I have a 1983 380SEL that's just approaching 100k miles. It had about 1 inch of play in the steering wheel, making it somewhat difficult to keep it on-center on the freeway.
The last few weeks it had been making a progressively-worse creaking noise, so I had my shop look at it. They determined one of the lower balljoints was making the noise and required replacement. Since the other side was getting worn as well, I had them fix all the problems with the front end:
- New lower balljoints on both sides
- New brake support bearings
- New steering dampener
- Front Alignment
The difference is *phenomenal* - the steering feels like a new car's. NO play in the steering whatsoever and it tracks perfectly straight ahead It's just a pleasure to drive now.
Cost for the whole repair wasn't terribly expensive (~$750) either.