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S55K AMG - extremely poor traction

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Old 05-06-2018, 01:35 PM
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S55K AMG - extremely poor traction

Hi all,

I would like to have your opinion on traction in S55K.

Here is my problem, on winter soft tyres with the setup 245/45/18 the launch is almost perfect. When I switch to summer tyres it all changes.

So the start is terrible, ESP and traction control completely blocks power. Only switching of esp helps.

Before getting new set of summer tyres I borrowed Michelins to check if I will like them. My tyres setup was: 245/45/18 Michelin Super Sport front and 265/40/18 Pilot Sport 2 (standard setup for S55K). On this setup it was ok only when tyres were extremely hot. Still I must say the car was pretty unstable while accelerating or cornering.

Then I decided to go big and I bought Yokohama Advan Neova 08R on rear as these are considered extremely sticky and... It is all the same. Unless you switch of ESP I can easily get beat up by BMW and AUDI diesel on start. The ride is pretty stiff but I can say that the traction is very artificial. Basically you cannot feel the car.

My ideas:
- As I got Super Sports in front used - maybe these are overheated or there is some other issue with those - still now idea how it could affect the launch
- Yokos together with Michelins SS don't go well - still wouldn't explain why it was bad with previous Michelin only setup
- both yokos and PS2 don't go well with SS

What I did to examine it:
- manipulated tyre pressure - no matter if high (from 2,5 to 2,7) or low (2,1 - 2,2) - it is just bad
- check all the geometry and suspension - maybe minimal improvement but still not an explenation for this
- looked at tyres - as the car is rarely driven - both SS and Yokos are pretty hard - I did on yokos approx. 2000 miles - little bit more on SS

The other thing is - I was skeptical about Yokos as these are rated W not Y. I live close to German Autobahns so I often drive the car around 300km/h. With Yokos I am not simple confident about my safety.
From your experience, can you recommend something that will handle the power and provide stability? I don't need anything else that traction. I don't care if the tyres are hard, loud, not lasting long or not energy efficient. Safety and performance is no 1 for me.

What tyres pressure you also recommend? The information on fuel cap is pretty confusing in AMG versions.

Thank you all!
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:35 AM
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'06 MB S55 AMG; '04 Audi Allroad 4.2; '05 BMW M3 Conv.; '92 MB 500E
This will be interesting. My short answer is, "that's a lot of power to the rear wheels" so unless you warm the tires pre-launch (like at a drag strip), she's going to break 'em loose. It doesn't matter which tire or the pressure, she's going to break 'em loose. Really soft summer tires on a 100 degree day, maybe not so much. But with ESP off and throttle to kick down (not past) from a start, she's going to break 'em loose. It's just the beast you're in.

And don't dare throttle too much at the apex of a turn with ESP off, you'll be looking at the **** end. Feathered throttle is your friend in this car. But it's not the only one. Downshift in a 997 turbo, same thing except all four tires are bouncing on the pavement struggling for grip. Nature of the beast...

I have heard that a Quaife or Wavetrac diff will make it hook up a lot better. But that's a few thousand dollar "solution".

maw

Last edited by maw1124; 05-07-2018 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:49 AM
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How cold is it when you are on the summer tires and having traction problems?

My 600 puts power down very well on a sticky tire, I used bridgestone RE-11s for a long time with excellent results, no you can't just stab the throttle without getting the ESP light flashing but you could launch the car very hard on the street. Now I have some generic Falken tires I had already on the car, and it's worthless until 60mph, tire spin at any real throttle in 1st and most of 2nd gear. The michelins should work just fine, unless they are very cold.
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Old 05-07-2018, 01:57 PM
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Hi,

Regarding the temperature, it is bad basically even in hot summer. Of course there is a difference between cold and hot but it is not significant - so I wouldn't blame rubber compound.

I can compare with other AMG or S600/S65 and this is a really bad case - even w221 s600 was much better - here the car basically wants to kill you. 65 AMG - ok, traction is bad but I have no problem to fully control the car at full throttle even with old tyres. What's funny in the 55 AMG - when I switch off ESP then it is much easier for me to control. I thought about difference in tyres. Before facelift AMG used 8,5" and 9,5" so 245/45r18 and 275/40r18, this has 245/45 and 265/40 which is some difference in diameter. Both Advans and old PS2 were rather 6mm than 7-8 compering to new which gives at least approx. - 3mm on diameter. Maybe it makes ESP to go crazy? Another thing is tyre pressure. I thought when I go down to 2,0 it will get better - again not a big difference. It is a biggest disadvantage of this car. In all the other aspects I love it and it is much better than 6,2 63 AMG or 5,5 63 AMG. I believe that both 55 and 65 could go below 4 sec 0 to 60 only if the tracion would be better.

The winter tyres are of course much softer but also all 4 are 245/45.

My other theory is that mixing different types of Michelins or Michelins in advans is not good but again front tyres shouldn't impact launch. I am also reluctant to switch completely to advans as these are W rated and the car is often driven above this speed. I bought them as a last resort but again big disapointment.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:16 PM
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Yeah the size is fine, that was OEM on the 600 as well, 245/45 and 265/40, well within spec. I would say you have to have something wrong in the rear suspension that's deflecting under load then, there's no way the car is just overpowering the tires that badly all the time unless it's heavily modified. It will spin, yes, but it should be manageable. The S55 I just picked up, we were out racing with it last night, and on some generic Nankang tires it worked quite well from a dig and low rolls, no problems out launching an RC-F, a Magnum SRT8, and a 335i. Takes off better than my 600 right now.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:16 PM
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Yeah... I’m gonna stay with feathering off the line. Keep in mind the 55 is much jumpier off the line than any 600/65 series car — no turbos to spool and lighter car. If you’re convinced something is wrong, I might swap the diff fluid — could be someone put the wrong stuff in there. Other than that I’m puzzled. I wonder if some sensor is involved, one that’s not operative when ESP is not engaged. Maybe a wheel speed sensor? The fact that traction is much improved with ESP disabled is a key. I’d look into wheel speed sensors.

maw

Last edited by maw1124; 05-07-2018 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:54 AM
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Suspension checked and it is ok. Some time ago I did ESP diagnostics as I had to change one wheel sensor (all in dealership). Geometry has been checked.
I mean, I can control car with ESP switched off but the rear traction is still poor, I can just launch the car by proper pulsing of throttle with esp on it just shuts the power down.

maybe front is bad and while rear is pushed down the front goes up (shouldn't happen however with abc susp).

​​Please also note that car is much more predictible and the grip is more progressive with winter tyres. It is day and night so either esp goes crazy as in summer set wheels' diameter in the back is slightly smaller or I just twice got bad tyres (both are considered one of the best you can get). Should I try with P Zeros maybe?

What I also hate is cornering. I feel that once the car is unpredictible.

S600 with contis was able to accelerate hard depsite traction control blinking.
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