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W210 raising self leveling system upwards

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering & Brakes' started by Smaltze, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Smaltze

    Smaltze Senior Member

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    Ive lowered my car a while back on recommended lowering springs and adjusted the self leveling by loosening the clamp on the sway bar. however when i did it i broke it and had to make a new clamp. It has worked and the SLS does work under load as it should.

    however the car does sit very very low and i get a huge bounce when going over big dips. its only a problem on big dips and bumps i dont notice it elsewhere, but where im having to drive lately is very bumpy and its getting to me. its as though there is no dampening.

    Will raising the height A - soften the ride, or does the ride height not matter as i know the damping comes from the other bit, i forget the name. and B - will it affect the camber if i bring it back up since its currently off from lowering it and would be nice to have it back closer to normal.

    It would be nice to have it up by an inch or so.

    Im curious as to how i get the SLS height set upward. since i remember when i did it i took it off completely and then bolted it back on where it is, so i assume its sat at its lowest setting.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Frontstep

    Frontstep Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
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    If you reduce height you reduce suspension travel so you get a "bumpier" ride.

    The car is by design a load lugging autobahn barge and whilst you might like the lower look it isn't immensely practical for such a car.

    Raising the car will give the suspension more movement to absorb undulations.
    I did just the opposite to you and slightly raised my elegance ride height (just under a couple of centimetres) to cope with pot holes,speed bumps,poor roads etc and I like it.
     
  3. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    '93 500SL-32, '01 W210 Estate E240, 02 R230 SL500 (Malcolm Spec), 04 Smart Roadster Coupe
    There is a correct way to adjust the SLS which I'll try and dig out later.
    Basically the link has an adjustment in middle. From memory its an 8mm or 10mm bolt (on 2001 and later - on earlier cars is a threaded rod with a left/right hand thread and locknuts) which when loosened allows about 2" of adjustment. In the upper arm is a hole.
    Loosen the adjustment link. Fit a drill through the hole into a hole in the body of the height regulator valve. Tighten the link. Remove the drill.

    You don't say if yours is an Elegance or Avantgarde?
    My Avantgarde is low enough standard without making it even lower!
     

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  4. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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  5. Frontstep

    Frontstep Senior Member

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    Must be a London thing.
    The roads toop north are too bad to think of lowering the suspension and thats without the speed cushions humps etc etc.
     
  6. OP
    Smaltze

    Smaltze Senior Member

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    Im just outside the m25, when i drive to work into the city the first few miles have a couple of back breaking bumps then its a cloud the rest of the way.

    Its an elegance, it is really low which looks decent but i would defintely bring it up a bit for the benefits of a smoother ride.

    heres the only recent pic i can find.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  7. Frontstep

    Frontstep Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
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    Is very low with low profile tyres and allows little suspension travel over bumps you must enjoy a rough ride.
     
  8. DavidR

    DavidR Senior Member

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    The rear suspension on the S210 is very similar to Citroen Hydropneumatic, something I am alltogether far too familiar with.

    I suspect the issue you have is that the fixed springs are doing too much of the work of holding up the rear of the car, and as a consequence there is almost no fluid in the "spheres". Whilst on a Citroen, the compressed nitrogen in the sphere does ALL the work of holding up the weight of the car, in the mercedes system, it only does part of the work. It must, however, do some of the work, as it is essential for there to be compressed fluid in the fluid-side of the sphere, as the movement of the hydraulic fluid in and out of the spheres is how damping is achieved.. No fluid capacity in the spheres means no ability to have damping. (The "dampers" on the rear suspension are NOT dampers, they are essentially hydralic rams)

    There is also the consideration of the condition of the spheres. They (like the citroen ones) lose their compressed nitrogen over a period of time, and the less and less nitrogen there is in the sphere, the harder and harder the suspension will become. I remember working on a W124 with this system where the rear suspension had practically bugger all travel due to flat spheres. Mercedes wanted to change the springs, fluid struts, pipeing etc.etc.. at a cost of £1bn. The real issue was the flat spheres, which once changed (at £62 each) absolutely transformed the ride quality.

    So... first thing to check is the condition of the spheres. Remove them from the car and have them pressure tested (any half-decent independent citroen garage can do this) and compare with the new pressure. I would expect them to have something like 20-40 BARS of pressure in them.

    If the spheres are good, they need to do more of the work holding the car up (more fluid movement in and out of them during suspension travel). This can be done by moving the clamp on the anti-roll bar very slightly while the weight of the car is on the wheels and the engine is running. The way I would recommend is to loosen the clamp only so far as it is still holding, but a tap with a hammer will move it by a degree or two. Tap the clamp and watch which way the car reacts. One way it will raise the car (fluid suspension holding more of the weight of the car) the other way will lower the car (fluid suspension holding less weight, steel springs compressing more). Adjust until ride height looks correct to you.

    It is a little more complex than a basic citroen system, as the reaction of the steel spring has to be taken into account, but the principles of operation are essentially identical.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  9. Frontstep

    Frontstep Senior Member

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    If you hit a 6" deep hole your suspension needs 6" of travel to cope.
     
  10. OP
    Smaltze

    Smaltze Senior Member

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    the cars ride was fine before lowering and felt as now as soon as i lowered it. which makes me think youre right in saying the suspension is sitting on the springs. i will raise the car up with the clamp movement and see how it feels. thanks all!
     
  11. tjamesbo

    tjamesbo Senior Member

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  12. OP
    Smaltze

    Smaltze Senior Member

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    SLS w210 lowering adjustment

    Ok so i finally got round to doing it.

    Heres what i found:

    I first realised that i had my valve setup completely wrong, it was basically upside down (this must have been me reassembling it wrong when i first lowered it), i makes me wonder whether my SLS was even working originally, i thought it was because i never had any problems with loading the car but maybe thats because the suspension was so low that it couldnt really go anywhere.:razz: Anyway...

    I flipped it it back to its correct setup, and with the car on i was then able to easily get the car to go up and down very quickly by moving the valve arm manually with fingers. The car clearly was originally set at its bottomed out position which is with the valve arm horizontal - neutral position.

    I didn't use the adjusting features such as the sliding control arm bit, or move the clamp arm from one hole 'N' to the other 'S' lower one. i simply pushed the valve upwards, moving the car upwards and let the clamp move around the roll bar until i had my desired height. i set it to about 1-1.5 inches higher than before, tightened the clamp and then tested it.

    The car felt very raised, and was really bouncy, there is one specific bump in my local road which im very used to feeling so i drove over it a few times at my typical speed to test. it felt just solid and bouncy. little to no dampening.

    I then got it back onto ramps and lowered it down again by loosing the clamp and moving the whole thing, so that the car was sitting at about 12mm/~half an inch higher than its first position and tested it again.

    This time it kind of felt better but also different. It felt closer to the original feeling, but still bouncy, with a little more dampening but also alot more boat like. not very desirable, but i think i will leave it at this height for now for more testing.

    Im taking from all this that you cannot use the SLS adjustment to raise the car permanently while maintaining proper suspension function. I think it causes the car to sit on its stiff struts which are then bouncy and rigid, and it causes the springs and dampeners to behave wrong.

    Seeing that im assuming there isnt any othre way to make the SLS behave any differently ive concluded that i basically just need taller springs again so that the neutral position of the car is higher, and i can have my SLS set to its neutral bottom position where it is 'loose' and allowing the suspension to act normally, and then only acts when the car is genuinley weighed down by its contents, which in turn causes the dampening to act well due to 'heavy car' feeling.

    thanks all for their help, and i hope this helps people too.
     
  13. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    It could also be that your spheres are knackered.
    The SLS works by increasing the pressure in the strut. This makes an increasing amount of the weight of the car borne by the gas spheres. If the gas spheres are low on pressure they will be hard and bouncy.
     
  14. OP
    Smaltze

    Smaltze Senior Member

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    OK...are the struts pressure connected to the spheres?

    Should the suspension act any differently depending on the struts height besides perhaps having more travel?

    Is it that if the SLS works normally the spheres and springs should act and feel the same when the car is:
    unloaded and sitting at normal height (no SLS).
    loaded with SLS engaged - struts elongated - sitting at normal height.
    Or are they supposed to act differently.

    If that was the case then when i raised the strut height/pressure manually by changing the valve position then the suspension should actually still work the same, and infact have more travel? Or does the car then sit on the struts more, which turn into their own high pressure shock spring type thing.
     
  15. robparker

    robparker Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    The "shocks" have no effect on shock absorbing, they are merely rams to set the height, the absorbing is done by a combination of springs and spheres. So the ride height wont effect what the spheres do, but if its low so the springs are smaller/stiffer/have less travel, then that will of course be effected.
     
  16. OP
    Smaltze

    Smaltze Senior Member

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    Ok this is good to know. I can assume its my spheres then.

    Also im almost certain the bouncyness came straight after lowering it originally, and before that on the original springs the suspension was great. so i thought the spheres were fine.

    Does it feel more bouncy when raised because im raising the car above its natural height with the SLS so the pressure is taken off the springs and put on the duff spheres?
    Even if i replaced spheres wouldnt this still be a problem if i had it raised, because there wouldnt be a good balance between the work of the springs and spheres?
     
  17. robparker

    robparker Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    If you replace the spheres you will no doubt feel an improvement.. I changed all 5 on my 6.9 and it turned into a magic carpet ride. In regards to the height though.. Mercedes set these cars up properly, and generally any modification like lowering it, or raising it, will make it worse
     
  18. OP
    Smaltze

    Smaltze Senior Member

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    yeh makes sense, i know it will always feel somwhat worse with lowering springs but dampening is something i really miss.

    i have lowering springs and minimum shims so its super low.

    if i replaced the spheres and it felt good though i would actually keep it because it does look epic.

    That being said, if anyone wanted my springs which are Eichback - very good. they could have them completely free in exchange for some stock elegance or avantgard springs since i dont have my original ones. and i might also ask for help in taking them out/fitting the stock ones as part of the deal :).
     

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