Nervous handling at speed - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

SLK R170 General Discussion SLK 200, SLK 230K, SLK 320, SLK32 AMG

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#1 Old 07-04-2015
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Nervous handling at speed

Hi folks. There are perhaps a few of these going around, but I am posting here as I cannot find the exact symptoms that I face. I have a 2000 200k and have shoddy handling at highway speeds. The particular problems I face are:
1. Steering wheel vibration at 120kmph at 6th gear and 3000 rpm. Specifically these parameters since if drop down to 5th and do 120 or more I do not experience such a severe shudder. Also at 6th if I drop to 110 and lower revs the vibration mostly goes away. At 6th and over 120 it seems equally shaky.
2. At anything over 90kmph the car seems nervous, as in I'm constantly making corrections. Also it seems to readily tramline with the uneveness of the road. Worth mentioning here that I run 17 inch rims with 215/45 front and 245/40 rears. Both are new Nokia Z lines though I had the problem with the older set as well.

My working theory after numerous attempts at balancing and alignment fixes is to do the following. Before I do I want to hear from the forum.
1. Check engine mounts
2. Check MAF to see if that is causing the 3k problem
3. Check/replace steering damper. The car has done 160k kms

Failing the above I just am clueless. P.S. I have also had the drag link changed recently as part of this endeavour. Happy to get your thoughts on the above 3 options and also anything beyond these that I might be missing. Thanks a ton!
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#2 Old 07-04-2015
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Hi there..

I have just done a quick search on slk-R170 general discussion: "vibration at speed" and found loads of threads.. here are just three of them...

https://www.slkworld.com/slk-r170-gen...ng-damper.html

https://www.slkworld.com/slk-r170-gen...tml#post334900

https://www.slkworld.com/slk-r170-gen...tml#post269391

search it yourself and you may find the answer... hope so..
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#3 Old 07-04-2015
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Thanks for the quick response ?I think at least 2 of these were in my 'research' ? It seems increasingly like a steering damper change. Will try it out over the next weekend. Difficult to go 120 in the city!
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#4 Old 07-04-2015
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Sorry those were simleys on my phone and not question marks!
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#5 Old 07-04-2015
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Hi SkyFlex. Certainly not an expert here - more just sharing my experience. When my engine mounts needed replacing - it was significant at all speed/rpm. Even idle. Think of it more sounding like a muffler issue. From my experience, I doubt engine mounts would only show at speed, it's more about all rpms.

Cheers,
Jay
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#6 Old 07-04-2015
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Hi Skyflex... did you look at all the other possibilities that come up on the Search facility... ?? there were loads...

Your problem could be caused by so many different things... need to rule out the easy/cheaper options first.. before you go spending hard-earned cash..
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#7 Old 07-04-2015
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If you have vibration in the steering at certain speeds only, is due to something out of rotational balance on one or both front hubs. Look nowhere else if this is the case. Vibration through the seat indicates the same, but at rear.

Steering damper is only there to absorb road surface variations. It will NOT mask any balance issues. Sort out the balances before you spend unnecessary money on this.

Engine mounts, as already said, will be evident at all times, increasing with speed.

MAF will not affect handling, so you can rule this out.

'Tramlining' as a rule of thumb can be due to too high a tyre pressure, oversize (or undersize) tyres or geometrically altering the centre spot of the wheels - eg using spacers. If you also have poor self-centering steering, then I'd ask if you are using spacers. Then there is the alteration of kpi, caster and/or camber. It goes on…

hth
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#8 Old 07-04-2015
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Thank you everyone for your replies, I do appreciate you taking the time. I think I will start again with the balancing and try out a different local shop. Looks like my other theories didn't hold up to the expert scrutineering here! I will report back with progress over the next weekend. Have a good one!
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#9 Old 07-04-2015
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Have you had the alignment checked against specifications/stock? I'm sorry, I have a 171 - are the tire/wheel combination you're using stock?


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#10 Old 07-05-2015
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They are not stock, but I believe they are within spec for the car. Will just do a full balance and alignment check across the board, but at a different place. Thanks for your input.
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#11 Old 07-06-2015
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Hi there...

Please do let us know how you get on.... especially if you find out the cause and the cure...

It is so frustrating when someone starts a thread and then leaves us all wondering what happened ......

Good Luck..
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#12 Old 07-07-2015
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Quick update folks. I got the balancing sorted today, but also got told that the left front damper is completely shot and thst the others are close to gone. At a 170k kms I'm not surprised! I'm also not sure if this contributed to the problem of vibration. Rest assured I didn't want to test the car at 120kms with that problem to see if the vibration was fixed. I've ordered a new set of Bilstein B4s for all corners. Next update once they're in place. Cheers!
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#13 Old 07-07-2015
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If I were you, I'd get the whole lot done - struts and all mounting points.
Yes they all contribute to some extent, so renew everything and then a proper balance on disc and wheels will see it back to original.
Doing bits here and there will, I am afraid, get you nowhere.
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#14 Old 07-10-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal Adams View Post
If I were you, I'd get the whole lot done - struts and all mounting points.
Yes they all contribute to some extent, so renew everything and then a proper balance on disc and wheels will see it back to original.
Doing bits here and there will, I am afraid, get you nowhere.
Thanks Hal, I'll be sure to have that looked into. Interestingly, some of the mechanics here sway between saying nothing needs to be fixed or everything needs to changed! So it might take some convincing on my part for them to look
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#15 Old 07-21-2015
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So - I got new set of dampers all around, including a steering damper. Had the suspension inspected and was given the all clear. Took it out on to the highway - and certainly the vibration seems have gone down, but it still doesn't inspire confidence. The steering just feels loose - like I am keeping it in check the whole time - or it will go all over the place. I am starting to doubt my own sanity now, in so far as, whether the issue is all in my head. A little earlier today I even got one of those road force balances sorted - apparently that was over spec for 3 of the 4 wheels. Will try it out over the weekend again. Closing question - does this loose feeling on the highway say anything to you? P.S. I am using stock pressures for all tyres.
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#16 Old 07-21-2015
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Your car should feel solid on the road .
Take it you got original alloys ?
Correct tyre pressure is crucial .
Wheel balncing
Front wheel bearings adusted .
And the usual suspension components .
And dont forget to check the rear part of your car !
Coil springs
Suspension etc

And after everything is done wheel alignment .

Failing that test drive another slk then compare .
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#17 Old 07-21-2015
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Did they not check/replace track rod ends, arm bushes etc? They should have.

If you are all the time 'checking ' the steering and it feels 'loose', then it could - note the word could - be steering linkage or track rod ends.

With engine off, is there any play in the steering wheel side to side? There should be none beyong a few mm. If there is, then go back and tell you chappies to do their work properly. If the wheel has no play, then check steering box mountings.

Your car should feel solid on the road. If you are not happy with it, then there is still something wrong. As Delucas advises above, find another car that has been well maintained and compare.
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