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Registered
1979 450 sl UK spec +1986 560SEC UK sold for Export to Hong Kong has 220 KW engine
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48 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks
I am trying to locate`a manual or instructions on the above,any advise most welcome.

best Wishes Dan Gardner
 

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Premium Member
2007 ML320CDI, 1959 220SE, 1971 280SL, 1982 380SL
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593 Posts
I have found rebuilding the steering box to not be practical. You can reseal it for leaks and you can adjust the contact between the sector shaft and the worm gear via the adjustment screw on the top of the box. Keep in mind you turn the sector shaft adjustment screw COUNTERCLOCKWISE to tighten (rather than clockwise as with most USA Saginaw boxes). I find the sector adjustment will help but often not enough to tighten up the loose play to where it feels appropriate. The adjustment must be made with the steering centered and you do not want to overtighten to the point where is begins to bind. Though the manual talks of doing this adjustment with the box off the car, it can be done in the car incrementally with the front wheels off the ground. You tighten until the scew feels friction, turn the wheels back and forth and then adust to that there is no internal steering box binding. Again. Do not overtighten as this will not fix a worn box.

The factory specification "allows" a lot of free play (1 inch) as measured on the outside diameter of the steering wheel. I believe because they knew these boxes really were not good enough and they did not want to warranty a whole lot of them they set the "maximum" acceptable factory free play at a very excessive amount. This allowed free play is outside what I want for a properly handling car. If the sector shaft adjustment does not take up enough of the free play, the parts needed to correct the internal problem are related to wear on the recirculating balls and their tracks in the worm gear. These parts are not available and certainly when they were available the price was way too high. There have been some attempts at using an oversize ball, but this is touch and go. If you do not like the free play after adjustment, I suggest buying a C and M rebuilt box. C and M has the tools to take the looseness out and they have a very good reputation. There plant is in Las Vegas and they sell through various sources. They do want your old box back on an exchange basis. Do not buy a cheap Ebay "rebuilt" as many of these only have new paint on the outside and they call them rebuilt.

Just a note, I do see a relation between steering box wear and looseness and a driver that regularly turns the steering wheel all the way to its stop and then continues to apply hard pressure on the wheel through the turn in an attempt to turn tighter than the car was designed. This hard pressure puts a whole lot of stress on those internal balls and races and accelerates internal wear. When you reach the left or right stop during a hard turn, back off just a tiny fraction so as not to overstress the internals in the steering box.
 

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Registered
1986 560SL 200,000 km
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52 Posts
I agree with the suggestion of finding a reputble Re-builder in your area. I used Can Craft Steering in Surrey BC. They were extremely familiar with the nuances of these boxes. I called them ahead of time and we agreed on a probable less-busy time for them to do my box. I was very happy with the results with only a few days of waiting for my original box.
 

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Premium Member
1987 560SL
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2,309 Posts
I just rebuilt my steering box last month. The rebuild kit is less than $20 on ebay. I uploaded the step by step written by David Petryk in the prior toe-in thread. I'll attach it here again, it is quite easy to follow. The good news is you don't need to do every step, you can just replace the suspect parts. Also steering pre-load is a lot easier done with the box out of the car. Paying somebody else to do this gets real expensive, it is a $20 do it yourself job.

Removing the box is straightforward, three screws, undo the drag link, and remove the steering coupler screw. Remove is in bold as you might think just untightening the screw will let the box slide off the shaft, but the shaft has a notch that holds it in place even if the rag screw is completely loose. If the pittman arm bends all your tools, NAPA and Advance Auto will rent you heavy duty pullers and the proper size socket (I think 34mm); you pay the retail price but get a 100% refund when you bring it back.

Take care to not twist those steel fluid lines, sometimes the flange backs out of the box so hold it with a skinny spanner or vice grips. After doing this job my car tracks like new and has confident steering with no vibrations. Last step is to adjust the toe-in or visit an alignment shop.
The seal kit you need is 126 460 00 61 and I upload a screenshot of the auction FYI
2611434
 

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Registered
1979 450 sl UK spec +1986 560SEC UK sold for Export to Hong Kong has 220 KW engine
Joined
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48 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Many thanks to all the members who gave advise on rebuilding my 450sl steering box.You have been a great help.

Best Wishes Dan Gardner
 
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