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1987 560SL (L.Tonk) [92,700 miles]
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470 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got some new shocks on order (Bilsteins of course) and am going to have a go at installing them myself. I'll no doubt have a lot of questions (even after watching @PanzerPuff 's excellent video). Hopefully this thread will act as a guide to future folks who are still learning how to DIY their car.

First question: How to get enough height? I don't have a lift, but do have a decent floor jack. I have some wooden cribs, but it seems their preferred placement at the jack point is exactly where I need to be to remove/insert the shocks. How much height do I need to align the bolt holes, and is there an alternate approach? Do I need jack-stands maybe?
 

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73 450sl with SBC motor and trans
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175 Posts
Bitter, This is a very easy job to do yourself in the garage. No lift needed, a floor jack and jack stands. I found the rear easier than the front. You will have to remove the side covers in the back.

Steve
 

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1988 560SL Currently, 1972 350SL (RIP)
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333 Posts
Like Steve said it’s a very easy job. The hardest part I found was compressing the new shock for the front two to get it in. I used a ratchet strap but just keep in mind however you compress them has to easily be removed after you get it in between the body and control arm. Other than that, it’s a few nuts you take off, pull the old one off and a few nuts to put the new ones back on. Good luck, you’ll do fine.
 

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73 450sl with SBC motor and trans
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175 Posts
Bitter, I always put my jack stands under the K member in the front and under the subframe in the rear. If you are replacing the front you can use the floor jack to raise the control arm up to the shock. Same for the rear. Bay Area made a good point on how to compress the shock to fit in. I use a peice of wire I strip out of 12/2 wire to hold the shock compressed and then release once it is fixed at one end. You will figure it out. As I tell my wife, I enjoy working on my car almost as much as driving it. Enjoy it. Steve
 

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1974 450SL (always needs something!) new djet engine 1991; 1961 Besasie X-3 (being restored)
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1,296 Posts
I assume I’ll know the K member when I see it?
Appreciate the info! —Bill
The K Member/K Frame is very easy to find. It's also called the front subframe. Engine and suspension are attached to it.
 

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1988 560SL Currently, 1972 350SL (RIP)
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333 Posts
those definitely help but if this isn’t something you can just run out and get an open ended wrench and a some vice grips work well too. This is for the top part of the shock and for sure White Spyder’s suggestion makes it a whole lot easier but I’m just saying if you are all set to do the job and don’t have access to get it in time, I would just do it with a spanner and vice grips and if you’ve been reading other threads on this job you’ll see there are other ways to get it done too.
 

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1987 560SL (L.Tonk) [92,700 miles]
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470 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is this the rear jack stand point?
And is there supposed to be rubber there?


I never worked on a car until just a few years ago. I’ve been greatly enjoying it (thanks to all the great advice on this forum).
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
83 280 SL- 5 speed-The PIG
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31,094 Posts
Is this the rear jack stand point?
And is there supposed to be rubber there?


I never worked on a car until just a few years ago. I’ve been greatly enjoying it (thanks to all the great advice on this forum).
That's your rear subframe bushing.
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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7,970 Posts
My 560SL subframe bushings look shitty like that too.
BUT, before I crawl under there to replace them I want to know what trouble I'll be getting into.
I posted a photo of mine here some time ago and one poster said its not to worry about.

Still, it looks like you have rubber between the frame and metal support.
 

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73 450sl with SBC motor and trans
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175 Posts
If you do decide to replace your rear subframe bushing, go slow and be patient. It can be very frustrating getting the bolt to line up and thread in correctly. You do not want to cross thread that bolt. I replaced both sides and one side with in no problem and the other took me over an hour to get the bolt to line up. But the end result was a smoother ride. The front was easier but there are 4 supframe bushings and the torsion bar bushings as well. There is a good youtube video on how to do that.
Steve
 

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1987 560SL (L.Tonk) [92,700 miles]
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470 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My 560SL subframe bushings look shitty like that too.
BUT, before I crawl under there to replace them I want to know what trouble I'll be getting into.
I posted a photo of mine here some time ago and one poster said its not to worry about.

Still, it looks like you have rubber between the frame and metal support.
Found your thread: Advice on these perished body subframe mounts ...
Knowing the exposed lip doesn't go all the way around makes me feel better. I'll put these off for another day.
For the curious, the repair kit is CAD$470 for Genuine MB or CAD$192 for Moog.
 

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1987 560SL (L.Tonk) [92,700 miles]
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470 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Is that tool just to hold the shock top in place while you tighten the 17mm nut?
Still looking for a Canadian source.
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
83 280 SL- 5 speed-The PIG
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31,094 Posts
Is that tool just to hold the shock top in place while you tighten the 17mm nut?
Still looking for a Canadian source.
I didn't need it. Seriously.
 

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1988 560SL Currently, 1972 350SL (RIP)
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333 Posts
unless you plan to change shocks on multiple mercedes or cars with 17mm nuts, it takes more time to go to the store and buy it than to just get a pair of vice grips clamped on to the rod and start wrenching.
 
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