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By Mongo
Anyone have a w220, r230, or c215 chassis Benz?

Not sure if Roger Tyson posts on here, but he has an ABC car (S65).

Need some first person experiences with it rather than shrieking and terror from the Mercedes forums where people are too chicken shit to work on their cars (and too purist to change rear shocks out the 3rd row armrests on a GL - long story.)

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By fast_freddy
@Mongo The ABC system is pretty simple. Four shocks, valve blocks, pressure accumulators, tandem (steering/suspension) pump, very expensive Pentosin fluid. If one corner sags, it's most likely that shock. If there's no visible leak, trace back to the valve block/solenoids. If you don't mind a little work (thats easy) "re o-ring" the solenoids. That won't cost too much. The problem is that anytime you address an issue you might have to flush the system. Buy Penstosin CHF11S in bulk, lol. Much cheaper. Also, get the flush/bleed tool https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/merced ... 2203270115. It'll pay for itself and then some on your first system flush. The system is really easy to work on, seriously. Dealerships totally rob you, $1500 for a flush for twenty minutes of work, $200 of fluid and a $40 filter. The first time I did it, my wife helped by keeping the engine revs higher and minding my scan tool while the car did the "rodeo".

I recently did a flip on a W221 S600 (not my car) for a colleague and who desperately wanted one (after he drove mine) but was terrified of a suspension issue a local car had with a sagging corner after sitting for a day or so. He wanted to replace his W220 with airmatic and had the system worked on before and was totally freaked about the potential cost in the ABC system. I struck a deal with him, that he'd buy the car from me for a set price after I "sorted" it (car had new coil packs and some suspension arms/bushings replaced). The only issue was the valve blocks and accumulators. The fluid reeked and was absolutely filthy. Service records indicated the last time it was done was four years ago. I changed out the O-rings on the solenoids, both accumulators (lots of videos on youtube), flushed the system and all was good. The local dealer that he's used before quoted him a minimum of $4500 to sort it without potential shock replacement costs, with a potential for $11k and they were hinting at that. Total cost was $800 in parts and a several hours of my time. Above all, it was fun and a great learning experience (aside from the fact that I'm a cripple lately and the day after wasn't too much fun).

After it was all said and done (he helped a little), he quipped (He likes nice cars but is clueless about them) that people, him included are stupid about these things and was happy to pay me the delta on my "profit". If I had a shop, I'd do this all day long, it's that easy. The hard part about this car is it's so god damned heavy. My quickjack couldn't get it off the ground (5000#) but I can get my CL63 up (400# less) so I had to use jack stands. No biggie. I could knock it out in 2-1/2 hours if I had more involved experience doing it.
SeanR, Mongo liked this
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By fast_freddy
N_Jay wrote: Sat Dec 31, 2022 5:09 pm So tell me (or scare me) about what a should do to maintain the system on my wife's w222 S450?
I can't speak to MBC (Magic Body Control) directly. However, I think the only distinction in the systems between that and ABC is the sensors and it's being active rather than passive. The core system remains the same I believe. If thats the case, frankly I'd simply flush/filter the system every two years-ish. It is stupendously easy to do. I'm not sure prophylactically changing the O-rings in the valve block solenoids is going to make a difference as it's not like they spontaneously and completely fail. If they do fail you'll likely able to address it post leak but it still being drivable. However, the MB system, if it detects a leak/failure, might put you into limp home mode. I wouldn't be shocked.

Nasty fluid is the bane to all of the cars systems. In my recent W216/W221 purchases, I prophylactically flushed the "lifetime" tranny fluid. Boy, what a difference in smoothness of shifts even though they seemed ok prior to doing it. I did the same to the ABC system. It seemed ok prior to doing so but was decidedly more fluid over bumps post flush. In my prior seven series, the steptronic tranny was acting wonky. The stealership said the tranny was shot and needed to be replaced. I figured the $30 in seals, $30 in (lifetime) fluid and $75 pan/filter assembly replacement was worth a shot. 'Twas brandy new after. In my previous Cayenne S I did the same and it acted like new after.

My son has a 2004 E320 4Matic wagon that he bought at auction in 2017 for $1600 (if memory serves) with 140~k miles on it. It had seen a rough life before with lots of neglected things that was obvious in the interiors condition (lots of coffee spills and general neglect but nothing that couldnt be righted with a good clean). It was his first car and we didn't expect too much. I along with him have maintained it quite well. We've replaced a bunch of minor but not too expensive things over the years (transmission plate and airbag fuse) but have kept on top of all the fluids, brakes and seemingly minor "maintenance" items over the years (did oil, full brake job, PS fluid yesterday) in preparation for the Spring semester at grad school. Took it for inspection late afternoon and the wrench opined that he was astonished it had 260k miles on it and gave it a "clean bill of health". The only "expensive' repair was a rear main seal ($15~ part but several hours of labor that I did not do - no lift at the time). We call if the GOAT. The only "incomplete" thing(s) about the car is that it need a new AC condenser and a new transmitter for the remote in the B pillar (key works fine but no remote locking/unlocking). He beats on the car too.
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By N_Jay
Well, no "magic body" on the S450. Guessing it is just ABC, because it is several steps above the GL Airmatic) in ride.
CHF11S is not that expensive a fluid, but understanding engineered fluids and systems, there no such thing as a lifetime fluid. Heat, sheer, particulate contamination, and occasional evaporation and water intrusion will degrade any fluid.
Guess, I will put the CHF on the same replacement schedule as the brake fluid.
As for transmission fluid, 80k is a good schedule for "lifetime fluids. (40k then 80k for non lifetime)
A good part of lifetime fluids is pre-polishing wear surfaces like clutches to minimize contamination early in life.
I had a long conversation with a ZF engineer on the topic.

Luckily, between leaking transmision electrical connectors and replacing a conductor plate, the E-350 had fluid changes at around 80k miles without scheduling any extra.

The GL has been rock-sold, so I probably owe it a change. Now that I have the shop/garage I'll probably do all the fluids a bit more often.

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