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  #1  
Old 09-15-2004, 11:27 AM
Steve 300D
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Exclamation Front end rebuilt and now alignment

Well being an 18 year old boy driving a 1984 Mercedes 300D with a very bad sagging front end, I decided to rebuilt it.

Lower ball joints, upper control arms, lower control arm bushings, idle arm, left and right tie rods, center drag link and steering damper. It drives much better, I also put on the new Goodyear Assurance TripleTred tires.

So I go and get my alignment:

Left Front

Caster : Min: 8.3 Max: 9.3
Before alignment: 5.1, After: 5.1

Camber : Min: -0.2 Max: 0.2
Before alignment: 0.0, After: 0.0

Toe: Min: 1/16" Max: 1/8"
Before alignment: -13/32" After: 3/32"

Right Front

Caster : Min: 8.3 Max: 9.3
Before alignment: 6.0, After: 6.0

Camber : Min: -0.2 Max: 0.2
Before alignment: 0.3, After: 0.0

Toe: Min: 1/16" Max: 1/8"
Before alignment: -19/32" After: 3/32"

He said you could not adjust the rear, so no rear alignment was done. My car still pulls to the right it seems, and I still have just a little play in the steering wheel, which I believe to be the steering box. when I turn the wheel, it feels like it is more responsive turning the wheel CCW then CW.

I also asked him about Caster, he said you must have it off one degree on the right then the left or it will pull to the right, and he never made an adjustment. I thought the guide rods adjusted caster, maybe I'm wrong. I just want to know if there giving me the run around or what. The specs say one thing but the car feels like it could drive much straighter and steering better.

Thanks for your guys support and help with everything, without this site, my car would be in a junkyard I'm sure.

-Steve
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2004, 11:43 AM
Steve 300D
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One other thing, right when I got there, the alignment guy took my car for a 10 minute test drive before he began on the alignment and after he was done, he then took it for another 10 minute test drive. He came back and said everything is good, I just have a little play in my steering wheel, and I should adjust my steering box. He seemed like he knew what he was talking about, he's the only alignment guy I have ever seen take a test drive before and after the alignment.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2004, 11:51 AM
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Location: So. California
Posts: 744
Sounds like he replaced the parts, no you.

Why didn't he adjust the steering box? Maybe he didn't know how, (or maybe he doesn't have experience with MB's?)

Did he put any weight in the drivers seat during the alignment process?

If you can't find a better selection of tires from which to choose (Goodyears!!?) you can buy your tires from TireRack and have them mounted locally. I'm pretty sick of the special ordering for my Dunlops and will just furnish them next time (and I live in SO CA where you should be albe to find just about anything).
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84 300DT Orient Red. 169,000 (actual mileage may vary)
2002 Explorer EB (wife's)
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2004, 01:57 PM
Steve 300D
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I replaced all the parts which I'm pretty proud of doing with the guidance and wealth of information on this forum. He did put some weight in the driverís side. He asked if it had a steering box, and I said yes, and he said it probably needs adjusted from the way it drives. Also I think I did pick a good selection of tires, plus a friend of mine works at Goodyear so I didnít pay full price. These tires make the car stick to the road like Iíve never seen, my car acts like my buddies 528e BMW.

-Steve
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2004, 07:23 PM
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I can't tell from the front measurement whether the alignment is within spec. From the "pulling" its either an incorrect alignment OR a bad new tire. Try rotating the tires front to back and see if that changes anything. New out-of-spec tires are quite common.

He doesn't have any MB experience if he had to ask if it had a steering gear box. I'd find another alignment shop. Perhaps call around to the higher end body shops and find out who aligns the more critical repair jobs (Lexus, BMW, Porsche or MB's).
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84 300DT Puke Yellow. Totalled after 438,000
84 300DT Orient Red. 169,000 (actual mileage may vary)
2002 Explorer EB (wife's)
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2004, 07:47 PM
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Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 2,045
I hear "sure we can align those" from so many people.. Ugh..
I personaly think I'm going to cough up the money and go to the dealer for a change, unless I can find someone HIGHLY recomended by people who know..
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  #7  
Old 09-16-2004, 12:37 AM
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Caster is way low, it need to be set to spec.

If this guy is not familiar with Benz, Volvo, or BMW, he may not be aware that the caster need to be that high.

I'm not sure, but the difference in caster may account for the pull.

Some shops will also "stagger" the caster to counteract the crown on the road.

I'd find another shop that routinely does MBs and have it done there.

The toe-out sounds high to me too, but I don't know the specs off the top of my head.

Peter
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2004, 01:17 AM
Steve 300D
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I adjusted the steering box and wow, what a difference, it feels like a new car, it still pulls it seems more noticeable now. I'm going to take it back in the morning and see what they can do. I probably will have to find a local Highly recommended shop.

-Steve
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2004, 12:13 PM
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If the alignment shop doesn't use the special MB tools lock your steering box and use a spreader bar between the front tires, they aren't doing the alignment according to the book. All dealerships have and hopefully use those tools. Not too many nondealer shops have them.

Len
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2004, 05:33 PM
Steve 300D
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Special Bar

So your saying regardless of the computer saying the toe is dead on and camber is dead on, it's really not....unless I take it to a dealer with this special bar, am I correct? To me it's about angle and I would think if the alignment computer saw that it was off, it would show up that it was still off no matter how much he aligned the front end. But the read out shows everything in spec except the caster.

I have another appointment tomorrow at 8am to try and fix the pull. I'm also going to ask why he didn't feel the need to adjust the caster to spec. If I was the shop I would adjust everything to spec so the customer could not *****. I mean if my tires wear I'm covered because they aligned it and said it was fine....Who knows I'm tired of this front end, everyone makes it a pain and says one thing and does another. I'm tired of this run around....thatís why I rebuilt the front end, no one else could do it, so I did. Now I can't even get the thing aligned....I love it now, if he can't align it then there must be something wrong with him, there all brand new parts. I guess I'll see what happens tomorrow.

-Steve
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  #11  
Old 09-16-2004, 05:53 PM
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Location: So. California
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Steve,

There are 15 body shops listed in Newark Ohio, call the best and find out who does the best alignments in town. The spreader bar pushes the wheels to the outside to simulate speed associated toe spread. You will get a correct reading at zero mph with or without the bar. Using the bar will get you a better result.

Lets make sure you want results and not just readings. Keep us informed on how it turns out.

Did you rotate the tires yet? That won't cost anything.
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84 300DT Puke Yellow. Totalled after 438,000
84 300DT Orient Red. 169,000 (actual mileage may vary)
2002 Explorer EB (wife's)
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  #12  
Old 09-17-2004, 10:30 AM
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Posts: 25,396
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve 300D
I'm also going to ask why he didn't feel the need to adjust the caster to spec.
I seem to recall that someone had posted that the caster was way below spec because there was insufficient adjustment in the track rods. The story was open ended, however. The reason for the insufficient length was not found IIRC. It will be interesting if this shop comes up with the same answer.
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