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  #1  
Old 08-04-2005, 06:02 PM
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Struts/shocks and a belt question

I have a 190d w/ just about 170,000 miles. The all in one belt broke last year and it was fixed by the local "European motor" mechanics. The pulley on the alternator was loose. Now the belt is squeaking up a storm..I'm just about embarassed to drive anywhere. I opened the hood and checked all things that the belt runs, none felt loose. Then I started the car, none wobbled or looked loose from the side. It seems worse when 1st starting the car, in reverse and when turning hard. I want to just spray some wd40 or something, but my dear husband told me NO. This brings me to the 2nd problem $$$.

I think the local "Euro motor" mechanic is WAY too expensive. I called and asked how much it would be to replace the shocks (he told me they need it, and the car "jangles" over bumps, handles poorly, etc). He wants $1100 to install 4 Bilstein shocks/struts (I think from what I've read it's struts front shocks back, but I'm not certain). I think only the front ones are bad though.

I am in California, near Sacramento. Does this sound like a ton too much? I could order 4 Bilsteins for less than $500? I don't think I could replace them though (imagining that it takes some strength), and dear husband is just too busy w/work. The Euro shop also told me it would be $350-400 to charge the AC ($65 a lb?). Thankfully I have found info on this forum and I think I may try the AC fix myself.

I'm still debating on the Bilsteins...I want a very, very stiff ride. We live in the hills, and most of my driving is 45-60 mph hilly/curvy/winding roads. I am used to driving a FWD. This is, in fact, my very first RWD car! I would like the handling to be more like our VW Golf. I know it won't ever be exactly the same, but "stiffer" would be nice. I don't like to roll around corners--though I must say the 190d does hold the road even when rolling...not that I ever drive too fast .

Thanks in advance for any help/info you can provide!

Cathy

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  #2  
Old 08-04-2005, 06:16 PM
Brandon314159
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Hmm..
Your mechanic is pretty spendy...I think they see Benz and go "ka-ching!"

Don't spray the belt...if you spray it, it will lubricate it and begin to slip.
I would loosen the belt and perhaps take it off. (remember how it goes back on!)
Then turn everything by hand (apart from the crankshaft) and see if anything gives you greif. Something might be loosing a bearing or whatnot and thus be cuasing the belt to have to work too hard.

The shocks are not hard to install...you don't need a terribly large amount of strenth to do them.

I am not sure on your body style if the shocks are inside or outside the springs...on mine they are outside and a very easy job...only requires taking the wheels off and then unbolting the shocks.

Do some more searching and find out some more info about the shocks...I think with some pictures and a floor jack/lug wrench/basic tools you could do the job.

I would look into the belt first though....
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  #3  
Old 08-04-2005, 06:21 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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the 190

`is true struts. a good job to farm out. the rears are doable for about anybody.

tom w
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #4  
Old 08-04-2005, 06:33 PM
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I paid $60 or so to have the AC in my W126 charged up form empty; R134. My friend paid $75 to have his W210 done.

So where does he get $400 to charge it? I would talk to the dealer they are probably much cheaper, or another shop.

Also why is the AC empty? Was the leak fixed?

For the shocks $1100 is pricy but not to far off. Bilsteins are probably $90 a corner plus a few hours labor.

As for the belt squeking something is not right I would sudjest replacing the belt and checking the tensioner.
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2005, 08:27 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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the 400

prob includes some parts.

tom w
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #6  
Old 08-05-2005, 12:45 AM
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A shop is probably going to charge at least $200 apiece for the struts, yeah?? I mean for JUST the struts; plus labor at $70/ hour. Figure 2.5 hrs/front wheel? That's $750 already.

Jay.
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  #7  
Old 08-05-2005, 01:40 AM
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A quick way to confirm that the belt is squeaking is to pour a little water on it while the engine is running. If the squeaking stops, it's the belt. If if doesn't stop, it's a pulley, etc.

When shopping for maintenance, there are some jobs, like shocks and basic air conditioning, that are about the same on a Mercedes as a Ford or Chrysler. So you might not need to limit your search to "Euro" shops for those jobs.

You might also find that the job will cost less if you have your husband deal with the shop.
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  #8  
Old 08-05-2005, 02:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007
You might also find that the job will cost less if you have your husband deal with the shop.


Sat but true... I deal with all the jerks that my mother doesn't to deal with getting her vehicle maintained.

Best one was she told me they wanted to charge her $90 to clean carbon out of her tailpipe...
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  #9  
Old 08-05-2005, 02:44 AM
Brandon314159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit Man X
Best one was she told me they wanted to charge her $90 to clean carbon out of her tailpipe...
I would have said, "I'll let you clean some carbon outta my tail pipe "

Or walked out on the spot...
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2005, 05:11 AM
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3Diesels,
I just checked my Labor Guide. ( Nichols'Chilton 2000)
It lists the hours to be charged for various operations. For your 190D, the front struts require 2.0 hours each, but if doing both, the charge is 3.0 hrs. For the rear shocks, its 1,4 hrs each, but 2.0 hrs for the pair. To replace all four, the labor component of the bill should be 5.0 hours Find out what the shop labor rate is and you should be able to see if you're being given a fair price.
Drive belt replacement is a 0.5 hr operation, while the drive belt tensioner is a 1.3 hr job, and includes replacing the belt.
Hope this helps.
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  #11  
Old 08-05-2005, 06:15 AM
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Recently had a leak fixed (no major part) and recharged. Total was $120. I took it to a regular, reputable shop that specializes in honest work. It would be interesting if they are quoting replacement of a major AC component to stop a leak.

Struts and shocks seem to have been covered. Even if you have access to a strut compressor I believe you should leave that to an experienced person. We once took a short cut and did not fully compress a spring. The spring came out of the compressor, struck an overhead door and did enough damage to scare us into never taking that short cut again. If it had been one of us in the path of the spring it would have been serious injury or potentially death . . . don't mean to scare you but rather share an experience. Steve
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  #12  
Old 08-05-2005, 11:47 AM
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thanks...this forum & you guys are great!

Steve--" It would be interesting if they are quoting replacement of a major AC component to stop a leak."

No he was not quoting for parts replacement. His exact words were "the R134 costs us $65 a lb, so it's going to be 350-400 just to fill it. Additional to find the leak." The previous owner converted to R134 ~2-3 years ago. Last time the car was in for the belt/pulley problem, the service writer told me there was an AC leak and that it should be fixed. It was winter and we weren't having the hottest freakin July in history. I'm kinda getting used to driving around w/the windows open in 100+ weather. I got a spray bottle and spritz myself with cold water when it gets too hot LOL. Luckily I don't really have to drive too much.

Tangofox--thanks! I just tried the water spray trick (just happened to have a spray bottle in the car HA). The water stopped the squeaking immediately. I did it twice (let the car run and waited for the squeak to start again). After the squeak started again, I listened for the area in which it was squeaking and it is a part called "Lenkhelfpumpe" (brand name on it is Vickers). I found translation that says it is the power steering pump. BUT, the squeak went away when I put water in that area. Now, does squeaking mean the belt is too loose or too tight? The little shock absorber thing in front of the fan (I think the belt tensioner) was replaced when we purchased the car (~1 year ago).

Unfortunately, my husband works long hours and has a commute right now. He has the knowledge, and we have the tools, but I don't think he needs the add'l stress to save me from being too hot or too embarrassed to drive . My only "job" right now is taking care of the home front and him (maybe a little old fashioned, but it works).

We live in a rural area and there are not too many mechanics around. As a woman I've been told my share of hinky stuff by mechanics...I just move on down the road if I KNOW they are full of it. But I "feel" somewhat out of my element here. I have some basic knowledge (2 years Auto mechanics and was my dad's helper through many cars growing up), but diesel is new to me. I'm ordering the book/cd today. Anything I can I'd rather do myself. I think I'll post an ad in the local paper "mentor mechanic wanted" (if anyone is in N Cal, I am serious, I'll pay you to teach me what I need to know).

MSFowler, thanks for the hour estimates, that will come in handy if/when I have to hire someone to do this job. The Euro shop charges $80 per hour. I bought this car to save $$, not spend them...If a mechanic can do struts in 3 hours, perhaps I could do it in a weekend?

THANKS again
~Cathy
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  #13  
Old 08-05-2005, 08:15 PM
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re: Doing the struts yourself.
It all depends on your ability. I never have had enough sense to say "no" when confronted by a challenge. Someimes I have gotten in a little over my head, but I have always been able to finish whatever job it was. If you are reasonably competent, and follow all safety rules, there is no reason you can't do it in a weekend. Just wait until its not so freakin hot! Do a search on the forum for past posts and see whats there. Make sure you have the proper tool for compressing the strut. Some rental places have them. Years ago, I did a set of struts on my Peugeot 504. After removing the strut, loosening the cap nut, and carefully leaning it upright, I got to doing something else. Unknown to me, the spring compressor ( the old style-three seperate hooks--not the MB tool) walked around the spring and released itself. The first thing IO knew about it was the sound of the upper cap being launched into space. I did not identify the noise at first, but realised what it was when the upper cap landed after what seemed like 30 seconds. I KNOW it wasn't that long, but it seemed it. Gave me a fresh appreciation for the energy stored in those springs.
I relate this only to impress the need for correct tools and safe procedures; not trying to discourage you in any way. Consult your workshop manuals, and your friends here at mercedesshop will be happy to help. Who knows, you might even get some onsite help from a member--I'm on the opposite coast.
The learing curve is quite steep. I bet the first side will take you 4 to 5 hours, but the second side only half that.
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  #14  
Old 08-05-2005, 08:57 PM
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Struts are more a pia than anything else. Shocks are a piece of cake and you should be able to do them yourself.

Replace your tensioner, the little shock and the belt and the squeelng belt will be guiet. Make sure you check to see how hard it is to turn all the pulleys at the front of the engine too with the exception of the crankshaft.
All the other pulley should spin pretty freely. If any of them are hard to turn then you need to look further into what is going on with it. This is a job that with a Haynes manual and the appropriate metric wrenches you should be able to do in 4 hours if it is your first time.

You need to purchase a Haynes manual and it will tell you pretty much everything you need to know to keep the car going.

Quote:
I want a very, very stiff ride
I've always liked a woman that enjoyed a stiff ride that is why I run Bilstein HD's on all my cars.

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