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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
BACKGROUND

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA 220 AMG Line - Burmester Sound System

Last year I made a post asking for help regarding the door rattle and general rattle noises caused by the sound system in the CLA. I asked for help on this forum, but got no concrete recommendations, other than sound-proofing the car.

The rattle noises almost drove me insane, and GREATLY handicapped my driving experience in the car whenever I would listen to music.. which is all the time. I simply wasn't able to enjoy any music.

Last month, I went to Car Audio Professionals here in Germany, discussed and showed them the issue. They recommended to sound proof the car and proceed step-by-step in order to solve the issue. So on their recommendation, I got the front doors and the trunk sound-proofed. I'm creating this thread to share my experience and help out anyone else who has been suffering from this issue and help them decide on a solution.

BEFORE SOUND PROOFING
I would hear door rattles 9 times out of 10. Many low frequencies would cause different types of rattle noises from different areas in the car - front doors, B-pillar, rear doors, and trunk.

The trunk would make a LOT of rattle noise because of the plastic enclave that houses the TireFit components.

There was a lot of unwanted reverb that caused the speakers to sound hollow.

AFTER SOUND PROOFING
I wanted to get the whole car sound-proofed, but the professionals recommended me to start with the front doors, and trunk. Why? Because it helps to pinpoint the problem areas and avoids any unnecessary work.

I gave me car in the morning and got it back in the evening, same day.

Where I used to hear rattle noises, 9 / 10 times, now I hear the noises only about 2 / 10 times. And the only rattle noises now come from the rear doors. And because I'm so picky, and sensitive about these damn noises, I already have an appointment next month to get the rear doors sound-proofed.

PROS AND CONS

PROS
  1. Remarkable improvement in sound quality.
  2. Speakers sound fuller, no more reverb / hollow sound.
  3. Cabin noise is further reduced.
  4. Lesser sound-bleed out of the car.
  5. The bass (low frequency) notes come across WAY cleaner and clearer.
  6. The doors feel more solid and don't make a cheap hollow plastic noise when you knock on them.
  7. Also potentially fixed any rattle sounds that are not caused by the sound-system.
  8. Helps keep your sanity intact.

CONS
  1. This is not a DIY fix. You should visit a Car Audio Shop to get it done.
  2. Sound-proof material is difficult to remove, once it is installed.
  3. The materials add a bit of weight to the car.


COST

I paid approximately 500 Euros for this modification, and I have a quotation for 250 Euros for the rear doors next month. So altogether you can expect to pay somewhere between 700 - 800 Euros. The price may vary depending on your location.

WAS IT WORTH IT?

YES! YES! YES! I wish I had done this immediately after getting the car last year.

I wish this issue disturbed more people, as that would push these premium car manufacturers to properly sound-proof these cars.
I can only HIGHLY recommend getting your CLA sound-proofed. It greatly improves the overall experience.
 

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Thanks for the elaborate detailed write up.

I agree the CLA , even right off the showroom is not the tightest riveted together vehicle on the market. But in all fairness, although there was the occasional rattle , to me it was still quite well put together car, it is not a rattling jalopy. Even after 6 years of ownership, driving on regular roads here in vancouver, and these roads are not the smoothest roads on earth, I would hardly hear any continuous rattling, maybe the occasional rattle here and there, and that's because I had driven over a small pothole or a very irregular patch of road surface.

Kudos to you for taking the effort to root out all the rattles in your CLA. sound-proofing is a great way to dampen all the rattles and creaks in the vehicle. To each his own, what is an irritating rattle to some, is a minor occasional inconvenience to others. If my CLA was a rattling jalopy during the warranty period, this is a quality issue which Mercedes would be pushed to resolve.
 

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well … recall my basic suggestion
every primary panel removed (door, pillar etc)
stick on some noise damper pads
like when my b pillar covers come off to get that pesky seat belt guide extra lip thingie done you bet your paddedasses i am sticking a few on
or when the door panels come off for a little component wiring tweaking
or rear deck parts removal for camera wiring
or …..

but that box of noise pads i bought is like 30lbs
so that evens out the (unsprung) 28lbs i saved at the corners
 

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2021 AMG CLA 45 S Digital White w/Performance Package
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Thank you for your detailed post @melquiades. You prompted me to go to a local car audio professional this morning. They are drawing up a quote to put in soundproofing on all four doors, they said the material would be $250 AUD plus a few hours labour cost and the result will be much reduced vibration/rattles, better audio quality from the speakers and reduced road noise to some extent. The thought of doing it myself was never an option and the dealership has told me after 3 visits there is nothing else they can do. I had not considered a car audio business as an option to fix this, so thank you! I’ll report back once the work is completed in a week or two (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the elaborate detailed write up.

I agree the CLA , even right off the showroom is not the tightest riveted together vehicle on the market. But in all fairness, although there was the occasional rattle , to me it was still quite well put together car, it is not a rattling jalopy. Even after 6 years of ownership, driving on regular roads here in vancouver, and these roads are not the smoothest roads on earth, I would hardly hear any continuous rattling, maybe the occasional rattle here and there, and that's because I had driven over a small pothole or a very irregular patch of road surface.

Kudos to you for taking the effort to root out all the rattles in your CLA. sound-proofing is a great way to dampen all the rattles and creaks in the vehicle. To each his own, what is an irritating rattle to some, is a minor occasional inconvenience to others. If my CLA was a rattling jalopy during the warranty period, this is a quality issue which Mercedes would be pushed to resolve.
To be fair, I wasn't calling the CLA something akin to a "rattling jalopy", and without music turn on, there's no creaking or rattling sound apart from the occasional ones - which, I guess is true for any car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for your detailed post @melquiades. You prompted me to go to a local car audio professional this morning. They are drawing up a quote to put in soundproofing on all four doors, they said the material would be $250 AUD plus a few hours labour cost and the result will be much reduced vibration/rattles, better audio quality from the speakers and reduced road noise to some extent. The thought of doing it myself was never an option and the dealership has told me after 3 visits there is nothing else they can do. I had not considered a car audio business as an option to fix this, so thank you! I’ll report back once the work is completed in a week or two (y)
Glad I could help. Yeah the material itself isn't costly, its the labor work that actually drives the cost up. And DIY wasn't an option for me either, Looking forward to your experience and what you think of the result, once you get it done. If you like, I can also share the materials they installed in mine so you can have a reference.

Yes, I am near certain the Mercedes Dealership wouldn't do anything about it - which I why I didn't bother wasting my time going there.

Tip: Select some tracks where you hear the rattle noise, and test those tracks together with the car audio guys. That gives both parties a good reference to start with, and makes it easy to compare the before and after results.
 

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@DrOzCLA
way back in time a member (circa40) took his entire interior apart and padded the whole chassis to quiet down the body resonances and enhance his audio system update
changing out the amps and drivers for an audio nut usually also means yanking all the seats and panels and pillars out anyway so might as well damp everything while there is access
will try to find a pic or two …
 

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Just a quick update, I have it booked in a couple of weeks time. They have quoted (for all four doors) $225 AUD for the soundproofing sheets, plus up to 8 hours labour cost $968 AUD, so around $1200 AUD ($850 USD or 794 Euros), but they have said it won't be that many hours, they just want to cover their bases in case it does take longer. I will keep you all posted on how it turns out, I am nervous and hopeful in equal measure.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just a quick update, I have it booked in a couple of weeks time. They have quoted (for all four doors) $225 AUD for the soundproofing sheets, plus up to 8 hours labour cost $968 AUD, so around $1200 AUD ($850 USD or 794 Euros), but they have said it won't be that many hours, they just want to cover their bases in case it does take longer. I will keep you all posted on how it turns out, I am nervous and hopeful in equal measure.
Very good! Looking forward to your impressions.

I have the appointment on June 7 for the rear doors sound-proofing. I'm hopeful that should alleviate the remainder of rattle noises.
 

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It's good to see folks doing the door sound proofing thing, but I think it addresses only the rattles or squeaks specifcally associated from the doors. But I found that rattles can also come from the seats themselves, the console panels, e.g. the flip lid on the center lower console, where the cup holders are located, the general body frame/panels aside from the doors.
for my CLA, the door rattles and squeaks were not the issue, the rattles came mainly from the console panels, the ones around the vents, the ones around the cup holders, and even the back plastic panel of the seats. And these rattles were almost "seasonal" , meaning , i only get the rattles when it's say in the summer, and then it goes away.

I personally would not spend $1000 on just sound proofing the doors, I would like go and pay the extra money to sound proof the whole body framework, where the shop would spray th sound proofing foam into all the accessible areas in the chassis frame structure. It's pretty common in asia to do that.
 

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Was gonna post kinda what mav238 said
I know where all the little creaks and rubs and screeches are cuz i had track them down and put a tiny drop of hi temp silicone oil to alleviate the friction points which naturally cause acoustics and its not just the door panels - its where one least expects it
The individual panels which can be removed might as well have damping pads stuck on before reassembly etc etc
But keep this in mind - once the attachment point clips/bullets/tags are sprung some may need replacements or the insert points thin padded to retain the original pull in state right after original assembly … else more acoustics will surface as the entire assembly resonance has changed
So manage your expectations … especially when a panel is removed at an incorrect vector and the attachment clip/bullet/tag is distorted and those go unnoticed during the work cuz no one has the time to take pix of every removal/reinstall point (unless you diy)
 

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I agree @mav238 and @jmc, however, over the past 8 months I have narrowed down the worst of the rattles to the front doors, and I am hopeful that this will eliminate these. All of the other smaller vibrations I can live with (except perhaps the B pillar one which I am determined that the dealership will eventually deal with). This will be testing the water to see what this fixes/changes and I'll go from there if I need to.
 

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I agree @mav238 and @jmc, however, over the past 8 months I have narrowed down the worst of the rattles to the front doors, and I am hopeful that this will eliminate these. All of the other smaller vibrations I can live with (except perhaps the B pillar one which I am determined that the dealership will eventually deal with). This will be testing the water to see what this fixes/changes and I'll go from there if I need to.
I remember my old 2002 SAAB 9-3 t , awesome turbocharged car to drive in, had so many rattles and buzzing in the door panels, it drove me nuts. Because it was still under warranty, I complained the heck out of it to the dealer, and they ended up adding lots of foam padding via 3M tape, to the point, the doors closed with a solid thud.
But then there were the rattles and buzzing in the console panels and seats . which they could not really fix, as no foam padding could be added there.

It all ends up with what is the quality of the fit and finish in the car. Cars like the Lexus, pays a lot more attention to the overall build quality, and even then you will get the odd few ones that has some rattles, which the Lexus dealer will fix immediately (they have got to keep up their Lexus quality reputation).

As the car age, you will find that the rattles will eventually come in, especially where you have plastic panels clipped on to another plastic structure. And that is made more apparent with the somewhat stiff suspension of the CLA.

My CLA is 7 years old now, I don't think too much about the odd rattles and creaks that comes from the plastic panels, as the CLA is generally a fairly quiet riding car. When you have owned a number of cars of all different makes, you come to realize that there is no such thing as a rattle free car. Us humans too "creak" in our joints as we age =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree @mav238 and @jmc, however, over the past 8 months I have narrowed down the worst of the rattles to the front doors, and I am hopeful that this will eliminate these. All of the other smaller vibrations I can live with (except perhaps the B pillar one which I am determined that the dealership will eventually deal with). This will be testing the water to see what this fixes/changes and I'll go from there if I need to.
This might bring you some comfort.. I was also convinced that the B-Pillar was causing rattles, but sound proofing the front doors took care of that and the B-pillar has been behaving since.

I was very specific with the car audio guys about this issue, and they told me that the front door is transferring excessive vibration to the B-pillar which causes the noise. Turns out they were right about that.
 

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My CLA is 7 years old now, I don't think too much about the odd rattles and creaks that comes from the plastic panels, as the CLA is generally a fairly quiet riding car. When you have owned a number of cars of all different makes, you come to realize that there is no such thing as a rattle free car. Us humans too "creak" in our joints as we age =)
I agree completely with the statement that there is no such thing as a rattle free car, I have been driving for well over 40 years in a very broad range of vehicles, from a 1967 Ford up to the Mercs I have had these past few years, so I can certainly attest to that. My main issue is (as I have said before), this is actually part of the problem I have now, my previous 2016 CLA was bulletproof, and had very few rattles or vibrations, whereas this much more expensive AMG is the proverbial outhouse door banging in the hurricane, the worst ones just have to be rectified as it is driving me nuts. I love this car, but the enjoyment of driving it is diminished and I am just hopeful that this soundproofing will ameliorate the issue to a point where I can live with it, it certainly doesn't have to be perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I love this car, but the enjoyment of driving it is diminished and I am just hopeful that this soundproofing will ameliorate the issue to a point where I can live with it, it certainly doesn't have to be perfect.
I second that sentiment. I'm sure I won't be able to make the car 100% rattle free, as some new rattles will pop up as the car ages, but I want to eliminate the worst offenders.

@DrOzCLA - I made a Playlist for the rattle check, different songs demonstrate different parts of the car rattling. Sharing it here, in case you'd like to check it out and test your car. I'm also gonna give this playlist to the car audio guys so they know what results will satisfy me :ROFLMAO:

 

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I second that sentiment. I'm sure I won't be able to make the car 100% rattle free, as some new rattles will pop up as the car ages, but I want to eliminate the worst offenders.

@DrOzCLA - I made a Playlist for the rattle check, different songs demonstrate different parts of the car rattling. Sharing it here, in case you'd like to check it out and test your car. I'm also gonna give this playlist to the car audio guys so they know what results will satisfy me :ROFLMAO:

Thank you @melquiades I will certainly give your playlist a go and see what new noises I can get out of the interior!
 
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door mechanical transfer to b pillar
something does not make sense

effect from front door 1 point or rear door 2 point?

could you guys please bug the fitters for a tech explanation? the fuzzy hand waving really dont know why mantra is gonna bug me for months

cuz if changing the loading and resonance of the door(s) (floating member) transfers a damping to some resonance point in the b pillar (central rigid structural support) … i need to know why cuz the mfa2 chassis should not be doing this?!

e.g. the b pillar trim hollow note is the same now as it was before the door stuffing?
 

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door mechanical transfer to b pillar
something does not make sense

effect from front door 1 point or rear door 2 point?

could you guys please bug the fitters for a tech explanation? the fuzzy hand waving really dont know why mantra is gonna bug me for months

cuz if changing the loading and resonance of the door(s) (floating member) transfers a damping to some resonance point in the b pillar (central rigid structural support) … i need to know why cuz the mfa2 chassis should not be doing this?!

e.g. the b pillar trim hollow note is the same now as it was before the door stuffing?
Yeah I was thinking that too. How's the resonance of the door causing rattles in the B-pillar?

I find that rattles in the doors , due to the structural rigidity (or lack of) and components inside the door panel not properly screwed together, loose parts rattling, can be solved pretty much with sound proofing the door interior cavity.

But rattles in the overall body chassis, B pillars, C-pillars, A pillars, roof panel, is related to how well the structural chassis is built and "glued" or riveted together, and also the design of the safety cage rigidity. For the latter, the CLA is not too bad ... For my CLA, I find that the main issues are with the plastic panels both interior and exterior (like the bumpers, try pushing them and they creak).

I think the issue is that , once you have a mass produced car, for economy of scale and to make it profitable by selling it at a price that is not "premium", you have to design the parts and the manufacturing process that gives you this "ease and low cost" of manufacturing. If you have a car that is in a niche market, where only < 100 vehicles is made for that year, one would be able to put more effort into making the whole car built really solidly, more sound proofing, more R&D into making the car super free of rattles. When you have only < 100 cars made per year, you would also have more time put into extra stringent quality control of each vehicle being manufactured. All this leads to the hit on the price tag.

I am pretty sure the sound proofing by the audio techs will solve the "rattle" issue in the CLA doors, and if there are no other rattles in the interior of the car, you are pretty much good to go. My wife's GLA has the occasional creak and rattle from the panorama glass sunroof panel and the roof lining. I was actually thinking of getting it fixed with some sound proofing padding, but my wife said to let it be as it does not bother her much at all. To be fair, it's only during the occasional hot day in the summer that we hear the creak and rattle. Sometimes I give the roof lining a little push and the rattle goes away =).

Nowadays, when I hear creaks in my joints, I just smile and let it go as part of growing old =)
 
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