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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am in the process of ordering a LOT of suspension and chassis parts for my 1999 E320 RWD wagon and my 1994 E320 RWD wagon. Both were purchased within the last 4 months and both need to have the suspension freshened up front and rear. The 1999 has 130K and as I have stated in a previous post has some suspension noise and general sloppiness. I am looking to purchase numerous parts for both vehicles so I am interested in saving as much money as possible and still end up with good results. I would guess that I will probably keep the wagon for a maximum of 6-7 years which only represents about 60-70K miles.

Considering what seems like a relatively short lifespan for many of the factory installed suspension parts, I am not at all opposed to using aftermarket parts to save some cash and possibly have better results. As for the sway bushings and end links, I will probably go with Moog or Beck Arnley just because I have always had fantastic luck with an of their parts. Struts will be KYB. Where it gets interesting is the control arms and control arm bushing choices. I have found several sources but there are two brands in particular that I would like some opinions on from forum members who have tried them. These brands are Meyle and Replacement. I'm guessing that they are both of Chinese origin (along with numerous others).

One item in particular that I am curious about is the complete kit that has all of the arms for the rear suspension. Here are the two options I have found:

Rear Control Arm Set parts for 1999 Mercedes Benz - Importrp

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Mercedes_Benz/E320/Replacement/Control_Arm/1999/Base/6_Cyl_3-dot-2L/REPM281532.html?loc=Rear,+Driver+Side,+Lower&tlc=Brakes,+Suspension+&+Steering&intcmpid=Product+Listings+Best+Seller

Obviously there is quite a price difference between the two options. I have read reviews online about the Meyle parts and they seem to get great reviews. I can find very little reference to the Replacement branded parts but I'm guessing that at these prices there have been forum members here that have tried them.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has had experience with any of the suspension parts offered by these manufacturers.

Thanks,
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I can't get the link to work for the Replacement brand parts but it is a similar set of arms for $66.
 

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personally i would stick with oem or equivalent when talking suspension parts. the manufacturers i would trust first are lemforder and febi-bilstein. meyle would be my choice only if the other 2 weren't available. definitely not uro.
beck-arnley doesn't make their own parts, they are usually repackaged of other good quality manufacturers. moog is a good brand too. the ride should firm up quite a bit after you get all done. imo front lower ball joints and control arm bushings will make the biggest difference. why don't you wait on the shocks until you get done with rest of suspension parts and see if you are satisfied? shocks on w210 are good for a very long time.
 

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I am where you are, researching the spring suspension rebuild.

I believe Meyle is a very high quality German replacement parts manufacture. I will likely be using them.

As for KYB, it appears that Bilstein HD are preferred by a very wide margin.

Have you looked at 1995-2003 Mercedes W210 Control Arm Bushings | Mercedes W210 Parts
 

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I believe Meyle is a very high quality German replacement parts manufacture. I will likely be using them.
i don't know if i would label meyle as high quality german parts, since 99% of their parts are not made in germany. meyle is more of a mediocre brand, but will work ok. comparing meyle to lemforder in suspension parts, is like comparing a coby hdtv to a sony hdtv.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just had a chance to put both cars up an a lift and take a look. As for the W210- I could find no slop in the ball joints or tie rod ends. The flex disks and differential mount bushings all looked solid. I couldn't see any cracking or sloppiness in any of the front or rear control arm bushings (which doesn't mean they aren't worn a bit). The dust boot for the front shocks is completely torn at the top and just flopping around at the bottom of the shocks. One thing I was pleased to see was how dry this car was. It doesn't look like it has ever had a leak of any kind.

The items that were obviously showing wear were:

Sway bar bushings- not completely gone but pretty worn.

End links- I had no way to test but they looked a bit eccentric

Top shock mounts front and rear- With the suspension hanging, there was about 3/16" of slop between the mount and the body when viewed from the wheel well. I am guessing that tightening those may eliminate some of the noise and harshness.

I am where you are, researching the spring suspension rebuild.

I believe Meyle is a very high quality German replacement parts manufacture. I will likely be using them.

As for KYB, it appears that Bilstein HD are preferred by a very wide margin.

Have you looked at 1995-2003 Mercedes W210 Control Arm Bushings | Mercedes W210 Parts
I have thought about going with poly bushings in the control arms but I'm a bit concerned about the ride quality. I'd be really interested to hear from someone who has used them with an otherwise factory configuration. It seems like most guys that use them are lowering the car and installing stiffer springs so it would be hard to tell how much the poly bushing effected the ride. For a sports car, they are the way to go but one thing I really like about these E class wagons is the combination of ride quality and handling.

I've already purchased a spring compressor so that I could change the control arm bushings but I'm halfway tempted to start with the sway bushings, end links, and tighten the existing shock mounts and see what happens. I will have plenty of work to do on my W124 wagon to keep me out in the garage tinkering.

By the way, if anyone is curious, the undercarriage on my W210 is almost identical to the W124.
 

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On my 2000 E320, I have Vogtland springs and Koni Yellow adjustable shocks and have never looked back. (Thanks to a wonderful member here!) :thumbsup: The car feels like a BMW, the standard in driving bliss. I enjoy the best of both worlds. Mercedes reliability, quality, and class with the ultimate driving machine (BMW) ride. This is not an expensive upgrade at all. I believe that this will be the setup I will be going with again if I buy another Benz (I will immediately change these components as soon as I buy). Look into this.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
On my 2000 E320, I have Vogtland springs and Koni Yellow adjustable shocks and have never looked back. (Thanks to a wonderful member here!) The car feels like a BMW, the standard in driving bliss. I enjoy the best of both worlds. Mercedes reliability, quality, and class with the ultimate driving machine (BMW) ride. This is not an expensive upgrade at all. I believe that this will be the setup I will be going with again if I buy another Benz (I will immediately change these components as soon as I buy). Look into this.
This W210 wagon is my wife's car and she really doesn't understand why I'm about to work on it. She couldn't care less if it has a little suspension noise. I am just fixing it because I can't stand to have a car sitting in my garage that isn't mechanically correct and because it will be our main car for taking long trips.

You have me intrigued about your set-up. However, I have a wagon with the SLS and I would really like to keep that feature. Besides being my daily driver I will also be putting a trailer hitch on it so that I can occasionally haul my dirt bikes and scooters. I also sold my pickup a while back so I will be using the wagon for bringing home the occasional large items.
I haven't even thought about trying to modify the suspension but now you have thrown a whole new possibility out there. Did you lower your suspension or just firm it up at the original height with stiffer springs and heavier dampening? Poly bushings all around? Stock sway bars? Are you running larger diameter wheels?

By the way, I have a BMW Z3 and I agree about the fun factor. It's not just the suspension but the engine is superb as well. I thought really hard about a 5 series wagon instead of the W124 but I was attracted to the solid feel of the Mercedes and I've always loved the body style. I tried like hell to find myself a Peugeot 505S TD but they have become very scarce. I drove one of those for almost 10 years and it will always be the standard by which I judge other cars.
 

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Meyle makes great ball joints and bushings - yes, Lemfoerder is OE, but the non-OE quality of the metal suspension parts is more than acceptable.

Good luck !
 

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This W210 wagon is my wife's car and she really doesn't understand why I'm about to work on it. She couldn't care less if it has a little suspension noise. I am just fixing it because I can't stand to have a car sitting in my garage that isn't mechanically correct and because it will be our main car for taking long trips.

You have me intrigued about your set-up. However, I have a wagon with the SLS and I would really like to keep that feature. Besides being my daily driver I will also be putting a trailer hitch on it so that I can occasionally haul my dirt bikes and scooters. I also sold my pickup a while back so I will be using the wagon for bringing home the occasional large items.
I haven't even thought about trying to modify the suspension but now you have thrown a whole new possibility out there. Did you lower your suspension or just firm it up at the original height with stiffer springs and heavier dampening? Poly bushings all around? Stock sway bars? Are you running larger diameter wheels?

By the way, I have a BMW Z3 and I agree about the fun factor. It's not just the suspension but the engine is superb as well. I thought really hard about a 5 series wagon instead of the W124 but I was attracted to the solid feel of the Mercedes and I've always loved the body style. I tried like hell to find myself a Peugeot 505S TD but they have become very scarce. I drove one of those for almost 10 years and it will always be the standard by which I judge other cars.
Yes the car got lowered but I did not really do much. The Vogtland springs are a little shorter than OEM and that lowered the car just a hair, however, I did indeed replace my Spring pads with ones that are skinnier which also lowered the car a little more. I didn't want to lower it too much. The Koni shocks required that I had sport springs (little shorter than OE).. This is the only thing I did, everything else is stock. I have the springs set at the softest setting and even that setting seems to be as fir or a little firmer than Bilsteins imo. The car handles much better than before and I feel that with this setup and the softest setting, I'm not compromising much on comfort however I am really enjoying the performance gains as far as handling is concerned. One day when I have time, I'm going to set it to medium and the firmest settings and see what she does.

With the SLS, I really think you should not think about a conversion. Maybe on another car. I think that with SLS, you may end up spending mega bucks, however I don't know much about that system. Mine is a sedan and I didn't think you had SLS, hence the recommendation. Best of luck whatever you decide to do.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am where you are, researching the spring suspension rebuild.

I believe Meyle is a very high quality German replacement parts manufacture. I will likely be using them.

As for KYB, it appears that Bilstein HD are preferred by a very wide margin.

Have you looked at 1995-2003 Mercedes W210 Control Arm Bushings | Mercedes W210 Parts
I decided to simplify things and start on the W210 and concentrate on the front end. The only thing I ordered for the rear end is new sway bar end links.

I ordered KYB Gas-a-just shocks, lower ball joints, sway bar bushings and end links, and the Adus polyurethane lower control arm bushings. I also ordered assorted items like a new belt, exhaust hangers, and etc. but the suspension is what I am really looking to fix. I was really surprised that there wasn't more info here on the forum about the results before and after replacing some of the suspension parts so I will try to report back when I get it done. I ordered the parts last night and I am hoping to perform the work next week while I am off work for Thanksgiving.

I have the spring compressor but I don't have a press for the control arm bushings. In general I have always been able to improvise by using my vise and assorted sockets as a press but if I can't remove the old bushings this way I will take them to the local indie shop and have him press them out and install the new polyurethane bushings. I'm very curious to see how it all turns out because shortly I'll be doing it all again on my W124.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I finally got around to getting this done and here is what I found when I got the front end disassembled:

1999 E320 wagon, 133K, no service history

It appeared as though nothing had ever been done before. All fasteners appeared untouched.

Lower control arm bushings still looked solid. I went ahead and installed the polyurethane bushes in the forward position of each arm and left the two aft bushings.

Lower balljoints were sloppy and replaced.

Sway bar bushes and end links were sloppy and replaced.

Shocks were not too bad. They could be compressed fairly easily compared to the new ones but they still displayed dampening characteristics. I replaced them with KYB Gas-A-Just.

Spring pads were still in great shape.

Tie rod ends felt good.

Wheel bearings looked great.

Results:

After replacing the shocks, forward LCA bush, sway bar end links and bushes, and lower ball joints, the ride is notably firmer. I would attribute that to the shocks although the other parts have some influence. All noise and slop is gone. It did not seem to alter the alignment.

The car handles great and has a very satisfying response from the front end. Body roll is considerably less than before even though it was no slouch to start with. Overall I am very pleased and the car now feels more "correct". If I had it to do over, I would have skipped the control arm bushes and saved myself a lot of grief.

One day I will look closely at the rear subframe bushes and all of the suspension links but for now, I am going to replace the sway bar end links and have the car aligned. It is already vastly improved and I would be nitpicking if I continued throwing parts at it. I'm very pleased with the results.
 

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When I looked at Beck Arney (from the local chain auto parts) I found the OEM/equivalents (Lemforder, Febi, etc) to be much cheaper from RM, Peach, or one of the other internet sites. So I stuck with the OEM/equivalent and waited a day or two for shipping instead of picking up the part the same day. The Beck Arnley ball joints were $40-50 ea while online they were $20-30 at RM. No brainer for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A lot of guys like to go with factory parts.

I ordered all of the parts online. The only parts I bought that were Beck Arnley turned out to be the rear sway bear end links (which I haven't installed yet). However, the front end links that I installed were Lemforder and if you put the two brands side by side, you would pick the Becks as the more expensive part. I don't know if they will last any longer but they look to be of higher quality. For all I know I could have bought the cheapest parts I could find and they would have lasted as long or longer than the factory parts but I decided that I didn't want to do this again anytime soon.

As I recall:

Shocks were KYB
Ball joints were Febi
Front end links were Lemforder
Sway bushes were OEM (I think)
Poly LCA bush was Adus
Rear end links are Beck Arnley
 

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ive installed poly bushings from FCP on my friends E46 and that was biggest suspension mistake ever done in my life, now about every 6 months i have to get them replaced again again and again, fcp gives lifetime warranty on all products so exchange is not an issue, you get a firmer ride but at what price.
MEYLE parts is a pure chines garbage same like URO, i have a pile of bad meyle parts which i purchased from local parts supplier AutoPartInternational or API and i cant get them replaced under warranty coz API gives only one year warranty, most of parts about 2 years old.
TRW or Lemforder or whatever inside of Mercedes branded box is only way to go for me now, everything else is just a waist of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
ive installed poly bushings from FCP on my friends E46 and that was biggest suspension mistake ever done in my life, now about every 6 months i have to get them replaced again again and again, fcp gives lifetime warranty on all products so exchange is not an issue, you get a firmer ride but at what price.
Which bushings and how are they failing?
 

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front control arm bushings, it seem like regular rubber bushings flex(twist) every time when arm goes up or down, but poly bush cant twist so it slides against arm or center tube in your case, and eventually wear itself out and you get a free play in a wheel when you grab it 9 and 3 oclock, it looks like they have to be lubricated some how, but in E46 case they are already assembled and no lubrication possible. i remember seeing my friends firebird with aftermarket performance suspension parts and control arms with poly bushings with little lube valves in the bracket so it feeds lubricant inside between bracket and bushing body.
here is picture of failed fcp poly bushing compared to the new one.
 

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Beside sway bar links/bushings I never had bad suspension part on any MB I did own and several of them were over 200,000 miles. Can't tell if PO had something replaced, but per my observation not likely. Add that Bay Area is having worse roads than South Africa and we can't ride on lower profile wheels because of that.
Now if you really need the parts, I would stick with OEM. Per my experience, Mercedes have occasional ops and the part have poor quality materials, but they always step up to the table and replacement parts are better.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I thought I would post an update since I made a few changes.

I replaced the rear sway bar end links only to find that the old ones really weren't in bad shape. I then took the car in for an alignment. After a few days of driving it I could just not get used to the new shocks. I did a bit of research and figured out my mistake. The KYB Gas-A-Just that I installed are more of a "sport" tuned shock than the KYB Excel G shocks that my W124 wagon has. The Excel G is a direct factory replacement with a smoother ride quality than the Gas-A Just. I ended up putting the original shocks back on and it really smoothed out the ride quality but the handling is still nice and crisp.

My findings "if anyone cares" were this:

The only parts that were worn were:

Front sway bar bushings
Front sway bar end links
Front lower ball joints

When I replaced the rear end links, I took a close look at the subframe bushings and the motor mounts and found no sign of cracking in the rubber. This is consistent with my car not exhibiting any symptoms of failure. I also inspected the flex disks and they appear solid and I have no driveline vibration.

I did have a vibration that appeared at around 75-80 MPH so I had the tires balanced and now the vehicle is smooth as silk at any speed. It is finally living up to my expectations that I had had for this car when I purchased it. If I was going to criticize anything about it, it would be the power steering. It doesn't seem to give as much feedback as my W124 and the steering effort is too light. It may just be the difference between the rack steering in the W210 and the recirculating ball in the W124.

Anyway, that is just nit-picking. I love the way it drives now and can't wait to take it on a long road trip and see how it does loaded down with family and luggage. I have a feeling we will be very happy with this wagon for several years.
 
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