Hello everyone, I am new to the world of cars, having owned trucks my entire life suspension was always an easy fix. I have a 91 190e with 200k miles on it and the suspension is crap! I will be ordering some bilstein struts for the front and haven't done much research for the rear suspension yet. So my question is, what is the correct way to replace these myself? I know you can really injure yourself if you do it wrong so I want to make sure I don't do that! These struts are different than most I've seen because The spring is separate from the actual strut itself. I am replacing the mounting cup as well so would it be safe to just take the whole unit out and put the new strut and mounting cup in its place or is that incorrect? Thanks for any input
^^^ Murphus is 100% correct. For all years/models of the 190E/190D you don't need a spring compressor
To install front or rear struts on a 190E, you don't need a spring compressor at all. They're two seperate units. I did front and rear struts in my driveway a few months ago.
For the front, pop open the hood and put a jack under the car so it's resting on it, but not jacking the car up. Unbolt the three strut mount nuts then jack up the car high. Unbolt the nut near the wheel holding the stut on and you're done removing it. Install the new strut with new strut mount and you're done.
For the rear, it's practically the same thing. Put the jack under the car, open the trunk and move the plastic/capeting away so you have access. Remove the two nuts on the top of the strut. Jack the car up, unbolt the bolt at the bottom of the strut, remove and install a new strut
Of course, don't jack the car up too high or there's a chance of the spring liberating itself at high velocity in your direction. Always be careful with the springs. I've done some sketchy stuff myself but you've just got to be careful never to let the spring loose, or even provide it the opportunity.
Also, get some PB'laster and hit the nuts and bolts that hold the front strut to the steering knuckle, I believe there are two of them, 19mm each. They get rusted stuck, and PB'laster is the best product I've used so far for freeing bolts.
Oh, and technically the rear dampers are called shocks, since they do nothing else but dampen compression loads. Just some syntax. :P Oh, and make sure to save the receipts in case you need to make a warranty claim. I believe most struts and shocks are limited lifetime.
I jack up the car as high as needed to work comfortably. Then I use a second small hydraulic jack under the ball joint to control the lower arm. The second jack helps you line everything up as you work. Absolutely no need to use a spring compressor, as you have full control of the tension on the lower arm. I've even done ball joints this way, by positioning the second jack inboard of the joint.
The rears are ordinary shocks, not struts. Since the hub, control arm, and half shaft are untouched, there's no worry that the spring will pop. Just remember to remove the plastic arm covers before you start.
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