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Registered
280SL 1982
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have only had my 1982 280SL for a couple of weeks but the steering seems a bit vague. There is a little free play at the straight ahead position of the wheel, and it lacks the sharpness I am used to with my Jaguar which has powered rack/pinion setup.
Is this normal, or should I be looking to rebuild the steering box etc. I also wondered if the front tyres would have an affect on it. They are not badly worn but are quite old. The car had stood for 3 years unused before I got it. I would be grateful for any comments.
 

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380SL,560SEL,S600
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87 Posts
My 1982 380SL has the same problem. I ended up putting on 16" eight-hole wheels on it. It ...

My 1982 380SL has the same problem. I ended up putting on 16" eight-hole wheels on it. It has helped some. But the "loose" steering is still there.
 

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Always Remembered RIP
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520 Posts
The tyres might be something to do with it. But I think it's mainly down to the power...

The tyres might be something to do with it.
But I think it's mainly down to the power-steering systems in Mercs.. I first noticed 'loose' steering in my old '84 200 after having a '81 200 with no power-steering.

P.S. What kind of MPG is your 280SL returning?
 

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BenzWorld W126 & W201 Host
1988 420SE, 2002 C180 Kompressor, 200 ML320
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1,159 Posts
Steering play

I'm fairly certain that on your model, you can adjust the play out of the steering box.

Look at the top of the box and see if there is a nut either 17mm or 19mm with an alan key screw running through the centre of it.

If this is there, you need to loosen the nut, turn the alan key anti clockwise until the play is removed and retighten the nut. You may find the alan key hard to turn seperate from the nut, if it hasn't been touched for ages. A good soak with WD40 will help.
 

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350SLC, 500SLC, 300TE, 190E2.3 Sportline
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690 Posts
Steering free play

The MB recirculating ball steering will not feel quite as sharp as rack and pinion. They can become a little vague in the straight ahead with high mileage. Adjusting the steering box can eliminte some play, just take care that it does not bind off centre. It can also be worth checking the universal joints on the steering column and ball joints on the tie rods and drag link for any wear. From memory, up to about 1" of free play at the rim of the steering wheel is considered acceptable.
 

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280SL 1982
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Next question

Thanks for the info re the steering. I will investigate the steering box and its adjustment, at the weekend. My next question (I don't have a manual yet) is how do I get to the back of the instrument cluster to change the bulb in the rev counter.
With regard to the MPG as yet I don't know, I have not had the car long enough to find out. I propose tanking up with some Shell Optimax tomorrow and seeing what it will do.
What part of Derbyshire are you in Heckflosse, I am located near Ashbourne.
 

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1972 350SL Auto
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17 Posts
On the subject of MPG I'm getting 18 to the Imperial gallon! That's a mix of town and moto...

On the subject of MPG I'm getting 18 to the Imperial gallon! That's a mix of town and motorway (freeway).
I drive a '72 350 SL with 122000 on the clock. I belive that's what MB reckoned back then, so it's not doing too badly!
 

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Mercedes 300 SL-24
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111 Posts
steering

My 280 hasn't any problem regarding the steering, but I suspect that's due to it's low milage (35000 miles).
The W123 300D (power steering) I had started to have this exact problem at around 180000 miles and kept getting worst even with all the adjustments made. It was only corrected when all the steering system was replaced (the guy who bought the car did it, I know because he uses the same workshop).

Jorge
'81 280 SLC
 
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