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Thread: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

  1. #1
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    DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    This is a continuation of the thread I started "Is this a genuine M119 engine".

    We've now completed the swop of the 4.2L found in my E500, to the 5.0 litre I've taken from an SL (what a transformation in performance!).

    However, we've been left with what I can only assume is a driveshaft vibration. This can be initially (and only slightly) felt between 48 and 53 mph, and then it disappears until the 95 to 105 mph range, beyond which it again disappears.

    (We have discounted wheel/tyre imbalance, having tried various sets of wheels/tyres - all meticulously balanced - with no improvement. Also, before we carried out the swop, there was no hint of vibration, so I assume we can safely assume that the fault does not lie with the flanges (all of which look good), or the centre flexible coupling).

    To recap, the engine/gearbox/driveshaft front flange is from the SL. This front flange connects to the original front half of the driveshaft from the E500. We did have to remove the whole driveshaft when fitting the engine/gearbox, but have ensured that the markings front and rear of the centre bearing line up as per the manual.

    However, as far as the front flange connection to the gearbox is concerned, in the MB manual I can only find reference to alignment arrows when it is (for want of a better description) a three-pronged connection.

    My E500 (and the flange from the SL) has a four-pronged connection, and there are no arrows or other obvious markings on them which might suggest there is a correct way to line them up. However, could this area be the possible cause of the vibration? Despite having no obvious markings, is there a correct/incorrect way of lining up?

    Any help, anyone?

    Stephen

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Do you have a driveline shop around Bath...been a while since I've been there and it wasn't on my list of things to keep an eye out for..

    Yes, there is a specfic way,everything is balanced as a unit. I'd go ahead and order up a new carrier bearing and carrier -->get a shop to go through it.

    Alt, you can get some large hose clamps that fit around the drive shaft...move it around, see if you can't get the vibe to diminish or move around.

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    You can find some very good threads here on driveshaft vibration, it is common prb of the e500e.
    I would recommend to change the flex discs and the center bearing to new ones.
    Indeed there is no arrow, but you should pay attention to the orientation/order of the bolts/washers/screws.

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    I think you are correct that the issue is in the prop shaft. The two halves may not have been aligned exactly at the marks from the factory, and if it wasn't checked BEFORE separating the halves, you're starting from scratch with balancing. If the center support is old/original, replace that first with a new bearing. If the flex discs are old it probably would be a good idea to replace with new OE or OEM (SGF only). Someone posted on the forum to avoid the weird style SGF with holes in the flex disc, make sure they are solid. If all that doesn't cure it, you have 2 options:

    1) Have the prop shaft balanced as a complete assembly WITH the flex discs bolted on. Take extreme care not to lose the orientation between halves, and don't unbolt/move the discs either.

    2) If you still have issues after #1, there's always this factory procedure, which may be considered cruel and unusual torture in some countries:
    http://www.w124-zone.com/downloads/M...sis/41-080.pdf



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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Hi,
    recently I noticed vibrations going starting at 90-100 km/h (55-60 mph) from the rear.
    Rear tires are new and therefore newly ballanced, flex disc done last rear.
    Do I face (expensive) axle issues?
    Thanks,
    Rudy

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Why did you have to take the driveshaft apart in the first place?
    1993 400E on EVO2's

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Quote Originally Posted by Raffaelli View Post
    Why did you have to take the driveshaft apart in the first place?
    I'm not quite sure to whom this question is addressed - Rudy or myself (r44raven)?

    Following on from my problem with vibration from the rear (the driveshaft having been removed during the process of the engine exchange), this was finally rectified by having the whole driveshaft balanced as a complete assembly (as recommended by gsxr).

    At the same time the centre bearing and universal coupling were replaced. The latter process was not simple, as the universal coupling was non-serviceable i.e. it was not fitted with circlips which would have allowed new bearings to be fitted. So a new u/c had to be welded on to the existing shaft. Interestingly, the new u/c has both circlips and a grease nipple! Ideal for easier maintenance.

    Having said all this, there still remains a very slight and somewhat illusive vibration which is not always at the same speed. However, a previous owner has fitted a "sports" exhaust (I've no ideal what make - it appears to be bespoke!), and having read up about exhaust resonance and how it can set up vibrations, I am happy to accept that the vibration that remains is no long mechanical, but is caused by the exhaust. Maybe another owner has similar experiences.

    (Forgot to mention that when we removed the driveshaft to fit the new engine, we did detect a small amount of "roughness" in the universal coupling, and as it was thought this might have contributed to the vibration, we had it replaced).
    Last edited by r44raven; 05-26-2016 at 06:09 AM.

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  12. #8
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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    I would guess they didn't get the new u/c centered properly.

    FYI, there is very little movement in the u-joint. The subframe/trans movement relative is very very small. So the driveshafts tend to feel a little rough in a spot-but it might be nothing. If there is play, bad seals etc.. would worry. Slight roughness feeling- are both rear wheel bearings good?
    It's had to desk top diagnosis.. really need to drive the car to understand it. I'm picky and mine is glassy smooth.



    M

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Quote Originally Posted by samiam44 View Post
    I'm picky and mine is glassy smooth.



    M
    I'm really jealous if your 500 is glassy smooth. I'm picky too, and I'm still obsessed with the slight vibration I have - which having more or less excluded any mechanical cause - i.e. driveshaft, wheel balance etc. etc., I'm putting down to exhaust resonance.

    Can you tell me what exhaust you have fitted? Is it stock, or has it been modified? I'm almost convinced to go back to a stock exhaust, so that I can hopefully totally eliminate the vibration - and so can then be totally sure of the cause. I would say however, if I did prove that the problem was exhaust based, I would probably refit the offending exhaust system! The sound under acceleration is fantastic!

  15. #10

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Raven, hi. I'm in the UK with an evasive, elusive and very frustrating vibration issues. Now after having balanced the wheels a dozen separate times, and refreshed the entire suspension setup at great cost, I'm left with a vibration that a. does improve/worsen depending on the wheel balancing, and b. now moves from place to place - i.e. when the vibration is at let's say 110km/h, if I keep the car at that speed on a perfectly straight road, in less than a mile the vibration will have disappeared, only to be found at a different speed. When discovered and held at the new speed, the vibration disappears again and will be found at another speed....

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Ian, can you post a complete list of what components have been checked / replaced, and details about any items replaced? Have you done anything with the propeller shaft (or axle half-shafts) yet?


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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Quote Originally Posted by IanAtkins View Post
    Raven, hi. I'm in the UK with an evasive, elusive and very frustrating vibration issues. Now after having balanced the wheels a dozen separate times, and refreshed the entire suspension setup at great cost, I'm left with a vibration that a. does improve/worsen depending on the wheel balancing, and b. now moves from place to place - i.e. when the vibration is at let's say 110km/h, if I keep the car at that speed on a perfectly straight road, in less than a mile the vibration will have disappeared, only to be found at a different speed. When discovered and held at the new speed, the vibration disappears again and will be found at another speed....
    Hi!

    I can emphasise exactly with your frustration! You obviously have read my experiences in this particular thread. My circumstances were very similar to those you have outlined. Because I had replaced the drivetrain with an engine and gearbox from an R129 (which included using the SL's front flex disc), we were uncertain if the vibration might have stemmed from this. So I had the whole propshaft (incl. the flex discs) balanced, which did help somewhat. However, I was still left with an obscure vibration, and even after numerous wheel balancing exercises, it was still there. It would not always be at the same speed - seemingly to come and go at will - and which would vary whether under acceleration or deceleration.

    Eventually, having read of Road Force Balancing from devotees from "across the pond", I eventually tracked down a company in the UK which could offer this (Imperial Tyres in Swindon), and after they had done their magic on the car, the vibration was cured.

    If you search "Road Force Balancing" on this site you can read more about it.

    I strongly suggest, before you throw any more money at the car, you try it out!

    Stephen

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    This are the markings on the driveshafts witch has to be in line.

    IMG_2103.JPG
    IMG_2104.JPG

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  21. #14

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Chaps, so sorry had a major problem with my computer and couldn't get access to my invoices from the mechanic. Thanks to gsxr, hakie and raven for the replies. Raven it seems like you've had the same symptoms as I have. Actually, you know the car - http://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9363

    I replaced the shocks all round, the engine mounts (one of which was completely shot), transmission mounts, wishbone bushes, anti roll-bar bush, track rods, idler bushings and steering damper. I've changed the wheels and tyres and found no out-of-round problem with my Evo II wheels which I thought was the problem after the first phase of work. Whatever I do, whichever wheels or tyres are on the car, a very good balance leaves me with a very slight high-frequency at exactly 100km/h, and a bad-average balance can have vibrations from 80-140 at various places, all coming through the steering wheel. The work on the car has definitely improved the ride to a great extent. If I'm accelerating even gently through 100km/h I won't even feel it.

    I havent done anything with the driveshaft yet.

    There's a brilliant company called Vibration Free near me in the UK and they do on-car balancing (which I've done twice with them - didn't help, just moved the vibration around some, spread it out and made the frequency lower) and next time I'm in England I'll be getting the car on the ramp there to see if there's anything coming from the drive shaft. Nobody knows what could be the cause. I don't even know what an axle half shaft is! It was their confusion about the source of the vibration which prompted the suggestion of changing the shocks, and to tell you the truth after all the work had been done, the car - this time with only a slight vibration at 90-95km/h - was an absolute and total joy to drive from the UK to Italy and back last Xmas on winter tyres with standard 16" wheels and the work that was done transformed what was a very good ride to a spectacular one. Apart from the slight vibration, the car rides completely like new. It's a revelation actually, but moving on...

    I found the lad at Imperial at Swindon the time that I went there to do the RF balance a little too quickly, and it didn't get rid of the vibration. However, the very latest thing I did a month ago after refitting the 17" wheels was after I found an excellent shop in Knokke in Belgium on my last Europe trip and they really took their time and did a fantastic job, so I'm now back to a very minimal vibration at dead-on 100km/h - almost imperceptible, yet still wondering what the hell it is because - please please correct me if I'm wrong, a w124 shouldn't be so darned sensitive to wheel balancing, should it?

    Quickly took it to a mechanic recommended by fancy classic Merc guys for a second opinion (I've been very happy with Terry Gates at Mercservicing), to see if there was something obvious about the driveshaft or flex discs and he tightened up one of the bolts at the back of the driveshaft - but he didn't have time to do a test drive nor to remove the exhaust to look at the clamp in the middle, so maybe...?

    So, as I said, when back in the UK I'll go to Vibration Free and ask them to do their measurements on the car on the ramp and they can check the driveshaft to see if it's coming from there.

    Steve, the boss at Vibration Free - http://vibrationfree.co.uk/about-us/ - Is convinced that vibration through the steering wheel is 99.99% a wheel-balancing issue, therefore all that needs to be done is "wheel balancing to the nth degree" as he's had a handful of e500e and they all have had vibration problems. I'm not so sure yet. I think that if he's seen several of our cars, they would only have come to him with vibration issues given his area of expertise, and as you guys will agree, this is not such a 'common' problem on these cars to have become a characteristic - and that most times the work that has been done on my car would have cured the issue. Also, Merc isn't going to hand-build a motorway specialist leaving loads of cars susceptible to vibrations at 80-140km/h is it?

    So, let me know what you think,

    Best,

    Ian

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  23. #15
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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    I have a persistant vibration also, and several attempts at high quality wheel/tire balancing have only helped slightly. I've thought that I should get my engine and trans mounts done before I start on the driveshaft and center bearing themselves, just have not gotten around to it.
    Allgonquin

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  24. #16

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Yes, the reason I havent done that already is that the majority view holds that a vibration through the steering wheel only is at the front end....

  25. #17

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    After I got the first work done, the mechanic had checked the condition of the suspension and steering systems, and the problem was still there, I immediately thought one of my 17" wheels was out of round.. sadly for me it was not the case and the head-scratching continued..

  26. #18
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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Ian,

    What brand of tires are you running? If the wheels are strait and no bad brake rotors you have to look hard at the tires.

    I think you have replaced all of the suspension parts right? Tie rod ends, drag strut and steering damper ect; Through the steering wheel is definitely front end. What's left? Sway bar bushings, wheel bearings, brake rotors, wheels, spacers maybe? or tires.

    If you have ruled out all of the above issues for a front end viabration then IMOP, a quality brand of tires like Michelin properly balanced would go a long ways in solving your problem.

    I can see from other posts by U.K. members that getting a knowledgeable tech guy for 036 cars must be a real headache.
    Pick one Tech you have confidence in and see this issue through with him. Using different Techs probably isn't helping much.

    Good Luck
    Terry

  27. #19

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Terry thanks. Wheel bearings they must have checked at the very beginning, brake pads and discs - all new. Wheels 17" evo II and 16" Alamak (oem)

    Tyres
    - Continental Sport Contact 5 for the 17" - unfortunately they are the XL version, heavier with reinforced sidewalls - unnecessary I think but not the root of the problem imo...
    - Michelin Primacy 3 for the 16"
    - Goodyear Ultragrip Performance Gen 1 (winter) 16"

    Tyres all new, balances a million times....

  28. #20
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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    So,

    since we are talking driveshaft- you feel it in the seat and the steering wheel is vibration free? When did this vibration start occurring... does it line up with recent tires/wheels/brakes? Wheels and hubs it's runout and not just balance. Ie it can wobble or not be concentric with the axle centerline.

    Hard to diagnosis over the internet... you need someone to drive your car with you and make suggestions...


    Michael

  29. #21

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Thanks - I know you're right which is why I need to find an 500/r129 guru in the UK.... It's in the steering wheel only, so off topic slightly. I've checked the wheels for runout, but not the hubs, however the on-car balance didn't get rid of the vibration...

  30. #22

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    but then it might not be off topic..... as i'm going to get the driveshaft checked..

  31. #23
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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Only in the steering - I would check the idler arm bushing and replace the steering dampener.

    Pretty sure your problem is there- *IF* the front wheel bearings are adjusted to MB spec/FSM.

    Bet it's one or all three of the items. I've seen chineese rotors and brake drums where they didn't balance them....

    ... I though you'd just drop by and have Ed China give it a look =0)

    M

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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    If the vibration is coming through the steering wheel, if you let go of the wheel you should be able to visibly see the steering wheel shake. If so - the problem is most likely not related to the driveshaft. I would second the recommendation to double-check wheel bearing end play per FSM procedure (dial gauge), spec is 0.01 to 0.02mm, and unless your name is Klink or Jono, you cannot do this by feel. I doubt it's the cause of the issue, but it would be nice to rule it out. Brake rotors are indeed another possibility, but that can be more difficult to check without just buying new OE rotors/pads.

    Driveshaft vibrations tend to be felt in the middle of the car, what MB calls "thrumming" in English. These tend to appear near freeway speeds and may never go away at higher speeds, just change frequency or intensity. The fun part is when you have new flex discs and new center support, and new engine/trans mounts, new subframe mounts, new subframe links, RoadForced wheels/tires, and still have the driveline thrumming. I've been chasing that on my one car for a couple of years and still haven't cured it.


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  34. #25
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    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    If the vibration is coming through the steering wheel, if you let go of the wheel you should be able to visibly see the steering wheel shake. If so - the problem is most likely not related to the driveshaft. I would second the recommendation to double-check wheel bearing end play per FSM procedure (dial gauge), spec is 0.01 to 0.02mm, and unless your name is Klink or Jono, you cannot do this by feel. I doubt it's the cause of the issue, but it would be nice to rule it out. Brake rotors are indeed another possibility, but that can be more difficult to check without just buying new OE rotors/pads.

    Driveshaft vibrations tend to be felt in the middle of the car, what MB calls "thrumming" in English. These tend to appear near freeway speeds and may never go away at higher speeds, just change frequency or intensity. The fun part is when you have new flex discs and new center support, and new engine/trans mounts, new subframe mounts, new subframe links, RoadForced wheels/tires, and still have the driveline thrumming. I've been chasing that on my one car for a couple of years and still haven't cured it.
    That's a really great post by gsxr. As I understand it, there are a number of E500E owners who have - and still are experiencing - vibration problems. Despite all attempts to get to the source, it seems in some instances, this is elusive.

    Reference IanAtkins problems, sorry to hear that Road Force did not cure your problems - it certainly did for me. But I know what you mean about the guys at Swindon; they did seem to be very quick. However, I did get a good analysis printout from them of the status of each wheel - which showed one to be the problem - which they cured.

    About getting an E500E guru to look at your car. I may have asked this before, but are you a member of the MB Club here in the UK? If so, you have access to Neville Wright, who is the UK's leading expert on W124s (and particularly E500Es). What he doesn't know about the marque isn't worth knowing! (He doesn't partake in forums, so you won't find him here).

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  36. #26

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    Thanks for that. gsxr I feel for you if you can't get to the heart of the matter it is blood-boiling, and know that I too have thrown thousands at the car to fix it, and haven't really gotten there. What I haven't checked is the wheel bearings, but I think that I can rule out hub out of round with the on-car balance.

    Raven, I have been hoping each time I hear something that it will be the thing that fixes it. From the exploded engine mount, the possible out of round wheel, the alignment, the shocks, that final balance, those new tyres, the bushes - just waiting for that feeling to lift away like you must have felt after the RF balance...

    Samiam - i've done the steering damper and the idler arm bushings - so wheel bearings maybe next - but I'm sure Terry would have checked that...

    I'll try and track down Neville, and see if he truly is my Mr. Wright....

    Best,

    Ian.

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  38. #27

    Re: DRIVESHAFT VIBRATION

    oh yeah and i've put new brake pads and rotors (discs in real English) on which got rid of a slight vibration on application of the brake pedal at the time, but I was still fuming about the shimmy....

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