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  #1  
Old 07-22-2003, 12:33 AM
hedpe's Avatar
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500E is pulling/steering to the right: revisted, new info

Alright, the 500E still has its pulling and steering to the right problem after 7 months now.

It was in an accident, as some/most of you know, just to give you a little background on where the problem originated

Ever since, depending on the speed, the car will blatently steer to the right. If its 30-mph it will pull after like 100 feet. If its 60+mph it'll start steering 50 feet heavy. It feels like it wants to pull you right off the road.

It's basically been out of my hands for 7 months now as it has bounced back and forth to about 3 different body shops and 4 diff alignment specialists.

I can tell you right now its NOT a frame problem. It's been on 4 different frame machines and the frame is to the milimeter.

As for what else has been replaced, i could post all 4 pages of replacements if needed, but i'll check the sheets as people give off suggestions.

Both struts were replaced in the front. The whole left and right suspension was replaced. As far as that goes, shocks and everything.

It's been on every alignment machine and it meets alignment specs and still pulls, that is what puzzles every mechanic.

I just want to know if anyone with a 500E has had this problem. Or anyone with a W124 for that matter I guess.

Sure you can tell me "once it's in an accident, some things will just never be the same" or "it's probably as good as its going to get" That's not what I want to hear. I'd appreciate people staying away from responses like that. The accident was not my fault and it hurts to hear people say that your car will never be the same...though it might not be

At any rate...

We had a personal friend of the family who was an old mechanic come over and throw his two cents down for free. He gave a good suggestion.

We raised the right side probably a couple centimeters above the lefts level by raising the right sides tire pressure from 40 to 47 (50psi max) and taking air out of the left side tires, 40 down to 37psi. Making a 10psi difference between the left and the right.

With the right side now up slightly higher than it was before, merely centimeters, the pulling nearly depleted completly. It's hard to tell though, some roads are straight some roads slant for water reasons and rain. But 60+mph she wasn't yanking away from me.

I'm running on EVOII wheels with Michillin Pilot Sport A/S 245/45/17 all around.

I've tried rotating the wheels and tires...didn't help.

The right side back end was hit, nearly dead on the corner. I hear the rear suspension on a 500E is adjustable...but doesn't it seem like it would be the front right? I don't want to overlook anything...

Anyways guys, I'd really appreciate any feedback again. Throw suggestions at me, and I can check the papers of whats been replaced and repaired. I just really want to get her back running correctly. Thanks tons for all your help.
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2003, 12:42 AM
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There is nothing wrong with the front end, and sadly, there never was. You've replaced lots of parts for nothing.

Your REAR wheel on the right side is out of alignment. Probably a bent subframe, but even that shouldn't prevent getting the alignment correct. Rears can be adjusted for camber and toe-in, and if they are off, the car will pull rather badly.

Have a proper four wheel alignment done by an MB shop. Have them check the condition off ALL the rear links -- dollar to a doughnut, something ain't right back there. Have them set the front toe with a proper spreader bar, too -- if they don't, it won't be right, and you will have excessive sensitivity to crosswinds.

Peter
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2003, 12:49 AM
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You mean insurance has replaced a lot of parts for nothing

nothings never for nothing

but...the subframe was completely replaced. I'd imagine it was properly replaced. Probably over 15 4-wheel alignments were done between 2 MB dealers.

Thanks for the info on the rear end. I think a lot of places have been concentrating their time and effort in to the front right side of the car. Though I could be wrong, I don't watch them do the work though I do grill them on what was done.

Can anyone else second/backup this info or give more insight on the back end or insight to any of this problem?

thanks tons again fred, EVERY little bit of info helps
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  #4  
Old 07-22-2003, 01:37 AM
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I'd love to know how they did a proper 4-wheel alignment and the car still pulls to the right UNLESS the frame is out of alignment vertically (one corner higher than the other three). Even that ought to be obvious, and I cannot imagine an MB dealer service department releasing a know problem car with the problem still there WITHOUT telling you, or well, with my experience with MB dealer, I can. Take it to a good independent shop, they are sometimes better. A very good body shop with experience in frame straightening might be even better.

Lowering tire pressure on one side in the front having that much effect makes me thing something still isn't correct.

Peter
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  #5  
Old 07-22-2003, 01:47 AM
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I did the tire pressure to both sides on all 4 tires, not just the front right or front in general, but...

Let me give you a general idea of the first MB dealership I delt with. It sat in the shop for 2 weeks. In the two weeks, all they did was rotate the wheels and tires and try to blame it on my getting bigger wheels (the EVOs). When I get the car back from their shop:

I had a dent in my rear quarter panel that was NOT there when it went up there. I complained and they said it must have happened on my ride home so they wouldn't fix it. The 4 brand new wheels had curb rash on them and deep scratches here and there. (disheartening) The idiot didn't pull the brake lane back far enough and my wheel ate it away and i lost my brakes completely at 60mph on the freeway.

I had such a mouthful for them that I just won't get in to here. They deserve to be shot. Not to mention they "inspected" the car before I got it back. I'm not talking about "hey look at the car and make sure everything is cool before i get it back." I'm talking about state inspection. They could loose their license for that.

I can't get in to it...i'll start to want to flip out again. Anyways...back to the current dillema...
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2003, 03:12 AM
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hedpe

You compensated for a pull to the right that increases with speed by increasing tire pressure bias right to left with a difference of 10 PSI .... questions:

-Tire tread depths .... they are similiar on each axel?

-Brake pads: Have you specifically had the pads checked for unusual rapid wear compared to the rest of the brake pads? I am thinking the right-rear brake caliper/pad problem.

-Were all those alignments done on modern electronic alignment racks with the mirrors attached to all four wheels?

-Are any of the wheel sensors (ABS) damaged? When you turn on your ignition switch, do all the lights illuminate? (Prior to starting the engine). It is an old and pathetic trick to disconnect a dash bulb after not being able to repair the reason for the light being illuminated.

-I suspect there are also other odd things happening as well since the accident. Are there other items you have not mentioned? Any?

I am very curious about this, keep us posted,

Haasman
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  #7  
Old 07-22-2003, 12:30 PM
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You mention the suspension components were replaced, does that include the bushings?

You might also want to try the tire pressure test specifically to the front and then to the rear to isolate the problem.

I second the suggestion to find a professional independent alignment shop with the latest equipment to check alignment. The MB shops in my area don't have the latest and greatest equipment and can only do so much when it comes to aligment and wheel balancing. Ask for before and after alignment figures, most good shops will print them out. If you post the numbers I can compare them to mine and let you know if anything is off.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2003, 12:36 PM
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Don't overlook rear problems. Maybe one brake is dragging or the e-brake is sticking. I have a simliar problem. My car seems to pull left slightly with new MXV4 on new dealer rims. The car feels like its going crooked unless I put snows on the rear, then it seems better. With all MXV4+ front & rear the handling is sloppy. When I find out why I'll let you know. Simply rotating the rear tires and front tires around does not seem to change the problem...
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  #9  
Old 07-22-2003, 01:14 PM
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Alright I'm going to try to go through each of these as best as I can...

----------
Tire tread depths .... they are similiar on each axel?
----------
All 4 tires have under 700 miles on them, got them with the new wheels


----------
Brake pads: Have you specifically had the pads checked for unusual rapid wear compared to the rest of the brake pads? I am thinking the right-rear brake caliper/pad problem.
----------
have not specifically asked for the pads to be checked, they were replaced after the accident. Anythings a possibility at this point. The only thing is, to check for a break problem, I don't know if this does it. But with the pulling, if its pulling, and i hit the break, it does not pull harder. I don't want to say it stops pulling when I hit the breaks, but, it lessens. I could be wrong though, I havn't gotten to drive it for a month because its been in the shops. I will take it out again today and give you a for sure what happens when I hit the brakes.

----------
Were all those alignments done on modern electronic alignment racks with the mirrors attached to all four wheels?
----------
In the most recent shop it was at, it was done on a new alignment rack.

----------
Are any of the wheel sensors (ABS) damaged? When you turn on your ignition switch, do all the lights illuminate? (Prior to starting the engine). It is an old and pathetic trick to disconnect a dash bulb after not being able to repair the reason for the light being illuminated.
----------
Just ran downstairs to check, all of the lights come on.

----------
I suspect there are also other odd things happening as well since the accident. Are there other items you have not mentioned?
----------
There really aren't any more problems other than a leaking front seal on the tranny. It had a bunch of other problems like engine mounts and subframe. But a lot was replaced. The only remaining problems is the tranny leak and a squeeking coming from my left front side. The only thing is this problem just started from getting it back from the shop two days ago. I had the car for 2 weeks before it went up to that shop and it never squeeked. It sounds like rubber is hitting metal or metal is scraping, like something loose. I don't think it's related to the pull, as it didn't do it for the 6 months while it was pulling, and just came up now. If anyone has any suggestions on that one It's squeeking around the front left fender area. It's not a break squeel, it doesn't do it when i hit the brakes, it does it when i hit a bump. It's a quick, 1/4 second, loud squeek.

-------
You mention the suspension components were replaced, does that include the bushings?
------
Here is what I have on my repairs/replacement sheet as far as suspension:
Subframe
Mount/Bushing to Sub frame Sleves
LT Knuckle
LT Thrust arm
LT Front arm, strut upper (is this the whole front left strut?)
LT Control arm
LT Tie rod assy
LT Camber kit hardware kit
LT Lower cover
LT Control arm bushing kit
LT Lateral rod hardware kit
LT Thrust arm hardware kit
LT Lateral rod
LT Link to control arm
LT Torsion bar bracket
LT Outer boot
CV Clamp
Flange Gasket
O/H frt susp lt
LT suspensions assy for Wheelho...
LT Knuckle 500E
LT Lower cntrl arm 500E
Lt Steering arm 500E
Lt Joint cam bolt screw
Check and Measure Rear Suspension
LT Tie rod assy (again?)

and since this insurance supplement report, I was told the right side strut was replaced, I'm going to get a new supplement faxed to me...but that's everything on the report that I saw that deals with suspension.

I will also try isolating the problem by switching the tire pressure from front to back one at a time.

You guys don't know how much I appreciate this, thanks.
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  #10  
Old 07-22-2003, 01:32 PM
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Down home we've got some excellent custom alignment shops where people go when they've had their car lifted or lowered or put special wheels on the car. These people claim to straighten anything and they can. They use "older than time" Hunter Lite-A-Line machine that uses light beams. No computers. They are able to fix problem case cars that the dealers don't have a clue about. High tech equipment is not necessary to solve your problem. Understanding of alignment and geometry is necessary. I'd try to find one of those guys. They may offer additional insight.

HTH,
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  #11  
Old 07-22-2003, 03:46 PM
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Hedpe, in reading your posts, I'm starting to get the uncomfortable feeling that you've been ripped off by some shops.

Over the years, and after some unfortunate experiences with dealers, etc., I've adopted the following policy: Nobody touches my car without me being there and watching.

I've had a few shops that wanted me to wait in the customer service area. I've said no. It's my car, and my life and the lives of my loved ones depend upon it's condition. I tell them I'd be happy to sign a waiver (insurance), if they'd like, and if that won't work, I'll go someplace else. Most relent, and I watch. When they don't relent, I walk out and breathe a sigh of relief. Bad experiences have led me to conclude that if they don't want me watching, they're either bad mechanics or are up to no good.

Now then, I'd go back to the four-wheel alignment suggestion. And while the car is on the hoist, and while you're watching, have the alignment guy check to make sure all of the parts that were supposed to be replaced were, in fact, replaced. And if some weren't, then that may indicate the problem area.

There is a logical explanation, so hang in there. You just have to connect with a smart and honest mechanic.
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  #12  
Old 07-22-2003, 03:56 PM
Benz300
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hedpe,
were the same tires on the car before you had all that major body work done to your car ? this way atleast we can eliminate the possiblity of the tires being the factor.
more over i've had to go to 3 different dealers and about 4 other shops and alteast 2 visits each to finally have the alignment right on my 300E so it comes of no surprise that the shops probably haven't done their job right. find out a reputable private shop who does alignments. Even if that's not the case, just go back to the last place you got the alignment done and have them give you a print out of the alighnment with before/after readings. and post it here in the forum. I've seen the pros here give great advice after taking a peek at those readings.
I can tell from experience that bad alignment totally ruins the fun of driving and I can't stand having to pull the car back on track constantly. either the tires or the alignment. so worry not ! it's just a matter of which tech can get it done 'right'!
good luck !
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  #13  
Old 07-22-2003, 04:04 PM
hedpe's Avatar
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there are many bad shops out there, unfortunately i experienced one that could have put me in another accident. It's just that when the car is in the shop for 2 months, you can't sit there and watch everything after an accident. I guess I just have to try and find this problem.

There were different tires on the car when the body work was done. There were Pirelli 245/50/16's on during the body work. I don't believe it was alligned until the new wheels and tires were put on the car because 2 of the wheels were badly cracked, but good enough to get it around in the shop while it was worked on.

I'm going to call the shop now and ask them to fax over the alignment readings from the last alignment done. Hopefully they have some kind of files there.
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  #14  
Old 07-22-2003, 04:28 PM
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The guy at the shop is backed up helping someone right now, he's going to fax over all the paper work by the end of the day, if not tomorrow morning.

keep the suggestions coming guys
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  #15  
Old 07-22-2003, 04:36 PM
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i once got a new set of tires that the moment i had them mounted and installed caused the car to pull to one side. i asked the tire shop to re-check everything since nothing had been changed aside from the tires and the car never pulled to the side before. i got it back and the problem seemed to have disappeared. during a routine check i discovered that they had pumped up the tires on one side to counteract the pulling! i lived with it for a while until i finally traded the car in not too long afterward. it was definitely the tires and had i insisted i might have gotten them replaced as defects...
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