So, your G's front end is shaking?

Especially on older Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen (460 series) front end vibrations are somewhat common. Finding a cure appears to be difficult as most mechanics make you spend a lot of money without resolving the problem on your G-Wagen.

More or less strong vibrations are usually a combination of wear and tear plus a lack of proper maintenance. Most often it is the new owner of a recently purchased used G-Wagen who complains about vibrations at certain speeds - the previous owner may have gotten used to it or did not care.

An early warning: Fixing this problem may prove quite costly as the main cause of vibration is one of the (neglected) drive shafts. Unfortunately, they can not be rebuild conventionally and new ones run you about $1,000.00 a piece. There have been reports of successful rebuilds - but that depends largely on the ability of driveline shops to do so.

Re-balancing the drive shaft is almost never a cure for Mercedes G front end vibration.
Replacing the steering damper may eliminate minor vibrations - but in case of stronger vibrations it will only mask the real cause. A stronger, much improved steering damper is available from Mercedes.

Front end shimmy is usually related to bad tires, not properly balanced tires or taller springs upsetting the caster alignment.

Here is a list of sources for G-Wagen vibrations:
worn wheel bearings
worn king pin bearings
worn out steering damper
worn tie rod ends
worn Panhard bushings
incorrect toe in
misaligned drive shaft(s)
worn drive shaft slip joints
worn drive shaft U-joints
worn center drive shaft CV-joints (463 series)
damaged drive shaft(s)
worn transfer case mounts
misaligned transmission/transfer case
recent suspension lift
wheel offset (ET) less than 30 mm
larger tires
tires out of balance
uneven tire wear
warped rotors
worn pinion bearings
worn transfer case bearings
diff or transfer case flange(s) out of round

Often the cause of vibrations is a combination of sources listed above.

Over the following months I will detail the individual causes and their cure(s)
Here are 3 helpful drive shaft documents:

Let me know if you have comments or advise to this subject.

I have been to your website many, many, times and it was what gave me to have the confidence to purchase a 25 year old truck. It is extremely informative and an indispensable source for G Wagon owners.

Graham 04-04-06