W108 4.5 leaking stearing box - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-16-2012, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Feb 2010
Vehicle: 1972 280SEL daily driver. 904 Dark Blue with cognac interior. euro 4.5 engine
Location: Williamsburg, VA
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W108 4.5 leaking stearing box

I searched the forum with no help, but i'm sure this is here some place. My '72 280SEL has developed a steadily worsening stearing box leak.

Anyone have a procedure for replacing seals or is it obvious and can you drop the box without removing exhaust? My Benz 108 manual has photos of removing this, but it is not a V8 so lots of room in their photos. Not so much in mine.

The steering has little or no play. I replaced all tie rod ends 18months ago, but the car sat for 12 years prior to my purchase and I have been fighting seals for the past 6 months (pwr steering pump, transmission front seal, oil cooler hoses, and now the stearing box).
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-23-2012, 10:51 PM
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Vehicle: 1967 250S, twin Weber carbs, automatic trans, power windows, A/C, R134a conversion
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My 1967 250 S steering box has also started an increasing leak. I purchased a seal kit and plan to do the job soon. What was your remedy?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Purchased the rebuild kit. I actually rebuilt it a week ago and have not had a chance to test it due to thanksgiving.

While I was at it, I replaced the subframe and engine mounts as well as the exhaust header and down tube gaskets. Hope to fire her up this afternoon and see what I get.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 10:37 AM
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Did you remove the steering box to do the rebuild? On my SL, when I removed the steering box to replace the steering coupling (you might want to check the health of yours before reassembling), there was a warning in the service manual that the bolts holding it to the frame MUST be replaced.

Evidently there are 'teeth' on the head to prevent backing off that require putting in new bolts if they are removed. A dealer only item, though, to get the proper length, grade, and head for the bolts. I seem to remember that the three of them for my project cost around $26.00.

Scott

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 11:12 AM
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it depend where the box leaks , if you are lucky , it is at the lower cover , you do it in the car , the only hard thing is to remove the pittman arm without the mb puller , it is tight .i dont replace the bolts , only on the 115 cars , they do break .so , see where the leak is
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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I pulled the box. On the W108 with the 4.5, there is not much room to do anything. It would appear that the box had never been rebuilt. The seals and O-rings all came out in pieces. No flexibility left at all. Took about 3 hours to disassemble and reassemble the box.

I replaced the coupling as well since it was lacking its bushings. The bolts on mine were in good shape. I followed my manual for torquing them back up. I know the W108s are prone to cracking the frame at the steering box but mine all looks good.

Now if I could find anything definitive on how the new shocks go back I'd be in great shape. Bushings are different than what came out.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Vehicle: 1972 280SEL daily driver. 904 Dark Blue with cognac interior. euro 4.5 engine
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For future reference, I'll answer my own original question. It is possible to pull the steering box on a W108 4.5 without pulling the exhaust. I drained the pump, disconnected the hoses from the pump but left them attached to the box, pulled the Pittman arm, disconnected the coupling and then unbolted. Takes a bit of coaxing, but the box will come out by allowing the rear of the box to drop down...you essentially rotate the box out of the car.

I replaced subframe bushings, engine mounts and shocks. I also went ahead (after pulling the box) and pulled the exhaust to re-gasket the exhaust header and the down-pipes. I'm glad to say that the car drives much better and is much quieter. She also sits like she is supposed to.. tall and proud instead of sagging.

Having the steering box removed made the rest much easier.
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