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You are in the Mercedes Benz S-Class Sedan
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Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Car Leasing, Sedan
Apr 05, 2001 (5:32 pm)
I generally agree with Drew but a bit of experimentation may be tried if one is so inclined.
The tire pressure ratings for German cars seem to me to be set with high speed, mirror-smooth Autobahn driving conditions in mind and are often unduly firm for American urban areas.
I recall an article not long ago by LJK Setright of the British magazine, "Car," who made exactly the same argument.
Given the extensively potholed, cracked, frost-heaved, and otherwise highly uneven streets and highways I regularly find myself on, I've learned to take the rear tire pressures down 4 or 5 pounds, sometimes even 6 pounds, from the manufacturers' ratings. This gives me much, much better ride quality, and only diminishes the handling limits ever so slightly. I'd say that most drivers would not sense any meaningful change in the balance and "feel" of the car at all. I've done this for the better part of 15 years now with one Porsche 911, a BWM 740i, and 4 M-Benzs, including an E500 (where it made only a slight difference -- the car rode well already), and 2 SLs (where it made an enormous difference -- indeed I may have gone through a set of tires ever so slightly faster, but on the other hand, when I gave up my 1995 SL500 it was as tight and rattle-free as the day I bought it, despite traveling 77,000 miles in and out of NYC everyday for 4 years).
I intend to do the same with my new S500 with the AMG Sports Package when it arrives at the end of the month. Especially, now that the consensus seems to be that the ABC suspension option seems to add a bit of harshness to the car's ride (thanks very much for the dead wrong advice, MB techs in Montvale). If you order the optional dashboard tire pressuring monitoring system, as I did, keeping track of the state of your tires is easy. Forget checking it every two weeks -- I can check it on the fly!
A couple of notes of caution for any of you who want to experiment as I have. While I consider this a safe thing to do if you don't go overboard, I wouldn't recommend reducing your pressures if you have any ambition to try for a top speed run on an open stretch of highway you may have been eyeing. There isn't a day that I don't hit 100 MPH on my way to work on a particularly fast interstate that's part of my morning commute, and I am very hard on the car on entrance and exit ramps (which is why I keep the front tires within a pound or two of factory spec...in contrast to the rears), BUT anything much beyond that speed is pushing your luck, in my judgment. If 110 MPH or higher is a part of your regular daily driving diet, or if you are lucky enough to be able to travel at sustained high speeds for hours at a time, then keep the pressures where the factory recommends them. And certainly, if you do adjust your pressures down, keep a watchful eye on them, as any significant further drop due to neglect, unusually cold weather, or a slow leak, can lead to tire over heating and ultimately catastrophic tire failure. Not to mention that inordinately low pressures will tend to throw the rear end of the car out wildly which would be a most unwelcome surprise during hard cornering.
Secondly, reducing the tire pressures WILL at all times adversely effect traction during snow and rain storms (though really, really low pressures on glare ice -- I'm talking sheer frozen lake conditions now -- actually may be of some benefit). So, stick with the factory recommended set up during seriously inclement weather -- or be more cautious, at the very least.
#468 of 2088 Thanks for sharing tire pressure experience
Apr 05, 2001 (6:01 pm)
Actually that was the reason that I raised the question. My new S500 seems to give "unduly firm" ride around NYC/Bergen County's urban potholes and waved road surface, such as Cross Bronx Expressway. The last few days the harshness got worsened. Then it occurred to me that the weather has warmed up to the 60s from the 20s. Thanks again. I'll check my tire pressure and most likely I'll need to let go some air because of the warmer weather. Since I do not have auto pressure gauge option, any recommendation for a good/reliable tire pressure gauge to buy?
#469 of 2088 George
Apr 05, 2001 (8:22 pm)
Any digital tire pressure gauge (MB has one) will work well. FYI, your tire pressure should be checked when cold (read: after the vehicle has been sitting overnight). You should not have to adjust your pressure for warmer weather as MB takes this into account. Don't forget that under inflated tires combined with the summer heat was partly what caused all of those Ford Explorers to shread their tires.
Personally I inflate my tires 2 psi above the manufacturer's suggested cold tire specs for a normal load since I prefer slightly less sidewall flex.
Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
Apr 05, 2001 (11:22 pm)
Anyone knows 95'S500 having a recall for the transimiision. When can I found out the recall information? Thanks for your help!
#471 of 2088 S600 Available in San Diego
Apr 06, 2001 (8:32 am)
I'm visiting from the C-class board. While getting the oil in my C320 changed yesterday, I noted that MB of San Diego (Balboa Drive in Kearny Mesa) had a 2001 S600 in their showroom. It's brilliant silver with charcoal interior, and is loaded (MSRP $125K)- I think it had every option except the self-closing trunk. Salesman told me that the buyer was delayed returning from overseas, so had cancelled. MB of SD claims to sell at MSRP and is waiting for a walk-in; anyone interested?
#472 of 2088 May 2001 Car & Driver reviews S600
Apr 06, 2001 (2:24 pm)
1. Great car for 123K
2. A bit rough on the ride due to ABC. I don't agree with this, since I have ABC with my 2001 S500.
3. 5.4 sec in 0-60 vs. 6.1 sec for S500
4. ABC improves lateral G to .82 vs. "non-ABC" S500 of .75. I had always wanted to know the ABC differences! YES!
5. S500 has a little better subjective comfort rating than the S600
6. C&D seems to like the Audio S8 sports sedan more than the E55, S55, or even the BMW M5.
It's nice to have a V12, but I am very happy so far with my S500 + distronics+ABC. Still impresses me after 7 months! Biggest 4-door Porsche I'd ever owned.
#473 of 2088 Re: Biggest 4-door Porsche
Apr 06, 2001 (3:22 pm)
Wait until you try the S55 if you think the S500 is a 4-door Porsche. It's not quite as blindlingly fast as the E55 and CLK55, but it's close. It just leaps away from other cars on the highway -- that's the sign of a truly fast car, in my judgment, and something the S500 can't quite accomplish.
Still, the S500 is very satisfying, and since the dealer gave me $3500 off on a Silver AMG Sports Package, ABC equipped S500, vs only $1000 off on the much more expensive S55, and since I know I'll put 80K or 90K miles on this car and I worried that the S55, mighty as it is, might not hold up as well, that's the way I went, too.
With regard to the previous tire pressure discussion, I'd like to add one more comment: The manufacturers recommended settings are really what manufacturers feel to be the best compromise between performance and ride quality. If you're a hard charging autocrosser, higher pressure settings than spec are certainly the way to go. But, if like George3 and I, the Cross Bronx or some other woefully pockmarked thoroughfare is a familiar route, then softer than spec will not only save your backside and sanity, it'll help reduce the rattles to a minimum, and may even keep various and sundry suspension and engine parts from prematurely wearing, loosening, and eventually failing.
The rear tires are the most important tires when it comes to ride quality, so that's what most people reduce a bit to get some added suppleness.
As for overheating, that can certainly happen at high speed if you take the tire pressures too far down. But a 16 percent reduction from say, 36 lbs. to 30 lbs. at the rear, shouldn't create any problems and will make a noticeable difference in the car's ride.
If a rear tire does blow whether from overheating or other factors, any M-Benz is far less likely to flip than an Explorer or Expedition obviously, even in the hands of the truly ham-fisted. And if it somehow does go end over end, the odds of survival in a Benz, even in a roll over, are extraordinarily good, something that can't be said for any domestic SUV (save perhaps an ML class!).
Apr 07, 2001 (9:48 am)
You right about the S55's performance over the S500. I had the luck to have driven the E55 numerous times, and the 2001 E55 was on my purchase order for almost a year before I changed my mind toward the bigger, more comfortable S500. The E55 was a blast to drive, it felt like a cacoon that hugs your torso as it catapults with minimal effort into hyperspeeds. In an E55; you feel much faster at 80mph than in a S500. For one thing, it's a smaller vehicle, and another is the grippier tires and tighter suspension in the E. It was a tough decision for me, but the S won out at the end when ABC and distronics became available. The roomier rear seats won my wife's heart; so I'll probably look forward to the SLR coupe in 4-5 years as the next dream car.
Apr 08, 2001 (10:46 am)
I agree with your assessment of the relative merits and comfort levels of the two cars. In addition, the E55 felt like a much older design to me when driving it, even in comparison to the CLK55, let alone the S500. I find that the entire E Class line, including the E55 AMG, has styling that is starting to look a bit dated. In that respect the E55 reminds me alot of the E500 that I bought in 1994, which also was at the end of its product life cycle.
Still, it's a great car. I can certainly see why many covet it even as it approaches its dotage.
I'm also torn by the small car/big car comparison. On the one hand, nothing approaches the ride, comfort, interior luxury, and utility of a big car like the S Class. But something about smaller, relatively compact cars has always attracted me. They're easier to park, easier to manoeuver in traffic and when backing up, and usually are far more responsive in their handling -- in general they're easier to manage which counts for a lot when your litterly in a car every single day, day after day.
Then again, maybe the essence of the E55's problem for me is that it's neither fish nor fowl. It's not a truly small, responsive car, like CLK55 or the SL500 which replaced my E500 after just 8 months and which I enjoyed far more, and it's not the big, comfortable, luxurious, yet still relatively fast car that the S Class is.
Or, maybe it really just all comes down to a shallow matter of looks. The AMG equipped S500 is far prettier to my eye than the E55 AMG, and so is the CLK55. From some angles, the E55 looks very frumpy to my eye, just as my previous E500 looked dowdy in comparison to my much more modern (at that time) SL500.
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm certain there are many who find the E55 perfect in just about every respect.