Question about 2001 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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The airmatic pump seems to running constantly, and can be heard from inside the car. When I engage the airmatic system, that is when I call for the car body to rise, i get the display on the dash saying vehicle rising, with the correct diagram and sometimes the vehicle does not rise, and then when it does there is quite a loud whirring which seems to be coming from under the dash, but maybe in the engine bay, it's difficult to say especially when you are sitting in the car with the engine running, some times while driving along this whirring noise will suddenly start and then stop after a minute or so, all completely at random. Any Ideas?

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  • yadayada
    yadayada Mar 12, 2011

    How many miles on the car?



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Reason is likely inadequate air in the system. This can be due to:

Pump failure.
Valve failure.
Sensor failure.
Significant leak from system.

System is usually VERY reliable but at high mileage (lets say 100k miles+) things can become troublesome...and potentially VERY expensive.

All depends how DIY / competent you are.

Best course of action is to get your friendly MB dealer to run an SDS Quick Check which will advise any DTC's (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) that have been set. This should point us in the right direction. You should get a PRINTED report showing the status of all vehicle systems. If the car is several years old you may be horrified by how many codes have been set and stored!!
If you have any "goodwill" with the dealer they may do this Free of Charge but usually charge â£25 (maybe more in London).
Unless you have deep pockets I would suggest you get that info first.

The pump is located under the RH frond wheelarch. It makes (should) a noise when running. If there is no noise then no air pressure. A new pump is circa â£250 + fitting but there are many reasons why the pump may not be running. Fuse / Circuit issues / sensor values / worn out etc.

If the pump is running the valve block can sometimes fail to deliver the correct pressure to one, or several, of the corners of the car and your observation front OK, rear low may fit here.

In the States leaks are quite common on the large engined variants operating with high under bonnet temps (London traffic?). This causes cracking of the seal at the top of the struts. A kit is available in the USA to fix this (non MB I suspect) but new struts are mega expensive. The crack (if present) is clearly visible around the top of the strut adjacent to where the air tube enters.

I could go on but the first step is the codes and an indication from MB (if they are prepared to do so) of what they think is wrong and the likely cost)

I experienced a fault on my S Class (which somebody else also encountered on this site) whereby the salt on our roads had corroded a wire splice WITHIN the harness adjacent to the pump and this gave INTERMITTENT "Too Low" warnings" and "Stop do not Drive" messages over several years but usually cleared after a restart or two. It was when it didn't clear that i had to determine the cause. My MB garage were intrigued by this issue because they were confident that it was the pump.
They actually fixed the problem for a mere â£70 after spending 8 hours!! on the car with me present because I "bet" them that it wasn't the pump. (I had already satisfied myself that everything in the system was OK and had run out of ideas. I hadn't even considered a broken wire within the harness! I took it to them because I needed to codes..I don't have the required equipment to read suspension codes... to help me move forward)
SDS indicated "Pump failure" because the pressure sensing signal which is generated by a sensor mounted on the pump was not being seen by the computer. It wasn't being seen due to the break in the wire!

Posted on Mar 12, 2011


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