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Common suspension noises and solutions

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C-Class (W203) 2001-2007, C160, C180, C200, C220, C230, C240, C270, C280, C300, C320, C230K, C350, Coupe
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Common suspension noises and solutions

 
Old 01-13-2013, 03:31 AM
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c320
PLEASE before anyone tries to "fix" any of your noise concerns, bring your car to a mechanic to have it checked out. Checking a suspension noise takes between 30minutes to an hour if its a very difficult noise to find.

That being said, "tightening" ANY balljoint on sway bar links will not help solve a problem unless it was recently changed by an amateur who has no idea what he was doing and didnt tighten it enough.
The FAIL PROOF way to test an sway bar link noise is to REMOVE THE SWAY BAR LINKS! Thats right, just remove them all out. Leave the bar in place, perhaps putting some tape around the end so if it moves it doesnt make any noise. This will help quickly isolate whether you have a suspension ball joint making noise, or if its coming from the swaybar+links assembly. Compression arms will make the EXACT same noise as links, so its usually difficult to tell which is broken.

Also, the suspension setup on these cars is NOT your honda's suspension setup where you can just move the wheel updown and side to side. You NEED a prybar, you NEED channel lock pliers and you NEED EXPERIENCE. Otherwise you will buy useless parts and just throw money out of the window.

Save time, money and headaches, get your car to a good and well known mechanic and have it done right the first time (or maybe second, the suspension on this is honestly horrible as far as reliability and diagnostics)

@JOHNSCT
Most likely for these cars, sounds like your compression arm (aluminum control arm with ball joint at the end) is loose. Happens all the time, this type of suspension is notorious for failing every few years depending on the condition of streets.
Could be the shock as well... but that would surprise me.


===
Bonus: sway bar bushings are not always too worn when the bar is loose within them. Often times, the bar itself has "worn" and has become too thin for the bushing. In this case, you can either buy a new bar ($$$$$) or get your mechanic to fix something up for you with some rubber hose. But obviously start with the bushings, they cost like 20$ each.

Last edited by madmdx; 01-13-2013 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:49 PM
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05.C230K.SS
I hear you and I agree. I worked in an auto shop for half a year, and when I started hearing rear suspension noise I took it back to the guy who i worked with. Mind that he is a master technician, certified by aaa, is still part of a funny car team, and takes classes on hybrid tech.

Basically he told me about why you gota know what youre doin when it comes to modding. I aint gona lie when I first started modding, I was young and was all about looks and whatnot and didnt giv a rats about reliability, and all that jazz.

So wit my suspension, he told me its important to install the springs then put the wheels on and let them hang on the bay. Because with any suspension mod, the geometry changes. With shorter springs there is gona be more load right. So to keep the joints and bolts in proportion to the new height, wouldnt it make sense to loosen and retighten them as to adjust to the new height? It puts less stress on the bolts, and therefore reduce the chance of bushings tearing. Yall prob think otherwise but jus my two cents.

I think it makes sense because youd want to keep everything in proportion. Change one thing, adjust the other to compensate. I aint tryna be defensive. Jus tryin to share what advice I got from a 40 year experienced mechanic. No hard feelings yall

Last edited by rocafel1a; 01-13-2013 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:03 PM
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c320
I believe there is some misunderstanding with the terminology which is making things a bit tough to follow.

In my area we dont usually call any suspension component a "joint" other than a ball joint, and even then we say ball joint lol.
I believe what you mean by joint is actually the bushing! In which case you are right about the re-tightening when lowering or installing a new bushing (particularly the ones where the bolt goes through from side to side, not the ones from top/bottom)

The BEST way to do this is on an alignement lift. After installing your component, move the car to the alignement lift, loosen the nut and retighten.
The reason being is that when the car is on the lift, the wheels are hanging low, but the bushing is tightened for that height. So when you lower it, the bushing will twist, which it is made to do, but not THAT much. It is only made to twist a little bit as the suspension works up and down. So thats why on an alignement lift, with the car at the proper ride height, you re-tighten any bushings that are bolted from side to side (example being the rear toe control arm bushing)

Another way to do this, if you dont have an alignement lift, is to simply mesure the distance from the center of the wheel to the top of the wheel fender arc. Then, when the car is lifted, you jack up the wheel to that mesurement, and tighten the bolt/nut for the bushing that way.

Once again, this applies when installing NEW parts, or when changing the ride height of the car only. If youve done neither of these, this wont help. As a mecanic I really try to help out when I hear people asking about these things, because there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings going around (not talking about this website, mostly about things customers say to me lol)


On a side note, squeeks on lowered cars are a general pain in the ***, and while I have yet to work on a lowered w203, I can imagine this to be a nightmare lol. So yes the lubricant spray will help, but dont forget that if you find your tires are wearing out unevenly even if your alignement seems ok, you may still have torn bushings, and in the end the spray might just "mask" the actual problem.

Last edited by madmdx; 01-13-2013 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:55 PM
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05.C230K.SS
Pardon my poor choice of words, which i agree to have caused a bit of confusion, but i couldn't have explained it as well as you did. That's basically what i was tryna say, but i guess that sets a enthusiast apart from a mechanic in you. Propz to you!

With that said, how many of us actually do what you said in your last post? I certainly didn't. im pretty sure most of the guys in the forum didn't know. i mean, its happening to me since i drive 100 miles everyday for work, so the wear and tear obviously shows. if i had known to do it proper, i wouldve actually gone with a coilover setup lol...but budget was the biggest issue for me since i was in college. In the end, you get what you paid for. spending 250 to switch out springs is always more attractive than spending over 1k you know what i mean?

Anyway, I can actually see the bushings begin to tear. and even after greasing the bushings yesterday, i can still hear the squeak/creaking sound today. I think ima go back to stock springs and get some new shocks since i'm at 45k miles.

Any good recommendations for stock shocks and/or ss springs? Trying to avoid stealership at all costs...
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:01 PM
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c320
I have not had to change mine or any customers yet unfortunatly, but I suggest you get the bushings looked at to see if they need changing. They should not be squeaking unless they are bad.
To loosen and retighten is not much of an ordeal, and should only take like a half hour at most to someone who has worked on a merc before (with proper tools)

I believe some online stores like parts.com or http://www.mymercedesparts.com/ sell the actual DEALER parts at ridiculously low prices, something like 60$ per spring. Otherwise, check if you have a local euro parts store (they would usually mostly sell to garages) but if you tell them youre an at-home mechanic they usually will give you a substantial discount.

Otherwise I dont know who manufactures OE shocks, maybe ask around to find out. OEM is always the best, all aftermarket parts are usually junk. When replacing shocks make sure the shock cover/boot is in good condition, otherwise replace that as well.
Shocks are extremely long lasting as long as dirt doesnt get onto the shaft.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:15 PM
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2005 W203 C320
what part brand?

Your opinion? I have a front end vibration & occasional clunk diagnosed to play in the outer tie rods joint, the upper and lower control arm bushings work OK, but show superficial cracks, so I may just replace the entire arms and save hassles with the bushing replacement and get new ball joint, as well as the Sway Bar end link. In looking for replacement parts I don't really see the benefits of MB parts for this, as they seem to wear early anyway 30K.- 50K. miles on average (front end bushings) mine appear to be original as they still have the round bushing bolt at 82K. miles. The brands I am considering in descending price;
MB'z. OE
Lemfoerder OEM
Karlin (?)
Conseco (bushings)

What brand to use?
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:30 PM
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I would not change everything in one go unless i diagnosed that everything is actually broken.
If the only play you have is the tie rod, start with that. Superficial cracks on the bushings mean nothing.

I would go with MB or lemfoerder, pretty much the same thing. Always check both because autoparts overcharge their parts just as much as MB does.

http://www.mymercedesparts.com/parts...iagram=5775245

Thats an example of the front end for 2002, check for your car to be sure, but those prices look amazing to me, compared to canadian prices of 300$+ for a control arm.

Also, the links could be the culprit for the noise as well as the stab bar bushings
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:30 PM
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2002 c240
use original parts

Hey guys, I just left my indy mechanics shop and he said purchase original mercedes parts. I had him diagnose an engine vibration, and he told me its motor mounts. When he said that i got mad because I changed them 25000 miles ago. I purchased my parts from a foreign autoparts store and I thought they were OE parts. He said OE is an general term. He said make sure the are made by MB. I just changed the entire front end(Struts/strut mounts/Upper & Lower control arms) and they were made by Corteco. the Upper Lower control arms said "Made in Taiwan" so we will see how soon I will have to change those. Also, changing the struts were a pain. I had a my indy mechanic reassemble them and he had a hard time too. Make sure you know someone who has a wall mount spring compressor. I am taking it in for an alignment tomorrow to the dealer because my guy doesnt do it. good luck..
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:11 AM
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2005 W203 C320
Originally Posted by madmdx View Post
I would not change everything in one go unless i diagnosed that everything is actually broken.
If the only play you have is the tie rod, start with that. Superficial cracks on the bushings mean nothing.

I would go with MB or lemfoerder, pretty much the same thing. Always check both because autoparts overcharge their parts just as much as MB does.

http://www.mymercedesparts.com/parts...iagram=5775245

Thats an example of the front end for 2002, check for your car to be sure, but those prices look amazing to me, compared to canadian prices of 300$+ for a control arm.

Also, the links could be the culprit for the noise as well as the stab bar bushings
Thank You, for your feedback and sudgestions. I went ahead and replace the outter tie rods ends with (Lemfoerders) and sway bar end links (Febi, as RMeuropean did not have the Lemforders for 2005 W/O sport suspension), that appear to get reid of the occasional clunking sound and highly reduce the vibration. I order the Cortico upper (211 333 11 14) and lower (203 333 09 14) bushings as well, but could not removed the control arms with my universal separator and a couple BFH blows, so instead of returning the bushings or ordering the upper & lower control arms and the Mercedes or after market separator (or equibalent with the 23mm jaw oppening), I decided to order the bushing removal/instalation tool (ebay KTC-20334).
Hopefuly the ball joint are still OK and after the bushings & control arm bolt kit instalation and a MB dealer alingment it will be Up to Specs!. Thank's again.

Last edited by Allrevup; 02-22-2013 at 10:24 AM. Reason: text
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:57 PM
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2004 C230k 6MT; '75 Triumph TR6
slightly worn front wheel bearings will also make a loud clunking sound while going over bumps and is a the same noise as worn ball joints or worn tie rod ends.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:19 PM
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C32/C55 AMG
Every time I reverse I get a loud squeal and only in reverse. I feel like it's coming from the rear brakes. I did the brakes about 5k miles ago and started after I did them. I figured the sound would go away, but I still have it.

When I turn in either direction I get a squeal that sounds like it's missing lubrication.

What do you think it could be?
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:15 AM
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2005 W203 C320
UPDATE

Hello, Replaced the upper and lower control arm bushings (the bushing removal/instalation tool made this a very easy task, it took less then one hour for all four), re-torque all parts to specs on a pair of ramps and had the alignment perform at the dealer, 2 hrs. wait & a car wash $129.95 -15% disc. = $110.46 Unfortunatly now it wonders to the right if I let go off the steering wheel, front tires with 30PSI, rear 32PSI and regardless of the side I drive on a new flat road. Sorry, I could not get good images to post of the chassis test sheet.

left side caster was 10*33' - target 10*02' +/- 0*30' - corrected 10*11'
right 10*12' - 10*03'
toe unpressed 2*02' - 0*10'
pressed total 2*03' - 0*06' +/- 0*06' - 0*08'
left 0*55' - 0*03' +/- 0*03' - 0*04'
right 1*08' - - 0*04'

I am going to call and try to schedule for a follow up.
Attached Thumbnails Common suspension noises and solutions-img_1689.jpg   Common suspension noises and solutions-img_1691.jpg  

Last edited by Allrevup; 03-04-2013 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:56 PM
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SLK 230 1998 Kompressor Bahama Blue totally stock 45k miles
I was told my bushings in rear are hard and cracked but they said they didn't need to be replaced yet. Now I'm hearing a sound from the left rear that sounds exactly like a rusty bed spring. I can push on the left fender and reproduce the noise I also hear it when sitting or getting out of drivers seat.
I work at a mfg plant and fine sand gets in and on everything
Could the sand be causing the noise or do I need to replace the bushing
Yes I could go to the dealer and hope the guy knows what he's doing and or doesn't try to up sell me.
I lost my fav mechanic and haven't found one that loves my car like I do in Portland Oregon
Thanks!!
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:23 PM
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'98 E320, '93 400E, '14 AUDI tt
I have to replace the left rear lower control arm bushing at the wheel hub.....sounds like you do too ! Same noise.
I need a DIY for this job if anybody has done it, on the car, I really don't want to remove the carrier....
And the bushing part number. I can't find it anywhere.
Thanks
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:26 AM
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2003 C230K Coupe Orion Blue
Thank you TruTaing for starting this thread. I had a clunk in my right rear for 9(!) years - finally took my suspension apart and solved this problem! Suspension now is completely silent. WOW.

For me, the problem was where the rear sway bar met the end link. I had tried tightening this particular bolt several times in the past, but only discovered last week that all the rattling/shaking had crushed the threads not soon after the initial install, preventing the nut from being tightened properly. In other words, the nut wouldn't turn any more, but the nut actually wasn't touching the sway bar.

The rattling nut had also chipped off all the paint off the end of the sway bar, but some rust paint solved that problem. $10 at the dealer for a new bolt + nut (Canadian pricing, don't ask) followed by some elbow grease, and I was good to go. Car handles much tighter now too (less understeer) because of the decreased play. I'm running the C32 setup, front and rear.

The sway bar end link bolt is now a 16mm hex, while the original was a E14 external Torx. Same part number.

Last edited by slammer111; 07-16-2013 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:22 AM
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05.C230K.SS
Bump.

Lately, I've been noticing a knocking/scratchy/rattling sound coming from my front end. When either I let go of the brakes and let the car roll slowly, coming to a stop and braking at an intersection, driving over a bump, or turning on an incline/decline, I've been hearing this knocking/scratchy sound from the front left of the car. I'm suspecting my shocks are shot. What do you guys think?

My current suspension setup is: H&R Sport springs with half coil cut in front, no cuts in the rear. Shocks are OEM and i've put about 56k on the car. Springs have been running for about 50k miles.

If say it is time for some new shocks, what would be a better choice to opt for? (1) Going for Koni/Bilstein shocks ($600-$800) to pair with my existing H&R sport springs, or (2) getting something like H&R coilovers ($1000)?

If say I go with coilovers, can anyone tell if I'd need spacers or not? And say I go with shocks instead, would I need spacers? My current setup is: 19 inch MRR GT-1wheels, 235/35 upfront on falken fk452 and 265/30 in back on hankook v12s. no spacers used for my current setup, but barely clears the brakes.

Thanks for your help.

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Old 07-26-2013, 12:56 PM
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Roc, lets stick w/ solving your suspension noises and stay w/ the theme of suspension noises, but my quick comment about fitment w/ IF you go to COs is that it is all dependent upon your front offset. Your rears should be fine, but you'll need a 25-28 offset up front to clear the coilovers w/ your current tires while standard strut + spring combos for our fronts can accommodate around ET 35.

Addressing your front sounds: Shocks could likely be dead, but before you go replacing anything, id take a look at your control arms and end links. The endlinks are notorious for loosening or just failing around the joints in general, while the control arm bushings are very well documented to cracking/failing. Both of those can make the noises you're describing.

Also - when you installed the springs, did you install new strut bearings? (the black bushing that sits on top of the springs).
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:46 PM
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2005 w203 C230
RWD Front Tensile Strut / Aluminum Strut (Thrust)

Hi,

I have a torn ball joint in my Tensile Strut. 2005 C230 RWD w/ 75k miles.
(I don't have a noise yet - so I hope this thread is okay to post in! )

EPC States to "ONLY REPLACE IN PAIRS"
Can anyone chime in as to why? I don't have bad bushings at the subframe.

Looking to replace my OEM strut with A204-330-43-11. Is that a LOADED strut - or do I need to buy a bearing and press that in? I know I will need a ball joint / ball stud nut - MB# N 000 000 00 3281.

Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:15 AM
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2005 c230 Sport Sedan
Torn ball joint? Or ball joint boot?

I haven't seen the boots available anywhere ... or the ball joint for that matter. I assumed you would have to purchase the entire arm.

You can buy the Lemfoerder arms for around $100 ... the one you are referring to should be the left upper control arm, also known as a torque strut. (sorry, never heard it called a tensile strut). And these include the bushings.

I think they recommend replacement in pairs because the rubber bushing relaxes over time, and you don't want uneven stiffness in your front suspension bushings ... could potentially cause stability issues during braking.

However if your problem is just the boot, you could (a) leave it as-is and check it periodically for ball joint wear, or (b) find an aftermarket boot that will approximately fit this ball joint and fit it on.

The reputation of these control arms is that the bushings wear out within a few years or so, but the ball joints last much, much longer. So if your ball joint itself is damaged and the car is 8 years old, I would replace the control arms.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:57 AM
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2005 w203 C230
Thanks for the reply - it matches my logic and corresponds with “Spring Replacement Logic.”

Tensile comes right out of MB service books / WIS / etc. These arms have a lot of names.

Yes the boot tore and the ball joint has corroded and is shot. It moves freely with my hands on the tire (lifted of course) both at 3 and 9 and 12 and 6. All other joints are a-okay.

Time to-
1.) Lower sway bar from mounts – leave end links attached.
2.) Disconnect the steering knuckle from the suspension McPherson strut (strut is fully extended at rest – no concern of over extension)
3.) Pull ball stud / joint
4.) Remove sub frame bolt (turning nut)

Reinstall –
ONLY TURN BOLT IF ON CENTER / DO NOT TURN IF IN ECCENTRIC DETENTS WITH GROOVED BOLT.

(Right Arm at time of this posting is A204 330 44 11
Nuts are N 000 000 00 3281
Sway bar bolts are N 910 105 0080 37)
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:17 AM
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2005 c230 Sport Sedan
The upper arms I believe are aluminum, so I would guess that the ball joint isn't replaceable by itself. You referenced the removal steps for the upper arm. The aftermarket Lemfoerder arms come with a nut so you don't have to buy it separately.

You might consider buying a mounting hardware replacement set for the struts though .. Those bolts are put on pretty tight and you don't want them to snap. Which cascades into --why not just replace the struts now as we'll? And if you replace the struts, also replace the upper strut mount. Sorry .. The fact that you have to unbolt the bottom of the strut kind of forces the issue ... I replaced these all together when I did my car at ~90k.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by TruTaing View Post
Roc, lets stick w/ solving your suspension noises and stay w/ the theme of suspension noises, but my quick comment about fitment w/ IF you go to COs is that it is all dependent upon your front offset. Your rears should be fine, but you'll need a 25-28 offset up front to clear the coilovers w/ your current tires while standard strut + spring combos for our fronts can accommodate around ET 35.

Addressing your front sounds: Shocks could likely be dead, but before you go replacing anything, id take a look at your control arms and end links. The endlinks are notorious for loosening or just failing around the joints in general, while the control arm bushings are very well documented to cracking/failing. Both of those can make the noises you're describing.

Also - when you installed the springs, did you install new strut bearings? (the black bushing that sits on top of the springs).
Thanks for the help Tru. I'll have to bring it in to a shop and take out the wheels off and then go from there. I'll make note of the control arms, end links, and bushings/joints that you mentioned. I already know my bushings have been showing signs of wear for quite some time now, so hopefully it's just that for now. I don't believe I installed new strut bearings when I got the new springs, but I honestly don't remember all that much since it's been so long.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:16 PM
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2001 MB C240 2006 Chevorelt Aveo
Hi, I have this noise coming from the front right end. It sounds like a rubbing/crunching noise. Does anyone have any idea what it could be? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:18 PM
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2005 c230 Sport Sedan
Squirrels eating Cheetos ...?




That's the first thing that came to mind ... but seriously can you give us more info?

e.g. ... From engine bay? speed dependent? Over bumps? Only when turning?
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:50 PM
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2001 MB C240 2006 Chevorelt Aveo
Originally Posted by jkowtko View Post
Squirrels eating Cheetos ...?




That's the first thing that came to mind ... but seriously can you give us more info?


e.g. ... From engine bay? speed dependent? Over bumps? Only when turning?
Lol!! It happens when I go over a bump or turn right, it sounds like its coming from the suspension area... And it's an on and off kinda issue, one day it'll act up and the next day it's completely fine.
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