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okc329 02-10-2003 05:38 PM

W210 Front End Vibration
1997 E320 - car has new tires checked and balanced on latest Hunter balancer. Dealer aligned all four wheels after installation of new tires. Car has been inspected by dealer for any problems with suspension components including the oft-talked-about lower control arm bushings. Dealer says everything is tight. Yet I still have a mild-moderate vibration coming thru the steering wheel right at 60 mph which feels like a tire out of balance. Funny thing is that during a recent very cold spell here in the midwest (temperatures down to 10 degrees or so), the vibration was greatly diminished if not done away with. Car has 60 k miles on it. Tire pressure has been kept at constant at 29-30 psi. Tires are Bridgestone RE950's on 17" AMG monoblock wheels. I have another appointment with both the tire store and the dealer in the next few days. Does anybody out there have a possible explanation? Does anybody have any ideas about how to troubleshoot the problem? I will get rotation and re-balance when I go to tire store even though the tires have less than 4k miles on them. TIA.

apb 02-10-2003 06:11 PM

I would have your front lower control arm bushings checked.

sbourg 02-10-2003 06:35 PM

Swap tires front/back. If there is any CHANGE in the character of the vibration, you likely have one or more bad tires or a bad mount to the bead.


tryan 02-10-2003 06:37 PM

the 99 wagon would vibrate for the first 10 miles or so on 'green' michlens.

are your rotors okay? can you mount your old tires and rims to pinpoint the problem?

edit. whenever i buy tires, i always get them rebalanced after 100-200 miles. the bead never really seats and the tires don't really cure until you drive them. i try to stay below 40 and avoid all potholes durring this time. food for thought.

you can try a truck tire place and get them strobe balanced on the car at 60 mph.

stevebfl 02-10-2003 06:38 PM

The problem is in the forward lower control arm bushing. It needs to be replaced because with your tire package a brand new bushing will likely not be stiff enough.

The extra loading caused by your tire combination probably would be best dealt with through an aftermarket high performance bushing (if such are made). I have dealt with this issue on a 140 chassis. I had a fellow here in Florida make me some hard bushings for a car with 20in wheels. Did the job with the vibration but the design loosened after a year and we haven't decided what to do next.

cerbomark 02-10-2003 07:33 PM

I had a 17 in. set of Toyo tires put on and had same thing happen. Dealer put tires on one of there machines and showed me that 3 out of the four tires were not round ( I was supprised too) Replaced them with Michelins and problem was gone. Dealer told me there is a differnce in tire quality and that these cars can tell.

timreid 02-10-2003 09:04 PM

Got a question, did you have the same vibration before you installed the new tires, if not, its the balancing or the new tires?
enjoy your drive, timreid

okc329 02-10-2003 10:43 PM

I didn't understand your response regarding the lower front control arm bushing. Did you mean that I would need a new bushing which would be stiffer? Would a weak bushing be stiffer in cold weather and thus the problem is less severe on really cold days? This wheel and tire package is the same used on the E420 and E430 Sport models of the W210 cars. Can you tell me if they used different bushings?

stevebfl 02-11-2003 09:39 AM

What I really mean is the front bushing needs to be stiffer and yes I wouldn't be surprised to see the bushing be stiffer in the cold.

Unfortunately the bushings are the same on all the models. They shouldn't offer those wheel packages without such modifications but its entirely possible MB is out more for the money here. There was an article a while back (somewhere I can't remember) that discussed MB's decision to sell accessories for their cars to take the money away from a bunch of aftermarket "tuners".

I guess they figure if you would give your money to AMG or Lorenzer (sp?) for wheels they should get there first. (actually they did by buying out AMG)

In any case the forward bushing on the 210 chassis (and probably the 208 and 209 chassis) cars is a weakness. The new bushing will also be a weakness. If there were stiffer options they would be the natural answer. My concept is that the stiffest stock bushing will be a properly installed new bushing. To see how soft these bushings are putthe car on a lift and take a pry bar to the control arm. A small effort will cause movement that translates to huge caster changes - watch the base of the tire or lower ball joint. The movem,ent is forward and backward at that point. For some reason 55-60mph causes enough force deflection and rotational speed to cause some form of resonance. This is what you feel.

okc329 02-11-2003 09:48 AM

Steve, thanks for your reply. I'll take it with me when I go see the dealer Monday. Understand what you say about the need for stiffer bushings but I'm surprised the boys in Stuttgardt haven't realized that. Just think about an E55 thats rolling on even bigger wheels and rubber than what I have.

okc329 02-11-2003 11:03 AM

Stevebfl: Re control arm bushings one more time
Just talked to Phil at PartsShop. Bushing kit has been updated at some point in time. Same kit used in all W210 cars. New part number is 210 330 04 75. Old part number was 210 330 01 75.
Can you tell me what reasonable number of hours would be for dealership mechanic , with proper tools, to install two of these kits on E320?

As I understand it, it is important that the final tightening be done when the car's weight is resting on the wheels - correct?
Also, assume that alignment specs should be set up as if car is E420/430, not E320 due to wheel/tire changeout.


sbourg 02-11-2003 11:08 AM

If no aftermarket polyurethane bushings are made for MB, has anyone experimented with adapting any intended for another vehicle? I would think in certain applications such as swaybar that vibration and noise transmission would be negigible, and newer types do not have squeaking problems. Perhaps here for just the bushing in question, they might offer a solution.


stevebfl 02-11-2003 12:14 PM

I had urethane bushings made for the 140 chassis as I described but they didn't last over my test period of a year. They still function fine but the centers are loose and we will have to redo them some way. The guy who does this makes and markets bushings for BMW.

The problem with these bushings revolves around the reason one tightens them under real loading. The flex in the front end is dependant on the ability for the inside and outside of the bushing to deflect the amount necessary. This is done in the rubber bushing by flexing. The urethane bushings have no flex so something has to give. Eventually the inner sleeve rotates in the urethane. The bushing guy and a machinist and myself have been pondering the idea of building a joint from two small tapered wheel bearings. Its not a front burner project as I basically see no need for the wheels except cosmetic.

royaiii 02-11-2003 01:59 PM

I had my front control arm bushings changed on my 97 E320 (40k mi) at the dealer and the vibration is still there. I had them do an alignment and have had my tires balanced. I use the stock wheels with Michelin MXV4 215/55/16 tires. My observation is that it makes vibration at constant speeds below 50 mph.

phouse 03-25-2003 11:37 AM

W210 Lower control arm bushing
Can these Bushings be changed at home, Or is there a some special $1300 tool needed.

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