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1988 560SEL
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65 Posts
Discussion Starter #21
Took apart front driver side suspension. The springs had to be super compressed to get them out WOW! Ball joints that connect the upper and lower ball joint to the knuckle was pretty easy with a 2-prong ball joint popper. Taking the guide rod bushing was easy with a flat head screwdriver. Shock was easy to take out once I unbolted from the top and compressed shock and tilted it outward to access the bolts on the bottom. Taking the upper control arm off was not too bad but the nutwas on very well. Used a pry bar to remove bolt. I cheaped out and bought a Vaico upper control arm. I'll see how long these last. Putting it back in was tough because of the sway bar. Couldn't get the upper control mount bolt lined up to insert because sway bar wouldn't allow the arm to be positioned correctly. Tried using a screwdriver on other end to manipulate it but it was not much room with the car body and A/C and high pressure line in the way. So I didn't put the sway bar through the hole on the arm and the bolt went in easily. However I only put in a few mm so I can angle the upper control arm onto the sway bar. That wasn't easy either. I used a pry bar to push the sway bar upwards which barely allowed me to put the bar through the hole on arm. Have to be super careful not to slip the pry bar and hit your fender. Took off the "L" bracket to change out the guide rod ball joint and one of the destroyed bushing. Decided not to change lower arm bushing since it is in ok condition. I will be changing the lower ball joint since boot is torn up and grease is nasty.
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1988 560SEL
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65 Posts
Discussion Starter #22
I received my rebuilt steering gearbox but turned out to be the wrong one. I ordered it from recommendations I saw online carsteering.com. It was a little over $305 + $150 core deposit. What was nice is that they included a paid return label. I got the part and didn't start for a few days then went to install the fitting adapters that need to be swapped over from my old one. The smaller fitting went in with no problem but the larger one wouldn't screw in. I then compared the two side by side and it was different. The splined shaft that the pitman arm bolts up to didn't have the threaded end but just splined all the way. Overall it was different. I didn't really notice until I sat them side by side. The company answers their phone promptly and they were pretty helpful. I sent them pictures of the unit next to mine and the picture of the box it came in with the labels. They said it was misboxed and sending me another one with 3 day shipping. I did have to pay a refundable deposit of like $98 or so. They said I will get the $98 back once I send the wrong unit and $150 back once I send the core. Another delay. It doesn't really matter because the Meyle drag link I got brand new from Pelican Parts was wrong too. The damper mount was mounted completely wrong. Imagine putting the original drag link up to a mirror side by side and it's exactly what it looked like. I tried to order a Lemforder now but said it will take 3-4 week for them to get it and it didn't sound like they were even sure. I decided to get the OEM for $92 instead. Meyle was only like $36 and Lemforder was a bit more. They offered me Delphi and TWS but they were either near the price of an OEM or even MORE than oem. wtf? It's just a drag link!
 

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1988 560SEL
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65 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
Finally got the right NOS center vertical piece from type300.com. Very fast shipping and very reasonably priced. I bought a new center plastic grill piece because my old one had a small chunk missing and couldn't just paint it. The new grill insert was somewhere in the $35 range I think and the horizontal pieces were cheap from URO parts like $3 each? URO doesn't have the vertical piece for some odd reason. Yeah I know URO sucks but I'm not rebuilding a concourse car. I think I spent about $100 total with paint and parts. I bought a wax and grease stripper before painting and used it. Not sure if I really needed to do this. The URO horizontal strips need to be trimmed on the outer ends because they were a tad too long. The outer grill frame hides a good amount so if you mess up it's not a big deal. My dremel made it easy within a few minutes of chopping the ends. The URO horizontal piece doesn't fit 100% where it meets the center vertical but like I said I'm not building a concourse car here. Overall it was a fun and easy side project.
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1986 560SL 1986 420 SEL
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115 Posts
Keep the updates coming Ty. Like watching your progress. You tips on removing the door panel will come in handy shortly.
 

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1988 560SEL
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65 Posts
Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
Yesterday had a chance to go to a friends shop to change some bushing and ball joint. Knuckle ball joint took a good amount of banging with a big heavy hammer. Putting new ball joing back in required more banging. Wasn't too bad of a job just tiring. Bushings on the "L" bracket was challenging. Taking out was not too bad but putting in was. Kept tilting when when trying to press in. We believe the rubber being so soft it kept pushing towards least resistance. Had to go very slow on pressing and keep adjusting to keep it straight. Friend taught me a lot while watching him do it. Once it started the rest went in easy. Guide rod ball joint thing was easy to bang out but putting in required a lot more banging. It's possible I didn't take out enough of the junk on the walls that's left over from the old guide rod ball joint. Other side I'll clean it up even more and see how hard it is to put in.

Finally got the right steering gearbox. I messed up and didn't check the center alignment hole if the box was centered from the re-manufacturing. I read that it comes pre-centered and didn't even check fearing once I put the bolt back it would leak. I installed the box and filled with new fluid. Started car and it would only turn 1 rotation to the right where left it would rotate a lot more. Had to take the center alignment bolt out which meant all the new fluid I just put in had to come out. Sure enough the alignment hole was only showing half aligned. This time had someone steer until hole was aligned and took gearbox off again. Re-straightened the steering wheel and slipped it back on. Putting back on the spline was a pain both times. The coupler isn't static and moves inward so figured out to bolt the gearbox and use a pry bar to push coupler onto the spline rather than spline into coupler. Filled up the pump again. Started car and put some more fluid in because it sucked it up fast. Moved steering wheel lock to lock to get rid of air. Used about 3/4 liter total. Can't test drive just yet because waiting on my last suspension component to put it all back together. Checked for leaks and fittings and hoses look dry.
 

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After replacing something on the hydraulic side of the steering system I lift the front wheels of the ground and rotate the steering wheel from side to side to extract any form of trapped air in the system. On newer MB's it is mandatory to prevent damage to the hydraulic pump, I brought this way of working over to the W126's, just to make it easier for me not to forget.
 

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1988 560SEL
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65 Posts
Discussion Starter #28
I finally got a chance to flip the car around after finishing one corner of suspension rebuild. As you can see I don't have too much room so wanted the car flipped so I can work on the other side. Now starting on the passenger side to replace upper arm, sway bar bushings, ball joint, guide rod bushing, guide rod ball joint, "L" bracket bushings and shock. Pic of the grill and finished driver side. Haven't tightened the upper control arm to body yet until I get both sides down on the ground and tighten both at same time. I thought it was a good idea to put date on shock when I changed it. Should put it on all parts from now on. lol maybe i'll put mileage too.
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1989 560SEC, 1989 560SEL, 1995 E420
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I like your idea of dating parts. I keep an Excel spreadsheet of mileage, cost, date and description but I do date fuel filters. It's nice to be able to check it when the car is on a lift and not have to go to the spreadsheet.
 

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1988 560SEL
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65 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
Finally finished both sides. Right side was pretty much the same as the left. Here is a tip. The "L" shaped support bracket in the Lemforder guide rod ball joint kit it comes with new tab/nut that the big bolt goes into. Make sure the curved end is bent slightly upward after putting it into place. That way it wedges itself in seated position to accept the bolt. DO NOT use an impact on this bolt. I believe it is a 19mm. The impact can snap the tab/nut which I did. I suggest getting it started with your finger and then pull downwards on the big 3"-4"(estimating from memory) round washer looking thing while using a manual ratcheting wrench. This will positively seat the tab/nut from breaking. I used an impact and it tore the nut off the tab. The weld or crimp is very thin and weak.
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