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Hello guys, just bought this car and have been chasing the solution to this problem for a couple days now. When I'm driving straight on a flat road, the car gradually drifts off to the right. Doesn't change when I brake or accelerate. Just a constant right side drift. Steering wheel doesn't turn either. Outer right tire edge is worn too. Pressures are normal. Took it into an alignment shop for an alignment and the tech noticed my right wheel has play in it when you shake it left and right when the car is suspended on a lift. All rubber joints and bushings are normal and show no signs of wear or play. Tie Rods appear normal too. Left side wheel has a very small amount of play too but not nearly as much as the right side. Right brake pad is worn about %50 more than the left side but doesn't overheat the rotor after a long drive. (Compared rotor temps with an infrared thermometer.) Also, slight knocking noise from the front end of the car when going over bumps. Same noise my Acura had when the sway bar bushings went bad and fell out.

I also purchased a 98 C230 along with this car which has nearly obliterated tie rod ends but shows no symptoms which my 99 C230k shows. Probably the srangest issue I've ever had with a car. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
 

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1995 C220
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Wheel bearing....

Curious if they get you aligned? what's happening is the bearing is allowing movement dut to being worn, and that allows the hub assembly to move slightly within the brake caliper...dragging the rotor with it and increasing wear. It could go any direction but follows the path of least resistance (which is to the right typically due to crowning of the road)

http://www.autohausaz.com/pn/2103300325

Autohausaz.com has them for 135 a pop from Febi, or 250 from MB... it would be nice to swap both at the same time since the left also has some play. Great time to toss on new brake pads and turn the rotors since they will be off as well to do the job.
 

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'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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+1

I tightened my wheel bearings two weeks ago, to try and silence the knocking noise. Not too tight, though!

In South Africa, which is RHD, cars are set up to drift to the left. The reasoning is that it is safer to drift off the road and be startled awake by the roadside gravel than it is to drift into the faster lanes in front of other cars. But this doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't a problem.
 

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1995 C220
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When you get a chance fill in your approximate location, mileage etc... not ranting or scolding...:grin:grin. Guys get bent out of shape sometimes about it (on other forums) and chastise the new folks for the lack of info.

Since these cars are scattered all over the globe, and there are a few items and problems that are mileage sensitive, it helps for those of us taking guesses at what is wrong, and helps folks doing a search for their potential problem down the road.

Plane crazy brought up a great point about direction of road crowning due to SA versus US (made me think about it). Also telling you to drop by a NAPA for example wouldn't do you a bit of good if you live in East Slovakiastan.

Just a friendly bit of info to help everyone.
 

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1995 C220
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Road crown can definitely cause it, brake drag can cause it, a bad wheel bearing can cause it, as well as a bad alignment. I would love to see your alignment sheet, as our shop does our own alignments here I may be able to give you some tips as to if it is correct or not. Can you go to the shop that did it and ask them for a copy of the alignment. They should have a copy stored in the alignment computer.

Also, I think I would do a thorough inspection of the brakes, from the pads to the calipers. Here is a (non mercedes specific) video of how to properly clean and grease your calipers and pads:

Also while you have it apart, you need to check the wheel bearings out and make sure they are properly tensioned, and depending on the miles, it may be a good time to just go ahead and replace them.

Also, try raising the front end of the car off the ground and starting it, and see if the wheels want to turn by themselves. If this is the case, you could have some bad valving in the gearbox causing it to steer itself. I would also check the idler arm for binding as well as the steering shock and make sure there are no issues.

If all that checks out, then its got to be in the alignment. The thrust angle could be off(although the alignment racks can compensate for that), or either camber or caster could be off and causing the drift. This is why I would like to see the sheet.
 

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'86 W123 200, OM617 non-turbo, bastard 5-speed; '95 W202 C250 Diesel, OM605 non-turbo, 5-spd man
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I'm curious... doesn't "road crown" refer to the transverse slope of te road itself? Primarily to drain water off the surface, but also helping the car veer off to the kerb?
 

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I don't think they crown the road specifically to make the cars veer toward the curb. I know that 90% of the cars on the road have asymmetrical alignments(different camber/caster on each side) just to compensate for road crown. You see less of it now than on some of the older cars, but I still see it a lot.
 

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1995 C220
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Around here the "crown" is visible. Peaks in the center and slopes to the edge by a few degrees, mainly for ease of removing snow and drainage. not terrible but it does pull a bit if you get close to the edge. The shaking loose feeling when it has the weight off the car leads me to believe it's a wheel bearing, a dragging caliper would do the same thing, but not be visibly loose once up in the air.
 

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1996 C220 2007 ML320 CDI
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I thought the road crown was the wear that happens because of cars always driving in the same spot in one lane (eventually digging 2 small trenches where the wheels go).

I actually got to poke around at my dealership when they did my alignment, it was cool seeing my car up on the lasertron 3000 (whatever it was called). I could see all the parameters being displayed live on the screen, it even calculated some extra stuff like steering angle inclination and scrub radius. They weren't able to adjust the rear tie-rods because they were just seized on (they weren't terribly off). I told the alignment guy I was going to rebuild the rear-end anyway, so I would just go back for a full alignment. He set my front up, and said it might pull slightly because of the rear, but honestly, car tracks like its on rails. Any pulling to one side or the other is just a result of the crappy roads here.
 

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Don't make me dig out my ref. Stuff on civil engineering....

I believe off memory that typical crown (also called cross slope) is around 2 degrees or 1/4" per foot from center to edge for paved roads, up to 6 degrees for unpaved. Curves have a buildup up to 12 degrees from outside slope, urban areas have 4-6 degrees.....these are not completely followed rules though....mainly guidelines.

Chatted with a couple DOT guys that plow snow...they set the big blade to "float" and the wing blades to a 2 degree down angle. Otherwise the road crown vs snow load pushed the trucks to center and the shoulders create an ice dam.
 

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Cool stuff, in Quebec, our road crown comes from the dismal condition of the road surface, and the drainage is done by the Jupiter sized potholes. So I'm guessing the Transport Quebec snow plow drivers set their big blade to f**k you and the wing blades to @$%^# this the 12 unions we have will take the heat.
 
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