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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 08-17-2010, 12:35 AM
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Exclamation Common suspension noises and solutions

I'm creating this thread because I see threads created on a weekly basis discussing the same kind of stuff over and over. I have gone through nearly every single noise (squeak or clunk) imaginable that can originate from the suspension. Im hoping this thread can be a collection of all of our best knowledge and become the place members can look for any sort of noise that may occur while owning a w203. Additionally, I am hoping to provide the most (cost) efficient means of pinpointing and resolving unwanted suspension noises.

I highly suggest purchasing a silicone based water resistant lubricant a spray and a grease - all suspension parts will have metal on rubber contact/friction and these types of lubricant last a LONG time and will not corrode your bushings.

Much of this stuff is straight forward to long time members, but hopefully this thread will help out our new members.

Front:

Common suspension noises and solutions-strutspringmount.gif

Common suspension noises and solutions-hubstubcastorcamberarms.gif

Common suspension noises and solutions-torsionbarfront.gif

Clunks:

1: Sway bar end links (50). This is the most common cause of clunks on the front suspension. The end link nuts may come loose and need periodic tightening.

2: Front Lower control arms (140). Take a look at the control arms and if they are leaking fluids - the bushings are worn and must be replaced. If you can find a hydraulic press, you can replace just the bushing, but most places will recommend replacing the entire arm because it can be purchased w/ the bushing in place.

3 (Aftermarket) (50): Adjustable sway bar end links. If your car is lowered (alot) and you have adjustable end links, you could potentially have your end links adjusted to be too long. The result is your long end link will knock with one of your lower arms. Not good. Shorten the arm or raise the car.

Squeaks:

1: Sway bar end link bushings (50). Spray with lubricant and go for a test drive. If the sound goes away, then you should replace the sway bar end links.

2: Sway bar bushings (20). Like all other bushings, these can get old and make noises. Apply lubricant liberally. Removing the brackets to get to the bushings is sort of a pain - there are very long bolts holding the brackets in place.

3: Strut bearings (115). This most commonly occurs when people have installed their suspension wrong after installing new parts. It has to be properly positioned in the strut tower otherwise it will make noises when turning and during driving. Additionally, this piece is known to wear down over time and compromise handling. Its a good item to replace and check if your car has noises from the front, but possibly the most difficult to deal with because it requires removing the entire strut/spring assembly.

Rear:

Common suspension noises and solutions-rearspringshock.gif

Common suspension noises and solutions-rearaxlesuspension1.gif

Common suspension noises and solutions-reartorsionbar.gif

Common suspension noises and solutions-rearaxlesuspension2.gif

Clunks (not many clunk issues from the rear):

1: Sway bar bushing brackets (50/60). Need to be tightened - happens all the time to people installing new hardware.

2: Sway bar end link (70). Needs to be tightened - happens all the time to people installing new hardware.

Squeaks:

1: Sway bar bushings (20). These bushings are pretty well exposed to the elements under the car and can often wear down and need lubricating or replacing.

2: Sway bar end links (70). These endlinks have two ball joints in them when are notorious for failing and causing all sorts of noises and should be replaced. Replacing the arm requires a special 12 sided tool.

3 (aftermarket) Adjustable camber arms (470) - These arms are exposed to the elements and have two metal ball joints. Most arms come w/ a certain amount of lubricant on the arms - I suggest putting on tons. You WILL have to eventually reapply depending on the weather your car sees.

4: Lower control arm bushings (70/80) - These get old and could use replacing. This is the most difficult and time consuming rear suspension squeak to fix. Spraying w/ a lubricant does not work well to test it, so replace these as a last effort to eliminating your rear suspension squeak. If you have a hydraulic press you can replace just the arm, but there is another bushing that attaches to the rear wheel hubs that should also be replaced at this time. Just replace the whole arm for simplicity sake.

5 (not really suspension but too common): Rear lug bolts are too long. When installing new wheels (OR the spare tire), be sure to use the proper length for your lug bolts. Compare the length of your new wheels and lugs with your stock wheels and lugs. They should both come out the back side of the wheels roughly the same length. If you installed bolts that are too long, you will hear lots of noise and probably lose the functionality of your parking brake. You will have to have the parking brake mechanism replaced.

Hope this helps consolidate all of these topics into one giant thread.

Thanks to glyn for providing the images.


Last edited by Glyn M Ruck; 12-21-2014 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:00 AM
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of course this needs a sticky! always helpful as usual
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TruTaing View Post
Clunks:

1: Sway bar end links (50). This is the most common cause of clunks on the front suspension. The end link nuts may come loose and need periodic tightening.

2: Front Lower control arms (140). Take a look at the control arms and if they are leaking fluids - the bushings are worn and must be replaced. If you can find a hydraulic press, you can replace just the bushing, but most places will recommend replacing the entire arm because it can be purchased w/ the bushing in place.

3 (Aftermarket) (50): Adjustable sway bar end links. If your car is lowered (alot) and you have adjustable end links, you could potentially have your end links adjusted to be too long. The result is your long end link will knock with one of your lower arms. Not good. Shorten the arm or raise the car.

Squeaks:

1: Sway bar end link bushings (50). Spray with lubricant and go for a test drive. If the sound goes away, then you should replace the sway bar end links.

2: Sway bar bushings (20). Like all other bushings, these can get old and make noises. Apply lubricant liberally. Removing the brackets to get to the bushings is sort of a pain - there are very long bolts holding the brackets in place.

3: Strut bearings (115). This most commonly occurs when people have installed their suspension wrong after installing new parts. It has to be properly positioned in the strut tower otherwise it will make noises when turning and during driving. Additionally, this piece is known to wear down over time and compromise handling. Its a good item to replace and check if your car has noises from the front, but possibly the most difficult to deal with because it requires removing the entire strut/spring assembly.
I actually had a front end clunk due to worn sway bar bushings (20). They were so worn (after only 60k) that the bar actually rattled within the bushing. I replaced AND lubed and alls well.

Henry
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:33 AM
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Great job Tru! - If others have other experiences this is the place to post them - Let's keep the whole lot in one place!

Good example - Front sway bushes from Henry.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:50 PM
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What if the clunk is only coming from the driver side and only when I turn. I have a c230 ss with cut h&r. Thanks again
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:52 PM
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Proper lubrication is always a good thing!
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by e1000 View Post
Proper lubrication is always a good thing!
++

Originally Posted by daiso' View Post
What if the clunk is only coming from the driver side and only when I turn. I have a c230 ss with cut h&r. Thanks again
If you're not getting a clunk while driving, I imagine your issue to be something steering (rack) related. Maybe someone w/ more experience w/ steering can chime in.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:03 PM
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If it's non of the issues covered by Tru's comments then check Rack bolts & rack bushes.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:26 PM
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Great thread! One of the most useful on this forum!

Thanks Tru.

Just one helpful tidbit:
The front lower control arms are made from aluminum (silverish in color)
The front upper control arms are made from stainless steel (black in color)

Most independent parts suppliers know the difference only by the color, so keep this in mind.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:37 PM
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Thank you for the thread!

I had clunk/rattle up front from sway bar end links. I replaced them and problem solved... for a month. haha

My car's lowered on H&R Sport springs and needs shorter sway bar end links, IMHO. Cause it eats stock sway bar end links like candy.

But where do I get shorter sway bar end links?

Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:24 AM
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Rockin' thread John !! Sticky for sure.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jcnash View Post
Just one helpful tidbit:
The front lower control arms are made from aluminum (silverish in color)
The front upper control arms are made from stainless steel (black in color)

Most independent parts suppliers know the difference only by the color, so keep this in mind.
Useful info!

Originally Posted by 328iBMW View Post
Thank you for the thread!

I had clunk/rattle up front from sway bar end links. I replaced them and problem solved... for a month. haha

My car's lowered on H&R Sport springs and needs shorter sway bar end links, IMHO. Cause it eats stock sway bar end links like candy.

But where do I get shorter sway bar end links?

Thanks!
If your springs are not cut, I dont believe your H&R sport springs would be so low that your end links need to be shortened. Your tires would need to be tucked for you to bang your sway bar/end links against the lower arms (i know this all too well - its why my car is raised to where i have about a finger's gap between the tire and the top of the fender up front). Your end links are probably just worn down over time.

Also, I havent heard of anyone on H&R springs that has ever had this issue.

BTW - the last time I heard about adjustable front sway bar end links was from Code3Performance. I dunno where they have gone.

Last edited by TruTaing; 08-18-2010 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by TruTaing View Post
If your springs are not cut, I dont believe your H&R sport springs would be so low that your end links need to be shortened. Your tires would need to be tucked for you to bang your sway bar/end links against the lower arms (i know this all too well - its why my car is raised to where i have about a finger's gap between the tire and the top of the fender up front). Your end links are probably just worn down over time.

Also, I havent heard of anyone on H&R springs that has ever had this issue.

BTW - the last time I heard about adjustable front sway bar end links was from Code3Performance. I dunno where they have gone.
Thanks bro!

Something is killing my sway bar end links quickly. It may be the AMG reps too. I think I killed the sway bar end link going over a speed bump while turning... But I don't need them anyway.
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:53 AM
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very very informative ...thankx Tru.....I vote for sticky too.......now when I am down there I will be lubricationg all the bushings for sure.....
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:13 AM
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Excellent writeup, sir.... Thanks for taking the time on it!
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:57 PM
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Part Number Please on Upper & Lower Arms.. am thinking of changing out mines :-)
good info tho.. Tru!

Also would the C32 & other W203 Would carry the Same Part number?

thank YOu

Last edited by WaveyKat; 11-08-2010 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TruTaing View Post
If you're not getting a clunk while driving, I imagine your issue to be something steering (rack) related. Maybe someone w/ more experience w/ steering can chime in.
I may have a problem with my steering rack. It has a slight play and makes a knocking sound. It also has a loud knock when going over speed bumps (only on the driver side area).
Any idea on how much it would run me to replace this. Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by pawe View Post
I may have a problem with my steering rack. It has a slight play and makes a knocking sound. It also has a loud knock when going over speed bumps (only on the driver side area).
Any idea on how much it would run me to replace this. Thanks!
You can get a re manufactured complete rack for 421.89 - 125 core charge so for like $300 you can get the rack then you just need to install it. That is from rock auto btw.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:27 PM
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Thanks buddy! I'll post a report here for future reference once I get this done.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:38 PM
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Great post.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by pawe View Post
I may have a problem with my steering rack. It has a slight play and makes a knocking sound. It also has a loud knock when going over speed bumps (only on the driver side area).
Any idea on how much it would run me to replace this. Thanks!
My car does this stuff, too, and it is not a steering rack problem. Getting new swaybar endlinks and bushings this week to solve the speed bump problem. They're also going to dig deep to diagnose the pop-pop-pop or knock-knock-knock sound but they have said it is not the rack.

Just FYI. I'll post up the results.
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:42 PM
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Subscribed! Great thread!

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by LILBENZ230 View Post
My car does this stuff, too, and it is not a steering rack problem. Getting new swaybar endlinks and bushings this week to solve the speed bump problem. They're also going to dig deep to diagnose the pop-pop-pop or knock-knock-knock sound but they have said it is not the rack.

Just FYI. I'll post up the results.
I had this problem. Driver's front side. Fixed at dealer.

I could look into it further for you, but basically I remember them telling me they replaced the "upper portion" of the strut assembly. Whatever that means. It fixed 90% of the problem. I still probably have and endlink issue.
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by cpbeasley View Post
I had this problem. Driver's front side. Fixed at dealer.

I could look into it further for you, but basically I remember them telling me they replaced the "upper portion" of the strut assembly. Whatever that means. It fixed 90% of the problem. I still probably have and endlink issue.
http://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/200...rut_mount.html
i bet this is what they replaced.
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:16 PM
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Yep, I bet that's it, too. I'm trying to decide right now how much longer to keep the Benz and decide from there just what level of reconditioning I am going to do.
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