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1988 300E, 2006 E350 wagon
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I have a 1988 300E and am looking to upgrade the suspension. I have found some good advice, but not from anyone with any knowledge to this specific model car. I bought the car used from the original owner two years ago, and have no idea if ever any of the suspension parts have been changed out. For a while I had some concerns about the handling of the car at highway speeds where it seemed to float around a lot. New tires seemed to take care of that, and if you look at the picture you’ll notice new wheels and other new tires which are great. Still the car has more lean in turns than I would like. Also with the new wheels I am thinking about a shorter stance with new springs (and shims). Right now I am shopping around for shocks/struts and springs and am thoroughly confused about what to get. Let me also mention that I expect to change out things like the ball joints and the rubber bushings on the control arms at the same time. I don’t think stiffer sway bars are really necessary. If you have any disagreements or more suggestions please let me know. Anyway, I have looked at places like TireRack and Performance Products for after-market parts. In terms of sport springs and shocks they’re all around the same price point and seem to do the same thing. I’m just looking for the "package" in the 300E that will give me the best results. Performance Products seems to pair the Bilstein shocks/struts with either the Eibach springs or those by Schatz. Whereas the TireRack sells Koni shocks/struts and both the H&R springs and Eibach springs. Which is best? Thanks for any help.
 

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the most common setup, as far as I can tell, is H&R springs with Bilstein Sport shocks. That's what I have and it handles great. It's still somewhat soft over smaller bumps, but really helps with body roll while cornering. It's not too low to the ground, but it definitely looks nice.

Click on "search" above and look around this forum. This topic has been covered a lot. Good luck.
 

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I agree that H&R springs with Bilstein Sport shocks is the most common set-up that I have read about on the forums. I think I also hear the fewest complaints by those that have the H&R Bilstein Sport set-up. I went with Eibach springs and Bilstein HD shocks. From what I have read, the Eibachs may be a little more comfortable than the H&R springs and the drop may be a little less, although I have never driven a car with the H&R Sport set-up. I chose the HD shocks, because I was led to believe that I didn’t really need the Sports, since the drop was only going to be about 1-inch with the Eibach springs. Supposedly, the Sports and the HDs are valved about the same, so in terms of damping, there may not be much difference. The Sports, however, have a shorter travel that is specifically designed for lowered vehicles.

I like how my car handles with the Bilstein HDs and my car is only about 1-inch lower, but I guess I should have gone for the Sports. I also like the blend of comfort and performance that the Eibachs provide. I think my car is still comfortable, although it is definitely firmer with more road feel than when it was stock. There is always a compromise between comfort and performance. Even a W124 can’t really ride like a soft magic carpet and not have some floating boat-like characteristics too. They are nice to start with, but I prefer the firmer feel of my modified suspension.

Don’t forget about excessive camber issues, when you plan your modifications. I think most people find that they need some kind of rear camber adjustment to fine-tune their alignment after they lower their suspensions. I used the K-MAC bushings with eccentric bolts that allow you to pull the lower part of the wheel in toward the suspension. There are also adjustable camber arms that move the top of the wheel out. The camber arms cost less, easier to install, and they provide a greater amount of adjustment. I am not having any trouble with my K-MAC bushings, but I think I would choose adjustable camber arms, if I did it over again.

I think that maybe you should rethink your opinion about swaybars. I didn’t make the upgrade yet, but I think big swaybars might flatten out the handling without any destruction of the ride quality. I have read that just adding Bilstein HD shocks and big swaybars may be the best solution to a floaty ride. The car will be much flatter and the HDs will firm it up just enough to give you absolute confidence. The car will not be lowered, but that might be a very good thing. Lowering will almost certainly cause you to have some issues with negative camber. It also costs quite a bit more to get the springs and the camber arms.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my slightly lowered stance, even if it isn’t a very big drop and even if it did cause some issues and some cash to get it figured out. I also LOVE the firmer handling, even if it does affect the comfort level. I just wonder if big swaybars, firmer shocks, and the thinnest spring pads, might be the best set-up. It should be flat, firm, and still comfortable. It will only be very slightly lower, if at all, so there shouldn’t be any camber issues.

There is also the OEM “Sportline� set-up, but I think it costs too much. It really doesn’t lower the car much at all, so you might as well just go for the firmer shock and big swaybar set-up. You will save a ton of money.

It would also be very nice to get input from someone that modified a 1988, like your car. There may be subtle differences in W124 models that require slightly different tuning of the drop. There are also subtle differences in the final set-up, depending on what parts you finally decide to install. For example, a common issue is that people have to go back under the car to change the spring pads, just to fine-tune the drop. On my car, 3-bump pads were stock and I started with 1-bump pads when I lowered the car. I ended up going back to 3-bump in the rear and kept the 1-bump up front, so that I would end up with a symmetrical drop. The Eibachs lowered the rear of my car more they lowered the front, so I had to play with the spring pads. It wasn’t cheap to get it switched, sind I am not a DIY mechanic.

My car is about 1.25 inches lower at all four wheels, now that all of my new parts have “settled�.




 
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If I had to do mine all over again I'd stick with OEM Sportline parts throughout. (Although I'd keep the limo swaybar and use Bilstein shocks).
When you come to sell your car OEM parts will be better than aftermarket parts.
Don't make the mistake of lowering it too much.
It could actually make the handling worse because you will never be able to bring the camber into spec (K-Mac etc are only for the rear and then not ideal). All you will do is wear out tyres faster.
If you're going to go to the expense of changing front wishbone bushes to Sportlines you should seriously consider Sportline swaybars.
http://www.mercedesshop.com/sportline_suspension.htm
 

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2006 S500 AMG Wifes Rig Hillbilly Girl 02 ML320
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Some of that Sportline stuff is getting hard to find![:(!][:(!]


Smokie
 
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Some of that Sportline stuff is getting hard to find!
Don't make excuses[:D]
Your dealer will be able to get all of the parts.
My limo front bar only took about a week to come.
Sportline springs are about the same price as H&R.
 

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Depends on the day!
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Hell, I can get you all the Sportline parts[:p]

Jonathan
 

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cap'n Jasper - 4/21/2005 12:39 PM
If I had to do mine all over again I'd stick with OEM Sportline parts throughout. (Although I'd keep the limo swaybar and use Bilstein shocks).
I am not an expert, but I bet you would get 90% of the Sportline handling improvement with just shocks, swaybars, and tires. Who knows, the "Sportline Plus" swaybars might even take up to or past the OEM Sportline set-up.


cap'n Jasper - 4/21/2005 12:39 PM
When you come to sell your car OEM parts will be better than aftermarket parts.
I still have all of my OEM parts, but I didn't keep them so that I could sell them with my car. I am never planning to sell my awesome car, even though today I did have to replace my water pump.
 
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