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Hey all,

First time posting, long time lurker. I have a 2002 E320 4matic wagon that I want to build up to be slightly more offroad capable. Living in the midwest, I have no need for an ultra technical 4x4 so the wagon should be fine. It will be built for cruising the dirt roads and backcountry areas of northern Minnesota with the occasional trip out to the Rockies. I have used the car as a beater for years and it has almost no resale value so I feel comfortable trying some questionable mods on it.

On the list of things to do is bigger tires. This means a higher ride height. I don't need a lot maybe 2 or 3 inches. I know that too big of a shock will unduly stress the CV joints, but there is more range of motion available than the stock setup is using. My issue is this: I can't find longer front shocks that will work with the 4matic front axles. The standard shocks split in order to straddle the front axle as you can see:


TLDR: Any good ideas on how to lift an E320 4matic Wagon?


I truly appreciate your help. The threads here have helped me countless times before. :bowdown:
 

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You can run taller spring seats on the front, and gain a little bit of height that way, but the rear is likely the hydraulic load leveling setup, that's going to be a much tougher workaround. Either way, I don't think you'll be finding a way to lift the car 2-3", maybe 1" at most, and because your car is 4matic there could be complications related to the extra driveline.
 

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my concern is that when you're proposing a 'lift' of this amount, it severely
changes the angles of the driveline components so even if you succeed, unless
you correct/change them to a more moderate angle, accelerated wear will
result in the joints. this is the same problems faced by those truckers who
buy street trucks but desire high clearances / modifications
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks

I appreciate the responses. You both have solid points. In terms of the extra wear on the CV joints, I am not too concerned. Ther are nearing the end of their life (190k on the vehicle) so I am okay sacrificing them. As for the rear leveling suspension, I have help from a guy who modified the SLS on his 300TD. Essentially you just shorten one of the levers which increases the throw of the SLS.

I am treating this as an experiment so any wacky out there ideas are welcome. Once again, thank you for your help!
 

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@kngreene just found this discussion and have a '98 4-matic sedan I wanted to do the same with (in MI,) any progress with your project? I am willing to figige it out as we go as well... Thanks. Trent-
 

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Hey Guys:

Interesting project ! Very custom one as well.

I have both a Non-4matic w210 wagon & an ML500 which has All wheel drive as does your wagon.

(If I 'lift' my wifes wagon, it will be the 'final straw' - she barely tolerates the louder exhaust !}

It seems like you have the same challenges as we do on the w163 / ML's - bascially MB designed these vehicles so specifically, precisely that it's hard to do mods.

On the ML for example, you can just 'crank up' the front Torsion springs to gain 1-1.5" but on the rear, it's more work to lift even 1" as they have those shock spring units tight up top with short bolts - hard to reach & precious little working room to add a lift spacer.

Adding such can & is done, but far more WANT to do it, than actually accomplish it, due to the overall large effort required.

In my case, I wanted better 'rough road / gravel road' capabilities (like you want in your wagon) and I got it by installing New rear Sachs ZF 'spring shock' units and then cranking up front 1" and going with larger 265/7017 Nokian All Terrain tires.

Plus I adapted a KYB MonoMax front shock from a Hummer H2 /Chevy 2500 application.

The net effect is a great on rig for bombing mildly rough gravel roads & also impeccible on road handing.

Which brings me to my question for you: if the driveline angles issues would prevent you from lifting the wagon, why not find a used w163 / ML to accomplish your goals ?

There are plenty of ML's out there available cheaply that with a bit of TLC can be made solid again...

And they already have a greater amount of 'off road - suspension' capability that the wagon lacks 'designed in'.

Even the amount of effort to add the Rear lift spacers to the ML is trivial, in comparison to the re-enginnering effort of lifting a w210 4matic wagon...

Just a thought / question for you !

Best wishes - David in Texas
 

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Nothing that hasn't been done before. But even the OP did not come back with final report, I think lifting front will will put too much stress on CV joints, not even knowing if the axle going via oil pan has clearance to do it.
I'd put bigger TIRES and lift the rear 1 or 2 ", what should be easy just with the sensor adjustment.
If that's not enough- get ML as suggested.
2604584
 
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