190E suspension/steering question
My car rattles/clunks/thuds when it goes over potholes, from the drivers side, I think from the front. The noise happens only when the car is going straight, not while turning. Also, its more pronounced on colder days.
Now, I took my car for an oil change today, and the tech went over the front suspension and steering systems. He was not sure what caused the noise (he drove it and heard it himself). But he said there was play in the front passenger side tie rod assembly and idler arm (he showed me the play - the passenger side wheel could be moved a little by hand, may be 1/8 inch max at the periphery).
Could this be the course of the noise? He was not willing to guarantee that the noise will go away if I did all that he asked me to do.
Secondly, he qouted me the following labor hours for replacing parts:
tie rod assembly - 1 hr
idler arm kit - 1.5 hr
center drag link - 1 hr
both ball joints - 5 hrs (!)
Plus $65 for alignment after that.
Came to nearly $850, including parts.
Does this make sense, i.e., the number of labor hours?
Also, I don't feel anything wrong in the steering at all. SHould I get these parts changed at all now, or should one wait till some symptoms show up? What would those symptoms be, if any? Can something else get damaged by postponing this repair?
Sorry for the rather long reply. Thanks a lot for your help.
(1985 190E 2.3 126K miles)