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420se 1988, 1994 E420, 1989 560SEL
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Discussion Starter #1
I have replaced the left Tie rod trying to get rid of wheel play. This didnt change anything. I have read somewhere something about replacing steering damper. Where is this located and what is it?

At speeds over 90 mph the wheel play is very enoying and this car isnt that wonderful highspeed cruiser that it has all the potential to be.

Ideas anyone on what to do?
 

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Have you checked the free play in the gear box by gently moving the steering wheel? Do not try to get all of the play out since this is not designed for that but it is a common problem. Next jack up car, unlock wheel and move the steering shaft so that the pitman arm moves. Someone else can do this for you. Now see what is moving under the car versus not moving the associated wheel.
 

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1987 560SEC, 1987 UNIMOG U1700L
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326 Posts
I have replaced the left Tie rod trying to get rid of wheel play. This didnt change anything. I have read somewhere something about replacing steering damper. Where is this located and what is it?

At speeds over 90 mph the wheel play is very enoying and this car isnt that wonderful highspeed cruiser that it has all the potential to be.

Ideas anyone on what to do?
How did you check for the wheel play? thing to do is lift the whole front end clear of the ground and get a freind to gently move 1 of the road wheels side to side (only a little bit) while your friend does this look at all of the tie rod ball joints and see if any of them have the balljoint moving yet the rest of the rod not moving. I am assuming (not certain) that you already did this to diagnose your bad left tie rod (however the drivers side tie rods usually get the most abuse as they are near the steering box). Did a friends 190E and found a bad balljoint (inner right which is nearest the steering box on RHD) changed it but still had the play. I was advised to change the steering damper as they always go south and while there decided also to do the LHS Tie rod as it wasn't too expensive. To find the steering damper is a very easy task, it looks like a shock absorber/damper/strut off the suspension except smaller. It is found in the middle underneath the front next to the drag link. Is just 2 nuts of bolts (forget exactly but i think was bolts) unbolt the old one, bolt the new one in and that is it. After changing the tie rods is also a good idea to get a wheel alignment done to make sure everything is spot on.
 

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1987 420SEL
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1,133 Posts
If the steering components check out, another check would be the wheel bearings themselves.

To check these, place a floor jack under the lower A-arm at the steering knuckle pivot point and jack the car up until it clears the ground by about 3". Then take a large (6ft), strong piece of metal pipe or similar and place it under the tire, parallel with the car, and pry upwards looking for vertical play in the spindle. Do this to each front tire, but be careful- hold the bar in an open-handed way as much as possible so it can easily be dropped should the car fall off the jack (worst case).

I'd imagine a 2x4" could work too, be gentle though.
 

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420se 1988, 1994 E420, 1989 560SEL
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58 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I did that first diagnosis and the guy helping me do it concluded that the ball joint on the drivers side was bad and need replacement. So I did. And also the wheelalignment is not a bad idea, the car slightly pulls to the left now since I had the tie rod replaced. Seems I didnt do a good enough job measuring and comparing the old tie rod with the one I replaced it with. But I have a question, where exactly do I find the nut where I can adjust the play in the gear-box itself?
 

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1987 420SEL
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Richard, I believe that your 560SEL has rack and pinion steering, so you are not going to find an adjustment, as there was on a conventional worm and sector steering box. Indeed, I don't think there is any adjustment at all on a steering rack. When they wear out mechanically, you replace or rebuild them. And when they are worn out, they usually cause the car to pull a bit to one side, so this might be your problem. A good front end and alignment shop can confirm this. For some cars, rebuilt steering racks are surprisingly cheap, esp. from discount suppliers online, but M-B racks probably aren't that cheap. They are sold on an exchange basis. Often you have to return your old core in the same box in which you receive your new one. Check some of the online parts sites for prices.
 
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