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1989 300SL
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Dear All,

I've just been on a 500mile round trip with my 1988 230TE. The car proved to be quite comfortable (though could do with a newer drivers seat as it didn't provide enough back & lumbar support) and we did have a small breakdown (the distribuitor cap jumped off - non original part!).

However, my main concern was the handling on the highway (motorway) at speeds over 60mph. It feels that, especially under wind, the car has a mind of its own. It always felt 'loose' and at times even seemed to veer a couple of feet off.

Any ideas what this could be? I know that recently the rear shocks & spheres were replaced. Could it be as simple as an alignment?
 

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It could well be the alignment of your car... However, I've realigned my E220 saloon recently and I have the same problem..
I think it might be due to the box-like design of the car?
 

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G320 & E500
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1,198 Posts
I have found that tires make a world of difference on these cars. Are they H rated?
You might also want to have your steering checked out again.
My W124 does 120mph very comfortable and safe...

Chuck
 

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I bet its one of your rear links. The one that handles the thrust and the tie rod arms can really mess up your handling if they are worn.

In the front I would look for wear on the ball joints, steering shock stabilizer and idler arm bushing.

On my car which is an '88 230E I had them all replaced. Handling is rock solid now. The ball joints and the thrust arms made the biggest improvement.
 

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1982 Peugeot 504 Familiale
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1,730 Posts
I drove my car all the way to Jordan and back (3000km round trip) and had the same problem. It was quite windy on the coastal route of western Saudi Arabia, and the car was hopelessly uncontrollable beyond 120km/h, even though I had all new steering and suspension parts checked prior to the trip, and all were fine, plus new tires all round (205/65R15 94V, no worries there), and a thorough wheel alignment at the four corners.
When I took the car to a relative of mine who is an independent Benz technician (trained at the dealer), he told me that the car was sitting too high, and he dropped it by about 10mm. He also found that the hydraulic bushings, between the hub assembly and the main control arm at the back, were shot. He replaced those too. The car did handle a noticeable bit better, but stability remained poor in even moderate side winds. I'm inclined to agree with Jeff on the car's slab-sided design imparting its poor resistance to side wind.
Any suggestions?

Shady
 

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1989 300SL
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input guys! I do think the car should be rock solid at any speed, so I'm not ready to write it off the the boxy shape.

The tyres are half worn Michelin Primacy's, not sure if they are H rated or not, will have to double check next time I'm with the car (at weekends mainly).

Yal, can you give me a rough estimate of the costs involved with sorting those bits out? More than the parts I am wondering what kind of labour I'd be looking at.

If its too expensive and as this is a cheap estate, I think I'll just live with it and get a newer one with better body (= less rust and dents) and nicer interior in a couple of months.
 

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The ball joints are pretty standard jobs at any shop. I'd say about an hour to do both. The joints sometimes have to be pressed out so that could take extra time.
The rear links are pretty easy too, two bolts one on each side of each link and they come off, they have been updated. The new ones have W210 part numbers, new sleeves and new bolts.
The stabilizer shock for the front steering you can do in your front yard if you have a jack.
The idler arm is a tough one. But with the right tools that also could be an hour. You need to torque it super tight. The torque spec. is in the stratosphere!
I don't know what the shop rates are like in the UK but at a guess I'd look for 4-5 hours to do it all.

Alignment is also necessary after all is said and done.
 

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1995 W124 E320 Turbo Technics Twin Turbo
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As a starter and as per Yal states, I would get the steering shock absorber changed....they fail quite frequently on W124's and can make the front end of the car seem very sloppy!

Costs about £20 for the part and can easily be changed by even a basic DIY'er.

If its still bad after that then you need to check out some of the other suggestions posted.

By way of comparison, my W124 feels rock solid in cross winds, which does suggest that as you suspect there is something amiss with your car.

Good luck
 

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1995 W124 E320 Turbo Technics Twin Turbo
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261 Posts
still nice and solid at speeds upto 90mph, which is @ 145kph.
 
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