That much play in a 123 steering box is way too much. Either rebuild it or better find a really good used one (hard to find sometimes, but worth it). Also check your idler arm bearings. Not too hard to do and great results.
Yes definitely replace your bad sway bar links. Big differences here. Also check your sway bar bushings in the rear. Easy to replace and again great results. The fronts are much more of a bear but again great results with low cost. You’ve got to clearly see where and how to get them out. I have done them on three 123 cars. Pain yes, but worth it.
8 hours is very good. Obviously you are taking your time yet moving along.
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)