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E550 Airmatic to Coilover conversion

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E-Class (W212) 2010 - 2016: E 350, E 550

E550 Airmatic to Coilover conversion

 
Old 04-28-2014, 11:21 AM
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E550 Airmatic to Coilover conversion

Hi, Im in the market to purchase a low milage 2010 E550 within the next month or so and ive been hearing pretty bad things about the Airmatic system in the MB's. I hear it is not a suspension you would want with the car being out of warranty. I've found multiple treads in these forums of people performing the "Airmatic to coilover" conversion on the W211 cars. Does anyone have any info of know of anyone who has performed this conversion of the W212 E550's?

I apologize if there is another thread here with info on this topic, as i have not been able to find any information on this conversion for our model cars.

Thanks
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:14 PM
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Just get an extended warranty if you are worried, or buy an E350 without it. I have had two Airmatic cars and personally like the suspension options and ride. Not sure why people freak out over the Airmatic. It's a Mercedes Benz, and sometimes you need to just suck it up. Your suspension switchover is not going to be free either.
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:30 PM
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Not to seem rude or anything but i am looking for some useful info regarding a conversion, not info regarding an extended warranty. Im sure i'll hear plenty of that when i decide to purchase the car. I am not too worried about cost. I know it will cost upwards for $3k. Just wanting to know if anyone out there has or knows anyone that has done this conversion.
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Old 04-28-2014, 01:01 PM
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Sorry, didn't mean to come off as rude. It seemed like you were worried about the maintenance being expensive on the Airmatic and obviously there are ways to deal with that cost to protect yourself. If you are after a performance upgrade then that is something completely different and I'm sure you will find someone who has done the conversion.
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:11 PM
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So far there are no Airmatic to coilover conversions stories on the W212 forum yet because they haven't started failing yet (at least none have failed outside of warranty).
There are not many E550's outside of warranty so you wont see many of those stories until the W212 is little older.
When that time comes it wont be cosmic, it will pretty much be exactly the same as the W211.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:03 PM
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No issues. It is a conversion mainly because i know eventually the Air suspension will fail so instead of spending Hundreds to Thousands to get the suspension repaired why not go ahead and dish out a large sum for a final fix. Not attempting to bash the Airmatic, but i travel often and i hear it has issues most when the car sits for a few days.

Anyway i guess i will be the test mule and call a few shops to see if anyone would be willing to take on the conversion for me... It seems like it would be a matter of ordering the standard hats and plugging off the OEM system attachments and programming out the module... Its not the main components that would be the issue for me, it would be the smaller parts that would easily be overlooked in the process. I guess i will take a look at a few of the more detailed W211 conversions to learn a little more...
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:58 PM
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Wait a minute??? Are you saying you are going to replace it even though you have no issues?
You do realize that it wont spontaneously combust right?
You should just replace the engine and transmission while you are at it... you know those things wont last forever either.
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Old 04-29-2014, 09:29 AM
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Each to his own. I would not mess with it. Sounds like 1000 pounds of prevention for a fairly simple cure. I do not think that a coil over replacement will be very straight forward, and could introduce some unexpected issues due to the ECU and onboard systems. I think it would be more straight forward to buy an E350 and swap engines to get the V8. Good luck with your mods and keep us posted. I do honestly believe you have been misinformed about AirMatic. I love the system on my car.

Last edited by ImInPA; 04-29-2014 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by UnbalancedSig View Post
Hi, Im in the market to purchase a low milage 2010 E550 within the next month or so and ive been hearing pretty bad things about the Airmatic system in the MB's. I hear it is not a suspension you would want with the car being out of warranty. I've found multiple treads in these forums of people performing the "Airmatic to coilover" conversion on the W211 cars. Does anyone have any info of know of anyone who has performed this conversion of the W212 E550's?

I apologize if there is another thread here with info on this topic, as i have not been able to find any information on this conversion for our model cars.

Thanks
Don't believe everything you hear or read about Airmatic. I had it on my 2004 E500 - drove the car for seven years, and aside from one leaking strut that was replaced under warranty (the car was about a year old) - had zero issues with the suspension. I had two struts replaced on my current (2011) E550 (both under warranty with the car about a year old) - no problems since.

Frankly, much of the carping about Airmatic is overblown. And, as someone else pointed out, the complex control systems in E class cars could make replacing Airmatic with a coilover system a real nightmare.

Airmatic was optional starting with the 2012 model year so if you want a V8 car but don't want Airmatic, look for a non-Airmatic 2012 E550.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:14 PM
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I had the rear air springs replaced under warranty. I understand that the original springs in my car had a design flaw and the new springs are of the new design. Have had no issues since the replacement about 18 months ago.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:23 PM
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I have had 4 Airmatic cars and only ONCE has the dealer had to replace a strut and it was about a year old when they did.

Coilover conversions are very complex for the E-class, there are miles of wiring that has to be capped and/or removed. The ECU has to be recoded using a legit version of SDS run in developer mode to recode the ECU, the Cluster, the ABS, etc.

From what I recall, air suspension is optional on the E550, so you are better off finding one without airmatic from the get go.

Airmatic is nothing like the air suspension found in old Range Rovers. Airmatic is much more complex and reliable than most all air suspension systems offered by an OEM.

If a strut does fail, you can get a COMPLETE replacement from Arnott Industries with a LIFETIME warranty for $530! I know many people who have used these replacements and they are just as good if not better than the OEM ones.

Link:
https://www.arnottindustries.com/par...18_pid169.html
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Old 04-29-2014, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by UnbalancedSig View Post
No issues. It is a conversion mainly because i know eventually the Air suspension will fail so instead of spending Hundreds to Thousands to get the suspension repaired why not go ahead and dish out a large sum for a final fix. Not attempting to bash the Airmatic, but i travel often and i hear it has issues most when the car sits for a few days.

Anyway i guess i will be the test mule and call a few shops to see if anyone would be willing to take on the conversion for me... It seems like it would be a matter of ordering the standard hats and plugging off the OEM system attachments and programming out the module... Its not the main components that would be the issue for me, it would be the smaller parts that would easily be overlooked in the process. I guess i will take a look at a few of the more detailed W211 conversions to learn a little more...
May I ask why? I do understand repairing it on your time/terms rather than have it malfunction 100 miles away from your local garage. I too have the Airmatic and I hope I do not have to experience the failure.

Last edited by stale-bread; 04-30-2014 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:11 AM
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:47 AM
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Airmatic failed on my 2007 R350 at about 70K miles. Rear air shocks and compressor needed to be replaced. $2,700 They said the front shocks should go soon as well. I have airmatic on my E550 and I'll probably sell it before it fails. Waiting for 2yr old used twin turbos to hit the market.
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