At Wits End Steering issues - Mercedes-Benz Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Veteran
 
Hillingdoner's Avatar
 
Date registered: Oct 2015
Vehicle: 1977 450 sl
Location: Monterey, CA ABQ, NM
Posts: 697
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 148 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
At Wits End Steering issues

Been a while since I've been on so first I'll say hello to everyone. Have done a lot of work to the SL and finally have it at a MB indie shop (that comes highly recommended for here at least) to get the steering sorted.

Sorry, going to be a long post so I can give you all the info. Please bear with me and read through as I'm really stuck on this one and can't afford to have the shop just open check book keep trying things on the car.

Basic problems the car still has and can't seem to cure though is:

Upon turn either direction the steering does not return as it should to centre. You know, turn, let go of wheel and the steering wheel naturally returns to the centre position. Not this one. It is a bit better now, but you have to help it by physically turning the wheel back.

Highway speeds the car feels very unstable and wants to drift to the right and swaves about. Feels almost like the car is hydroplaning. VERY scary.

Work done-

All tie rods and centre link were replaced very recently before I bought the car. Since I've had it and have been working on the car I replaced the centre link with a Autohaus Meyle one because I had the steering apart to do other work and did not want to chance I damaged the centre link ends removing them so I just put a new one on. Torqued to service manual specs.

On initial purchase of the car the steering was all over the place (reason I think previous owner did all the tie rods to try and cure). Drove car and I did not really notice the issue of the car steering not returning, because the steering was really loose. Because of this looseness I did not take on on the highway, but just drove it on residential streets. I'd already read about the steering coupler being an issue on these so felt that was the issue.

Steering box was also leaking badly and signals were not turning on and holding easily or cancelling correctly.

Lucked into a 380sl at the auto wrecker that had a non leaking box. Got a new genuine MB steering coupler. Turned steering wheel straight ahead and swapped in the 380 box and the coupler. Took it to a local mechanic shop to get it aligned.

Shop said that the idler had too much play in it so got a gen. MB idler kit and had them put it in and align the car. Wife drove the car back with me as passenger. Seemed to track straight (city streets) and I thought all was fine. UNTIL, I finally drove the car and found that whatever way you pointed the wheels on a turn is where they stayed. You would just keep turning!

Thought I'd screwed something up as before I installed the 380 box I made the mistake of giving it a little tighten. So, tried adjusting it on the car. No help.

Talked to Chris at C&M and he said problem was most likely alignment. Said I'd had it aligned. Then he said the best thing to do was pull the box and adjust it to spec on the bench and then re install following their installation procedures OR I could just put a new box on if I it looked like the 380 box had some issue. Decided to order a C&M box from Autohaus.

Installed the new box following C&M procedure sheet. Drove the car into the garage straight. Pulled the steering box out and then turned the steering wheel until the steering locked. According to Chris this would get the steering shaft aligned so when all went together it would be centred travel wise like it should be. Everything aligned. When I turned the steering wheel to the lock position it was no longer straight (maybe almost 30 degrees or so turned to the right) so followed instructions and pulled the steering wheel off and reinstalled in the lock position so that the wheel was level. Made my pointed bolt to hold the box centred for install and installed the new box.

Test drove the car and still had the non return issue (just a tiny bit better) and took it briefly on the highway and that is when we hit a little dip and the car was all over the road like it was hydroplaning.

Took it to a MB specialist shop. They aligned it and it was way out of alignment in every respect. BUT, car steering still does not return and it has the same hydroplane feel at speed. They said that when they let off the throttle the car wanted to go to the right. Press the throttle again and it straightened up.

Mechanic disconnected the steering linkage and all moves free, redid the idler kit as other shop had added an extra washer and also installed the bolt up through the bottom instead of down from the top. Checked the subframe for loose bolts and says everything is tight. Said nothing loose on the front end. Felt it was the steering box at issue.

Odds of two boxes having the same non return......,but I had them talk to Chris at C&M who (VERY good service) sent them another box which they installed. Realigned car and STILL not fixed or returning AND car still unstable at speed.

HELP! I'm in at an $800 bill now and don't have unlimited funds to pour into the car. Thanks for any help!


EDIT: Forgot to mention, shop says right side tie rod, to get the car aligned, has no threads showing where the left side tie rod still has threads showing.

Last edited by Hillingdoner; 03-31-2017 at 01:18 AM.
Hillingdoner is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Veteran
 
Hillingdoner's Avatar
 
Date registered: Oct 2015
Vehicle: 1977 450 sl
Location: Monterey, CA ABQ, NM
Posts: 697
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 148 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Here is the initial alignment sheet they sent me. Has been aligned three times since this one.

Last edited by Hillingdoner; 03-31-2017 at 06:38 AM.
Hillingdoner is offline  
post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 04:02 AM
BenzWorld Elite
 
RLT61's Avatar
 
Date registered: Jan 2016
Vehicle: 86 560SL
Location: Greater Hotlanta
Posts: 1,243
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Quoted: 332 Post(s)
Garage
The only part that you didn't mention is the steering damper. I am not sure if it can cause your non-returning to center steering issue when defective but it is a cheap enough part.
Donmatter and Hillingdoner like this.
RLT61 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 05:32 AM
BenzWorld Elite
 
rumb's Avatar
 
Date registered: Oct 2012
Vehicle: 68 250S, 91 300se, 98 SL500, 450SEL 6.9, 14 CLS550 Past MB's; 300SD, 300E, 300TE, 190E, ML420
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Posts: 3,982
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Quoted: 829 Post(s)
Garage
Throwing some thoughts out there.

Since you had at several mechanics I assume the ball joints and inner control arm bushings are all in good shape?

Have you adjusted your wheel bearings correctly?

The fact that your right and left tie rods are that different is concerning. Do either of the steering arms look bent? - that's the bar on the back of the spindle that the tie rods connect to.

The geometry that makes a car drive centered is the caster. Try adding some more caster and see it that makes it better.

Steering Returnability | Henderson's Line-Up Brake & RV Inc.

Perhaps your frame is bent?

Here's a quote from elsewhere that I have heard before but am not knowledgeable about:

"use the spreader bar and the tool to lock the steering box" I've heard that most shops including MB dealers don't do this. Hopefully someone else can comment more about this.
Hillingdoner likes this.
rumb is offline  
post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Veteran
 
Hillingdoner's Avatar
 
Date registered: Oct 2015
Vehicle: 1977 450 sl
Location: Monterey, CA ABQ, NM
Posts: 697
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 148 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLT61 View Post
The only part that you didn't mention is the steering damper. I am not sure if it can cause your non-returning to center steering issue when defective but it is a cheap enough part.
Thanks for the post. Sorry, yes I had changed the steering damper with an OE supplier unit.
Hillingdoner is offline  
post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Veteran
 
Hillingdoner's Avatar
 
Date registered: Oct 2015
Vehicle: 1977 450 sl
Location: Monterey, CA ABQ, NM
Posts: 697
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 148 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumb View Post
Throwing some thoughts out there.

Since you had at several mechanics I assume the ball joints and inner control arm bushings are all in good shape?

Have you adjusted your wheel bearings correctly?

The fact that your right and left tie rods are that different is concerning. Do either of the steering arms look bent? - that's the bar on the back of the spindle that the tie rods connect to.

The geometry that makes a car drive centered is the caster. Try adding some more caster and see it that makes it better.

Steering Returnability | Henderson's Line-Up Brake & RV Inc.

Perhaps your frame is bent?

Here's a quote from elsewhere that I have heard before but am not knowledgeable about:

"use the spreader bar and the tool to lock the steering box" I've heard that most shops including MB dealers don't do this. Hopefully someone else can comment more about this.
Thanks for the post Rumb.

On the ball joints and control arm bushings I don't think I can go from anything the first (regular shop/tire/mechanic place) said or did. Shop not even there now. Owner retired and sold up. The MB specialist it is at now trying to figure it out I have asked repeatedly if anything is loose up front. Been told everything is tight. I can say that the control arm bushings and ball joints have not been changed by me nor any recent owner by the look of them.

Been reading online about ball joint issues giving "memory steer" and things of that nature. At this point though, I'm grasping at straws and suspecting everything. Something wrong in the column (although I remember it spinning freely and the mechanic said it moved freely when the box was out), ball joints, control arm bushings, rear swing arm bushings (read where they can cause a hydroplane feel), a wreck that has something bent I don't know about or see anything obvious about from underneath, problems with the spindles etc. etc. ugh!

On the wheel bearings I redid the bearings with new bearings, seals and weighed out MB grease. I did not get the setting of the wheel bearing too much with the washer that should still spin so I had the MB shop the car is at make sure the wheel bearings were correctly set. They say all is okay. I asked about if there was any play in the wheel when you grab the top and bottom and was told all was tight and how it should be.

On the caster, the only thing that concerned me (at least on the sheet I have from the initial alignment) is that the right caster was showing just at the limit 3.4 with a 3.5 limit, where the left side was at 3.1 which is just one over the midpoint. Wondered if this could be contributing to some of the right bias drift/pull. Not sure about steering return though as my uneducated mind thought that being different like that would probably only cause the lack of return to be mostly one direction.

I'll ask at the shop to have them look at those steering arms. Good thought.

Not sure how I'd check on bent frame. More a body shop thing? I do know that the subframe recall had been done on the car a while ago. Looks like they welded some gusset type plates to the frame. Even wondered about a crack I can't see somewhere. Would have thought that the shop would have looked for that though as they are MB people who said they remember doing those recalls when they came out.

Doubting everything now though

I've just read the spreader bar and pin the box thing on another MB series. I'm probably going to talk to the shop this AM and see if I can talk to Chris and bring up some of this stuff.

Thanks again for the post!
Hillingdoner is offline  
post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Veteran
 
Hillingdoner's Avatar
 
Date registered: Oct 2015
Vehicle: 1977 450 sl
Location: Monterey, CA ABQ, NM
Posts: 697
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 148 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Okay, hope everyone is bearing with me here.

Just spoke with the mechanic. No play in wheel bearings. Felt no sticking in ball joints and no looseness for control arm bushings and ball joints. Subframe mounts look good. I do have a collapsed motor mount, but there is no engine movement yet when you brake torque the engine. From what it sounds like he also disconnected at the pitman arm and tried moving the wheels by hand. No binding, says moves back and forth freely.

On the rear swing arm bushings he said he put in pry bars etc and got no movement or indication that there was any issues with them. Mount on the diff is new. No indication of an issue in the rear having any play.

He did say that the springs on the car are not seated in the pockets as they should be. The end of the springs are about 4 inches from the pockets.

He's going to measure everything comparing to another car they have there on Monday to see if he can see anything that is different. He also brought up that right tie rod being all the way with no threads showing. The left I think he said had 6 or 7 threads showing.

So that is where we stand. ANY help or ideas appreciated!
Hillingdoner is offline  
post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 03:40 PM
BenzWorld Elite
 
cushjbc's Avatar
 
Date registered: Dec 2010
Vehicle: 1973 450 SL
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 1,645
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Quoted: 368 Post(s)
Quote:
Thought I'd screwed something up as before I installed the 380 box I made the mistake of giving it a little tighten. So, tried adjusting it on the car. No help.
The Allen screw on top of the steering box that has the locking bolt around it is the item that controls the symptom you are having. If I remember correctly, the Allen screw is reverse threaded - left turn tightens up the box and removes tendency to return to center.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 46-480.pdf (1.00 MB, 68 views)
Hillingdoner likes this.

Brad Cushman
73 450 SL
cushjbc is offline  
post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 04:30 PM
One of the BW Old Guard
 
Ears's Avatar
 
Date registered: Aug 2004
Vehicle: 1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
Location: Fort Payne, Al
Posts: 7,056
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Quoted: 500 Post(s)
Lifetime Premium Member
Hmmm... My memory fails me, but the specs on the alignment don't jive with what I recall. Need to research a bit.
Tires can make a HUGE impact to steering, but not in the way you describe.
Veering throttle on/off sounds like rear; however, you have alignment showing no problem. Also, rear can make car feel "swervy" (highly technical term).

Non-centering made me think, like others, that the preload was fubar. Sounds like you have addressed it, but did you according to the manual (procedure is to measure free play and torque, both).

Springs not seated correctly????

Also, On a quick read, I did not see what wheel/tire combination you are running...

Best of luck!
Hillingdoner likes this.

Best Regards...

RM Smith
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Where is it again that we are going... And why are we in a handbasket?
Ears is offline  
post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 04:38 PM
One of the BW Old Guard
 
Ears's Avatar
 
Date registered: Aug 2004
Vehicle: 1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
Location: Fort Payne, Al
Posts: 7,056
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Quoted: 500 Post(s)
Lifetime Premium Member
I can't confirm, but your caster is approx 1/3 of spec sheet I have. The problem is, my spec sheet is for a 560, so may not be applicable.

Edit... I stand corrected. 3deg,40min +/- 20min from here... http://www.autozone.com/repairguides...00c152800aeb0b
Hillingdoner likes this.

Best Regards...

RM Smith
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Where is it again that we are going... And why are we in a handbasket?

Last edited by Ears; 03-31-2017 at 04:47 PM.
Ears is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  Mercedes-Benz Forum > Mercedes-Benz Roadster Forums > R/C107 SL/SLC Class

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Mercedes-Benz Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 

Title goes here

close
video goes here
description goes here. Read Full Story
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome