics suggested "weak shocks". I replaced them and the subframe bushings which were shot and now the car is much tighter. I haven't been in really windy conditions, but overall the car follows the road better and the front and rear of the car follow one another. So far, it seems the feathering on my front tires has gone away too...
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:34 PM
TANK
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Well, I can tell you what I DO know. If you put your hand behind your seat while driving, place it on the center hump. If you feel the vibration there, it very well could be the loop bearing and or rubber bushing. One guy had his lower ctrl arm BUSHINGS replaced and still had a vibration. After thousands of dollars, he found out the bushings were put in diagnally or something and were the source of the vibration all along! Yuck! I know how frustrating this is and wish you the best of luck.
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  #15  
Old 10-18-2002, 03:39 PM
John_Schwarz
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Hi Tank -

Can you educate me alittle, what is "loop bearing and or rubber bushing"???

Thanks,

John
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