Maintenance and Repairs

How to fix your Mercedes-Benz GL450 suspension problems the right way

Are you having trouble with your Mercedes-Benz GL450 air suspension? You are not alone. Unfortunately, air suspension issues are quite common with this full-size SUV.

The air suspension in your GL450 gave the German luxury vehicle a smooth, cloud-like ride when it was new. However, after some years on the road, it has started to show signs of aging.

Owners may notice these problems in different ways. Some might see evidence of suspension failure from the outside. One common example is the car sagging low in the rear. You might also find your GL450 leaning to one side.

Sometimes owners can hear the evidence. If the compressor is running too loud or too long, it’s a sign that it’s working too hard. This would indicate a suspension fault somewhere in the system.

You might also feel that difference. A car driving on bad struts will take much longer to stop. When it does, it often dips forward with the back popping up, looking like it is crouching. This is referred to as a “nose dive.”

Mercedes also included a suspension warning light that will illuminate when there is a problem. However, this might come later than some of the physical symptoms.

If you are noticing any of these symptoms in your Mercedes-Benz GL450, it is time to have your suspension serviced. However, there is a lot to consider before making any big financial decisions about these repairs.

 

Repairing your Mercedes-Benz GL450 air suspension

 

If your suspension problems took you to the dealership, they likely recommended replacing the busted components with new air suspension components. A repair quote that made you do a double take probably accompanied that recommendation.

The reality is that air suspensions are highly complex and therefore expensive systems. They rely on a web of interconnected parts working together in order to function properly.

Your Mercedes-Benz GL450 has ride height sensors at each wheel. These sensors send a signal to the control module, letting it know how much the air bags need to be inflated or deflated.

Then, the control module sends this information to the compressor. The compressor pushes air into the airbags. These rubber sacks are what suspends your car off of its wheels.

Each one of these components is highly specialized. As you may have noticed, many of them are moving parts, electronic parts, or parts made with flexible materials. These are all prone to failure.

As you can guess, these are all expensive parts to replace. Not only that, they are very labor-intensive and complicated to install.

 

Other options for your Mercedes-Benz GL450

 

This might sound pretty intimidating. However, you do have other choices for your Mercedes.

This kit from Strutmasters allows you to do away with that troubled air suspension forever. You can ditch it and kiss all those recurring suspension problems goodbye.

Instead of a mess of electronics and tiny moving components, these traditional coilover suspensions use mechanical resistance to hold your car up.

Made of high-grade stainless steel, these durable coilover struts are a fantastic alternative to those unreliable air suspensions. At just under $950, you will save literally thousands of dollars versus replacing your suspension with OEM or third-party air suspension parts.

Strutmasters suspension conversion kits are designed to be very simple. So simple, in fact, that the average DIYer can do the installation at home with common tools. No computers, no sensors, no airbags–just stainless steel and a few high-grade rubber bump stops.

Even if you don’t install them at home, the ease of installation translates directly to a lower shop bill at your mechanic.

But the financial benefits don’t stop there. Each Strutmasters air-to-spring conversion kit for your Mercedes-Benz GL450 comes with a Limited Lifetime Guarantee. That means as long as your Mercedes is on the road, Strutmasters guarantees your new struts.

 

Ready to make the switch?

 

If your Mercedes-Benz GL450 is experiencing suspension failure, converting to a coilover system is the logical choice. Not only will you save money, you’ll never have to deal with the endless repairs of an air suspension again.

Check out the suspension kit in action in this ride-along video!

Buy this robust four-wheel suspension kit online, or call our Suspension Experts at (866) 546-4761. They’ll ensure you’re taken care of down to every last detail.Don’t wait any longer! Get back to enjoying your Mercedes-Benz GL450 today!

Monotube vs. twin tube shocks – Which should you trust with your vehicle?

When it comes to replacing the shocks on your vehicle, you have a number of different choices. Even when you break it down to only passive struts, you have two primary options: Mono-tube and twin-tube shocks.

There are major differences between the two technologies. But first, let’s identify what mono-tube and twin-tube shocks are.

 

What are mono-tube shocks?

 

In a mono-tube (also spelled monotube) shock absorber, all of the components are contained within one cylinder.

This cylinder contains oil, pressurized gas, and a piston valve. It utilizes a free piston to separate the oil chamber from the gas chamber within the case.

 

What are twin-tube shocks?

 

A twin-tube shock absorber, as the name suggests, features two cylinders. One cylinder sits inside the shell case. The second cylinder holds the piston valve which moves vertically. It is known as the “inner cylinder.”

In this twin-tube setup, there is no actual barrier between the gas and oil chambers.

Illustrated difference in the design of monotube and twin/dual tube shocks.

 

How do monotube and twin-tube shocks compare?

 

First, let’s establish some similarities. Both of these shocks can be very high-quality products made by reputable manufacturers. On the flipside, both of these can also be produced by fly-by-night companies looking to make a quick buck.

Both mono-tube and twin-tube shocks perform the job of dampening your ride. They are also a vital part of your handling and braking systems. In short, they are extremely important to the safe functioning of your vehicle.

But where do they differ?

 

Ride quality differences

 

For most people, the primary concern when looking at new shocks is ride quality. This is a factor of how well the shocks dampen the ride as it travels over bumps and dips in road surfaces.

In the twin-tube design, fluid flows from the inner chamber to the outer chamber through valves which also do the dampening.

Unfortunately, in very intense shock situations such as a pothole, the fluid in the chamber can start foaming. This will lead to a dramatic decrease in ride quality.

However, in a single chamber design, the gas and fluid never mix. This is due to the free-floating piston.

This means that there will be no foaming and as a result, much more reliable ride quality.

 

Differences in responsiveness: Monotube vs. twin tube shock absorbers

 

The importance of your shocks can not be overstated. Your suspension system is what connects your car to its wheels. That means it is an indispensable part of your braking and handling systems.

This is where responsiveness comes into play.

Ideally, your shocks will adjust quickly to whatever terrain you are traveling over without losing efficiency. They should stiffen when encountering rough terrain or a racing situation. The shocks should be much smoother when traveling on even road surfaces.

Twin tube setups feature several independently-working valves. In contrast, monotube shocks function as one unit due to their single-valve assembly. This design distributes pressure over the entire circumference of the shock evenly.

In addition, the single-tube design also allows for a larger piston. This provides extra strength to the shock absorber.

 

Ease of installation

 

When considering which shocks to buy, cost certainly becomes a factor. However, it is not only the cost of the product you must consider, but the cost of installing it as well.

As you can probably guess from the name, twin-tube shocks are more complex than their monotube counterparts. With more components in the mix, twin-tube shocks are much more difficult to install.

The single valve design of monotube shocks means that they are “simple on the inside, simple on the outside.”

Their relative simplicity means an easier installation. In fact, most of these monotube shocks are designed with the DIYer in mind. If engineered properly, they should be very simple to install at home.

Even if you choose to take that job to your mechanic, they will spend considerably less time under the hood with monotubes than they would with twin tubes. The result is more savings.

Monotube shocks: clearly the better choice

 

The factors listed above aren’t even the whole story. There are issues like aeration, ride stability and fading that also differ between the two. Click here to read a more in-depth look at these issues.

When you consider all of the advantages, it becomes clear that monotube shocks are clearly the better solution. This is why Strutmasters has chosen to outfit each kit with mono-tube shock absorbers.

It is true that they are slightly more expensive than twin-tube shocks. However, once you consider the lower cost of installation, less maintenance, and a lower rate of failure, the long-term cost is much lower.

It is important to be able to trust the quality of the shocks you buy and install. That’s why Strutmasters offers a Limited Lifetime Guarantee on the build quality of its shock absorbers. As long as your vehicle is on the road, your shocks are guaranteed.

Once you are ready to replace your suspension with durable, high-quality monotube shocks, search for your model on our website. Better yet, give one of our Suspension Experts a call at (866) 715-6013 and let them sort it out for you.

Say goodbye to faulty suspensions and hello to peace-of-mind.

Common Air Suspension Parts to Improve Truck Ride Quality

brochure-sideThese days, most trucks come standard with all the equipment needed to ensure the best ride quality. However, if you’re driving around in an old truck, you may not get the topnotch performance you want. Fortunately, air suspension parts can fix that.

To boost your vehicle’s performance, here are a few of the most common air suspension parts to improve truck ride quality.

Durable Air Springs

Trucks using a traditional coilover suspension can install durable air springs to improve overall ride quality. Air springs, or airbags, are made of sturdy rubber material that’s specifically designed to support the weight of the truck plus any additional cargo loaded onto the truck. These will keep the truck level, especially when hauling heavy items. They will also help to prevent rear end sagging and bottoming out.

On top of that, air springs can help to absorb energy from bumps and dips on the road to ensure that your truck delivers a smooth performance on any type of terrain.

Onboard Compressor

You may also want to add an onboard air compressor to boost truck performance. With an onboard compressor, you can inflate and deflate the air springs in your truck with the simple touch of a button. So if you’re looking to experience a stiffer ride or need the truck to deliver a smoother performance when hauling heavy cargo, all you have to do is press a button to inflate or deflate that airbags to the appropriate air pressure.

Best of all, some onboard compressor systems can operate automatically. These systems can adjust the pressure of each air spring as needed to cater to your current driving conditions This helps you to experience a smooth ride no matter what type of terrain you’re traveling through.

Air Struts and Shocks

With high-quality air struts and shocks, your truck will drive smoothly for years to come. Air struts and shocks help to keep your truck planted firmly on the road and absorb most of the impact when driving over potholes and bumps. Air struts and shocks will also keep your truck from swaying and leaning when turning.

Most importantly, these air suspension parts can reduce the risk of rollovers and accidents while driving. So they not only improve truck ride quality but also help to ensure your overall safety.

Air Suspension Lift Kits

And if you’re looking to convert your coilovers altogether, consider installing an air suspension lift kit for your truck. An air suspension lift kit includes all the parts needed to lift your truck higher off the ground.

The added height that comes from these lift kits will be able to compensate for any extra weight added to the truck. This helps to keep the truck level when hauling and enhances overall control and handling.

These are just a few common suspension parts that can help improve truck ride quality. For more information about the air suspension parts that can enhance your truck’s performance quality, contact Strutmasters online now.

When to Replace Your Shocks and Struts

The shocks and struts of your air suspension system are integral parts responsible for keeping your vehicle balanced and connected to the road when driving. Shocks and struts are reliable air suspension parts, but they’ll need to be replaced with time.

Replacing damaged shocks and struts regularly will help your vehicle deliver a dependable performance for years to come. So we’ve provided this helpful guide to help you determine when you need to replace your shocks and struts.

How Often Should You Replace Shocks and Struts?

Like all automotive parts, your vehicle’s shocks and struts follow a specific maintenance schedule. Experts say that shocks and struts should be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. However, that’s just a general recommendation.

The life span of shocks and struts will depend on your driving patterns. If you’re traveling through bumpy streets and adverse road conditions often, then your shocks and struts will need to be replaced more often than those commuting short distances every day.

With that said, it’s important to have these air suspension parts inspected regularly. This will help you get a better understanding of the exact mileage and time your shocks and struts need to be replaced.

Shocks and Struts Warning Signs

Replace your shocks and struts if:

  • You notice poor steering response.
  • Steering performance is stiff.
  • Your car sways or leans when turning and changing lanes.
  • Your vehicle bounces excessively when driving.
  • Braking performance is unstable.

These are all warning signs that your shocks and struts need to be replaced. They can occur at any time, so always be aware of any of the signs above or any other changes in overall performance. And once you notice that there’s something off about your vehicle’s performance, check your shocks and struts and replace them if needed.

Checking Struts and Shocks for Damage

Sometimes, struts and shocks won’t begin to emit the warning signs above until it’s too late. So you also want to perform routine visual inspections to help you understand when you need to replace your struts and shocks.

During these visual inspections, you’ll want to check the struts and shocks for leaks. With time, these air suspension parts will deteriorate, resulting in fluid leaking. Usually, fluid will leak from the top of their bodies.

You also want to look for any corroded, worn, or broken mounts and bushings around the suspension parts. Damaged parts around the shocks and struts could cause severe harm to the suspension system. Replace the mounts and bushings as well as the shocks and struts to prevent performance issues.

Most importantly, check your tires. When your vehicle’s struts or shocks need to be replaced, they can no longer support the vehicle. So the weight of the car bears down on the wheels causing uneven tread wear.

Without shocks and struts, no air suspension system would be able to work properly. So use the guide above to help you understand when you need to replace your shocks and struts to ensure long-lasting suspension performance.

To learn more about your vehicle’s shocks and struts, contact the suspension experts at Strutmasters online now.

Why Air Suspension Kits Fail

air suspension fail

Air suspension kits can enhance your vehicle’s overall ride quality, but when they start to fail, they becoming the biggest reason for decreased performance and sagging. So why do air suspension kits fail?

Damaged Airbags and Air Struts

The airbags and air struts in your air suspension kit are responsible for keeping your rides cushioned and adjusting the ride height. But like all air suspension parts, they break down and deteriorate as they get older, leading to air suspension failure.

Rust can also damage the air struts. Moisture in the air system reacts with the metal of the struts and forms rust and corrosion. This can result in severe suspension problems when left unaddressed.

brochure-sideMalfunctioning Air Compressor

The air compressor in your air suspension kit inflates each airbag to the proper pressure based on your performance preferences. If it starts to malfunction, it no longer can keep the airbags inflated, which causes the car to sag, bottom out, and produce a bumpier ride.

On top of that, an overworked air compressor results in a failing air suspension kit. If the airbags are punctured or damaged, they can’t stay inflated. Because of this, the air compressor continues to pump air into the bags, which can overwork the system and make it fail.

Problems with Air Line Connections

Air lines connect the airbags and air struts to the rest of the system. If they’re not properly connected or if the lines are damaged, air from the compressor can’t fill the airbags.

Generally, problems with air line connections in a suspension system occur when the lines rub against something sharp, like a moving air suspension part. On top of that, improper installation can also lead to air line problems. So make sure that all lines are properly connected when installing your air suspension kit.

Air Dryer Issues

The air dryer controls the amount of moisture in the air that flows through the suspension system. However, if it begins to fail, the excessive moisture will accumulate, forming rust and corrosion on various parts.

Plus, electrical parts in the suspension, like the compressor, are more susceptible to problems when the air dryer fails because excessive moisture can cause these systems to short out.

Air suspension kits can boost a vehicle’s performance, but they will fail over time. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening. Just consult the guide above to find out exactly why your air suspension is failing so you can determine the best way to fix it.

And if you’re looking for a more permanent solution to your suspension woes, contact Strutmasters online about getting a dependable air suspension conversion kit for your vehicle.

Common Suspension Issues with Ford Vehicles

ford common problems

brochure-sideSuspension issues with Ford vehicles are common, but they can also be the most difficult automotive problems to deal with. They can negatively affect performance and safety, plus repairing Ford suspension parts can be expensive. Fortunately, understanding common suspension issues, such as those discussed below, and their symptoms can make them easier to deal with.

Air Leaks

Air leaks are the most common suspension issue with Ford vehicles equipped with an air suspension system. When your vehicle is suffering from an air leak in the suspension, your car will ride lower than usual or sag on one side.

Air leaks usually occur within the air springs. The rubber on the air springs is durable enough to last several years and more than 100,000 miles. However, time and wear and tear can cause the rubber to deteriorate and crack, which leads to air leaks.

Overworked Air Compressor

Ford vehicles with air leaks in the suspension system will also have to deal with an overworked air compressor. When the air springs are damaged, they no longer can stay sufficiently inflated. This causes the air compressor to continuously pump air into the air springs.

Generally, the compressors should only run for a few seconds when inflating the air springs. If it’s working longer than that, it can overheat and cause severe vehicle damage.

Wandering Steering

Wandering steering is when your vehicle drifts to the left or right on its own without you moving the steering wheel. This common Ford suspension issue is a sign that your vehicle’s ball joints are wearing out. Ball joints allow the wheels and the suspension to move as the steering wheel turns.

You may also hear a creaking sound when turning or notice suspension parts dragging on the road while you drive when your ball joints are worn or broken.

Excessive Bouncing

Excessive bouncing is a common suspension issue that most Ford drivers experience, and it’s caused by damaged or leaking shock absorbers. These air suspension parts are responsible for cushioning the vehicle from the impact of bumps on the road and keeping your car on the ground.

When the shocks are leaking or damaged, they no longer can keep your car on the road or ensure a smooth performance. Thus, your Ford starts to bounce excessively, especially as you drive over bumps and dips.

Fixing Common Suspension Issues in Ford Vehicles

Generally, common suspension issues for Ford vehicles are difficult to deal with and expensive to repair. However, there a few easy and cost-effective ways to alleviate these problems and restore your Ford’s performance. For example, you can install an air suspension kit to replace the damaged parts in your existing air suspension.

You can also install an air suspension conversion kit to convert your suspension to a coil spring system. This option provides a longer-lasting solution and prevents the reoccurrence of a few common air suspension problems.

Both are good options for fixing common suspension issues in Ford vehicles. But if you need help deciding which option is best for you, contact Strutmasters online today.

Fall Car Care Tips to Protect Your Vehicle

car care fall

Fall is here, but is your car ready for the colder temperatures and changing road and weather conditions? If not, these fall car care tips can help your car take on autumn and even help you prepare for the upcoming winter.

Inspect the Suspension System

The summer can wear down suspension parts, so have your shock absorbers, struts, and other suspension parts inspected and repaired at the beginning of fall to ensure a smooth performance all season long. You also want to monitor the system’s performance and have the suspension fixed if you notice that your car is bouncing or riding lower than usual.

Check and Adjust Tire Pressure

As the temperatures begin to drop, your car’s tire pressures will as well. In fact, tire pressure decreases by 1 PSI every time the outside temperature drops by 10 degrees. So make a point to check the inflation of your tires regularly throughout the season. If you see that your tires are getting flat, inflate them to the proper air pressure as stated in your owner’s manual.

Check Fluid Levels and Conditions

After a hot summer, the fluids in your car will need to be changed or refilled. So check the levels and conditions of your windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, etc and refill if needed. You also want to look at your engine oil. If it’s running low or is black and gritty, get an oil change immediately.

Inspect and Clean the Battery

car-batteryFall weather conditions can negatively affect the battery, especially as the temperatures start to get colder. To prevent a dead battery, clean the terminals and cable ends and check for any signs of corrosion. This will help the battery maintain a better connection with the vehicle’s electrical systems.

Clean or Replace the Cabin Air Filter

Autumn’s falling leaves may be beautiful, but they can clog your car’s air system. Throughout the season, peek at your car’s cabin filter and remove all the leaves, dirt, and debris. Better yet, replace the filter to ensure clean air in your cabin.

Test the Heating System

After more than three months of air conditioning, you’ll want to check your car’s heater to make sure that it’s still working properly. To do this, simply turn the heater on and monitor its performance. It should start blowing hot air immediately. If it’s emitting cold air or you smell or hear something unusual when the system is active, get your heater checked and repaired.

Get Your Car Detailed

Get summer’s grime and pollen off your vehicle when you get your car detailed during the fall. Detailing services will clean the exterior and interior of the car. They’ll also help to protect the exterior against environmental damage caused by leaves, dirt, and debris. Best of all, they can prepare the vehicle for the winter and protect against road salt.

Get Your Car Serviced

Most importantly, get your car serviced. The summer can take a toll on any vehicle, so schedule a service appointment to have everything under the hood inspected and repaired as needed to ensure your car is ready for the fall season.

For more car care tips, check out Strutmasters’ blog.

5 Signs Your Air Suspension Needs to Be Repaired

Suspension Replacement OptionsWhether you drive with an air suspension or a coilover, all suspension systems wear down with time, causing an array of performance issues. However, knowing when your suspension needs to be repaired can help to prevent that.

Knowing when your suspension needs to be fixed allows you to provide the automotive care it needs to avoid excessive damage. So to help preserve the life and performance of your vehicle, we’ve listed the top five signs that your suspension needs to be repaired.

Rough Performance

A vehicle’s suspension is responsible for absorbing the energy from bumps and dips when traveling. With time, each suspension part will wear down and no longer be able to cushion the energy. This causes a bumpier ride.

A rough ride is a telltale sign of suspension trouble, but you won’t be able to diagnose the exact problem just by looking at your vehicle’s performance. So take your car to a trusted repair shop as soon as you start to notice more bumps so they can repair the issue in your suspension.

Bouncy Ride

You may notice your car bouncing more than usual when your suspension needs to be repaired. Excessive bouncing is caused by worn-out shocks. You’ll usually notice your car bouncing when driving over bumps or even tiny dips in the road.

You can also perform a bounce test to see if your suspension needs to be repaired. All you have to do is lean down on the hood of your car a couple of times when it’s in park. If you see that it’s still moving after three or four bounces, get your suspension repaired.

Lowered Stance

brochure-sideThe suspension works to maintain a vehicle’s ride height at all times. So if you notice your vehicle is sitting lower than usual, your suspension may be to blame.

Usually, a vehicle will start to ride low when there’s a problem with the coil or air bag or compressor. Cars with coilover suspensions will experience this issue when the coils are no longer able to support the weight of the vehicle. Those with air suspensions will start to sag when there’s an issue with their air bag or air compressor.

Drifting and Pulling

When the shocks in your air suspension system begin to deteriorate, you’ll notice your car drifting and pulling more especially when turning because the shocks can’t keep the vehicle level or stable.

Damaged and worn shocks can make your car more susceptible to rollovers. With that said, it’s critical to have your suspension repaired immediately if you find your car drifting and pulling when turning to ensure your safety.

Uneven Tire Wear

Uneven tire wear is caused by a variety of issues, including your suspension system. When your suspension can no longer support your car, the weight of the vehicle starts to bear down on your wheels and tires, causing excessive and uneven tread wear.

Uneven treads on tires can lead to decreased traction. So check the tread depth of your tires every so often, and if it’s getting too low too fast, get your suspension checked out and repaired.

No matter what type of suspension is in your car, it’s important to make sure that you know when it’s having problems and when it needs to get fixed. So consult this guide to understand when your suspension system should be repaired.

If you have any questions about all of the signs your suspension needs to be repaired, contact Strutmasters online now.

What to Look for When Buying Replacement Suspension Kits

The best way to fix any suspension, whether it’s an air suspension or a hydraulic suspension, is to install a replacement kit. But with so many options to choose from, how can you make sure that you purchase the best kit for your car?

To ensure that you get the right kit for your car, we’ve provided everything you need to look for when buying replacement suspension kits below.

High-Quality Parts

Suspension Replacement OptionsThe quality of the parts in the replacement suspension kit you install on your car will determine how it will ride. So you want to make sure that the suspension kit you choose has high-quality struts, shocks, and other suspension parts.

High-quality suspension parts are more durable and reliable. They’re made to withstand wear and tear as well as excessive weight when towing hauling. This means they’ll last longer.

On top of that, replacing your current suspension with high-quality suspension parts will deliver a smoother and more stable ride.

Right Parts for Your Car

The quality of your replacement suspension kit won’t matter if it doesn’t have the right parts for your vehicle. Remember that suspension parts aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of product. All cars need specific parts to ensure proper performance, so you need to choose a replacement suspension kit that’s made for your vehicle.

Most companies offer kits for many makes, models, and years. So do a bit of research and make sure that you choose the one that’s best for your car. Plus you can simply find the kit with the parts that matches your car’s current air suspension kit.

Detailed and Helpful Instructions

While you can have a replacement air suspension kit installed at your local service department, there are some who would rather install and replace everything themselves. And if you’re one of those people, you want to look for a kit with helpful instructions.

Instructions are usually included with the kit. Plus manufacturers typically feature instructional guides and online videos to help. Go over all of the directions associated with the particular replacement suspension kit you want to see if it’s easy enough for you to install alone.

Topnotch Warranty and Customer Support

Last but not least, you want to make sure that the replacement suspension kit you need comes with a good warranty. Should the suspension parts fail unexpectedly, a warranty will help you to avoid added costs of repairs and replacement. We recommend choosing a replacement suspension kit with a lifetime warranty.

And if you have trouble installing the kit or need help diagnosing a suspension issue, you’ll want to have access to all the help you need. So make sure that the company you’re buying from offers customer support with convenient operating hours and an experienced and knowledgeable staff.

The right replacement suspension kits can be difficult to find but not when you know what you’re looking for. So if you’re searching for a replacement suspension kit, read the guide above.

To learn more about what you need to look for in a replacement air suspension kit, contact Strutmasters online.