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Stop Car Too Low

 
Old 06-21-2015, 10:32 PM
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Stop Car Too Low

I got the dreaded Stop Car Too Low message on the dashboard just as we arrived to our vacation destination, Puerto Penasco, Mexico, 550 miles away from home...
Not having much of a choice as there were not parts or MBZ competent mechanic in the area, we made the trip back home with the car slanted to the left; the driver side front strut apparently just gave the ghost.
Fortunately the car handled nicely and we only had to take major highways.
Now comes the troubleshooting part... As I don't have a lift I'll have to jack the car up and work on my back...
Obviously the front left side is way low; the left rear side is also lower than it should be but I am not sure if it is because the front is as low as it is. I am hoping I won't have to replace both the front AND the rear on the driver side...
I watched a lot of videos today, most of them from Arnott as they seem to be the biggest name in remanufactured air struts.
Any suggestions and comments from those who had a similar issue are welcome...!
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:53 PM
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Same thing 3 years ago on my 2005 E500. When replacing the shock with Arnott I dropped both sides of the front suspension at the same time and disconnected the sway bar which gave me plenty of room to install the new shocks. Always replace in pairs. Also, I have an air compressor and air tools which made the job much easier and faster.
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by homeofstone View Post
Same thing 3 years ago on my 2005 E500. When replacing the shock with Arnott I dropped both sides of the front suspension at the same time and disconnected the sway bar which gave me plenty of room to install the new shocks. Always replace in pairs. Also, I have an air compressor and air tools which made the job much easier and faster.
So in your case you replaced both front struts? Were your rear ones good, or did they need replacing too?
Good tip on the sway bar.
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Old 06-22-2015, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by zippy_gg View Post
So in your case you replaced both front struts? Were your rear ones good, or did they need replacing too?
Good tip on the sway bar.
I don't think you have to replace both at the same time if yours faoled because it was somehow damaged. If it just quit, the other one might go soon or it might last another five years. But like light bulbs, the chances are probably good that the other one will go sooner rather than later. Its up to you in my view.. That said, you should check the prices on the arnott shocks sh partsgeek.com. Call them to ensure that you got the right thing for your specific car.
Armott stuff rocks and partsgeek is an affordable place to buy it.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by zippy_gg View Post
So in your case you replaced both front struts? Were your rear ones good, or did they need replacing too?
Good tip on the sway bar.
The rear on mine are still good so I have only replaced the front. I replaced both front with Arnott struts. If you replace with MB oem you can only have one replaced but the oem strut cost nearly what 2 Arnott struts cost.
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by homeofstone View Post
The rear on mine are still good so I have only replaced the front. I replaced both front with Arnott struts. If you replace with MB oem you can only have one replaced but the oem strut cost nearly what 2 Arnott struts cost.
If you replace the REAR bags with Arnott, then you need to replace both, because the different design of the Arnott means you probably want to replace both sides; it's Arnott's receommendation.

I did NOT see the same recommendation with regard to the Arnott front struts, which are a remanufactured version of the OEM design.

I would check with Arnott; they will tell you the truth about what you should do. They are very nice and in my experience are straight-shooters.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:40 AM
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Good call on Partsgeek.com; I was going to order straight from Arnott, which is more expensive...
This evening I will dive in (actually crawl under) and assess what is busted.
I do recall seeing some fluid under the car a couple of weeks ago; this was probably from the shock...
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:39 PM
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I just went through this with my 06 e500 wagon. Arnott was out of stock with the front struts. Every place selling them on the internet drop ships from Arnott so basically nobody had them. I found http://www.rmeuropean.com and they are selling new Bilstein struts for ~$800 with no core. I don't mean to trash Arnott, they seem like everyone speaks highly of them, but their front struts are rebuilt air bladders with used struts inside. I would definitely use Arnott for the rears.

I replaced both front struts with new from RM and I am very happy with the product and service.

PS Arnott will buy your cores.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:00 PM
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So I lifted the car on the driver side, removed the front left wheel, checked the shock. No trace of oil as I was expecting.
With the car sort of level the Stop Car too low message is gone and I get instead a Visit workshop with a white icon of the car with an up arrow instead of red.
Out of curiosity I started the car and disconnect the air line on the driver side and got nothing, then same on the passenger side with also no air. Not sure if it was the proper way to diagnose, and I got nothing out of it... I thought the pump would be pushing air to the shocks.
At this point I do not "see" a smoking gun and I would hate to replace a strut and not resolve the problem.
That poor strut was "low" during the last 570 miles we drove the car home, making me thing that it is busted; I just would like to have confirmation, visual or other, that it is indeed the problem.
What is the next diagnostic step I should take?
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by zippy_gg View Post
So I lifted the car on the driver side, removed the front left wheel, checked the shock. No trace of oil as I was expecting.
With the car sort of level the Stop Car too low message is gone and I get instead a Visit workshop with a white icon of the car with an up arrow instead of red.
Out of curiosity I started the car and disconnect the air line on the driver side and got nothing, then same on the passenger side with also no air. Not sure if it was the proper way to diagnose, and I got nothing out of it... I thought the pump would be pushing air to the shocks.
At this point I do not "see" a smoking gun and I would hate to replace a strut and not resolve the problem.
That poor strut was "low" during the last 570 miles we drove the car home, making me thing that it is busted; I just would like to have confirmation, visual or other, that it is indeed the problem.
What is the next diagnostic step I should take?

There was no trace of oil when the air bladder failed on the front strut on my 2005 E500. From what you have said, I think you need a dealer or shop with a STAR diagnostic system to find what the true issue is.
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Old 06-22-2015, 11:13 PM
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No oil with mine either. Mine would sink to a certain level and with the car running would slowly try to rise and sink back down. I never got a car too low message. The car was clearly low on one side though. The top of the tire was even with the edge of the fender. I could hear air escaping as the car would sink down. In my case I decided a trip to the dealer wasn't required at $150 min for diagnostic. There are level sensors at each wheel that could be acting up. If you are not sure of the issue it might be worth taking it in for a diagnostic.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:33 AM
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After putting the wheel back on the car dropped on the front driver side, just as before. When I used the remote to lock the car the air pump came on and I was able to hear air leaking on the driver side, none on the passenger side; I had my wife double check and she heard the same thing.
When I tried to test earlier with the engine running there was too much noise to hear the leak...
So it does appear I found the smoking gun!
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:05 AM
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Reflecting on my troubleshooting effort yesterday I realize that because my car was jacked up the height sensors were telling the pump to not push air.
I made the wrong assumption that the pump would be running because I had the engine running. Once the car was once again on the ground the sensors sent a signal to the pump, even with the engine off, to correct the height (since the front driver side was once again at the lowest).
Learning curve!
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