Click here to read part 1, Luxury Air Ride Restoration And Repair.
After 100,000 miles, most of these vehicles will have issues with the bushings in the front end. The first sign of a problem might surface in the alignment bay. You may notice that the camber and caster are close to the limits of their specifications for both sides. They might still be within specifications, but there could be enough extra camber to cause inner-edge tire wear issues. With these vehicles running on 19-inch tires, ignoring the problem may be difficult on the customer’s wallet.
Most of the suspensions will have a single large bushing that mounts to the body with a smaller, more ridged, ball-and-socket-style bushing at the wheel. These smaller bushings might have boots like a ball joint that can fail and cause wear inside the joint. Knocking or popping sounds will result when these types of joints develop play. The larger bushings will become more compliant over time and affect alignment angles and tire wear. Some bushings are hydraulic and can leak.
There are several repair options for these bushings, one of which is to press out the old bushings and press in new bushings. In some cases, specialist parts suppliers will have complete control arms or links.
Sway Bar Service
The modern suspension design of these European luxury vehicles puts more emphasis on the sway bars to control body movement rather than using stiffer springs that might compromise ride quality. If you look at the front sway bars on these vehicles, they are larger than on most domestic vehicles.
To be able to use these stiffer bars, engineers have changed the way the bars are mounted to the body and suspension. These links will typically have ball joints and bushings that can efficiently convert body and wheel movement into mechanical grip. But, these items can wear and cause noise problems when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line.
If you are confronted with a complaint from an owner about a rattle noise while traveling in a straight line, try removing the links and hanging the sway bar from the body. This diagnostic technique may eliminate the noise or point you in the right direction of the rattle.
These decade-old European vehicles were game changers when they were introduced. Now, they are changing the service game and even how customers value their older vehicles.
The good news is that these vehicles will be in the aftermarket for decades to come and will offer endless service opportunities for shops that welcome them.