Date registered: Jun 2004
Vehicle: 1994 E320
Location: Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
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RE: Steering wheel freeplay on W124 - How much is ok?
Two inches is way too much. I think it's more like 10mm max to either side. Before you go on adjusting the steering gear, check for damaged/worn out tie rod ends and pitman arm. Those will cause a lot of free play. Replace any worn parts. You just might find that your steering gear doesn't need adjustment after all.
Also, beware whether the "free play" is genuine or percepted. The steering feels like it has more free play with the engine running (power assist on) than when the engine is off. Also, wider tires can give you the ^perception^ of having more free play than usual.