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2012 S550 W221 Driveshaft vibration

303 Views 6 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  BoatWaco
I have a S550 with 90,000 miles on it, and when I get it to around 65 to 70, or even above that, there is a noticeable drive shaft vibration. I am not sure if this is due to the drive shaft support bearings, or the drive shaft itself is out of balance. I have had a lot of experience with Europeans, I currently specialize only in Audi Volkswagen however, I would find it hard to believe that this vehicle would have a drive shaft out of balance especially being a flagship vehicle. The problem is that my friend who purchased this vehicle, took ownership of this vehicle with six previous owners. It makes only sense to me that one of the previous owners miss handled the vehicle which I could see from the Carfax report, the second owner, where most of the problems started to begin with this vehicle. However, I could be totally wrong, and perhaps there are problems with drive shafts with this particular vehicle. It is not a 4-Matic, how are just a regular rear wheel drive vehicle. If anybody knows anything about this, please let me know! I don't know if this is a common problem with the drive shaft itself, or if somebody previously abused and used the vehicle improperly prior to my friends ownership? I am imagining like all new vehicles with rear wheel drive, are spiked u-joints, and therefore the entire drive shaft needs to be replaced, however there are a few vendors out there that will allow you to purchase new u-joints if you know how to disassemble a spiked unit. Being a ASE master Auto tech, I told my friend that the only way that I will know for sure what is going on, is to totally remove the drive shaft and articulate the joints and thoroughly inspect other parts of the drive shaft. It is not likely to be able to figure out what is wrong with the drive shaft in the vehicle just by looking at it. Like I said before, if anyone has any ideas or if this is a common problem with this particular vehicle, let me know. I would really appreciate it!

Thank you!, Craig
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Have you looked also at the engine and transmission mounts, to rule them out as a source of vibration?
Does that model MB have any sort of flex disc in the driveline? If so, be sure it’s ok.
First things first, the dealership that I bought this vehicle from offers a 3000 mile warranty. I have not put on 3000 miles yet, so I am going to call Mercedes of the Quad Cities and see what they can find. I am personally an ASE Master Tech who only specializes in Audi/VW. However my sub component specialties are electronics/electrical and I am also certified as an L1 advanced level specialist. Basically drivability. Drivability however is different between all makes the vehicles in a very specific way. However, when I get this vehicle up to you 65 to 70 mph, it is most definitely a drive shaft issue. I know these vehicles are commonly known for having engine mount and transmission mount failures, and I am assuming because this 4.6 l twin turbo V8 produces 516 lb/ft of torque and like any other high-performing engine these rubber mounts are bound to fail. From what I have researched on this vehicle, they all seem to say that the transmission mount is the culprit, however usually when the transmission mount fails, there is a clunk when you step on the gas from a dead stop and a clunk when you let off the gas immediately. There is no such noise coming from this vehicle. I would suspect, that the support bearings, or one or more of the u joints and failed, and I'm afraid like on most new vehicles, this is a spiked drive shaft, meaning that it has to be replaced in total. When you joints are not replaceable, unless you are a genius and have the talent to do it. I could be wrong about all of this, and if you have any more insight let me know! Like I said before, it's easier for the Mercedes dealer to put it up on the hoist, and find out what's wrong while it's under I have been through factory training school, and I know for fact that Mercedes-Benz has very strict standards as to who they accept to their training school, meaning you have to be a pretty smart cookie in order to become a Mercedes factory technician. A GM factory technician is in no comparison to a Mercedes factory technician! I am sure that they will figure it out! I will keep you posted on what they found out! Not that I could not figure it out myself, however it's much easier having the vehicle up on a hoist there, rather than me jacking up the vehicle in my driveway.
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So, I took it to the dealer where the vehicle was purchased, and even though there was a 3000 mile warranty after purchasing the vehicle used, they discovered that one of the AMG Wheels was out of whack. Before I purchased the vehicle they had put on z-rated tires. When I went to test drive the vehicle I had noticed this vibration which seemed to be a drive shaft vibration, however from my drivability experience it was only occurring when I got up to 65 miles an hour or more which is usually a tire issue or tire balance issue. After purchasing this vehicle the dealership rechecked the tires completely and told me that all of the tires were in complete balance. As an ASE Master Tech, out of the business for a while, I would trust this dealer like normal people to say that all of the tires were okay balance wise. This third time that I brought this vehicle into the dealership, told me that one of the AMG 20 inch Wheels was screwed up, causing a similar drive shaft vibration. So, this dealership has a 3,000 mile warranty and I did not put 3000 miles on this vehicle and therefore they will not replace a new wheel, because of the cost I guess! Do not buy your vehicles from the Smart franchise based out of Indiana! I used to own my own European automotive repair facility and I was always honest with my customers. If there is a wheel that is screwed up, it would never balance out on a balance machine. This facility took the wheels off after purchasing this vehicle and told me that all the wheels were balanced correctly. This is when for the third time I took it in, they discovered that one of the wheels was screwed up. You cannot balance a screwed up wheel correctly and say that it is balanced. It does not work that way! These wheels are an AMG upgrade from 19-in to 20 in. This is a 2012 S550. What a joke this dealership is! Sell me a car with a screwed up wheel, offer me a 3000 mile warranty and won't replace the wheel! I did not screw up this wheel in between when I took ownership and complained, I complained about this issue when I took it out on a test drive before I bought it and it has been an issue ever since.
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What does the warranty document say it covers in that 3000 miles? If it says it includes wheels, you may have a reason to push back.
In my opinion, taking delivery after complaining and not getting it in writing that they owe you a fix to your complaint means you accepted that issue.
So I found out that one of the AMG wheels is out of whack. The dealership that I purchased this car from, has several different stores including a Mercedes dealer, but all stores are treated as a separate entity, and twice I have been lied to to have the wheels checked for balance. I had this done before the car was delivered to me and this car was given a 3,000 mile warranty, however the third time after delivery I took it in and they figured out that one of the wheels is out of balance. I have been an ASE MasterTech and beyond for over 20 some years, however I do not work as a technician anymore because the back issues, however I know for fact that when you go to balance wheels, if one of the wheels is out of whack, the tire machine will keep hunting as we call it, and after the second spin usually the machine will ask you to either add more weight on the inside or outside or both and keep going. These wheels as you know, take sticky weights. I don't know if this wheel could be refurbished by a wheel company? AMG no longer makes this wheel. It is a 20 inch by something something. I am sure I could find another wheel as new-old stock or used. But ultimately when I trusted the opinion of the Lexus dealer where I bought this vehicle from and would not take it to their Mercedes building to have it looked at because they are all separate entities even though they are the same company, I trusted that the wheel balance was not the issue and when you get this vehicle up to 65 to 70 miles an hour it feels almost like a drive shaft vibration. But as a technician if you use logic, normally when there is a drive shaft issue, it does not vibrate at a certain speed usually. That's why I thought this was a drive shaft issue and had it taken in and there isn't a drive shaft issue but a wheel issue. These wheels are a powder coated black 20 inch wheel. If you have any insight on how I can perhaps refurbished this wheel without purchasing another one, please let me know! A brand new set at my cost is $2,400 for a different style. Retail was around $4,600.
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Perhaps posting a Wanted ad here and at BenzWorld will result in someone who has a wheel or two or four available. Post a picture of the wheel and the accurate wheel size in our Wanted sections. Good luck.
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