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M-Class (W164) 2006-2011: ML280CDI, ML320CDI, ML420CDI, ML350, ML500, ML550

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Old 12-05-2007, 11:08 AM   #1
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AirMatic Again

This repair lasted 6,000 miles. I have the malfunction indicator again. At least, it's still under warranty.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:17 AM   #2
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This repair lasted 6,000 miles. I have the malfunction indicator again. At least, it's still under warranty.
What was the problem last time/this time with the airmatic?
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:03 PM   #3
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What was the problem last time/this time with the airmatic?
Compressor; and it appears to be that again. I'll know better tomorrow. Just dropped it off at the dealer (different one than previous!).
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:25 AM   #4
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Dutch, other than the reliability/problems, do you think the performance warrants the high cost of air suspension/adaptive shocks. I have been debating the high cost of the Package 3 that is required to get air/adaptive susp. I am trying to get a sporty ride (for SUV standards), and hoping the air susp.option will help. I have had trouble test driving, as most MB dealers do not stock order pkg 3's. How do you think it helps with sporty handling? Most auto reviews seem to think it helps...
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:02 AM   #5
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Dutch, other than the reliability/problems, do you think the performance warrants the high cost of air suspension/adaptive shocks. I have been debating the high cost of the Package 3 that is required to get air/adaptive susp. I am trying to get a sporty ride (for SUV standards), and hoping the air susp.option will help. I have had trouble test driving, as most MB dealers do not stock order pkg 3's. How do you think it helps with sporty handling? Most auto reviews seem to think it helps...
yes it helps with sporty handling. if you are in the san jose bay area, i'll let you test drive my p3 ml500.
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:41 AM   #6
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Dutch, other than the reliability/problems, do you think the performance warrants the high cost of air suspension/adaptive shocks. I have been debating the high cost of the Package 3 that is required to get air/adaptive susp. I am trying to get a sporty ride (for SUV standards), and hoping the air susp.option will help. I have had trouble test driving, as most MB dealers do not stock order pkg 3's. How do you think it helps with sporty handling? Most auto reviews seem to think it helps...
Yes, the AirMatic is a nice ride. A button push from Regular to Sport to Comfort to Regular is very nice; although, in my experience (25,000 miles so far), the difference between Regular and Sport is not all that much.

Is it worth the price of the P3 Package? Very debatable, imo.

Is it worth the price of the P3 Package and the extra aggravation of having to take it in for repair of the compressor 2X in 25,000 miles? Probably not.

Would I order it again? Not sure, but it's doubtful; although I've been advised by a friend who is senior management at the Vance assembly plant that they do have a new compressor that has not yet made it into the repair parts pipeline. Will this solve the failure problems? To be determined.
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Old 12-10-2007, 12:41 PM   #7
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I had two problems, one was system failure and the other was a leak in the right front line. I think the ride is much better with the Air package. My BIL does not have it and even on the highway it bounces much more.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:30 PM   #8
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This is why is specifically avoided the AirMatic/P3. I had a similar system on my Lexus and it was no end to trouble. I figured that if Lexus couldn't make it reliable, the technology just isn't ready for prime time yet. If you think about the forces (electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical) required to make a such a system work, you should question the reliability. "Active" suspensions have been touted throughout automotive history as the answer to all handling/dynamic problems (think Citroen, Morris, Rover, etc.), but I have never heard of one that didn't suffer from reliability issues. I decided to forgo Airmatic, get H&R springs, and live with a compromise, but a reliable compromise.

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Old 12-10-2007, 08:34 PM   #9
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I decided to forgo Airmatic, get H&R springs, and live with a compromise, but a reliable compromise.

- FD
Great decision to stay away from notorious Airmatic .
Life will be even better without it....
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:11 AM   #10
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I have a contact in the Service Support Department of the Vance assembly plant. He pulled the warranty service reports; and told me that the dealer who did the service at 19,000 miles did not do the repair correctly; and this is the almost certain reason why the compressor failed again after only 6,000 miles.

The TSB states that a new relay and air filter must be replaced along with the compressor. The first servicing dealer did not include the relay and filter.

I guess we'll see how long this one lasts.
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:02 AM   #11
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Airmatic issue

My Airmatic mode switch became intermittent this past week (refused to change modes on a couple drives). My ML350 was due for C Service this week anyhow (33k+ miles), so I took it in yesterday and referenced a service campaign I looked up. Word from the dealer was that the fuse was blown and connector melted. They said my VIN (...018699) was outside the range stated in the campaign, but the compressor was being replaced under warranty. They had to order parts in.

Got the '06 ML back today; I was not expecting it that soon, but they (Rasmussen, Portland) took care of 7 issues very efficiently, most under warranty.

This is the invoice description of the Airmatic repair:

"Client states that the Airmatic switch is not working. At times it does not respond.

Cause: E
541011 short test, perform
2 000000-000696 fuse
1 002-542-11-19 relay
1 164-320-05-04-28 compressor
1 000-540-41-05 cable harness
1 168-545-36-28 pin bushing
2 000-540-41-05 cable harness

541286 fuse-specify location-replace
547943 electrical wiring harness for....(specify) repair
329531 compressor for air suspension, R & R/repl.
542000 relay module for ... (specify), repl.
547943 electrical wiring harness for... (specify), repair

33775 Tech #27/54-1011 0.3/54-1286 0.1/54-7943 1.0 D/A wire harness to compressor and install felt tape to prevent chafing./32-9531
0.8/54-2000 0.2 compressor/54-7943 1.0 repair connector #1 pins 1 & 2//Found Airmatic system does not function. Performed short test, found codes 5503, 5505 and 5508 - referred to DTB #TB32.22/50a dated 01-15-2008 due to all three codes stored as in the DTB. Found 40 amp fuse for compressor defective, replaced fuse. Tried another shor test, found relay can be heard clicking repeatadly as if flickering. Replaced relay. Function checked Airmatic system. Found the system still does not work. Checked the routing of the compressor cable per DTB. Found harness chafing in three different areas from main frame all the way to top edge of right front fender. Unwrapped harness and checked for wire damage per DTB. Found none. Wrapped harness, rerouted to prevent future chafing and installed felt tape to necessary areas. Checked the plug at the compressor, found plug #1 for motor was melted onto compressor. Cut off wire and replaced compressor. Repaired wiring to compressor Conn #1 pins 1 & 2 (brown/blue and gray). Erased DTCs. Function checked Airmatic system. System worked properly again."

So, before your vehicle goes out of warranty, best to have it checked. I'm sure this would be over a $1k repair. Following are potentially relevent technical documents relating to issues with the Airmatic:

2008080001 (8/29/08) Service Campaign: Models 164, 164.8 and 251 (with code 489); Model years 2006-2008; Check air suspension compressor and replace if necessary.
T-B-32.22/50a (1/15/08) Model 251; Airmatic inoperative/"Visit Workshop" displayed in instrument cluster; Revision: New cause and remedy added.
2006060002 (7/13/06) Service Campaign: Model 164 MY2006; Inspect air suspension compressor and replace if necessary (AMK air compressor).

Given I have only one year left on the warranty, I'll be seriously considering and extension, though a previous failure should have an influence on out-of-warranty coverage of this item.
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Last edited by GregW / Oregon; 09-12-2008 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:36 PM   #12
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35K and no airmatic problems
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:24 PM   #13
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Airmatic

28,000 miles for me and no Airmatic problems either. I LOVE Airmatic! Everyone comments on how smooth of a ride my SUV is, an SUV!
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Old 09-13-2008, 06:32 PM   #14
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34000 miles and my Airmatic is thankfully trouble free. Test drove a P2 and a P3, and the ride quality sold me on P3.

From the posts it sounds like the compressors are surging and drawing more amps than the system can handle. Would be nice if they do a recall with permanent fix!!
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:10 AM   #15
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For me the Airmatic is a big plus over the standard suspension. When I was buying my ML 500 I was looking at the usual competitors, and I preferred the ML in most ways but was luke warm on the handling. Then I drove an airmatic ML (the one I eventually bought) on a nicely paved twisty back road in sport mode, and that sealed the deal. My commute is half new pavement and half old potholed pavement, so I switch the suspension setting all the time.

I have 35K miles on my ML and there have been no issues with the Airmatic.

One Airmatic anecdote: When I first bought the car my wife and I went out to dinner with another couple. I had it in sport mode on a poorly surfaced highway, and my wife was trying to put on lipstick and couldn't do it since there was a fair amount of bouncing and jolting going on. I switched it into the comfort mode and you could feel the bumps just melt away. Everyone in the car simultaneously said "oooooh!"
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:18 AM   #16
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I just had an Airmatic Failure. the Air Bag blew out in the raised mode and dropped the front right side. I'm not that far from the dealer, so will limp in on Monday to get it repaired. So add me to the list of Airmatic failures. 2007 ML 500 w 37K.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:57 AM   #17
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I'm not sure why air suspension shouldn't be reliable. Trucks, buses, and motorhomes have used it for years, although theirs is 'airbag-enhanced' rather than 'air-only'. Likewise, adaptive shocks have been used on cars for years now. Once everybody either licenses the technology from GM or finds a way around GM's patents, magneto-rheological shocks will become the norm on up-market vehicles. They provide near-instant shock adjustment with no moving parts.
http://www.lord.com/Home/MagnetoRheo...9/Default.aspx

If you are interested in active suspension technology, check out Bose's system.
http://www.bose.com/controller?event=VIEW_STATIC_PAGE_EVENT&url=/learning/project_sound/suspension_challenge.jsp
Expensive and still in development, but fascinating all the same.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:57 AM
 
 
 
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450, 500, airmatic, e500, failure, front, fuse, gl, location, ml, problem, relay, replace, shocks, trouble



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