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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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Discussion Starter #1
I took the ML to a shop referred to my by the body shop who did my work a few years ago, to have the alignment checked out as the steering wants me to hold it canted to the right. The car pulls a little sometimes, sometimes not. Sometimes the steering angle is quite high (about 2 o'clock instead of 12), and sometimes it is more or less 12.

They right away told me the outer tie rods are worn and that's my first problem, and that they should be replaced before any alignment. I asked about the inners and they said it is not necessary to replace them.

The tech showed me by holding the driver's front wheel in the 9-3 position and giving it a front-to-back shaking, demonstrating noticeable shake. Is this what is likely causing the steering issue above?

They quoted me a reasonable-sounding price (about $250) for the outer rods and alignment. The new rods are not OEM though; is that an issue? They do warrant p&l for one year and the shop seems to have good reviews online.
 

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1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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7,035 Posts
Front end stuff is best seen wirggling and pushing from underneath while the car is on the lift - and the steering wheel wiggle left-right is a dubious thing.

The ML "front alignment" is a bit more tricky than most realize - if this shop has specific ML experience that's one thing, if they don't then they are very suspect.

The outers from Meyele (and that's good non-OE) are like $90 a set, The $250 price is a no brainer if they know what they are doing, or $250 out the window if they don't know what they are doing, since more likely than not it's your ball joints that take the beating.

Have you asked Jonathon at Blue Ridge , or do you have a specific reason to avoid a qualified MB shop (and a great guy) in your area ?
 

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1999 ML320 (SOLD), 2011 BMW X5
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157 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Jonathan is probably a great guy, from what I've read and your referral. But he is some 35 miles away, with what is probably the worst of Atlanta suburban traffic between us. I know some people will drive that much, but it's extremely difficult in my case as most of my business takes me in very much the other direction.

I have taken it to a reputable shop in the local area and left it overnight. Not an MB specialist, but let's see if his diagnosis is any different from the first guy.

The local dealer phone-quoted me $115 for an align, which is not bad at all. I guess I am just wary of the 'price-stringing' which I have known them to do in the past. Still, I haven't ruled them out.
 
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