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GL Class (X164) 2007-Present: GL320CDI, GL420CDI, GL450, GL550

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Old 05-02-2011, 01:17 AM   #1
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Front end clunk noise.... always something

Need some help. '11 GL350 at around 6,000 miles.....When pulling out of a driveway, in reverse and while turning the steering wheel, there is a loud clunking noise from the front end. I hear the same noise in drive at slow speeds while the steering wheel is being turned. This doesn't happen all of the time and it's very hard to duplicate but when it happens, it's very loud and startling.
I took it into the dealer and the service guy told me that they couldn't hear the noise; like I've said, it's difficult to duplicate. Just when I thought this GL is a reliable vehicle, this happens. Anyone have any idea what's going on hear?
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Last edited by luv2sleep; 05-03-2011 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:31 AM   #2
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If its 4matic then its possibly whatever they use for a transfer case. Have had two different model 2011's that did it early on but went away after a few hundred miles and i believed it to be the viscous coupling in the tcase.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:05 AM   #3
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On my 2007 GL450 the front suspension clunking noise was corrected by replacing the left and right sway bar end links (link rods).
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:26 PM   #4
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I had the same noise on my '09 and the dealer ended up replacing both front bushings. HTH.
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:38 PM   #5
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Same problem with my '10 Gl350. Dealer replaced lots of parts on the right side and it finally went away. Then the left side started making noise. Now I have a '11 GL350. 11 miles on the odo, backing out of my driveway and "clunk". Crap.

I'll let it go for a while and have them address it the next time I am in there.
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Old 05-02-2011, 03:28 PM   #6
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I would be considering loading up the S/A and a technician to bring home and hit the driveway until it happens for them.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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My '11 had 'the clunk', they changed the bushings, and eventually the control arms...it never did get rid of the clunk. I got used to it, to a certain extent, but let me tell you, it's nice to not have the clunk coming in and out of my driveway in my new vehicle.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:35 PM   #8
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I have a 2008 with 33,000 miles. never had a clunk.
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:26 AM   #9
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Our '09 GL450 made a similar noise but only happened going over bumps. The dealer replaced the A-arms(?) then I got rid of it. I thought the '11 GL350 would be trouble free... what was I thinking??? I already told my wife that this will be her last MB. It's always something with MB, atleast for us-5 for 5. When the warranty is up, out it will go from my garage!
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:07 AM   #10
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Have your dealer check the bushings on the sway bar of the car. My brand new E-Class started developing a weird groaning noise when the temperatures were cold and I went over bumps. At first I throught it was one of my shocks and had the dealer replace it for me. The noise still persisted. Later it turned out to be one of the bushings (the rubber pieces) at the end of the sway bar. MB vulcanizes the rubber to the metal to make it stronger but the downside is when the bushings go bad/get worn out the entire sway bar needs to be replaced not just the bushings. If it is indeed a sway bar issue the fix is very simple and quick (take out the old bar and install the new one). If it is not a sway bar issue ask your SA to check the top of the front wheel struts because bearings in those are notorious to go bad. If none of the suggestions pan out ask them to attach a "chasis ear" to the car and that will definately tell them where the noise is coming from.
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:00 AM   #11
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it happened to my 2011 GL450, but it went away after the first 300 miles
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:41 AM   #12
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Got 11' GL350 with 9k mikes and have the same click coming from driver side. It does not happen all the time and the dealer told me that they could not find nothing wrong in the front suspention but im almost do for my 10k service i will tell him again that the noise did never go away to have it checked again...
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:58 PM   #13
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Our '09 GL450 had this problem too, especially when going over speed bumbs. The dealer replaced the A-arms. The noise was less frequent after the "fix" but it could still be heard; sold the GL450 after only 14 months of ownership.
The first time I took in our '11 GL350 to the dealer, they told me that they could not duplicate the problem. I was so angry, I notified MB USA. This got the dealer's attention and I received a call from the service manager. I decided to go to another dealer, as there are multiple MB dealers in SoCal. They replaced the front right steering knuckle. Same thing..... the noise was less frequent but still there. I don't think it's a safety issue IMO. I don't appreciate paying 70 grand for a vehicle, then spend my time off at the dealership trying to get things fixed!
My solution: got rid of the GL350 and replaced it with a '11 Infiniti QX56. Problem solved! We are so much happier with the QX, though I do miss the gas mileage of the GL350, but that's all I miss.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:26 PM   #14
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I had the same "clunk" coming from my 550's front end while backing-up out of my driveway, and turning the steering wheel. It would also occur while going over speed bumps, or when making tight turns going up and down the mountain to my house.

After taking it into the dealer and going through a couple of test drives with the mechanics, they were able to determine the cause was the Air struts. They ended up replacing both of the front Air struts, and the problem no longer occurs.
In my garage: '08 GL550 & '08 S550
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:31 AM   #15
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I have the same issue with our 2010 GL350 and had the dealer look at it last year. I believe they only adjusted and lubricated some parts because they couldn't duplicate it. It doesn't seem to happen as much as before but it's still there.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:18 PM   #16
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mine clunks over speed bumps (a single heavy "clunk") when going slowly over.

dealer could reproduce, replaced half the truck (lower, upper control arms, sway bar (complete assembly), 2 sets of shocks... all other bushings... nothing seem to take care of it.

at the end they made a sound recording and send it to headquarters.

being technical, i am aware this is not a safety issue so i did not press it. i consider the clunk part of the character of the truck and i am living with it.
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:50 PM   #17
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here we go again...

So the "clunking" has been gone ever since the dealer replaced the air struts, but within the last month, an awfully loud creaking noise from the front end has now developed whenever I go over a bump. I took the vehicle into the dealer to have it looked at and just found that my warranty is up (only 44K miles, but the time is up, I guess should've brought it in last month). Worst part is I bought an extended warranty at the time of purchase, which I thought was an MB factory extended warranty, but just came to find out that it's the Total Protection Plan from Protective.

Watch out for this warranty, they will not replace anything until it's totally broken, even if there's a TSB out about the issue, and they will haggle with your dealer over everything.

My SA told me about a recent (7/2011) TSB detailing the creaking issues and a fix which is a two step process. Step one is replacing the bushings and the upper control arms ($865 P&L) and if the problem still exists, step two is replacing the lower control arms ($1740 P&L). Since there's nothing mechanically "Broken", the after market warranty won't cover it, so I have to drive it until it gets to be metal on metal.

I don't know about the other '08 GL owners out there, but after Looking through all of my records, I found that I've had the car in 13 times in the last 4 years for various issues ranging from cam sensors (twice) and battery drains to suspension work. It's also left me stranded once due to a broken fuel pump. Now that my factory warranty is up I'm sweating bullets about the fees I'll rack up with this car. BTW, I bought an '08 S550 the same day I bought this car, and it hasn't been in the shop for a single problem, only regular service.
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:57 PM   #18
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Thanks for the update and sorry to hear so many problems with your GL.

So I had wife's GL350 at the dealer in September for service C. Complained about the same issue again and they were able to locate the issue this time. They had me waited for two weeks for the parts and asked me to bring the car in again. They replaced the spindles 164-330-24-20-39 and 164-330-23-20-39 and a few nuts. I was told these are revised version from the original design.

I heard a couple clunks in the first few days after I got the car back. But then I haven't heard it again till now (40 days).

PS: Just found a TSB through a website introduced by another thread here.


Last edited by fs1013; 11-11-2011 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 11-10-2011, 11:57 PM

backing, bushing, class, clunck, clunk, clunking, end, ends, front, jetta, loud, noise, org, steering, taking

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