Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

101 - 120 of 170 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #102
When I drove out to C&C last time I noticed the steering get a little wobbly but once I stopped and started again, it remained still. Based on my research, the steering damper was the culprit. Picked up a new Bilstein unit for $35 shipped. At first I thought the one on the car was a generic no-name part. To my surprise, I believe it is original damper to the car, all 103K miles. It had almost no resistance and was night and day compared to the new one. Installation was as easy as it gets, two 17mm wrenches and 5 minutes of your time, DONE! The new damper certainly added some precision to the steering which was welcomed.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
660 Posts
A new damper + new center link + new tie rods + alignment makes a WORLD of difference. It's not super expensive parts, pretty easy to do at home, and dramatically improves the driving experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #104
The center link and tie rods were done by the previous owner. I have the invoice for it. You can still see the white paper on the tie rods as the shop did not both to scrap them off.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,188 Posts
The idler arm bush can be a culprit for slackness in the steering and a cheap/easy part to swap in a new one to sharpen things up.

Don't forget that castor road bushing at each end of the castor rod (rear dog bone / front the two cone shape bushes in the middle of the lower control arm)
Any slackness in those components plays havoc with attempting a decent wheel alignment by a shop and they also are not hard to replace with new the bushes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #106
The Christmas holidays have come and gone and I hope 2019 is off to a good start for everyone. A few weeks prior to the holidays I attended a local car show and fellow forum member @mallard joined me with his beautiful low mileage 560SEC. It was a great show with just enough attendees and variety to make it interesting.

Since I was going to have almost a week and a half off, I wanted to dedicate some wrench time to my car, specially addressing the issues with the front suspension. The lower ball joint boots had disintegrated and allowing debris in to the joint. The upper ball joints were more intact but obviously showing their age. I did not have any symptoms of the control rod mounts being bad but their joint covers had disintegrated as well so now was the time to replace them. Shocks would be replaced as well and anything else would be addressed as it was discovered. With everything apart I also planned to cut the front springs down to help level out the car

Later that afternoon, the tear down of the front suspension was under way. Since it appeared that all of these components were original to the car and had not seen any movement in over 30 years, I was a little concerned about the fight they would put up.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #107
I had purchased the forged ball joint separator from HF for $20 and opened up the jaws a little with a grinder so they would fit around the lower ball joint. Using a propane torch to heat up the spindle I would put more load on the tool. I would also use a 3/4 socket extension and a mini sledge to try and shock the joint loose. I kept applying more load to the tool, even to the point where I was beginning to feel iffy about it. More heat, more pressure, a few shock treatments and nothing. I figured, it must take "more power" so I cranked on the tool some and "bang" "cling" "thud". The threaded bolt had pushed out to the side of the upper piece of the tool. Even putting it in my vice I could not unscrew it. The tool was officially a paper weight. Looking at it now its easy to see I should have filled in the side gaps would some washers.

The search for a better tool led me to Amazon and one made by Gear Wrench for $25. It was certainly more beefy than the HF tool and the end of the bolt had a ball bearing to turn on. I also did not have to modify the jaws to fit around the ball joint. I repeated the steps above and this time, success! I repeated the same steps on the other side with the same result. I also popped the upper ball joints loose as well. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the HF tool if you are aware of its short comings. I think for $5 the Gear Wrech tool is much better.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #108
Before going any further I made some marks on the lower control arm bolts so I would have a good starting point to drive to the alignment shop when I was done. Took some reference pictures of the LCA control rod middle bushings, notice the orientation of the nubs. Also measured the length of the exposed threaded rod on the control rod mount.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #109
While I waited for my parts to arrive I set about stripping down the LCAs. I had originally planned to not replace the LCA bushings as they did not look that bad. However, after discussing it with @liviu165 I decided that due to their age they needed to be done. If I was going this far in to it, I was going all the way. Using a cut off wheel on my grinder I carefully sliced the outer cab in half and pulled it off. Then using a blunt chisel and mini-sledge I knocked out the inner caps. Some quick motivation with my 20 ton press easily pushed the bushing out of the LCA.

While I had my cut off wheel out I cut down the springs. I had originally planned to cut 3 coils but felt I should be conservative and start with 2. Can't put a coil back once you cut it!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #110
Parts arrived! Just about every part is made by Lemforder and I got them from FCP Euro and Pelican Parts. The upper control arms are complete units with new ball joints, bushings, and sway bar mount bushings. They are Moog units from Rock Auto and at $40/each they seemed very reasonable. I also picked up new motor mounts, a rear transmission mount, idler arm bushing, and one outer tie rod joint.

Based on the fantastic write up @liviu165 did, I also invested in the same ball joint removal and installation tool. For $136 shipped to my door, it was worth every penny! The old ones come out using the tool that helps keep it centered on the bottom of the ball joint while you hit it with a hammer. I heated up the spindle around the joint using a propane torch. This of course liquefies all of the grease in the ball joint and occasionally sets it on fire. Keep an extinguisher handy and keep plenty of fresh air moving as it gets very smoky. With the joints out I cleaned up the bores with some steel wool to remove any rust and debris that would conflict with getting the new ball joint installed.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #111
I must admit, there is a certain level of satisfaction that goes along with having the correct and specific for the job and that job going exactly as it should the first time. Ball joint installation complete! This accomplishment was celebrated with a small bowl of ice cream.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #112
The upper control arms were next and seeing how much of a pain they were to remove, I was mentally preparing myself to install the new ones. The passenger side is not too bad once you remove the washer bottle, battery, and battery tray. You must do this to give yourself room to work. The driver side... it's awful. You have to fight all of the brake hard lines, vac. lines, and everything else in the cavity under the brake master cylinder. After several attempts to install the bolt in the same direction as it came out, I did what others did, turned it around, and installed it. When installing the sway bar bushings, I used a little silicon grease on the bushings where they rub against the metal of the arm and the sway bar. Below are some pictures of the original MB parts with the new Moog parts. I am keeping all of the old hard parts just in case.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #113
The control rod mounts look like one of the most intimidating parts of the suspension. I found a good YouTube video showing how to disassemble everything and they pointed out what others had said... do not use the captive nuts that come with after market parts, use the original MB captive nuts on your car if possible. Mine still felt very tight so they stayed. With the large aluminum housing on the bench it is just a matter of disassembling everything. The joint has to be tapped upward with a hammer and it comes out of its home with little drama. Take note of where the slots are in the mount. Notice one is at the notch in the housing. The "tulip" cap insulator is replaced. I used a little silicon spray to help push the nub through the hole in the cap. The bore for the mount will be covered in a mild adhesive that is actually from the old mount. I did my best to clean as much of it off along with the grease and grime. This took several rounds of break cleaner on a rag but it still was not 100%. The old one might come out easy but the new one does not. I used a 33mm impact socket (a 38mm would be better) and a mini-sledge to hammer it down. This took a lot of work and when I did the other side I sprayed the bore with some silicon spray which helped a little. Getting the cap back on with the new tulip insulator required some fiddling with a small screw driver. The leaves have to fit over the metal backing plate of the mount. Best to do one corner, lightly snug the fastener, and move to the next. Took a little trial and error but its not a big deal. After that, I was home free.

Part of me would love to strip every component down, paint it, and then assemble everything. For me, this is a repair and refresh, not a restoration. Going to that level is an expensive and slippery slope as I would literally have to touch everything and replace 99% of all the fasteners or send them out for re-plating. Some things just do not need to be replaced but would have to be once they are pressed out. Moving on.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter #115
My stopping point was at the motor mounts. With most of the front suspension off, now is the time do to them as they are collapsed. I have the top of the center bolts soaking with a 50/50 mix of ATF and Acetone. I have the engine raised up using a safety stand and hopefully the mix works its magic. I mixed up some in a larger bottle and use a syringe with a curved beak to get to tight places.
 

Attachments

·
Outstanding Contributor
Joined
·
3,976 Posts
Oh, man. These writeups are the BEST. Thank you, HardwayMB!

But I definitely would have had a LARGE bowl of ic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,002 Posts
is there any chance u measure the height of the stock spring prior to cutting and if u still have a chance to measure the cut one please do

also , for everyone out there, whats on average the cut coil to inches dropped ratio
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,939 Posts
This writeup is WONDERFUL!

Great descriptions & lots of detailed informative images make quite a contribution to our BW archives.

Many Thanks!

MBL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,878 Posts
Looks great! Thanks for sharing. The next thing on my list is to tackle my car's suspension, so this is very helpful.

I have already replaced my motor mounts and it wasn't too bad, you should have no issues.
 
101 - 120 of 170 Posts
Top