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Mercedes E320 CDI S211, Shite or Shiteable?


Snake Charmer

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Note to self; must purchase some other long series Torx screwdrivers before I forget how to take the door apart and fit the replacement lock on V2.0. I realised today V1.0 has not been washed since the early part of this year when I took photos for the insurance company. 😬 Very depressing when you walk up to the car on a sunny day, matters not during winter as it's dark morning and night when I get in it! I am making full use of the "Rest" function collecting beer on the way home, really is nice getting in and the car is warm and cosy.  

I have formulated a plan with V2.0 to swap the cars over when my insurance is due next year, just the mirror, lock and SBC to sort first. Trouble is the interior colour and lack of parking sensors is still bugging me. Lots of work to swap over. I'll have another couple of cold ones and keep on mulling it over.

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5 hours ago, SiC said:

Mine will look like that on the near side after a week or so of non use and I didn't think that was bad going. 😂

Not sure how long air suspension is supposed to stay up for without an air top up? 

It should stay up, the new units on the other car are fine and I don't remember when I last heard the compressor running. I have heard air purging from the compressor after a long drive after taking stuff out of the back. 

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The only time I've heard the compressor go on mine is after a week or so layup the other day after getting food poisoning. Kicked in just after startup. It must be running occasionally though as it doesn't loose any height noticeably if I use it every few days. 

Interestingly it didn't cause both sides to equalise. It did after a drive but I expected it to open the valve on both when compressing. But iirc they are one way valves? If so, presumably there is another valve block that allows to both read the pressure and release excessive air. 

The leak isn't really bad enough on mine to justify fiddling around and replacing the air springs. If it leaked out enough to drop every day or so then I'd probably would. But only dropping over a week to me seems not that excessive. Especially as I'd only be replacing them with cheap eBay Chinese units rather than anything special. Certainly won't be putting MB ones on it - presumably that's probably what is on it currently. 

These cars do make all sorts of weird and wonderful noises with the ignition off. Usually just after you lock it and walked off. 

Pssssht!

Loud enough to make you turn round and wonder wtf that was. Then realise it must be the suspension self leveling and releasing excess pressure. 

Or Brrrr as the SBC re-pressurises.

Or the whine and klacking in the engine bay as the Throttle body/EGR/other valves cycles for a good 60 seconds or so after key out. 

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39 minutes ago, SiC said:

The only time I've heard the compressor go on mine is after a week or so layup the other day after getting food poisoning. Kicked in just after startup. It must be running occasionally though as it doesn't loose any height noticeably if I use it every few days. 

Interestingly it didn't cause both sides to equalise. It did after a drive but I expected it to open the valve on both when compressing. But iirc they are one way valves? If so, presumably there is another valve block that allows to both read the pressure and release excessive air. 

The leak isn't really bad enough on mine to justify fiddling around and replacing the air springs. If it leaked out enough to drop every day or so then I'd probably would. But only dropping over a week to me seems not that excessive. Especially as I'd only be replacing them with cheap eBay Chinese units rather than anything special. Certainly won't be putting MB ones on it - presumably that's probably what is on it currently. 

These cars do make all sorts of weird and wonderful noises with the ignition off. Usually just after you lock it and walked off. 

Pssssht!

Loud enough to make you turn round and wonder wtf that was. Then realise it must be the suspension self leveling and releasing excess pressure. 

Or Brrrr as the SBC re-pressurises.

Or the whine and klacking in the engine bay as the Throttle body/EGR/other valves cycles for a good 60 seconds or so after key out. 

And to think after viewing yours I was just browsing ebay for one for me. Reckon I'm cured 😆

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44 minutes ago, Matty said:

And to think after viewing yours I was just browsing ebay for one for me. Reckon I'm cured 😆

Rear self leveling air suspension isn't much to worry about. Mercedes bags are £600 each, Arnott are like £250 each or ...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/353993173732

£144 (with eBay promo code) for a pair.

Air compressors can be rebuilt or £100 for a cheapy.

Valve block is similar but rarely has issues.

Pipe is just nylon pipe and nothing too special. 

I can understand why people get the fear with air suspension but the S211 self leveling is one of the simplest out there. The E320 petrol with the 5spd auto is about the most solid setup you can find. Really the only issue is on pre facelift with the SBC brake system. Thankfully mine is manufactured in 2010 and one of the last made. So not that old and not done that many miles either. The facelift does away with the SBC but the engines + gearboxes can have more problems.

Tbh they're cheap enough now that you can just use them and accept they may have a major fault then discard them. Flip side is they're comfortable to sit and drive in, massively useful and feel a nice thing to be using. Definitely a car that chills me out when driving. Glad I've got one (until I get bored)

If you want less risk then there is the C-class where it's a lot simpler electrically/mechanically and still the same solid drivetrains.

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From working on my air suspension, l found the system to be really basic with no valve block only a pneumatic tee on the rear axle. Each air spring has a solenoid valve on top with a single air line going to the axle tee and then to the compressor under the front left headlamp. The compressor has a valve arrangement to discharge air and a dessicant drier to keep the system dry. I did not delve into the control system other than checking the rear axle level sensor worked and was not seized.

I just might have to look into the control system schematics now to refresh my memory and fill in the blanks I could not fill before.

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1 hour ago, Snake Charmer said:

I just might have to look into the control system schematics now to refresh my memory and fill in the blanks I could not fill before.

I have heard that Tee can split and often why the bags go down on both sides. I wonder how the system knows the air pressure? Sensor in the compressor? Or maybe simply keeps pumping/letting air out until it reaches the correct height from the height sensor? Certainly seems a lot less to it than the full airmatic setup. 

I really need to get myself a copy of Xentry and have a poke around the docs to understand how this works. Ideally I'd like a STAR too but that's quite a capital expenditure and I don't know how many other Mercedes I'll have in the future. 

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On 26/11/2023 at 20:22, SiC said:

That second diagram looks like it is for full airmatic? Going by A9/1 mentioning airmatic.

If so, that makes sense as they will use wheel speed from the ABS to lower the car when at high speed. 

If you Google GF32.33-P-0004A that document comes up as a PDF on MBWorld with the heading "Electronic rear axle level control model 211.2 except code (489a) Airmatic (semi active suspension)"

Im still learning how to navigate the WIS software, not the easiest.

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Started up tonight at work, lights on auto, A/C on and hit demist then rear demist. Backed up and the big red battery warning came up. Knocked the rear demister off and A/C demist to get normal service. Battery is a few months old so suspect the alternator might be on the cusp of expiry so will be giving it an easier time on startup with the A/C etc off until running as the PTC draws mega current. Might also be additional load from cold PAS pump on an old belt.

Happy days. 

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Not had a repeat of the battery warning, taken to adding the loads gradually.

Repaired and refitted the r/h front fog lamp that survived Audi damage only to be taken out by a Muntjac deer at 50mph. Also realigned the parking sensors dislodged at the same time previously cable tied in place.

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Quicksteel putty and other derivatives are superb for jobs like these.

Sensor now playing ball in thraffic and parking, foglight back in securely and working legally. Had to take the lense off as the metal cap shrouding the bulb had popped off its mount.

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  • 2 months later...

Not much to report. Tyres rotated  a couple of weeks back to get the last out of them, new set will be going on the other car eventually and the damaged rim sent off for refurb. I have enough good 16" to run about on if needed.

Mileage coming up to 190k, definitely should be taking the engine cover off and looking into the injector seals as there's that smell of cooking diesel again.

Arrived at work last Thursday with a rattling exhaust, the connector bar on the twin pipes behind the axle had come off one side due to corrosion and our wonderful Surrey leafy lanes. Did a temporary repair until I can fabricate a repair link bracket and fit two new centre mounts.

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Yeah, I know. They are good quality second-hand hose cips though.

The previous owner of V2.0 sent me a few goodies in the week he found clearing out, a Mercedes dealer jacket,  Brienz Blue touch-up paint and lacquer, a bag containing two keyrings, Star logo highwayman mask and a miniature Mercedes replica key.

My first thought was a keyringtorch but none of the buttons work and no fancy LED in the end replicating the infrared. Missus suggested fridge magnet, wouldn't stick to the radiator though then sge said USB stick? Bingo. The cap is such a good fit you can't see the join, 4Gb too, no porn or bitcoin unfortunately. 

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