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2006 CLS500, 1988 300SE
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I thought I would write about my recent experience in case it would help someone in the future. I just bought an 06 CLS500 with the sport package. I've always loved the look of these cars! I noticed that the front tires were worn out on the inside. (common problem with many sport/luxury cars including ones I'ved owned Infinity Q45, Porsche 911, Audi A6 and this one). I took it to the dealer for an alignment and they said the front lower thrust control arm bushings were bad $560) I wanted to try replacing them myself. I got them from autohausaz part 2113332814 for about $34 each. The first thing I noticed was they look quite a bit different from the ones on the car and from the picture on their website. After a bunch of checking, it looks like there are two interchangeable parts 2113332814 and 2113332914. The 2113332914 version appears to be more robust. I think autohaus's 2814 is actually a 2914. I then jacked up the car and noticed that this car has 3 belly pans! It was easy enough to remove the bolt from the bushing and drop the control arm down. I tried to remove the old bushing using a big vice and some pieces of pipe that pushed on the bushing and held the control arm. No way that would work. I then bought a ball joint press from harbor freight for $70. I also bought a ball joint remover thinking it would be alot easier to work on the control arm if I got it off the car. The ball joint remover looked like it would work great since it pushed on the stud of the ball joint, but I got it so tight that the treads started to strip and no movement on the ball joint, so I gave that up. Next I used the ball joint press and a impact wrench to press out the old bushing. It ended up separating the center from the outside ring and took A LOT of pressure. I really don't think the bushings were bad at all, just some minor surface cracking. I then used a sawsall to cut the outer ring of the bushing and was able to remove it pretty easily. I was wondering if the press would be strong enough to put the new one in. I put some oil on the inside of the control arm and it worked. The hole in the control arm has one side tapered which makes it fairly easy to get the bushing started. Be careful to install the bushing so that the ob-long hole in the center of the bushing aligns with the length of the control arm. I then installed the camber adjustment bolts part no 0003300018 so the thrust control arm was pulled in toward the center of the car as far as possible. I then replaced the two main control arm bushing bolts with these camber bolts so that it was pulled in as far as possible. Once I had it back together I used my iphone level which shows the camber at about .9 degrees negative. Since I had moved the camber adjustments, I figure the tow was really bad, so I set it using a couple measuring tapes. Next week I will buy new tires and take it back for a real alignment. If the camber is out of spec positive, but still slightly negative, I'll try to convince them to leave it. The specified large negative camber is great for cornering, but very expensive when it wears $200 tires off on the inside. I'm ok if it won't quite pull .87 G's on the skid pad. It was a harder job then I guessed, but not impossible. I probably wouldn't have replaced the bushings just yet as they appeared to be very strong still. However the new 2914 design will probably last forever.
 

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W201 190E 09/1992 & C219 CLS 500 01/2005 & W202 C250TD 10/1997(Sold) & R129 300SL24 09/1989
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73 Posts
Thank you for sharing your experience with us... :)

I 'm about to order some camber kits for the rear since i run 11 x 20" with 305/25 tires.

Regards,
Frenchy
 

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2006 CLS500, 1988 300SE
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Update

Got my new tires yesterday, went to alignment shop today. Since I had moved both the lower thrust and control arms in toward the center of the car using the camber bolts, the left camber is at -0.4 deg and right at -0.7 deg. The spec calls for -0.8 to -1.5 deg for both sides. I decided to leave it that way eventhough it is slightly out of spec. I am hoping this will help prevent inside tire wear, and it still seems to hug the corners just fine. I had set the toe in with two stanley measuring tapes so it wouldn't wear the tires on the way there. The machine showed the front total toe out 0.31 deg which wasn't too far off considering the tools used. They set it to 0.21 toe in. I could feel a difference in the way it drives just from the change to the toe in. Both rear wheels had a camber of -1.5 deg which is in spec and the rear toe was correct too. The rear tires are in their last 20% but seem to be wearing evenly.
 

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2006 CLS500, 1988 300SE
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Frenchy, Those big wheels must look good on there. Good luck on your project.
 

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CLS 500 '06
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18 Posts
Could you please post the factory specs for allignment (toe, camber, caster), since I can't find them anywhere in the net.

My car is a 2006 CLS500 with 61.000 km and it was measured with 9,6 m/km pull to the right. Is it normal??? My rims are 19 in with 255/35 front and 285/30 rear michelin PS2 tires.

The car does pull slightly to the right, but drives quite staight at speeds over 140 km/h. No uneven tire wear so far.
 

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2006 CLS500, 1988 300SE
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Alignment Specs CLS500 CLS550

This is what is shown on the paper from the alignment shop:

Front:
Camber -1.5 to -0.8 degrees
Caster - nothing specified. My actual is about 10.5 deg
Toe total - .06 to .26 deg
Cross Camber (difference between right/left) = .03 deg
Cross Caster (difference between right/left) = 0.5 deg

Rear:
Camber -2.0 to -1.0 deg
Total Toe 0.21 to 0.45 deg
thrust angle +- 0.25 deg
 

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2006 CLS500, 1988 300SE
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13 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Ball joint removal creaking noises

Not long after replacing the thrust arm bushings I started hearing a lot of creaking noises. I assumed the noises were caused by the work I had done and thought the bushings were moving in relation to the frame. Several times I torqued down the bushing bolts as tight as I could get them which seemed to help for a bit but then the creaking came back. It got to the point where I was ready to buy new thrust arms. When I changed the bushings I had tried to separate the ball joint and take the thrust arm out so it would be easier to press out/in the bushing. The harbor freight ball joint tool bent and stripped before the ball joint popped. Since I needed to be able to pop it in order to install the new thrust arms I wanted to get one apart before ordering the arms. I ordered a strong looking one on eBay. Mercedes,BMW,VW,Audi Suspension Ball Joint Separator Splitter Tool by ewk. You need to turn over the forked part of the tool then it fits nicely and is strong. I tightened it so tight the threads started to strip and the ball joint was still stuck. I the got the idea to drive slowly with the tool still tight. Sure enough I just backed out onto the street put it in drive started forward and heard a loud POP. Drove up the ramps and it was separated. I had left the nut on to protect the threads so I wasn't worried about it coming clear apart.

Now the interesting part. My son came out so I had him lay under the car while I moved the suspension so he could verify the bushings were the cause of the creaking. Turns out it was the sway bar bushing that holds it to the frame on the left side. A bit of wd40 and its quiet. Ah. At least I didn't have to buy and install the new thrust arms. I wrote all this down in case it could help someone pop the ball joints and or quiet an annoying creak.
 
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