Doug updates us:
Hello, just an update on this problem: an indy shop I had used before on another Mercedes put my 2007 S550 on a lift and diagnosed it with a failed transmission mount. Just a little $60 part at the tail end/output end of the transmission.
Because it had failed, the transmission was essentially resting on the frame crossmember, pretty much directly beneath the center console/armrest where I felt the vibration so acutely. I was skeptical it could be that simple/cheap, but sure enough it eliminated the problem! It’s super smooth and silent now. The other likely culprits, the flex discs at each end of the driveshaft and the center carrier bearing for the two-piece drive shaft, all look new and can’t be original. They must have been replaced by the first owner.
While Noise, Vibration, Harshness (NVH) control built into a modern machine is normally your friend, it often kills you with kindness. That’s when NVH hides things that should never be hidden. Shameful. Cowardly. Pathetic. And while I wasn’t expecting this level of deceit when merely replacing the shift knob on the otherwise stock transmission in my 2011 Ford Ranger…well it was thrust upon me. And it can happen to you, too.
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