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Steering column bearing

1420 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Nutz4AMG
Has anyone had a problem with play in the steering column? I've owned several Benz's, but I'm new to SLK's. I bought a 2003 SLK32 about 10 days ago, and along with the dreaded intercooler pump failure and flickering tail lights (new version, post recall), I noticed that the steering column moves laterally a bit. It's been in the trusted indy shop since I bought it. They confirmed the intercooler pump was DOA and they couldn't find any fault codes or wiring problems causing the brake lights to flicker while driving, so they deduced it had to be the brake light switch (which they advised is a common culprit for various issues). But the most concerning thing was this slop (I'm exaggerating, it's a couple of mm) in the steering column. Specifically, the column moves laterally a bit. I don't usually jank the wheel side to side, but I noticed on the freeway, going over bumps that the column was moving a bit. Since I bought this for my wife, I didn't want to take any chances with steering issues. Long story sort, the guys at my shop eventually had to pull the entire steering column out to find a bearing burried deep in the column as the source of the play. Bad news - MB doesn't have one in North America, so they are waiting for the part from Deutchland, 4-5 days. Get this, the cost of this silly, mostly plastic bearing, around $500!!! The car only has 26K miles and is othewise in excellent shape, zero accidents. Just wondering if anyone else has had this problem? Is this bearing a weak part that wears prematurely? I haven't found anything in my searches. BTW I'm normally a DIYer and I'm really impressed with all the helpful info on here. You guys are awesome. And Bazzle, you are da man! Thanks for all the great posts. :bowdown:
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I had the same problem (same symptom anyway) on my 2001 SLK 320. A dealer tech first noticed it at about 45000 miles. They disassembled the steering wheel area without finding the problem. The service guy said it must be in the bottom somewhere and would be big bucks to get to. He said it wasn't a safety issue so I didn't worry about it. The sales manager where I eventually traded it in at 51000 miles did notice it when he appraised it. Probably cost me a little on that count, but he was looking to lowball it anyway.
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