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Front Suspension Issue: Dealer made make shift repairs by adding 'spacers'. Huh?

(2008 Mercedes-Benz E350)
in San Diego, CA on July 08, 2012
My experience tells me its more than just tire pressure. There appears to be major suspension issues with the E350 07 and 08 that MBZ won't admit to. I had uneven wear on the inside edges of the front tires, flat spots every 2 inches or so around the entire tire. (The middle and outside edge of tire had at least another 25K left, not close to nearing the wear bars). Road noise was unbearable. Our car was/is a CPO with less than 36k when this happened. Get this; the dealer claimed it was a "ride height" issue and installed "spacers". They literally altered the suspension of $55K car by putting in these BS half inch plastic spacer on the struts, just like you'd alter a rice burner Honda or Toyota that these kids race around in... ok, fine. So we went with it. Intalled 2 new front tires at nearly $500. Now at 47K same issue; the tires have started to feather and is starting to make road noise. BTW: I have a commercial grade tire pressure gauge and checked the pressure at least once a month. I inquired about a recall. But the dealer advised, "its not a significant problem"... I disagree! Anyone else out there with similar issues? Love to hear from you.

Displaying 3 answers & 4 comments
Popular Answer
on July 08, 2012
You are absolutely right, you have a suspension problem, but adding spacers is not the fix. I hope your car is still under warrantee. You need to contact the complaint department of that dealership or go to and register a complaint. Sometimes you have to go to the extreme to get things done. I wish you a lot of luck.
on July 09, 2012
Thanks for your reply. I've talked to the dealer's assistant manager and he claims, as mentioned, its not a significant issue. Thus, I've even called the 1 800 # to MBZ and they pretty much gave me the same speech; "adding spacers corrected the issue". There is a "MBZ Suspension Service Bulletin 231230, NHTSA Action #: 10022892. But there aren't any information on how to properly correct the issue. (Jamming spacers isn't the answer, still chewing up the tires...) Are there any other processes to correct the ride height issue that you good folks know of?.. Your comments are appreciated.
on December 17, 2012
This is my second Mercedes E-Class. I had minimal problems with the first. From new, this car has cupped and feather tires which produced a noise that was unbearable. My first set started going at 7,000mi. I currently have 72,000mi on the odometer and am on my 5th set of tires. There is an issue with this model that MBUSA will not admit. I called and corresponded with MBUSA to no avail. After being ignored by them for more than 2 months(no replies, poor excuses) I had to get FJ to intervene. MBUSA simply offered me $500 recompense which I turned down on principle. Since then, I have also replaced the lower control arm bushings in the hope, as the dealer stated, the cause of the premature tire wear could/may be caused by their cracking. Well, now that those have been replaced, this has caused other issues to surface such as a vibration and clunking noise from the front end the dealer states is probably the struts - that their problem is manifesting due to the tighter composition of the suspension due to the installation of the goes on and on with this thing. Based on all the problems with this car, and worse yet, MBUSA's treatment, I will NEVER buy a Mercedes Benz product again. Do yourself a favor and dump your car as soon as you can. Mine is going very soon.
on April 22, 2013
Hi :>)

I wondered what year you have now with this issue... thanks. I'm looking right now at a MB E350 2010 w/22k CPO. The thing is a beautiful looking car, for the wife, but reading the dozens of issues with it makes me want to tell her we will NOT buy it. Many issues I see show it's with the 2006 thru 2010... Do you know if the 11, 12, 13 are any better? Thanks for any info - we peobably won't buy it tonight. She will be sad.
on November 11, 2015
I am having the same problem with my 2007 E350. Dealer just quoted $1000 to ad spacers to suspension. I am taking it to an independent shop that services my BMW Z4. I'll let you know what happens.
on November 12, 2015

Do not let the dealer jam ‘spacers/shims’ into your suspension. It the most absurd thing that you can do to your MBZ E350. Do you think that the design engineers from Germany would approve of altering the suspension this way? More than likely not. It is just a way for the dealers to make $$$$$$.. It is downright criminal.

After the spacers were installed our car drove very unstable and still chewed up the tires. S turns above 60 MPH, or the least bit of spirited driving made the car want to lose control, as a result of unable to properly align car.

I made the dealer remove the spacers, all of them: 2 on right, 2.5 on left (WTF)? The car sat unevenly on all four sides. Ridiculous.

After this horrible experience at the dealer (Escondido MBZ), I thought I had nothing to lose by trying a local independent suspension specialist. They referred me to a local alignment shop in San Diego, Clarence Brown Alignment. The tech was very knowledgeable and advised that this car has a ‘negative camber’, just the way it’s designed for performance. He aligned within specs, but said it would benefit from installing {a camber kit $300+; has notches on bolt to make additional adjustments}, as the factory does not install the bolts with notches for camber adjustments. I didn’t get the camber kit, and just asked him to align it best they could. Which they did and the car rides, performs the way it’s supposed to now. The inside edges do wear out a little bit quicker still. But rotating at local tire shop has helped tire to wear evenly (sport suspension, staggered setup: removing tires from rim, rotate right to left, left to right).

My wife still loves the car with 105k miles and drives almost like new. We haven’t had any major issues, just replaced timing belt pulley, one oil seal.

*Again, whatever you do don’t let the dealer jam in shims/spacers. You will regret it.

*If your car has like 150,000 - 200,000+ miles, the springs in the struts may have sagged a bit. In this case, the tech at alignment center suggested replacing the sagging springs.

In my sincere opinion/experience, the dealer was creating problems to fix a problem, just to fix another problem. When our car just needed proper alignment. The independent tech advised that it was "toed inward, out of spec". I'm lead to believe that either the dealer's alignment machine is not calibrated correctly, or they're intentionally performing the alignment incorrectly so that you can come back for phantom repairs.

Best of luck everyone.
on July 02, 2014
I have purchased 3 sets of front tires and all have done the same. Wearing on the inside that you can't even see. Sometimes you can feel it and on this current set that I am riding on they look brand new; only about 6,000 miles. Alignment each time new tires where installed, very bad issue.
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