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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I would like to reduce the amount of steering play in my 86 560SL (133K). I'd estimate it to be about 1 inch, and I realize that it's probably within the tolerance range of the manufacturing specs, but it's still making me feel somewhat insecure on the highway.

Knowing that I'm thinking about rebuilding the steering box, my mechanic is advising me that it may not have a lasting effect. He's suggesting that the car is so heavy for its little steering box that the same amount of steering play will quickly return. And I understand that it's never going to feel as tight as a rack-and-pinion system.

I'd really appreciate hearing from any 560 owner who has put in a rebuilt steering box. How much improvement in steering responsiveness did you get, and how long did it last?

Thanks--j.
 

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1986 500SL
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70 Posts
Not sure about the 560, but earlier 107's have adjustable steering boxes. Try that first. If all the adjustment is gone, then rebuild. I have been sucessful adjusting a 380 with sloppy steering to so tight I had to have the mechanic loosen it a bit. Sounds like your mechanic is not familiar with the topic, but willing to get in your pocket.
 

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1989 560 SL
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3 Posts
Hi
I think that you will find that there is an adjustment capability on this model. It is hard to get at as the steering box is located below a crowded area in the engine compartment and it will liklely require a couple of special tools; one to loosen the lock nut (a 19mm crowfoot will do the job) and one to turn the 6mm allen screw (counter clockwise to tighten -use quarter turn increments to avoid over tightning). You will need to have slim drivers with flex heads as access will likely be between the engine head and the exhaust manifold.
 

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1984 Euro 500SL
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107 Posts
My 500SL seems to have a water line in the way of the box and I can't get to it from above. Is the adjustment possible from below the car?
Mike
 

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1999, ML430
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56 Posts
I have a 1984 380SL with 84,000 miles. I too thought about adjusting the steering box but after reading everything I could get my hands on, decided to do the following.

replace sway bar bushings
replace idler bushings
replace engine mounts
replace front subframe mount bushings

Almost all the play in the steering box has disappeared. Unbelievable improvement.

Going to tackle the steering coupling next. Most of the advice around is leave the steering box adjustment as the last resort. good luck.
 
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