"Electronic" steering? - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 06-05-2018
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"Electronic" steering?

First trip in to the dealer after hitting a pothole, got two wheels straightened and an alignment (front tire already replaced). Drove a block or two and noticed a pull to the right. Went home and decided to test it more later. Definitely pulled. Also shook above 65. Took it back this Monday, just texted and said they "PERFORMED AN ELECTRONIC STEERING CALIBRATION." Already charged me for a "steering calibration" the first time. Also said they balanced the tires the first time but did it again (?). When I dropped it off, he kept talking about "electronic steering." Never heard of that. BS or real?

Going to test it tomorrow, not signing off until satisfied. Hiding the loaner car out front.
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#2 Old 06-06-2018
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Well, they supposedly adjusted this "electronic steering," but a test drive today showed no change. Service advisor rode along, agreed it had a pull to the right. Did NOT have a pull to the right when I brought it in, just bent wheels. No damaged suspension parts found. Still in the shop. That'll be all or part of eight days through tomorrow with no joy.

We determined this after about three miles. They put an additional 30 miles on it Tuesday but three different guys could find no problem. That's 37 miles total. Hmmm... turned on tracking in Mercedes me. Must have had some errands to run.

Rebalanced the offending wheels, were out of spec. Claimed the wheel people did not do as precise balance as they do. No charge, at least.

Seems to me they could just undo whatever they did the first day.
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#3 Old 06-07-2018
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Google this to see about your steering. Sounds like a variable ratio mechanical system.

Electromechanical power steering with Direct-steer

The steering system adjustment won't fix a pull to the right, that will be from an alignment issue. Have they put it on the alignment rack?
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#4 Old 06-07-2018
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Look here. Can tell just by looking at the rack. My '12 Jeep (same chassis as ML350) has the electric pump. Is said to increase MPG.


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#5 Old 06-07-2018
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Originally Posted by jet_fl View Post
Google this to see about your steering. Sounds like a variable ratio mechanical system.

Electromechanical power steering with Direct-steer

The steering system adjustment won't fix a pull to the right, that will be from an alignment issue. Have they put it on the alignment rack?
I discussed electric steering and electronic steering with the SA. Two different things. He kept referring to "electronic" steering and that was what he claimed they adjusted to no avail. He could never explain what "electronic steering" was. It sounded like he made it up to make it look like they actually did something.

Yes, they checked the alignment first time at my request as recommended by Discount Tire ("tar" in Texas). No pull BEFORE I brought it in, only after they aligned it or whatever else they did.

No call today. With Mercedes me Driving Journal now on, I see they moved it a few times a few blocks between 6:58 and 9:25 today. Wish I had had it on when they drove it 30 miles in one day without noticing, finding, or fixing the problem they created. Also set 65 mph speed alert. Handy service, I recommend it if only for service. Has to be reset every 24 hours, so don't let it lapse.

After claiming he was going to park the car in the garage, the car was hot from the Sun when pulled up for the test drive. There was a hailstorm overnight at my house six miles away, but luckily it missed the dealership.

Day Nine starts tomorrow.
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#6 Old 06-07-2018
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Look here. Can tell just by looking at the rack. My '12 Jeep (same chassis as ML350) has the electric pump. Is said to increase MPG.
See above re electric vs. electronic. The former refers to boost, the latter to alignment or direction in the SA's parlance. He could never explain it, thus my suspicion it was a made up term and a scapegoat or excuse to make it look like they actually did something, which they did not. Got a text that said, "HE PERFORMED AN ELECTRONIC STEERING CALIBRATION, AFTER CALIBRATION THE STEERING IS NORMAL AND THE CAR DRIVES STRAIGHT. THE TECH DROVE IT. QC TEAM DROVE IT AND THE SHOP FOREMAN DROVE IT. ALL STATE THE CAR DRIVES STRAIGHT AND STEERING IS GOOD." But when we test drove it together, no change, he admitted it was still hosed. Let go of the wheel and it goes right every time, never left.

Tomorrow is another day...
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#7 Old 06-08-2018
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Picked it up today after a failed test drive. No change. Will go from left lane to right lane in about 100-200 feet (three lanes total) - turning gets progressively worse the whole time. Plan is to take it back Monday for the shop foreman or some such to look at. If that fails, which it will, will meet with a Mercedes rep later.

Turned in loaner, now I have no bargaining power. Almost didn't but after all or part of nine days in the shop, I wanted it this weekend. Kind of regret it now. Played me.

SA said they worked on it through today. Really? Showed him the Mercedes me Driving Journal that showed it wasn't started up until I got there. No comment. Enjoyed that move very much. Gave me some bargaining power. Also couldn't explain why the loaners and my other car don't do the same on the same roads, and they're not AMGs designed to go straight no matter the road.
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#8 Old 06-12-2018
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Sounds like your local service dept SUCKS. Out of curiousity, did you only replace one tire? Is there a possibility the two tires are out of balance with one another and that is what is causing the pull? I'm no expert just spit balling.
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#9 Old 06-12-2018
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Just a guess (no mechanci) but I doubt out-of-balance tires would cause your issue.

At speed it would just wobble (a little or a lot, depending on speed of course). Pulling (in my experience) is always an alignment issue. Hitting the pothole with enough force to damage the tire has to be why it was knocked out of alignment.

Even little potholes that don't cause tire damage may (over time) show up in premature tread wear because the alignment was changed (that is from personal experience, not a guess).

I get complaints from Lorraine about why I'm swerving all over the road. Just trying to avoid potholes dear.

Just can't understand why they can't fix/adjust/return it to original status. I'm assuming here they did a 4-wheel alignment when they "tried" to fix. You would think an MB dealer would but..........


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#10 Old 06-12-2018
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100000% agree with most. it's an alignment issue or a mismatched tire. see if all the tires are the exact same dimensions after they replaced a couple. My CLK pulled really good to the right on 2 tires that were the same 'labeled' dimensions, but finding 2 of the same tire made a huge difference.
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#11 Old 06-12-2018
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Would think in DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth) area you could find a good steering shop. I could probably tell in a short drive. As I understand you have a considerable pull to the right when you release the wheel. That could be three things one common, one not so, and the other a bit obscure.

1) Alignment: Common when one side is not the same as the other either from wear, improper assembly, or damage. I can check with hand tools

2) Belt shift in a tire: can tell by rotating the tires or increasing the pressure to 45-50 psi.

3) Sticking assist valve: when a PS pump (mechanical or electric) runs it develops flow which just recirculates. As the wheel is turned this has a back pressure (torque) which affects the diverter valve to bias the flow to the right or left chambers to provide boost. If the diverter valve is misaligned, damaged, or there is debris in the system this can cause the valve to be biased in one direction or the other and provide constant boost that you have to fight.

Can check by setting the hand brake jacking the front end up so the front wheels do not touch anything and start the engine. If you feel a pull then it is in the hydraulic system.

If you have been through 1 & 2 already then I would start by flushing and refilling the PS system.

BTW if the PS system is under constant load I would not be surprised if the boost motor got a bit hot.

<rant>Guess I just do not trust anyone but myself (and a few friends). Certainly not dealers most of whose employees are parts swappers. Years ago I had a choice between wrenching cars or computers. Computers were always air conditioned so for a Floridian it was a no-braner.</rant>
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#12 Old 06-12-2018
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Has the front wheel alignment been checked for 'setback'?


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#13 Old 06-12-2018
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Has the front wheel alignment been checked for 'setback'?
Beats me, what's that?

Supposedly a full align.
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#14 Old 06-12-2018
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Sounds like your local service dept SUCKS. Out of curiousity, did you only replace one tire? Is there a possibility the two tires are out of balance with one another and that is what is causing the pull? I'm no expert just spit balling.
I agree.

They suggested that, but one tire is new, the other had only ~1500 miles. Plus, it did not pull until AFTER they worked on it.

More tests this evening in a big flat parking lot, inconclusive. What is sure in that test is that it is much harder to turn to the left than the right. Very annoying. I don't recall seeing that before, but I could be wrong. I noticed the pull in the first few hundred feet.
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#15 Old 06-12-2018
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Originally Posted by Padgett View Post
Would think in DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth) area you could find a good steering shop. I could probably tell in a short drive. As I understand you have a considerable pull to the right when you release the wheel. That could be three things one common, one not so, and the other a bit obscure.

1) Alignment: Common when one side is not the same as the other either from wear, improper assembly, or damage. I can check with hand tools

2) Belt shift in a tire: can tell by rotating the tires or increasing the pressure to 45-50 psi.

3) Sticking assist valve: when a PS pump (mechanical or electric) runs it develops flow which just recirculates. As the wheel is turned this has a back pressure (torque) which affects the diverter valve to bias the flow to the right or left chambers to provide boost. If the diverter valve is misaligned, damaged, or there is debris in the system this can cause the valve to be biased in one direction or the other and provide constant boost that you have to fight.

Can check by setting the hand brake jacking the front end up so the front wheels do not touch anything and start the engine. If you feel a pull then it is in the hydraulic system.

If you have been through 1 & 2 already then I would start by flushing and refilling the PS system.

BTW if the PS system is under constant load I would not be surprised if the boost motor got a bit hot.

<rant>Guess I just do not trust anyone but myself (and a few friends). Certainly not dealers most of whose employees are parts swappers. Years ago I had a choice between wrenching cars or computers. Computers were always air conditioned so for a Floridian it was a no-braner.</rant>
Slight pull, not considerable. Almost new, ~1500 miles at the time. That eliminates a lot. I'm also starting to suspect the PS since it also has the problem of being harder to turn to the left than the right. Again, no pull until after they worked on it. I checked it VERY carefully after the hit for any signs of damage, didn't see or feel anything, but I didn't drive it over 40 mph. All started after they had it. Also drove the same after replacing the tire but before taking it in.

If it's the PS, it' something they changed. Considering taking it to another dealer or to a nearby indy collision shop a friend knows well.
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#16 Old 06-13-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLKomatic View Post
Beats me, what's that?

Supposedly a full align.
https://www.alignmycar.co.uk/setback/

https://www.carparts.com/alignment.htm#Set%20Back


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#17 Old 06-13-2018
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Wouldn't a full align check for that? I know it's a dealer, but really...

Oddly enough, the more I drive it the better it gets. Drove about 70 miles Sunday, seemed to be getting better. Almost back to normal, but it's still much harder to turn to the left than the right. Did a bunch of tests in a large flat parking lot with this car and my other car. It has the same effort left or right. Almost home, but not quite as good. I wonder'f if it "learns." Bizarre, but I don't know what would explain that. Bottom line, still needs work. No word word from SA re meeting with MB rep, of course.
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#18 Old 06-14-2018
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Wouldn't a full align check for that? I know it's a dealer, but really...
One would hope so but it depends on how thorough the technician has been.

Only reason I am suspicious is that the impact from the pothole must have been quite severe if you needed to have two wheels 'straightened'.

What exactly do you mean by that by the way? Were the wheels buckled or deformed in some way or was it a matter of re-alignment?

Has a full and comprehensive four wheel alignment actually been carried out or are they focussing on steering alignment only?


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#19 Old 06-14-2018
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What exactly do you mean by that by the way? Were the wheels buckled or deformed in some way or was it a matter of re-alignment?
The front wheel was bent slightly out of round and also side to side. Saw it on the Discount Tar balancer. Pretty wobbly but not a disaster. Small rash, fixed. The rear wheel had a small indentation on the inside rim. Could have let that go, perhaps, but I'm a perfectionist.

Talked to some people today and will probably take it to that indy or a different dealer since another day went by without that promised call to meet with an MB rep.
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#20 Old 06-16-2018
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Hi,

so have you had a copy of the alignment report, from the 4 wheel alignment equipment.
You should have a before and after alignment print out, if they have this they could return the settings to before they aligned it, sounds to me as they don't know what their doing.
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