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1985 380SL; 2004 E320; 2007 GL450
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Discussion Starter #1
I took my 85' 380SL to a local Firestone shop for wheel alignment. Attached is the final report. The technician who worked on the car told me that he can only adjust toe and camber for the front wheels. He could not adjust caster. For the rear left wheel, he could not adjust toe as the rear wheels are not adjustable.

So, I am looking for advise on how and where to adjust front wheel caster and rear wheel toe. Thanks in advance.
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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7,166 Posts

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Premium Member
1986 560SL with M120 V12 Engine, 1988 560SL Stock
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10,210 Posts

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2008 CLS 550
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297 Posts
I had two different tire places do mine, it still pulls to the left pretty badly. I asked for and recieved my money back on the first one. The 2nd said it takes at least 2 to 3 hours to do it on the MB. He said he hates to see them coming.
Guess I will need to take it to the MB dealer and pay the big bucks for the alignment?
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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32,352 Posts
First mistake was Firestone. I have nothing good to say about them from past experience. I was talking to a friend last night. His daughter had just paid for a lifetime alignment on an Audi. He went to change the oil and found that both outer tie rod ends were shot. He replaced them and called Firestone, with a few choice words, and placed them in the trunk. New alignment was supposed to be today.

Firestone can't align a 107 properly. Take it to MB.
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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7,166 Posts
...Take it to MB.
Even then, pay attention, and go armed with the specs. Not every MB dealership will be hip to a 107.

Were you closer, I'd recommend an indy who helps me from time to time.

Good luck sorting this out.
 

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1985 380SL; 2004 E320; 2007 GL450
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Discussion Starter #7

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
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7,166 Posts
search this forum... Issue was discussed recently, but I can't recall...
 

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'85 380SL (155Kmiles), '82 240D stick, '80 300SD, '77 240D, '89 BMW 535i, 3 VW Diesels, 2 Triumphs
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The dealer, I guess, or try to find one of those old-timers who still does alignments with chalk and measurements. We have a couple of those guys around here. I have taken to setting toe and camber by myself lately, but if your caster is off, seek professional help.
 

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1985 380SL; 2004 E320; 2007 GL450
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296 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
With the information in this post, I went back to Firestone and told them they should be able to adjust front caster. The technician checked more document and told me that if my car does not have an automatic leveling system, the spec for front caster is 3 degrees, not the 9.8-10.8 degrees in their computer system. The 9.8 to 10.8 spec is for the car with an automatic leveling system.

My question is: is his statement correct? Does 380SL has the automatic leveling system?
 

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Premium Member
1986 560SL with M120 V12 Engine, 1988 560SL Stock
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10,210 Posts
With the information in this post, I went back to Firestone and told them they should be able to adjust front caster. The technician checked more document and told me that if my car does not have an automatic leveling system, the spec for front caster is 3 degrees, not the 9.8-10.8 degrees in their computer system. The 9.8 to 10.8 spec is for the car with an automatic leveling system.

My question is: is his statement correct? Does 380SL has the automatic leveling system?
No it does not. As far as I know the automatic leveling system was not available in the states and possibly an SLC option only. Your caster should be about 10°.
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
Joined
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7,166 Posts
With the information in this post, I went back to Firestone and told them they should be able to adjust front caster. The technician checked more document and told me that if my car does not have an automatic leveling system, the spec for front caster is 3 degrees, not the 9.8-10.8 degrees in their computer system. The 9.8 to 10.8 spec is for the car with an automatic leveling system.

My question is: is his statement correct? Does 380SL has the automatic leveling system?
Not correct.

MB is noted for aggressive caster, and such is documented. Besides, why would SLS require a different running caster?

He is just not well informed about the older car is all.

...and I am fairly certain your 380 does not have SLS from factory.
 

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1985 380SL; 2004 E320; 2007 GL450
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Discussion Starter #16
Well, I guess I am done dealing with this guy. Anyone knows a good place to do the alignment for 380 in the Dallas area?
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
Joined
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7,166 Posts
A couple of hours south of you, in the city of Temple, lies the home of Adrian's Garage. When I was living in the fair city approx 10 yrs ago, I had the pleasure of having my car tended to by Adrian.

If he is still there, and still the quality of service mech as back then, it would not be a trip wasted. I'd ring him up on the phone first, or ask someone local there if things are the way I remember...

He also did the mandatory inspections, and was fair to deal with. One shop tried to fail my Honda Accord, but he found no reason to fail it (safety check)... The first shop was trying to "bait" me with expensive front-end overhaul, a-arms, tie rods, etc... Common practice I came to find out.
 

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Registered
1985 380SL; 2004 E320; 2007 GL450
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296 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
A couple of hours south of you, in the city of Temple, lies the home of Adrian's Garage. When I was living in the fair city approx 10 yrs ago, I had the pleasure of having my car tended to by Adrian.

If he is still there, and still the quality of service mech as back then, it would not be a trip wasted. I'd ring him up on the phone first, or ask someone local there if things are the way I remember...

He also did the mandatory inspections, and was fair to deal with. One shop tried to fail my Honda Accord, but he found no reason to fail it (safety check)... The first shop was trying to "bait" me with expensive front-end overhaul, a-arms, tie rods, etc... Common practice I came to find out.
Will check it out...thanks!
 

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One of the BW Old Guard/R129, W204 Moderator
1997 SL500- 40th Anniversary
Joined
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7,166 Posts
Finally found the info I was looking for...

The eccentric bolts on the front pivot of the lower A frame adjust primarily the Caster.

The eccentric bolts on the back pivot of the lower A frame adjust primarily the Camber.

While this info comes from the Haynes manual, I believe it is correct and was apparent when we did the front end on my 560. I could not recall with confidence, from when we did the work, but after reading and studying the geometry, believe this to be correct.

When you look at the pivot points of the A frame, the back pivot point is more perpendicular to the plane of the wheel, therefore, moving it in or out (with the eccentric bolt), has a more direct influence on the inward or outward movement of the lower ball joint relative to the fixed position of the upper ball joint, and therefore a more direct influence on the tilt of the wheel (camber).

The front pivot point eccentric bolt most directly influences the lateral movement of the lower ball joint in the horizontal plane, which therefore moves the lower ball joint fore and aft, relative to the fixed upper ball joint, influencing a tilt of the axis in the plane of the wheel (caster).

Certainly, adjustments to either front or back eccentric bolt changes both caster and chamber, and other geometry comes in to play, ie the axis thru the eccentric bolts does not lie in a plane parallel to the center longitudinal axis of the car. Therefore, it is incumbent on the technician to manipulate each to achieve the desired caster and camber.

I will add that the Haynes manual reports a caster of 3deg, 15min +/-20min for the models 1971-1980, both SL and SLC. Camber is reported as -20min to 10min. I do not attest to the voracity of these specs, only report them as written...

Interesting to note that the Haynes manual also gives a table of "Semi-Trailing arm positions" (in mm)and their corresponding changes in camber. I believe these are the eccentric bushings referred to earlier in the post, but could easily be mistaken... No other mention of rear alignment occurs in the manual.

I have not seen this kind of info in the MB manual, although I have not read the paper copies I have a fully as I have the CD...

On the 560, components of the front end were changed to use current and modified W124 parts, with concomitant changes to geometry (longer A-arms, scrub angle changes, etc).

This concludes my research into steering alignment of the R/C107... This, and a buck-fifty might buy you a cup of coffee.
 
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