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Registered
1998 ML320, 2008 ML350, 1979 450 SL
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys long time member/lurker, do not post too much but I do have a few questions for you guys now.

I have a 1998 ML with 113,000 miles on it and the ride has gotten progressively more and more bouncy and jarring as the miles rack up. It is time for me to do rear struts and front shocks. I am a fairly capable mechanic and plan on doing this project myself, but would really love to see a write up or a DIY on how to do it. However, no matter how I search I cannot find one. Can anyone help guide me towards a link for them?

Any brands or parts I should use or stay away from? I was looking into Monroe's for the fronts, does anyone have experience with those? What is the general thoughts for best front strut replacement?

I was looking online and found an ebay seller who is selling rear strut assemblies:MERCEDES BENZ ML 230 320 350 430 REAR STRUTS COMPLETE - eBay (item 110624913849 end time Dec-24-10 13:16:28 PST)
Any thoughts on these?

Also, is there anything else I need to buy to do these replacements? Spring seats or new bolts/nuts? Any advice would be very appreciated.

Thanks,

Kevin!
 

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05 ML500 SE
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1,482 Posts
I think the consensus is that monroe's are comfortable and affordable. Bilstein has come out with a 3rd update to their shocks for ML which are supposed to be a nice balance of comfort and control. Look for a part ending in H2 for the update. If I were doing it I would go bilstein.. but thats just because I want more control and flatter corners.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,126 Posts
I would go for the Bilstiens also. The H2s are much nicer than the original shocks
and have a lifetime warranty.
Your springs are probably just fine so just have a shop swap the shocks into the springs
using a proper spring tool and you will be a camper when you bolt the assembly back
into the truck.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,126 Posts
The Sachs are also nice and a member has a new set for $250 shipped. That is a $110
off of Autohaus's price.
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1559773-anyone-need-rear-shocks-struts.html

IMO worth saving almos $200 over the ebay shocks which will be around $440 shipped to DC. I also
sort of cringe when I see the OEM term used with eBay sellers and high end German parts. I just
would hate to see you have to go through 2 weeks of a buyer dispute if they are not the real deal.
I do not even see three mounting screws/bolts at the top of the mounting plate in the picture. There
should be three. His picture only shows two. Very strange indeed.
 

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Registered
1998 ML320, 2008 ML350, 1979 450 SL
Joined
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The Sachs are also nice and a member has a new set for $250 shipped. That is a $110
off of Autohaus's price.
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1559773-anyone-need-rear-shocks-struts.html

IMO worth saving almos $200 over the ebay shocks which will be around $440 shipped to DC. I also
sort of cringe when I see the OEM term used with eBay sellers and high end German parts. I just
would hate to see you have to go through 2 weeks of a buyer dispute if they are not the real deal.
I do not even see three mounting screws/bolts at the top of the mounting plate in the picture. There
should be three. His picture only shows two. Very strange indeed.
Good catch on the picture. I did not even notice that. I would however like to get a new complete set of struts and springs for the rear. The DC area winters have done a number to my OEM ones and considering I plan on keeping this car for as long as possible I would like the piece of mind of new springs as well considering how rusted my old ones are.

Anyone have any other places to look for complete assemblies?
 

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Registered
1998 ML320
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133 Posts
I have a 1998 ML ...
The rear struts for 98 is bit different from the later ones due to the fitment to the control arms. The one I used on my 98 is 1633202413 as the ebay one is 1633202313.
This is the info from Wolfgang's ML Page, the rear struts are listed in page 3-4. HTH
 

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Registered
1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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7,035 Posts
Most owner's think the bounce come from worn shocks/struts - when many-many times it is worn front end components (ball joints and bushings) that are the source cause of most of the problem.

Front shocks are a drop-in, but before you do that have a competent shop but the front up on a rack and have them go thru the front end and tell you what's really happening.

Fronts - the Monroes need a adapter kit - Bilsteins are highly recommended - Sachs is another affordable alternative - again, shocks are easy but without front end check might not give you the "improvement" you are looking for.

On rears I have no comment, since I have never yet had to do that job, really.

Keep the faith !
 

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Registered
1998 ML320, 2008 ML350, 1979 450 SL
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Most owner's think the bounce come from worn shocks/struts - when many-many times it is worn front end components (ball joints and bushings) that are the source cause of most of the problem.

Front shocks are a drop-in, but before you do that have a competent shop but the front up on a rack and have them go thru the front end and tell you what's really happening.

Fronts - the Monroes need a adapter kit - Bilsteins are highly recommended - Sachs is another affordable alternative - again, shocks are easy but without front end check might not give you the "improvement" you are looking for.

On rears I have no comment, since I have never yet had to do that job, really.

Keep the faith !
I just did front ball joints this summer due to excessive play in them and from all I can tell the bushings are in fine shape. I know that the shocks and struts need to be replaced, and if that does not give me the "improvement" I am looking for then I will go from there!

Thanks for the post I think I will check on the Sach's and Bilsteins and compare prices!
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,126 Posts
Well I was just on parts.com and the 1633202413 and 1633202313 are $270 apiece.
Granted it is 140 more than the eBay parts, but a known genuine part.

Mine are creaking again after about 115k miles, but I am going to wait until spring after
the salt is gone so that the new ones do not start life in salt.
I seem to be getting about 100-115k miles out of a set of rears.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,126 Posts
I was looking into those on Friday and it appears that I was wrong earlier and they only
have a 12 month 12,000mile warranty.

Knowing the reviews on these have been fantastic. I am tempted. I have had Bilsteins with
Eibach springs on a Scirocco for almost 8 years and they remain flawless. I really wish
I could park 4 MLs next to each other. Each one would have a different package to
comapre. OEM, Bilstein, Monroe, and Sachs. Because some OEM are Sachs and some
are KYB it would be a tough way to really compare because the KYB shocks from
the aftermarket are not the exact same as the OE KYBs MB used. Sachs claims that theirs
are the exact design. I have yet to drive any ML with H2s on it. Wish I could find one
to take for a spin.
Crazy how complex what should be a simple choice and majority preference this has
turned out to be after all the years of owners reporting their results with different
brands and combinations. I am chalking that up to personal preference and that many
members here are not owners from new anymore. 5-6 years ago there were more
people posting that were owners from new. Now we have a lot of second and third owners.
That is a good thing, but sometimes if they never knew what the truck rode like from
new then they can not say for sure what is working that is as close to the way the
trucks rode like new from the showroom and that is the feel I want unless I can
improve driving dynamics. For that I am willing to give up a little ride quality.
One thing I notice is that as I have driven all W163 models is that the early years seem to
have a bit more of a nimble feel to them, but do ride a bit harder. The weight of the
later models is certainly part of that equation.
The fact remains that whatever the choice new shocks are a vast improvement over
worn out sloppy ones. The hard part for my decision is what to get.
I am so tempted to try the Bilstein H2s on all four corners.
 

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05 ML500 SE
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1,482 Posts
Right like one suspension setup on our 99 ml430's may feel different on a facelifted ml500 with the extra couple hundred pounds... so there is that variable too. Like its not all apples to apples.. a 98 ml320 (lighter) will probably feel the most spry but the rebound and dampening characteristics of say bilstein h2's on that versus a 2003 ml350 (heavier) will be different.. So what you really need is 4 99 ml430's with refurbished tierods, ball joints, etc and then different dampers.. But yeah the conclusion I have come to after following all the anecdotal info about suspension stuff here month after month is that H1's are stiff and sporty and sachs/kyb are comfortable but that H2's are like the middle ground.

Changing the rears is gonna be a pain though.. especially since cracked springs are often discovered. I'm going to start with h2's up front and move on from there.
 

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2010 ML350 Bluetec
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519 Posts
OT: Who's doing you guy's installs?

Good catch on the picture. I did not even notice that. I would however like to get a new complete set of struts and springs for the rear. The DC area winters have done a number to my OEM ones and considering I plan on keeping this car for as long as possible I would like the piece of mind of new springs as well considering how rusted my old ones are.

Anyone have any other places to look for complete assemblies?
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,126 Posts
I will be doing mine. The fronts are easier than doing a brake job.

The rears are more tedious and if just the shock is being replaced as a DIY and not the
spring I can not stress enough that the springs be reloaded by a pro with a heavy duty
spring tool. These ML springs are monsters and a lot of regular duty spring tools can not
clamp the spring correctly or safely. One bad move with during a shock change at the
point of spring compression can be very serious. Even lethal in a worst case scenario.
 

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Registered
1998 ML320, 2008 ML350, 1979 450 SL
Joined
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I will be doing mine. The fronts are easier than doing a brake job.

The rears are more tedious and if just the shock is being replaced as a DIY and not the
spring I can not stress enough that the springs be reloaded by a pro with a heavy duty
spring tool. These ML springs are monsters and a lot of regular duty spring tools can not
clamp the spring correctly or safely. One bad move with during a shock change at the
point of spring compression can be very serious. Even lethal in a worst case scenario.
I cannot stress the second part enough either... I had a friend slip up trying to reload a spring and let me tell you his manhood probably will never feel the same... Moral to the story take them to a shop!!!
 

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Registered
2010 ML350 Bluetec
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519 Posts
I've done a few maximas in my maxima.org days which took me about 45 minutes per spring/strut. So are you guys describing a "spring compressor?"

Also, I've been told that my rear springs are cracked.


I will be doing mine. The fronts are easier than doing a brake job.

The rears are more tedious and if just the shock is being replaced as a DIY and not the
spring I can not stress enough that the springs be reloaded by a pro with a heavy duty
spring tool. These ML springs are monsters and a lot of regular duty spring tools can not
clamp the spring correctly or safely. One bad move with during a shock change at the
point of spring compression can be very serious. Even lethal in a worst case scenario.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,126 Posts
The coils on the rear ML springs are almost twice the diameter to support the much
higher weight than a Maxima and the relatively short travel of the suspension.

A regular car duty spring compressor can be a dangerous choice. Most shops have
heavy duty versions that can fit the fat ML springs, but I saw somebody try and fail
at a Honda dealership using the regular duty version with ML springs.
 

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Registered
2010 ML350 Bluetec
Joined
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519 Posts
Gotcha.. I wonder do they still rent them because it's been years since I've done suspension work. I also need to change them on my car which may be a bit easier.

Anyway, so you guys are only doing your front springs/struts and having a shop hand the rears?

The coils on the rear ML springs are almost twice the diameter to support the much
higher weight than a Maxima and the relatively short travel of the suspension.

A regular car duty spring compressor can be a dangerous choice. Most shops have
heavy duty versions that can fit the fat ML springs, but I saw somebody try and fail
at a Honda dealership using the regular duty version with ML springs.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
Joined
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22,126 Posts
I have access to the shop especially on weekends so I am going to put it on the lift
and do complete rear assemblies that I have had for a year now.
I have done the damper replacement and used the big spring tool that is mounted to
the shop wall. It can handle the ML rear springs because the shop does a lot of work
on HD pickup trucks that have coil and leaf springs. Also vehicles like Sprinters and
Navigators.

The fronts are basically a drop in part.
 
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