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Hey, I just noticed you're in Sacto! If you drop by Von Housen motors on Howe Ave, talk to AJ in the parts department... he's the guy who got me started on modifying my MB! I just saw him last week! He's a whiz when it comes to W124 mods & upgrades.

:D
 

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Ha, Dave's the master! He almost single-handedly made a 124 fan out of me, 'cause he knows his stuff and helped make sense of the issues that crop up in a 21 year old car. Thanks man!
 

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Hey, I just noticed you're in Sacto! If you drop by Von Housen motors on Howe Ave, talk to AJ in the parts department... he's the guy who got me started on modifying my MB! I just saw him last week! He's a whiz when it comes to W124 mods & upgrades.

:D
Thanks for the alignment info. I asked the dealer about doing it and they wanted $400! :eek:

Yeah, I've spent many days speaking with AJ on the conversion. He has been great. I went to a several shops to get a labor quote on the install and everyone said, "I've got to call my guy at MB and ask AJ how much time it really takes to do the rear swaybar." The book specs 6.3 hours! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Long story short on the swaybars. I bought the car from a MB dealership service adviser in the Bay area. Everything was really well taken care of as promised except the suspension. The seller agreed to cover all the repairs but instead I had him pick up the parts for the Sportline conversion at his dealer cost. His shop couldn't get the Limo bar for some reason and AJ thought it was best to use the matching 500e front and rear bars so that is what I have to work with.

What size spring pads did you guys use?

Any other tips? I'm taking it in on Monday and can hardly wait.
 

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LOL, Casey, you're too kind! :D


spinlps, you gotta be joking, 6.3 hours for the rear sway bar? The first time I did the rear sway bar swap, it took me 4 hours. Second time, under 2 hours. Third time, 45 minutes. Even allowing for some stuck bolts or other hassles, 2 hours is generous. HOWEVER, that was on a sedan without SLS... I'm not sure if there are any additional snafus with the hydrualics. Maybe Casey knows?

If the dealer is quoting $400 for an alignment, that's code for "we don't want to do it". There is NOTHING more difficult about aligning a Sportline car. They just use slightly different specs. It's a flat $100 at my local dealer, no questions asked. I request a printout of the numbers "before & after", so I can see the difference. See if AJ can cajole the service manager into not screwing you... or, take it to G-12, which may be what AJ recommends. ;)

Spring pads: Despite what others say, they are for fine-tuning. You do major changes by swapping springs. Pads are often a trial & error adjustment... start with medium pads in all around (2-point?), and if the front or rear is slightly too high or low, adjust with a thicker or thinner pad. It takes a couple days to settle in. On my diesel, I ended up needing the thickest pad up front with normal Sportline springs, so I later switched to 400E Sportline front springs with a 1-pt pad instead (the thick pads crush down over time). New struts will raise the front end up to a half-inch compared to old struts, btw, due to the higher gas pressure charge.

Remember that with a full tank of fuel, the rear will sit about 1/2" lower compared to an empty tank. And if you drive this thing on the street, you don't want it slammed in the weeds, or you'll be kissing curbs & destroying your radiator (ask AJ about that, lol). Measured from the wheel center to the bottom of the fender lip, a good target is 14.0-14.25 inches all around with a full tank of fuel. Below 14 inches and you'll have clearance issues (but it will look cool). Stock is usually closer to 15 inches. Don't measure to the ground, or from tire to fender, as those measurements all vary with tire size & pressure.

Good luck!

:thumbsup:
 

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So, R&Ring the rear swaybar on a car with SLS is really only a complicating issue if you're upgrading to a larger bar, and need to notch out the valve actuating arm that attaches to the bar. The 500E bar is a larger diameter, so the arm doesn't attach without some notching, and this can only be done via trial and error--sorry, I forgot to take pics.

Also, the valve bracket that attaches to the body must be hammered in order to make room for the larger bar, which has a different contour.

Before

After

I suppose 6.3 hrs isn't unreasonable for someone who hasn't done this before, but for seasoned pros, I can't see paying for more than 4 hours labor.

The added time over what Dave suggested, is only for adjusting the ride height with SLS. I still don't have my ride height adjusted to where I'm happy, 'cause when I notched out the SLS arm, it ended up sitting at an angle that was wider than stock (d'oh!), so when I maxed out the valve rod, it couldn't bring the chassis down to a point I desired. This Winter, I'll be modifying a longer arm from an early model Mercedes throttle rod. Lessons learned.
 

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6.3 hours is what the "book" says. I had the same exact quote at 5 different shops!!!

G12 has done the alignment on my cars for years and that is where I'm going to take it. The only thing good about my local dealer is AJ and the other 3 parts guys there.

After doing all the math on the spring pads all of the lists came out with the rear 1 point thicker than the front....
 

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I wonder how they are getting that 6.3 hour time frame. I looked up the book time in the Mercedes ASRA system, and I couldn't find a time for the rear sway bar alone, on a 124. All they listed was a time (0.2 hours) if the complete rear subframe was out of the car. So, I looked up the time to R&R the rear subframe... and that was 4.8 hours on the wagon (4.3 on the sedan). That still only adds up to 5.0 hours, not 6.3. Maybe they're adding another 1.3 for the level adjustment afterwards.

I'd ask AJ if he knows a tech who would do it as a side job for less $$$... or do it yourself. The only real hassle is the level adjustment, and clearance issues, that Casey mentioned above. BTW, Casey, for the larger bar... can you order the valve actuating arm from the 500E and bolt that in?

:surrender:
 

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The only real hassle is the level adjustment, and clearance issues, that Casey mentioned above. BTW, Casey, for the larger bar... can you order the valve actuating arm from the 500E and bolt that in?
Dave, that would seem to be the most elegant solution, but I seem to remember someone stating that the valves/brackets were different between the two models--as in, not interchangeable. My U-bolt threads are completely maxed out, so I really should spend some time pursuing a more permanent and proper-fitting fix.
 

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I'd love to do it myself but don't have the tools or space, but if you need any tube hi-fi worked on no problem. ;)

I watched the guys at four shops put the info into their cpu program for r&r of the rear sway and they all came up with 6. 3 hours.

I pointed out that most of the job had a ton of overlapping labor. I got my tech down to 10 hours total for doing the front and rear springs and spring pads, front struts and upper strut mounts, front LCA bushings, front and rear 500e swaybars and bushings, rear swaybar metal links, and 500e SLS to swaybar mount.

AJ said the 500e SLS to swaybar mount works great with no problems. He recommended a place and they first quoted $850 total and then changed it to $1450....My tech said he would do it for $900. Does that sound fair? :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #150
I was away for a while so I missed it .. As far as allignment my MB dealer said NO ....coz the suspension is lowered and we don't touch altered cars ...:dunno: or may be he was expecting me to offer him 20 hrs labour:D coz I 'd done all the work myself....

So I had to find a local shop that does only allignments.... and as you guys said its really good to have before and after specs.... may be I'll have to go again:confused:
 

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AMAZING transformation! GREAT work!!
 

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Spinlps, for all the work you listed...

doing the front and rear springs and spring pads, front struts and upper strut mounts, front LCA bushings, front and rear 500e swaybars and bushings, rear swaybar metal links, and 500e SLS to swaybar mount.

... I'd say that $900 is not outrageous if you're paying a tech to do the work. I bet it's at least 10 man-hours, maybe more. $90/hour is kinda high for private labor, but that's a typical shop rate, so it's within the realm of reason. The $1450 quote sounds like another "we don't want to do it" number. The only special tools needed are the spring compressor (~$200 for clones on eBay), and a bench vise for working on the front LCA bushings (which are tricky to get oriented correctly).

Side note: Your E320 has non-replaceable ball joints. If the car has over 100kmi, you may want to replace the entire front LCA, and the new one will come with a fresh ball joint and new bushings. It will save you labor, since the bushings are a PITA to R&R, and it could end up being cheaper in the long run. I believe you can get the proper OEM LCA's for under $200 each. The late Sportline W124's went back to using standard LCA bushings, btw, instead of the rock-hard bushings used previously (which add quite a bit of BMW-like ride firmness).




aqorps, too bad you told them anything was altered! Sometimes it's better to just keep quiet and tell them it's a Sportline edition and you want it aligned to Sportline specs. If there's another dealer near you, try them. If not, find an indy alignment shop that does a LOT of Mercedes alignments. Ask them if they use the spreader bar to set toe. If they don't know what you're talking about (may need to ask the actual tech, not the sales guy at the cash register), walk away. If they at least acknowledge the spreader bar and say they compensate for it, that's better, but I'd still prefer a place that does it correctly (with the spreader bar). Usually, only the dealer (or REALLY good European indy shops) will have the spreader bar and use it.

More information about the Beissbarth "model 860 000 883" spreader bar is at this link. And here is a post from Richard Easley on the topic. Here is a diagram of the new spreader bar tool from StarTekInfo.

:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #153 (Edited)
aqorps[/B], too bad you told them anything was altered! Sometimes it's better to just say it's a Sportline edition and you want it aligned to Sportline specs.
Hi gsxr,
Thats a great idea .... I guess I was trying to be true to stealers ....but you are right get it alligned to sports specs :bowdown: and thanks for those great LINKS.

I'll get that once I replace all those bearings under the belt

Thanks man you are my perfect Helpline and right on time.....very much appreciated:)
 

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Side note: Your E320 has non-replaceable ball joints. If the car has over 100kmi, you may want to replace the entire front LCA, and the new one will come with a fresh ball joint and new bushings. It will save you labor, since the bushings are a PITA to R&R, and it could end up being cheaper in the long run. I believe you can get the proper OEM LCA's for under $200 each. The late Sportline W124's went back to using standard LCA bushings, btw, instead of the rock-hard bushings used previously (which add quite a bit of BMW-like ride firmness).
AJ pulled up the current price on the LCA's and they were $530 each! :eek:

I got the Sportline bushings and hope I don't end up with a BMW! What year did they make the change? I have a 92 190e 2.6 Sportline that inspired the suspension change on the wagon. The 92 has the perfect blend on firmness and comfort and lack of sway for me, I'm hoping the wagon will too. It's in the shop as of yesterday and might be done today.

True on the spreader bar, I've gotten a lot of strange looks when I have asked shops if they have one. I'm calling G12 this morning and hoping they do!

thanks Gsxr

PS: Agcorps, I wish you were in town and for hire as your wagon conversion looks amazing....:D
 

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$530 each, eh? That's why I don't pay retail. ;) Check out these numbers:

E320 stock LCA's: $474 MSRP, $370 wholesale (p/n 124-330-34-07 & -35-07)
E320 Sportline LCA's: $474 MSRP, $370 wholesale (p/n 124-330-36-07 & -37-07)

Von Housen is marking up LIST price by an additional 10-12%, isn't that nice of them? That's a common dealer practice, sadly MBNA allows it. But like I said before, you can get OEM (Febi-Bilstein) aftermarket (non-Sportline) LCA's for $179 each from AutohausAZ. A little information like this can go a long ways to keep your costs down. Just imagine the poor schmoes paying $1060 plus 8% sales tax to Von Housen for a pair of LCAs, when they could have gotten the same thing for about $380 shipped! :eek:


Mercedes changed back to the stock/softer front LCA bushings starting early in the 1994 model year production of the W124. The VIN break was C018227. All Sportline sedans up to that point had the hard bushings. I believe this was the only difference between early & late Sportline components, though. Interestingly, the Sportline wagons all came with the standard/softer bushings, not the harder ones, so there is no VIN break for the wagons.

On the W201, the change happened in the mid-1992 model year. Up to VIN# F920107 had the hard bushings, after F920107 had the standard/softer bushings.

:sawzall:
 

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:eek:h craP!

I have 130k on the wagon and the shop said the ball joints look fine. They just put in the Sportline bushing kit.

A friend has them in his 95 wagon and it rides great, I guess I'm stuck with them for now.

Gsxr what would you do???
 

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Well, since the tech says the BJ's are fine, and the new bushings are already installed... I'd leave it as-is, and see how you like 'em. The ball joints may be fine to 200kmi and beyond, as long as the rubber boot isn't damaged (no cracks or holes in it, to allow water & dirt to enter and ruin the joint).

If you were still in the "collecting parts" phase, prior to install... I'd have recommended getting the $179 LCA's and returning the bushing kits, but you're way past that point now. If it makes you feel any better, I have the "hard" bushings on all three of my cars, lol... I'm curious what you think after you get the car back, though!

BTW, did you check the VIN on your 190 Sportline? Is yours the early (hard) version or the late (soft) version?

:thumbsup:
 

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If it makes you feel any better, I have the "hard" bushings on all three of my cars, lol... I'm curious what you think after you get the car back, though!

BTW, did you check the VIN on your 190 Sportline? Is yours the early (hard) version or the late (soft) version?

:thumbsup:
:D Ok, I do feel better now!

My Wife has the 190 Sportline with her today but I know it was made in 11-91. So it has the hard bushings and I love it.
 

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Great Work and Photos

Great work Raj! I commend you for taking on this project, specially with the limitations encounter without an actual lift. I sincerely wish you the best with your practically new car.
Cheers..........:D
 

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Discussion Starter #160
Great work Raj! I commend you for taking on this project, specially with the limitations encounter without an actual lift. I sincerely wish you the best with your practically new car.
Cheers..........:D

Thanks Benznorthny .... Yeh with home made lifting blocks it was a challenge I'd like to thank my friend who came in helped me to jack the car inch by inch :)

I'm very happy to have it all finished Thanks for stopping by.:thumbsup:
 
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