Your Mercedes-Benz E 350's air suspension system is responsible for ensuring a smooth ride on rough terrain. A working air suspension responds to all road conditions, shifting your vehicle's center of gravity based on road smoothness and different driving modes, such as comfort and sport.
Keep reading to learn what your Mercedes-Benz E 350's suspension system consists of, common suspension problems, and how to replace air springs on the E 350 on your own.
What is Your Mercedes-Benz E 350 Suspension System Like?
Your Mercedes-Benz E 350's air suspension operates with a series of inflatable airbags that inflate or deflate with the help of struts, allowing more or less compressed air to facilitate height changes based on riding conditions. Lowering or heightening is controlled by an air tank and vehicle computer - all of which replace traditional leaf or coil-based spring suspensions.
The air suspension system in your Mercedes-Benz E 350 is near the rear tires. It runs continuously, as opposed to simply activating when riding over a large bump.
What Are Some Symptoms of a Defective Mercedes-Benz E 350 Suspension?
Sagging Ride Height
Sagging ride height or unevenness to one side is likely the result of an issue with your compressor's ability to inflate airbags. This is especially true with air spring leaks, caused by small holes and tears in its rubber material. The worse the air spring leak, the less capable your Mercedes-Benz E 350 is of absorbing road shock and the less comfortable the ride.
Odd Grinding, Clinking, or Whirring Noises
Another near surefire sign of a defective Mercedes-Benz E 350 suspension is grinding, clinking, or whirring noises while driving. Specifically, your compressor motors wear down when overworked. Perform a quick visual check of your ride's height to determine if you need to address the compressor. Is height drastically lowered? Is your vehicle sagging to one side? One or both of these signs need additional troubleshooting, diagnosis, and repair.
Defective Air Dryer Assembly
Air compressors hold a component called dryers, which remove moisture from the air to boost compression power. A broken or defective air dryer assembly could cause internal parts to rust and corrode, resulting in lower or sagged ride height over time.
How Do I Replace Air Springs on the E 350?
Replacing air springs on your Mercedes-Benz E 350 is a relatively straightforward process that you can perform on your own.
Before starting work, you will need the following items - replacement E 350 rear air springs, a lug wrench, floor jack, screwdriver, 10mm spanner wrench, and 7mm socket wrench.
- Remove your vehicle's battery to disable the air suspension system.
- Use the floor jack to elevate your Mercedes-Benz E 350 at least two feet above the ground.
- Use a socket or lug wrench to loosen your wheel bolts and remove the wheel.
- Locate your shock's base, remove the cable, and unbolt the rear brake caliper to allow for ample clearance in accessing your air spring.
- Lower your dust cover to reveal your air spring.
- Locate the valve block and remove the nut and mounting point's top spring before removing the airline fitting.
- Starting from the base, tug the air spring away from the arm's lower section before pulling it out cleanly.
- Insert your replacement air spring by sliding it in, compressing, and rotating it.
- Reinsert your airline onto the spring and torque the bolts back on the caliper before reattaching your cable shocks and battery.
- Check for proper air spring inflation before reattaching your wheel, lowering the vehicle back to the floor, and pumping your brakes for a full recalibration of your brake pads.
After completing all of the steps, perform a quick test drive and keep your eyes and ears to the ground. Check for sagging ride height, grinding/whirring noises coming from the compressor, and overall ride smoothness across smooth and bumpy terrain.
All in all, your Mercedes-Benz E 350's air suspension is directly responsible for ride quality, ensuring active dampening based on road conditions. Any defects to your air suspension could result in an insufficient ride height, sagging to one side, or excessive road bumps, or wearing out of your chassis over time.