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2000 ML320, 2000 Audi TT Quattro, 1996 Acura NSX-T
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234 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I replaced the suspension about a year ago with some Bilstein shocks (front and back) and Eibach springs (rear only).

Well I noticed a few months ago a difference in ride height between the two sides- about an inch or so. Plus I was wearing though tires on the passenger side (inside of tire).

I took a look under the car and the spring looks like it slipped off the perch on the passenger side. Not wanting to replace the items I just went and bought I asked what could be done.

Well they want to replace the rear suspension again- $1,400 including OEM parts.

Then I was told the upper ball joints in the rear have a good amount of play- need to replace the upper control arms to do that.

Plus I need to replace one lower ball joint in the rear.

Plus he noticed a small lead around the oil filter- probably just a bad o-ring, easy to change out when I do my next oil change.

Finally the valve gaskets are leaking slightly, and suggested I replace those.

Total bill around $4,300. Truck is a 2000 ML320 with 230,000 miles on it. Obviously not going to spend $4,300. Wondering what people think about the above items as DIY tasks? Honestly I just don't want to spend a lot of money on a car with so many miles. I don't even know what to do with it beyond donating it, doubt I will be able to sell it with the items that need to be repaired and with the mileage, although the car runs great now. Decisions decisions :)

Any thoughts?
 

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2000 ML 430, 1999 BMW 540iT, 1993 500SL
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341 Posts
sounds like you went to the stealer! .. Did they at least give you the complementary reach around? Ball joints aren't expensive and if you have a decent alignment shop they can also do the ball joints. I had the front balljoints done a few years ago at dealer (over 1500 bux) and the rear ball joints just done last year at my alignment shop for $300 with warranty.. Plus the Indy/Alignment shop did a better job than the dealer.
Ball joints are a pig to do on your own, even if you have the proper c-clamps, etc..
Right now just have the suspension portion fixed, as in drop the offending spring out, check that you can re-align it on the perch (possibly not properly installed the first time). Then find a decent shop to do your balljoints. Don't get any cheap ones from China (They are not worth it). Go Lemforder. Dealers tried to sell me some cheap Hangui or something like that once as OEM for way to much. Again stealers, could go on!
 

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'07 C280 4matic, '06 530i, '98 ML320
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1,562 Posts
valve cover gaskets are definitely DIY project. About $30 for both gaskets.
 

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05 ML500 SE
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1,482 Posts
damn, they must think they have a live one.
 

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Registered
2000 ML320, 2000 Audi TT Quattro, 1996 Acura NSX-T
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234 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
sounds like you went to the stealer! .. Did they at least give you the complementary reach around? Ball joints aren't expensive and if you have a decent alignment shop they can also do the ball joints. I had the front balljoints done a few years ago at dealer (over 1500 bux) and the rear ball joints just done last year at my alignment shop for $300 with warranty.. Plus the Indy/Alignment shop did a better job than the dealer.
Ball joints are a pig to do on your own, even if you have the proper c-clamps, etc..
Right now just have the suspension portion fixed, as in drop the offending spring out, check that you can re-align it on the perch (possibly not properly installed the first time). Then find a decent shop to do your balljoints. Don't get any cheap ones from China (They are not worth it). Go Lemforder. Dealers tried to sell me some cheap Hangui or something like that once as OEM for way to much. Again stealers, could go on!
Assuming I would need to drop the whole rear spring and shock? I was thinking about trying to find a spring compressor and just compressing the spring, and trying to rotate it into correct placement, but if I need to drop it I can- just haven't done it and heard its brutal due to space issues where the shock is bolted above. I'll call around to a few suspension shops and see if I can get a quote with OEM parts installed. I wouldn't mind spending $500-$600 to get them all done at once
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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21,802 Posts
The shop I use for stuff like this is in the Falls about 3 minutes from I-45 and Pilgrim Rd.
They can get all the OEM or equal parts and labor is under $70/hr. The tech that works
on the imports is BMW, Audi and VW certified. He used to work for Jeffords(now International)
then Hall VW & Mazda.
He has had about 10 years in on helping me with my ML and knows them pretty well.
I have the MB SDS I let them use, and on weekends they let me use lifts as needed.
If you want a referral just PM me. I am out by Holy Hill.

Everything on your list we have done on my ML. I did the valve cover gaskets.
 

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05 ML500 SE
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1,482 Posts
How can one argue with a man thats made 3500 posts? :D
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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21,802 Posts
LOL, it has been almost 6 years here. Man the time flies. You will catch me soon. :D
 

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'07 C280 4matic, '06 530i, '98 ML320
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1,562 Posts
For valve covers, only gaskets are used. No sealant is necessary.

while you are doing this job, you should remove the engine breathing chambers (especially if they are leaking), clean them and reseal with a good sealant.
 

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Registered
98 ML320, 01 S500, 15 GL350
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585 Posts
Sorry for the dumb question, where is the engine breathing chambers ? Is there any potential damage ( for a newbie) to any part of the components while doing this DIY? Thanks?
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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21,802 Posts
They are little covers on the valve covers towards the back of the valve cover.
 

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Registered
2000 ML320, 2000 Audi TT Quattro, 1996 Acura NSX-T
Joined
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234 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
The shop I use for stuff like this is in the Falls about 3 minutes from I-45 and Pilgrim Rd.
They can get all the OEM or equal parts and labor is under $70/hr. The tech that works
on the imports is BMW, Audi and VW certified. He used to work for Jeffords(now International)
then Hall VW & Mazda.
He has had about 10 years in on helping me with my ML and knows them pretty well.
I have the MB SDS I let them use, and on weekends they let me use lifts as needed.
If you want a referral just PM me. I am out by Holy Hill.

Everything on your list we have done on my ML. I did the valve cover gaskets.
You don't happen to have estimates for how much time it would take for each item do you? I just want to get a gauge of how long it may take for each piece to budget. There is a newer Do-it-yourself garage I was thinking about checking out: Hands On Garage, but I like the idea of someone just doing it, without costing and arm and a leg
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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21,802 Posts
I can get quotes. I saw Hands On a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday new in town TV
show on one of the local channels. Looks interesting.
 
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