In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Mercedes E55 AMG AirMatic Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.
The Mercedes E55 AMG was clearly an iconic Sports-Sedan that gave sports cars of its day, like the Porsche 911 996 Turbo, a run for their money, The Mercedes E55 AMG’s trump card was a hand-built 5.4-liter supercharged V8, rated at 469 hp and 516 lb-ft. At the time the second generation E55 came out, this powertrain made it the quickest production sedan in the world.
What are the Top 5 suspension issues in the Mercedes E55 AMG?
The most common AirMatic suspension issues that occur in the E55 AMG are:
- Corner Sagging
- Vehicle would be sitting low and unable to raise
- Squeaking Noises
- Suspension Error message
- Rear suspension Riding Lifted
E55 AMG Suspension Set-up
The E55 AMG first generation, launched in 1998 was on the W210 Chassis and featured the basic Suspension set-up as:
- Front Independent double wishbone suspension with steel coil springs and gas-pressurized shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar.
- Rear 5 – link arrangement with coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar.
The E55 AMG second generation, launched in 2002 was on the W211 Chassis and came with an AMG tuned Mercedes AirMatic suspension. This particular AirMatic system featured air-springs with electronic ride height control and adaptive damping at all four corners.
The AirMatic was basically meant to be a combination of adaptive damping that adjusts Damping rates continuously based on road inputs and selected driving style alongside air springs resulting in an extremely comfortable ride.
How to Deal With AirMatic System Failure in a Mercedes?(+7 Troubleshooting Tips)
- When parked for a while, one or more corners sets very low in height compared to the other corners.
- On starting the vehicle, the corner would rise, but only temporarily before sagging again.
- The car would be at an uneven height even while driving
Troubleshooting Corner Sagging
AirMatic Strut Failure
- The most probable cause would be damage to one or of the AirMatic Struts which led to a leakage and loss of air pressure.
- Therefore the particular strut was unable to maintain the required ride height
- One quick check you could do to verify that it is the Strut, is to press the ‘Axle Lift’ Button and watch how the suspension tries to raise itself.
- The Front generally goes up first in Axle-Lift. If there is a problem or leak in any one of the front Air Struts, then the suspension will either not be able to fully raise itself, or,
- The problematic Strut side will go up slightly and lower itself immediately, while the other corners are raised.
- There will also be a “Hissing’ Noise while doing Axle-Lift due to the Air Leakage
Failed Ride Height Sensor
- If the Ride Height sensor is broken, damaged or locked, it will cause the AirMatic system to get confused and not maintain ride height
Vehicle sitting low and unable to raise
- Vehicle would be sitting low generally after being parked for a while.
- Even when the ignition is turned on, the suspension would not raise itself again
- In certain cases, there would be no compressor noise
- In some cases you might get this error message,
‘AIR SUSPENSION FAILURE: VISIT WORKSHOP.’
The problem could be most likely due to an electrical fault. You should use an OBD II scanner and get it to display all the fault codes.
Troubleshooting Vehicle sitting Low
Leakages in the Air Lines
- If the suspension sits low, it mostly means that there is either ‘Low’ or ‘No’ pressure at the Air Struts
- There is a possibility of leakage at any of the connection points within the Air circuit.
- You can easily identify the points of leakage by spraying soap and water all over the entire air circuit lines and then observing for the appearance of bubbles.
AirMatic Compressor Failure
- If you find no compressor working noise, then this would most probably be the cause.
- The compressor would stop working in the following situations:
- Burn-out of the Compressor motor
- leakages in the air lines,
- airflow blockages leading to loss the of minimum pressure required to allow air suspension functioning, or
- It could happen due to either a voltage surge in the circuit or just simply due to age.
- A Bumpier than usual ride is the main symptom of this sort of failure.
AirMatic Relay Problems
- The relay opens and closes electronic circuits.
- Through this, it controls the AirMatic compressor.
- Occasionally, a relay could fail due to loads over longer periods while engaging with the compressor.
AirMatic Valve Block
- If there happens to be an AirMatic Valve block, then air can leak back into the compressor and then potentially damage the compressor itself.
- In normal driving going over uneven surfaces, the suspension makes ‘squeaking’ and ‘mild rattling’ noises
Troubleshooting Squeaking Noises
If the AirMatic Shock has failed it could lead to dislodging of internal components and subsequent squeaking noises when the vehicle runs.
AirMatic Shock Failure
An AirMatic shock could fail due to:
- A part defect
- Incorrect assembly of the suspension
- Shock has reached its end-of-life, generally the shocks last between 80K to 100K miles
Suspension Error message
- The error would generally appear as ‘STOP: VEHICLE TOO LOW’.
- This indicates that your car suspension is in a critical condition and that you should stop driving.
- In several cases the car may not even be driveable.
Troubleshooting Suspension Error Message
- The best way would be to use a Diagnostic Scanner and check for the Error Codes that the tool displays
- Whether you use a diagnostic tool or not, you would still need to do some overall checks around the entire system.
- These steps are explained in the “Troubleshooting Vehicle Sitting Low” section.
Rear suspension Riding Lifted
- The Rear suspension is at maximum Ride height at one or both then corners
- Rear suspension height does not come back to normal until the ignition is turned off.
Troubleshooting Rear suspension Riding Lifted
Two possible Causes for such a symptom:
- Rear Height Sensor is malfunctioning. If the Ride Height sensor is broken, damaged or locked, it will cause the AirMatic system to get confused and not maintain ride height
- Rear Air Spring has an issue. It is possible that the Rear Air Spring has undergone internal damage or wear
In this brief article we have discussed the different Mercedes E55 AMG AirMatic Suspension issues, what the causes are, and how these issues can be effectively dealt with.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How much does it cost to fix the AirMatic suspension?
In the case of the Mercedes-Benz GL450 parts would cost around $540, and labor costs could range between $190 and $230.
How do I reset my Mercedes air suspension?
Once you are done repairing your AirMatic suspension, you need to make sure that all the warning messages are turned off. For this you need to reset your AirMatic system.
There are two ways to reset your AirMatic System:
One way is to turn off the ignition and then turn it back on after 10 minutes. The warnings earlier seen before the repair should have turned off.
Another way to achieve this is to disconnect the positive and negative battery terminals of the battery. Now contact these two cables. Allow about ten minutes for the system to complete the power down process.
If both these methods did not reset your Airmat system, then you need to diagnose any more faults using the OBD II Scanner.
How much does it cost to fix a Mercedes suspension?
The AirMatic spring replacement should cost around $1,500. The labor involved might cost around $220
The cost of a Mercedes Active Suspension Air Compressor Replacement should be around $1,200
How do you test a Mercedes air suspension?
The best way is to:
- Detach the vehicle power supply to the AirMatic system and hook up direct power and ground
- Manually energize the Strut, by supplying external compressed air into the strut by connecting using a rubber air nozzle
- Now observe for air leak noise and check for leak points using a soap bubble test.