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Hi, I hope someone can help me with my dilemma. I have an early production 1998 ML320 (manufactured in May 1997). I am looking for rear shocks but for some reason Bilstein discontinued the 1998 shocks. Are there shocks that will fit this vehicle other than the OEM shocks? What is the difference between the 1998 and 1999 shocks?
Thank you for any help that can be provided.
 

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1999 ML 320
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my friend has a 1998 and had to get the shocks from the dealer...told me that i lucked out because i have a 99 that can use the Bilstein.

sorry man,...i think you might have to get OEM

if anyone else knows otherwise...chime in?
 

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rkisak - 4/26/2005 12:17 PM

Hi, I hope someone can help me with my dilemma. I have an early production 1998 ML320 (manufactured in May 1997). I am looking for rear shocks but for some reason Bilstein discontinued the 1998 shocks. Are there shocks that will fit this vehicle other than the OEM shocks? What is the difference between the 1998 and 1999 shocks?
Thank you for any help that can be provided.
That's odd. I booght them for my '98 less than 2 years ago. Check with Phil at MercedesShop http://catalog.mercedesshop.com/.
 

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I'm not sure if anyone saw my post about this, but you can use the 99+ Bilsteins on the 98. The only catch is you have to widen the mounting holes in the rear lower A arms a tiny bit. Hope this helps ...
 

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98 ML 320, BMW 3 series
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GregW / Oregon - 4/26/2005 3:35 PM]
That's odd. I booght them for my '98 less than 2 years ago. Check with Phil at MercedesShop http://catalog.mercedesshop.com/.
Actually I spoke to Phil this week, no longer available.

But, I'm surprised to hear that we can use '99 Bilsteins on a '98, that would be great.

MLOffRoad, how hard is the retrofit?
 

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@TheWheel - 4/26/2005 6:59 PM

GregW / Oregon - 4/26/2005 3:35 PM]
That's odd. I booght them for my '98 less than 2 years ago. Check with Phil at MercedesShop http://catalog.mercedesshop.com/.
Actually I spoke to Phil this week, no longer available.

But, I'm surprised to hear that we can use '99 Bilsteins on a '98, that would be great.

MLOffRoad, how hard is the retrofit?
Not hard at all ... all you need is a hand drill and a step drill bit and your set. Takes a few seconds at most to widen the hole and then you can drop the new shock in. [:D]
 

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MLOffRoad - 4/26/2005 9:42 PM

Not hard at all ... all you need is a hand drill and a step drill bit and your set. Takes a few seconds at most to widen the hole and then you can drop the new shock in. [:D]

That is great. Thanks for the tip! I'll look into doing this mod soon, my ML with 95k miles is in need of a suspension refresh.

What springs do you recommend? Eibach or H&R? I do mostly city and highway driving.
 

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Depends on how much drop you want ... also when you lower the truck the handling gets better but the ride gets worse. I suggest you leave the stock springs in there and just throw the Bilsteins in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Guys
Just received my Bilsteins for my 1998 ML320.
I spoke to Scott at Bilstein East and he explained that the 1998 has a round hole in the lower a-arm. The later years have an oval hole which corresponds with the lowewr shaft on the shock. Since their is a ball joint on the bottom of the shock the oval hole keeps it from spinning when you tighten the nut.
So if you are going to enl;argen the hole you should change the shape to an oval.
 

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@TheWheel - 4/27/2005 10:09 AM

That is great. Thanks for the tip! I'll look into doing this mod soon, my ML with 95k miles is in need of a suspension refresh.
95K? Wow, that's a long way on a set of shocks. Anyone have any suggestions on when you should replace them? I've always changed shocks when they leak or the car bounces more than once when you push down on the bumper but this is my first Benz and I want to keep that "like new" ride...since I bought it used, I don't know how it was supposed to ride...
 

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You're not going to believe this, but I've got 221.000 on my original set of springs/shocks.

I'm a certified car nut and believe me, if they needed to be replaced I would. Whenever the ML is up on a rack or getting a tire change, I examine the shocks/struts for leaks, cracking rubber, etc. No signs of deterioration or excessive rebound when going over bumps, etc.

I'm kinda looking forward to replacing the set-up all around, but its hard to justify the cost when the originals are still O.K. When I do replace them, I'll probably go with the Bilsteins, whick I believe were the original equipment.
 

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I just replaced my fronts at 75000 miles they were very worn and badly needed to be replaced. I replaced them with Bilsteins and its a much nicer ride. I'm going to do the rears also but a couple of shops around my area have it as a 6 hour job per there books at $75 an hour!
 

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rkisak - 5/17/2005 11:09 AM

Hi Guys
Just received my Bilsteins for my 1998 ML320.
I spoke to Scott at Bilstein East and he explained that the 1998 has a round hole in the lower a-arm. The later years have an oval hole which corresponds with the lowewr shaft on the shock. Since their is a ball joint on the bottom of the shock the oval hole keeps it from spinning when you tighten the nut.
So if you are going to enl;argen the hole you should change the shape to an oval.
When I did this I just lowered the truck on the new shocks and the weight of the truck on the shocks keeps them in place while I tightened them down. No need for an oval in my case. [:D]
 

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I've been watching this forum for a couple of months, but only recently registered. This place is packed with info. You all know your stuff. I own a '98, and I want to replace the rear shocks. My question to the ML Technical Community, if I order a set of bilsteins for the '99 ML, do I also have to change the springs in order to have them function properly on a '98? Any instructions out there for replacing the rear shocks on a '98 ML?
 
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