Control arms for 1985 380se - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Post Control arms for 1985 380se

I just bought a well cared for 1985 380se - NO RUST, great paint job, perfect dash, all electrical works great - spent its entire life in California and Texas. Just 135,000 miles.
I took it to an import mechanic for an oil change and inspection. I know that the oil and transmission pans need to be changed so I asked him to give the entire car a once over.
Was told I will likely need all new upper and lower control arms in the next year -- at 135,000 miles it seems a little suspicious - especially since the car feels ok.

Also, total charge would be $1,350 thought son both the cost and the likely need for them.
Thoughts? Thanks in advance for all replies.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 04:22 AM
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control arms

Any squeeks from front end?

The mechanic may have based his recommendation on the presence of torn boots and the subsequent loss of lube to the ball joints. Get under the car and look at the boots.

Upper control arms are inexpensive (about $50 each or less) from many on-line sources. They come with new ball joints. Installation is a moderate DIY. Any mechanic can install for about 1 hour per side. Lemfoerder is recommended but there are many knockoffs.

It is unlikely that lower control arms need replacing but the ball joints may need replacing because of the above boot issue. Ball joints are $25 each or less. An inexperienced DIY is not recommended because of the hazards of an out of control suspension spring.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 05:49 PM
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Assaid above it was probably a vague recommendation. I pretty much assume every car over 15 years old needs a good amount of suspension work when looking at it.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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rocky raccoon, No squeaks at all - but you are right about the boots being dry and torn.
I guess I am wondering why the boots cant be replaced without the expense of replacing the entire assembly.
I want to keep the care in good running shape - but I was not born a Rockefeller and I don't have the knowledge to do this myself.

After buying the car for $2,500 even if I put $5,000 into it to get the car PERFECT I still have a great deal. I just want to make sure I spend that $5,000 wisely.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 07:45 AM
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Damaged boots

If you are unsure about how long those boots have been torn, I would replace the lower ball joint and/or the complete upper control arm since it comes with the ball joint and all new bushings.

If the boots have been torn for a considerable amount of time, the damage is already done. It is probable that there is little danger of things coming apart without warning but you will be pleased with the improvement in handling and steering.

Upper control arms: Less than $300 parts and labor both sides
Lower ball joints: Parts about $50 both sides. Labor can be as much as 4 hours unless you find a shop that has a trick up it's sleeve to replace them in-situ, then less.

You will be good to go for another 25 years. Keep us posted so we can add to the data base.
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