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Old 05-16-2013, 09:18 AM   #1
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Vibration problem with a new GL550

I was wondering if any new owners of the GL550 have experienced the same issues.

Since I got the GL550 two months ago, it had a vibration at speeds above 40mph. Multiple tire balancings and road-force tests could not resolve it. They even put 5 new tires (yes 5, because they first put 4 new ones and subsequently changed one of these with another new tire) improved things a little, but the vibration is still there. The technicians are now trying to convince me that this is "normal" for these huge 21'' AMG wheels, but I refuse to accept that a $95k car should have a vibration, especially a Mercedes Benz.

To prove to myself that I am not going crazy, I had several of my friends testdrive my car and they all said they feel the vibration. I also went and test-drove a brand-new GL550 (wasting the poor salesperson's time) just to check if all GL550s have this problem. That car also had a similar, but less pronounced vibration.

Another issue is a strange "scratching" feeling in the steering wheel when the car is moving, especially noticed at slow speeds (below 40mph), as if something is scraping against the wheels or in the steering column. It is there when the car is in neutral, so it is not the transmission. It is not a brake pad that is clamping, because the car does not pull on either side. Again, my friends who testdrove the car felt it too... Maybe this scraping has something to do with the vibration as tires are perfectly balanced.

How are other owners of GL550 feeling their ride? I have the wood steering wheel which is probably more sensitive.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:08 AM   #2
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I have a 450 - I've had the service guys look into what you describe as the scratching feeling with no acknowledgement it is there. It's very slight but annoying. I've been meaning to test drive another one to check it.

To me it's either a function of the electronic steering, but feels more like a muted brake catching (warped rotor).

Glad I'm not crazy.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by todorcho View Post
I was wondering if any new owners of the GL550 have experienced the same issues.

Since I got the GL550 two months ago, it had a vibration at speeds above 40mph. Multiple tire balancings and road-force tests could not resolve it. They even put 5 new tires (yes 5, because they first put 4 new ones and subsequently changed one of these with another new tire) improved things a little, but the vibration is still there. The technicians are now trying to convince me that this is "normal" for these huge 21'' AMG wheels, but I refuse to accept that a $95k car should have a vibration, especially a Mercedes Benz.

To prove to myself that I am not going crazy, I had several of my friends testdrive my car and they all said they feel the vibration. I also went and test-drove a brand-new GL550 (wasting the poor salesperson's time) just to check if all GL550s have this problem. That car also had a similar, but less pronounced vibration.

Another issue is a strange "scratching" feeling in the steering wheel when the car is moving, especially noticed at slow speeds (below 40mph), as if something is scraping against the wheels or in the steering column. It is there when the car is in neutral, so it is not the transmission. It is not a brake pad that is clamping, because the car does not pull on either side. Again, my friends who testdrove the car felt it too... Maybe this scraping has something to do with the vibration as tires are perfectly balanced.

How are other owners of GL550 feeling their ride? I have the wood steering wheel which is probably more sensitive.


Is this a "heard" vibration or just one that you "feel"? If it is felt, do you "feel" the vibration in the steering wheel or are you sensing this in the whole vehicle?
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
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todorcho: For what its worth, I have 700+ miles on my GL550 and have not noticed any of the issues you are experiencing. In fact, my 550 is as smooth as silk on the road.

I will post an update if anything changes.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:28 PM   #5
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Oh, the vibration is in the whole vehicle -- in the seat or in the side console when you lean your knee against it... The passengers also feel it.

For the scratching sound in the steering wheel, it makes sense that it might be related to the electronic-dynamic steering system. It is not the breaking systme, because the car would steer to that side if a warped rotor is catching on the calipers, right?
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:41 PM   #6
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A 6000 pound truck will not steer into a dragging caliper unless it is dragging so hard that smoke and smell is evident.

However, my guess is more trivial. The hunter dsp balancer at the dealer is bad and you need to take your truck to another outfit with the same machine. In other words- your tires are not balanced and your dealer's machine is bad.

It is also very possible that you have a runout rim that will balance (road force arm does not press down with the same force the truck does), so when on the machine it will balance, but when on truck it will wiggle and vibrate and also cause the scratching feel. Have them check runout of wheels and swap the one with the most run out. Of you are feeling it in the steering it is a front and you can tell which one it is by slowly driving on good asphalt next to a concrete barrier (to better reflect sound) on the left and on the right and listen on which side you will hear it outside (you will). Alternatively you can just drive on nice asphalt at low speeds and turn slightly to the right and listen- then run slightly to the left and listen again. If the scratching feel is stronger when turning right - it is your left front and vice versa.

Another possibility is that you have a bad wheel bearing and that is how you get the scratching feel as well as the vibration.

Lastly if tires are balanced properly what you might have is a bent brake rotor or driveshaft with fallen balancing weights.

And Ofcourse alignment. But unless you hit something it is unlikely that it will be off after such a short period of time.

Let us know. It could be many things.

Btw, todorcho sounds very... Bulgarian

Last edited by alx; 05-16-2013 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:17 PM   #7
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I have been having this problem at exactly 65 mph for the last 6 months after putting on new tires. Have balanced, aligned, and they still can't find the problem. It's back in again for another whole week to try to resolve.Very frustrating! Everyone feels it, but especially in the steering wheel. It's as if they want me to know I'm at 65 it's so obvious!
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:53 AM   #8
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Thank you, guys. Time to print out your suggestions and go to a different dealer! These guys not only could not solve my problem, but they even put a scratch on my door...

I will report back if we have a resolution with these issues.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:47 AM   #9
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Im experiencing the exact same problems with my European model GL 350 Bluetech with AMG package = same setup as the GL550 in the US, except the engine...

Just contacted the local dealer here in Sweden. Will be back, hopefully shortly, with their answer.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:03 AM   #10
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similar vibration at 65-70 only with braking- same felt at speed of 30mph.
occasional vibration at 40-50, but i think thats the particular road i use..
otherwise smooth- already spoke with my dealer- will have them change brakes and rotors soon. will also have them do balancing and rotation.
i'm wondering if it could be the tires- my pirellis are very smooth but the vibrations under braking i think is warped rotors (known issue- heck i can feel the back rotors are not even)
but regular driving- may be tires?
good luck..

looks like this vibration issue is very common- feel it more as you drive more miles..

i'm at 8K +.. didnt feel much prior due to snow and bad road conditions either .. lets see whats done about this..
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by todorcho View Post
I was wondering if any new owners of the GL550 have experienced the same issues.

Since I got the GL550 two months ago, it had a vibration at speeds above 40mph. Multiple tire balancings and road-force tests could not resolve it. They even put 5 new tires (yes 5, because they first put 4 new ones and subsequently changed one of these with another new tire) improved things a little, but the vibration is still there. The technicians are now trying to convince me that this is "normal" for these huge 21'' AMG wheels, but I refuse to accept that a $95k car should have a vibration, especially a Mercedes Benz.

To prove to myself that I am not going crazy, I had several of my friends testdrive my car and they all said they feel the vibration. I also went and test-drove a brand-new GL550 (wasting the poor salesperson's time) just to check if all GL550s have this problem. That car also had a similar, but less pronounced vibration.

Another issue is a strange "scratching" feeling in the steering wheel when the car is moving, especially noticed at slow speeds (below 40mph), as if something is scraping against the wheels or in the steering column. It is there when the car is in neutral, so it is not the transmission. It is not a brake pad that is clamping, because the car does not pull on either side. Again, my friends who testdrove the car felt it too... Maybe this scraping has something to do with the vibration as tires are perfectly balanced.

How are other owners of GL550 feeling their ride? I have the wood steering wheel which is probably more sensitive.
I have a 2013 GL 450 with 20 tires with the same problem . It has been to shop over 20 days , they also have changed 6 Tires , also changed with different brand. Constant break problem , AC problem, Pre safe collusion problem I contacted Customer No Service at MB for the final repair attempt and they declined it . obtain an attorney to file a lemon law
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:49 AM   #12
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I stayed with the 19in wheels and would go to 18 if that had been an option..... the larger the wheel = the lower the profile and the greater probability there will be "ride" issues; does not matter the make, model or price of the vehicle.....it is a sacrifice made for "looks"....just as more power and performance will sacrifice economy. When you buy one side of the equation, you always get a bit of the other. That being said.....larger wheels are not an excuse for brake issues.
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:26 PM   #13
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Hope mine has no issue. Fingers crossed....
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
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Hope mine has no issue. Fingers crossed....
don't worry ! Your times will come too!
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:52 PM   #15
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similar vibration at 65-70 only with braking- same felt at speed of 30mph.
occasional vibration at 40-50, but i think thats the particular road i use..
otherwise smooth- already spoke with my dealer- will have them change brakes and rotors soon. will also have them do balancing and rotation.
i'm wondering if it could be the tires- my pirellis are very smooth but the vibrations under braking i think is warped rotors (known issue- heck i can feel the back rotors are not even)
but regular driving- may be tires?
good luck..

looks like this vibration issue is very common- feel it more as you drive more miles..

i'm at 8K +.. didnt feel much prior due to snow and bad road conditions either .. lets see whats done about this..
keep document it with dealer as this is a major issue !
Good luck
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:12 AM   #16
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i agree with blittle. i have an 09 gl550 which uses the same tire size as the currrent model. after reading the Motor Trend SUV of the year write up, i ordered my wife's ML with 19 inch tires. The 19 ride and handle so much better than the 21"s. The quote in Motor Trend regarding the 21's is "Ride is overcaffeinated: jittery and skittish" When i replace the GL is suspect that i will order an ML550 because i can order it with 19's.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:58 AM   #17
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I have seen "some" issue with micro-cracks in "some" GL550 wheels - kindof a pain to identify - very little air pressure loss even over time - but when individual wheel is identified - the micro cracks are identifiable with intensive inspection - in the body of the rim.. wierd sh*t..

I assume that dealers have run thru correct/varied road tire pressure on GL550, with highway runs with the woner to confirm best handling feeling for that owners.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:34 PM   #18
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i agree with blittle. i have an 09 gl550 which uses the same tire size as the currrent model. after reading the Motor Trend SUV of the year write up, i ordered my wife's ML with 19 inch tires. The 19 ride and handle so much better than the 21"s. The quote in Motor Trend regarding the 21's is "Ride is overcaffeinated: jittery and skittish" When i replace the GL is suspect that i will order an ML550 because i can order it with 19's.
Again....it's all in what you want! Tire dynamics have an interesting story.... the larger the wheel AND the lower the profile WILL mean handling and ride issues...PLUS, you throw in the width of the tire/wheel and you amplify the above issues as you increase the width. All of those issues combined will defitinitely produce the "jittery and skittish" that Motor Trend was talking about. I can show you a 1917 Pierce Arrow with 36in wheels, very narrow tires, and a higher profile than most 21's out there, and that vehicle will ride as well or better ( but not at high speed of course ) than the vehicles equipped with 21in low, wide tires today! The 17 Pierce will also cut through the snow ( 2 wheel rear drive ) better than most 4wd with the wide tires will today. I rejected the "appearance package" for my 2013 GL450 BECAUSE it included the larger wheels/tires and I do a lot of winter/snow driving. Tires DO mean a lot to the way our cars behave..... sadly, most of us do not take the time to analyze that and then we are the victims of "fashion advertising!" Please excuse my rant.....
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:41 PM   #19
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Again....it's all in what you want! Tire dynamics have an interesting story.... the larger the wheel AND the lower the profile WILL mean handling and ride issues...

I hear ya man. Hopefully this trend will end someday and we can get back to practical/logical tire sizes. You don't see F1/Indy/Nascar with these ridiculous low profile tire/wheel sizes, the're about 13"-15". Must be something to it.

Last edited by vertrkr; 06-18-2013 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:11 PM   #20
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my 2013 GL550 has this same problem..Been back to dealer twice with all 4 rebalanced and they say it is normal..it seems like when tire is cold it vibrates but after warming up it gets a lot better. I also feel it in the whole truck..

Bob
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:01 PM   #21
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I felt it today. Initially I thought it was uneven road but I feel it most around the side bolsters as noted above. I don't think it's the front wheels as there is no vibration in the steering. I felt similar vibration on misbalanced rear wheels in the past.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:19 AM   #22
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Back with solution...
After good service from local dealer in Sweden, they almost solved the problem.
Some special balancing machine that also turn the weel on the rim made the vibration almost go away. I feel it for a minute or so at about 100 km/h when the tires are cold. I guess I have to live with that. Afterall its 21 inch rims...
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:40 PM   #23
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I hope this low profile tire trend from the OEM is short lived. If someone wants to go crazy in the after market, that's fine. But, tires and wheels should be purposely focused on what is best for the ride across a wide range of weather conditions as well as the safety of inhabitants. Wheels should be sized to allow for good snow tire options even in areas that are devoid of snow. Maybe it is not fashionable, but it is sensible. I have the 19" wheels and could not be happier with the ride and how well those tall tires protect my rims.
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #24
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this seems to be happening a lot on the new GL, and now a 450 owner with 20's has chimed in.

i don't know if previous X164 550 owners had the same issue, but those were 21's also. i had an 08 Cayenne GTS with 21's and even wider tires and never experienced any brake or vibration issues in the 3 years and 30,000 miles i had it. the brakes and rotors were the same as put on by the manufacturer from 0-30,000 mi. i was due for new pads and rotors probably when i turned it in, but there was never any hint of braking vibration.

so i think MB needs to step up its game and figure this out. defective rotors seem to be a recurring problem. i'm at 1500 mi and haven't noticed anything yet.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:29 PM   #25
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I hope this low profile tire trend from the OEM is short lived. If someone wants to go crazy in the after market, that's fine. But, tires and wheels should be purposely focused on what is best for the ride across a wide range of weather conditions as well as the safety of inhabitants. Wheels should be sized to allow for good snow tire options even in areas that are devoid of snow. Maybe it is not fashionable, but it is sensible. I have the 19" wheels and could not be happier with the ride and how well those tall tires protect my rims.

Well said!
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:29 PM
 
 
 
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