My shock absorbers were replaced at about 120,000 miles
because one was leaking.
At first I thought that my lower ball joints were going.
I had a rattle at low speeds over bumps as though some-
thing was loose. Hitting bumps, etc. at highway speeds
was no problem.
I had previously put new wheels and tires on the car. The
mechanic looked at the ball joints and, finding that the
rubber boots, etc. where not cracked, that they were
I had the front-end work done at a dealer who also does
the 4-wheel alignments in-house. They are finding that
W140 body cars with 150,000+ miles on them are wearing out
the torsion rods (two of them). It must be pretty prevalent
as I got the following work done in one day:
1. diagnosis of my front end.
(with 2 or 3 times on the road)
2. a 4-wheel alignment.
3. an oil change.
4. transmission service.
5. front tires rebalanced.
(I know, I just had new ones put on)
When driving the car, the rattle seemed to come from the
left front near the wheel. I guess that I could not hear
the right one.
Also, the steering was solid and the car did NOT want
to drift on the highway - apparently another sign of
worn ball joints.
I doubt that the springs or the shocks would produce the
same sound. In my case, I wasn't sure what it was. That
is why I took it to the dealer. I was also concerned that
I would do more damage if I continued to drive the car
without the problem being fixed. I also just put 4 new
Michelins on and I didn't want to ruin them.
I am a fan of independents but unless the mechanic
knows front ends and has had a fair amount of experience
with the w140 (or perhaps the w126) I am inclined to
opt for the dealer. If you know of an superb front-end
shop that does a lot of work on Mercedes, that might be
an option. The diagnostic work costs a lot more than the
parts (about $90) so going to someone with a lot of
experience with the car seems to make sense.
1993 300SD (286k + miles)