Mercedes-Benz GLE (2015 - 2019)

1

Gle 350 D

reviewed by peter dick on 17 October 2018
1
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2
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Overall reliability

Dreadful Vibration problem

Mercedes GLE 350 RSU839

I received an e/mail from MB UK last Thursday which was copied to you.

I understand that a test was carried out by the dealership which established that the vibration may be cured or substantially reduced by changing the wheels to 18 inch along with different tyres instead of the 20 inch wheels and tyres that are fitted to the vehicle, which I assume are the standard MB specification for that model.

I asked if it were possible for the dealership to replicate the same scenario of putting on the 18 inch wheels so I can check the difference and to make sure the vibration has been eradicated before any decision is made.

That request was rejected on the grounds of safety reasons and so I was asked to pay £2637 for something that I did not know was going to resolve the issue and given the fact the car has a vibration I do not believe that I should have to pay to fix a fault on the car.

I asked what the price you would offer to take the car back and was told it would be £30100. A further loss to me of £4200 on top of the near £12000 it has cost us since putting our car in for an oil service and through negligence resulted in major damage to our CLS and which started this whole fiasco. I made a counter offer on the 5th October to Mr Young which was not responded to when I wrote the original letter (response from Mr Marr received late Tuesday evening 9th October).

I assume as the 18 inch wheels and tyres are not the standard specification for the car that the warranty would not be compromised by putting them on.

The conclusion of the test revealed the vibration is caused by a combination of the wheels, tyres and lowered suspension according to the e/mail from MB UK and discussed with yourself and Mr that the vibration "was established as normal resonance"

This was the comment from the e/mail that you sent

"The vibration you are encountering has been established as normal resonance from the 20” wheels with lower profile tyres and lowered suspension, which can be felt at higher speeds especially those above 70 miles per hour. It has been confirmed with consultation to our Head Office Technical department that your car is performing to manufacturing standards.
Therefore, if you would like to improve upon this characteristic, my suggestion would be to look into the option of 18” wheels and tyres, or all season tyres".

I cannot say I really understand that explanation because using the (resonance) word in the mechanical context, the dictionary describes it as follows

MECHANICS
The condition in which an object or system is subjected to an oscillating force having a frequency close to its own natural frequency.

PHYSICS
The reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object.

Perhaps this is a description used by the technical people for vibration albeit that does not seem to be the dictionary interpretation of "resonance".

I have done quite a lot of research on that statement and I may have to dig deeper depending on the outcome of my request.

For information please have a look at the two links below.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308074294_The_relationship_between_the_resonance_frequency_of_a_steering_system_and_the_tire-road_friction_coefficient

https://www.arnoldclark.com/newsroom/685-why-is-my-car-vibrating

Below is the MB Dealer in Inverness to me of the 3rd October following the car being with you for a fourth time to fix the vibration. It's similar to the one from MB UK but you use the word “characteristic” instead of “resonance”.

"Good afternoon Mr Dick

"We would like to confirm that we have completed our investigations on your vehicle, that we have compared your vehicle with a donor vehicle and that both vehicles have the same characteristic that you have demonstrated.

Mercedes-Benz Technical have confirmed that there are no known vibration issues with this model."

The "characteristic" that you allude to above was severe vibration experienced when I went out with your senior mechanic so he could feel first-hand the vibration through the car between 65 and 72 MPH .I have no doubt that after the test drive he relayed his findings and confirmed that a severe vibration occurs at the speed range above.

There are several aspects in the statement from MB and yourself that puzzle me.

If prior to the previous three times the car was in for the vibration to be checked and it was known by the dealership the comment above was the cause of the vibration, then why did it take until the fourth attempt at fixing the vibration to give me the explanation that it was a "known characteristic" of this model. Given we were told three different reasons for the cause of the vibration each time the car was in to get fixed I find very odd. I complained about the vibration on the 11th of July two days after we collected the car and it took almost nine weeks to say that the vibration was a "characteristic of the model" or it was the "resonance" caused by wheels, tyres, and lowered suspension.

The solution offered was to change the wheels and tyres.

Why did it take so long to establish that?

@@@@@@ of MB UK has acknowledged as you did, that the car does have a vibration at a certain speed range and @@@@@@@@ stated that this is probably caused by the combination of 20 inch wheels, lower profile tyres and lowered suspension.

Has this car got lowered suspension?

Having explored that comment by reading reviews from car magazines and various websites who road tested the GLE, they mention that it has a number of settings to suit your driving style.

When our vehicle is in any of the settings the vibration remains the same. I am not convinced this vehicle has lowered suspension but may have different dampers to give a firmer ride and sporty feeling

One difference that I found with our car and other GLE's is it has the "night pack" which according to the specification for a 2016 model is purely cosmetic.

"Night Package adds black trim for grille, side mirrors, roof rails, window trim surround, and chrome tailpipes" No mention of lowered suspension"

Under a different heading it states the Sport Package adds air suspension, adaptive dampers, and 20-inch wheels.

As far as I am aware that is not part of the specification of our GLE.

If our vehicle has a vibration issue (described by ACMB and MBUK as a "characteristic" of the model) that is known by Mercedes and the Inverness dealership, one has to question why a car would be sold with that knowledge given the fact that it is dangerous and distracting to the driver.

If the 18inch wheels and appropriate tyres relieve the vibration problem then surely that is what the car should have had fitted as standard.

Last point how did the test in Inverness after nine weeks reveal to @@@@@@@@ at MB UK who was 500 miles away that the car had a "normal resonance”?

I would like to understand how that happened and what tests were carried out that allowed the statement about “resonance” to be made. It seems strange that this “resonance" statement appears after I complain to Mercedes especially as the dealership had checked the car three times previously.

What exactly is the standard acceptable “resonance” range for the vehicle given the highly technical criteria, conditions, and equipment required to establish such a thing and even more so in establishing a base line so that exactly the same internal and external conditions are identical to make the comparison. The complexity in doing such a test is enormous and relies on speciality skills and equipment and that is without having the same tyres, road, heat, load and weather conditions.

I suspect the only place that could be done is at a research centre with a wind tunnel with the ability to replicate a number of climatic scenarios to compare with the raw data of the + or - standard "resonance" of the car that was used as a benchmark.

You stated that you have a new GLE in the showroom which after checking has exactly the same "characteristic" (vibration) as my car. I don't understand why you had to check the car if as stated by both you and Emily page it was an already known "characteristic" of the model. Surely it should not have been a surprise to find the same problem with vibration that we are experiencing.

How and what equipment was used to measure the resonance of the donor vehicle at the dealership which allowed for the statement that it was exactly the same as our car?

Who would buy a car having spent a substantial amount of money to then accept that after complaining about vibration to be told that it is a "characteristic" of the model and is within the criteria of "resonance" as stated by MB.

I find it hard to believe that someone would be prepared to buy a car knowing that the "characteristic" manifested itself as severe vibration. Had I been told that we would certainly not have bought the car? That “characteristic” is a material piece of information that was not relayed to us at the point of sale.

The future owner of that GLE should have it made clear that a vibration will occur (because you tested the car and you know for sure that the vibration” characteristic" at certain speeds was present) because it is a "characteristic and a resonance problem” that may only be cured at the owners expense by replacing the wheels and tyres.

I reiterate the vibration in our GLE was demonstrated to your senior engineer when he accompanied me on a road test up the A9. He agreed that the car had a bad vibration but certainly did not mention “characteristic” or “resonance” as a possible reason. He did tell me of a similar type of problem with another car that was unable to be fixed locally, and eventually had to go back to MB and was eventually resolved.

I would have thought failing to make the unusual "characteristic" of the model clear to a buyer that the vehicle has severe vibration at certain speeds is unreasonable. I am no expert in law but that might be something trading standards would question if a buyer like myself is not advised that the "characteristic” may be severe vibration at a certain speed.

I wonder if that should be in the user manual so people were aware that it was normal and within specification when the vibration occurs.

Given our vibration problem is not going to go away without having to either part with more money, or that you supply the replacement wheels and tyres, or give me a full refund then I have to consider my options to achieve having a car without a severe vibration that the dealer refuses or is unable to resolve.

This fault was present when we took delivery on the 9th July 2018 and notified in writing on the 11th of July and we believe falls within the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as you have had four attempts at fixing the vehicle and have acknowledged the severe vibration is present in the car but have stated that it is within the normal "characteristic" and “resonance “of the model and you are not prepared/or unable to fix it or provide a full refund.

The car has an undisputed vibration fault which makes the vehicle not fit for purpose as it is dangerous and highly distracting and not be expected of a vehicle of this prestige.

I await a response from the Dealer.

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About this car

Price£67,680–£70,475
Road TaxA–M
MPG23.9–76.4 mpg
Real MPG66.5%

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