e220 cd Executive SE Steering problems

cool95

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I bought a demonstrator E220 CD Executive SE in March 2009, when it was only 4 months old. I love everything about the car. COMAND Sat NAV and the Entertainment system, including Liguatronic are all wonderful. But I have a problem with the steering wheel. It does not return automatiocally after I make a right or a left turn. It returns about half-way, but slowly. It never returns fully. All my previous cars (all Japanese) never had this problem. I took the car back to Merc dealership, and they replaced the Power steering pump - no improvement. Then recently they changed the rack - not a notable improvement. Also, during the rack replacement, they gave me a 2009 (same model) as a courtesy car which I used for a week until the repair was done. I found out that this car had the same problem. Is this a fault, or is this how they are made? Or, is it only on the Executive SE model? I must admit that this is my first non-Japanese car. I should be grateful if you could let me know what you think. If anybody had this problem, could you please tell me how iit was rectified.
 

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Can't say I'd really noticed it not returning but then the steering is heavier than most japanese cars (more feel) and I suspect the previous cars were front wheel drive? They do have a greater tendancy to return to centre.
 
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cool95

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E220 executicve SE steering problem

Thank you very much for your reply. You are right - all my previous cars were front wheel driven. In fact I currently have a Honda Jazz which we use as a work-horse - steering weheel can be turned with samlle finger. Also, I have read somewhere about European cars to have a 'more feel' in steering. Does your steering wheel return to the centre, or does it return about halfway, slowly on your E model? If yes, I think you have put my mind at rest and I won't bother my dealer anymore!
 
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I will check mine on the drive home tonight, I cannot say I've ever had an issue and really like the steering on my car. Mine also has the parameter steering (speed sensitive) which gives great feel, I must admit that I didn't like the steering on a E220 I had as a hire car but that was down to feel at speed rather than low speed returning to centre.
I expect you have 245 width tyres on the front and that is a serious amount of rubber to turn at low speeds.
 
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cool95

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E220 Executive Se Steering Problem

Thank you. Mine has got 225/55 tyres. No speed sensitive steering. Very impressive plate, you have got!
 

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Thank you. Mine has got 225/55 tyres. No speed sensitive steering. Very impressive plate, you have got!

Yours is set up the same. The steering is very "slow" on an E class. its relaxing but does require deliberate inputs. Try driving the car on a sweeping A road and you'll realise its well set up.

Point of note, you should never rely on a cars self centering steering, you should always straighten the wheel yourself, gives more control over the car.
 

Alex Crow

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the wheel will return to center at higher speeds, eg over 60 mph, but at car park speeds it will not. this is normal and correct. the fact that the other car you have driven is the same confirms that yours is ok.
 

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Thank you. Mine has got 225/55 tyres. No speed sensitive steering. Very impressive plate, you have got!
I tested mine on the way home last night and it does return most of the way if you are close to full lock but not if you're not. As I turn the wheel rather than let it flick back then I've never noticed. I do know that with front wheel drive they do flick back more especially when power is applied. I think your car is working correctly and you either need to adapt to it by altering your driving style or go back to a front wheel drive car.
 

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In fact I currently have a Honda Jazz which we use as a work-horse - steering weheel can be turned with samlle finger.

That's interesting as we do too - in fact we just changed a 2003 Jazz for a brand new one.

I recently read a "complaint" about the old Jazz steering not centering on its own and I was surprised as I'd never noticed that in 6 years of driving it, so I tested it next time I drove it.

Sure enough, it doesn't return to centre either! I guess it must just be different driving styles - I've never been one for letting the wheel slip back to centre between my hands, although I will wind it when manoevering with one hand like a forklift truck driver would.


On your Mercedes, I'm absolutely gobsmacked that the dealer would change such expensive parts if there's no real problem. The steering could be made to self-centre more stongly by adjusting wheel alignment, but that could cause all sorts of other problems, including uneven tyre wear.
 
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Parrot of Doom

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I took the car back to Merc dealership, and they replaced the Power steering pump - no improvement. Then recently they changed the rack - not a notable improvement.

This is one of the reasons why I stay away from all dealerships. You just know that they knew the behaviour of the car was perfect, but wanted the money for warranty work.

I had an Audi TT with a crunching gearbox, to 'solve' the problem the dealer replaced the timing chain and the entire exhaust.
 

haggettd

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My C220 does the same as yours by the sound of it cool95.
Heavier than my previous Octavia to turn at low speeds and with little tendency to self centre.

My guess is that rear wheel drive cars don't have to compromise their suspension geometry setup to minimise torque steer - which can be a real menace in a powerful front drive car.
They can thus set up the geometry to deliver other attributes.
My C220 is great on fast A roads and B roads too and the centering feels natural and 'right'

Suspension setup is always a bit of a compromise but specific characteristics can be tuned in. Jaguars and Lotus' for example end up with similar characteristics throughout their ranges because the ride/handling test drivers (In Jag/Lotus' cases) have been working there for yonks - and know what they want from their cars.
Jaguars feel entirely different to Lotus' though cos their customers have different requirements.

I suspect the 'meaty' steering feel we get is fairly common throughout the range. But as I said - it's only my guess.
 

Rory

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This is one of the reasons why I stay away from all dealerships. You just know that they knew the behaviour of the car was perfect, but wanted the money for warranty work.

I had an Audi TT with a crunching gearbox, to 'solve' the problem the dealer replaced the timing chain and the entire exhaust.

I don't theink they're typical experiences - most manufacturers have pretty stringent criteria for agreeing warranty claims, they don't just hand out authorisations willy-nilly. A friend of ours had problems with intermittant steering vibration on a Renault and they wouldn't authorise a new rack until a regional technical engineer had seen the fault.
 
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cool95

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Thank you all for your replies

Thank you very much for your replies, views and advice given to a first time buyer of a Mercedes. Having read all your posts, I now know that, perhaps there was nothing wrong with my car in the first place! But I think the rack change made some improvement. Finally, I must say that this forum is wonderful, particularly for people like myself, who are newcomers to Merc experience! Thank you all.
 

Alex M Grieve

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Thank you very much for your replies, views and advice given to a first time buyer of a Mercedes. Having read all your posts, I now know that, perhaps there was nothing wrong with my car in the first place! But I think the rack change made some improvement. Finally, I must say that this forum is wonderful, particularly for people like myself, who are newcomers to Merc experience! Thank you all.

Very kind of you to say so, but it is shared misery really - we all just huddle together and help each other.

We will be relying on you to help us with our problems at some future juncture when we hit a problem to which you know the solution!
 

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