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  #1  
Old 07-22-2006, 05:54 PM
deniss's Avatar
'84 300SD W126/OM617
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Central NJ, USA
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What can cause a side-to-side steering vibration on W126?

Ok, I looked at a few posts on here that cover steering and front suspension, but I am still not exactly sure what I need to adjust/replace to get rid of this steering shimmy (side-to-side steering wheel vibration) that shows up from time to time. If it happens, it only happens between speeds of about 50 and 60 mph, and it seems to depend on the kind of road surface I'm on. If I accelerate past 65, I never see this vibration. And like I said it's sort of intermittent.

Here's what I checked and/or repaired so far on front suspension/steering:

- all front wheel bearings have been replaced

- upper control arms have not been replaced but balljoints on them don't have any play so far. bushings on control arms are still tight.

- lower balljoints on both sides have been replaced (by the dealer)

- guide rod mounts (aka castor sockets) have been replaced (by the dealer)

- steering shock has been replaced (old one was pretty much spent, but it didn't make much difference)

- large bushings inside the L-shaped "bearing" that's mounted next to guide rods (subframe bushings??) have been replaced

- alignment has been done (by the dealer)

I have NOT replaced any tie rod ends, the center draglink, or the steering coupling. Lower control arm bushings have not been replaced, but visual inspection was satisfactory.

Are there some suspension/steering components I am overlooking? What could be causing this steering shimmy at resonant speed that I indicated, and with all the things that have already been replaced?
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2006, 06:39 PM
F18 F18 is offline
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Deniss,
There are several posts...the most recent ones pertain to worn Lower Control Arm Bearings/Bushings. It causes a speed related shimmy at anywhere from 50 to 60mph depending on what model MB your talking about.
The most recent posts are from members with the E-300 W210Chassis.

The larger and heavier MB sedans all seemed to be plagued with this problem over the years. I had a 84 300SD with the same speed related shimmy.....I replaced the Lower Control Arm Bushings and the shimmy went away for about 30k to 40K miles then returned. The MB bushings just don't last..they fatigue due to some design flaw or inferior material. So I learned to ignore the shimmy and drove the 84 to 312K miles without loosing sleep about it.

My current 98 E-300 TD has the same shimmy.
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  #3  
Old 07-22-2006, 06:41 PM
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If you have not already eliminated the tires I would now do so. Just move the front tires to the back on their same side. Just could be a tire belt problem as you describe it as a kind of side to side movement.
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  #4  
Old 07-22-2006, 07:29 PM
deniss's Avatar
'84 300SD W126/OM617
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Central NJ, USA
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The tires were brand new when I bought the car in April - they are Kumho's. But I will need the tire rotation in mind.

Lower control arm bushings were what I suspected also and something that hasn't yet been replaced. When my guide rod mounts were bad, the car had a pretty dang strong shimmy on the highway at those speeds all the time. The new rod mounts, that has been mostly eliminated, just with the occasional shimmy every now and then. But still, to me it indicated that something is a bit loose in the front suspension, and I don't like that. I'll inspect the lower control arm bushes again... I bet I should have had the dealer replace those lower control arm bushes when they did my lower balljoints... Blah.
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  #5  
Old 07-22-2006, 08:13 PM
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I'd rotate the tires first, see if it continues.

Maybe the drag link, or steering shock is getting weak and not filtering out as many vibrations.
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2006, 08:28 PM
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The SD exhibits the same behavior........but only on left hand curves........a bit of shimmy at 55-60 mph.........which is probably too fast for most curves anyway.........

Be interested to see if the LCA bushings are the culprit.
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  #7  
Old 07-22-2006, 08:45 PM
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John's E300D was doing something similer at slower speeds. Turned out to be marginal inner tie rod ends.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2006, 09:43 PM
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'84 300SD W126/OM617
 
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One more detail that I just remembered, which might be of interest to this question... The front suspension on the right side makes some sort of a noise, like a creaking (not groaning) noise of rubber against metal, when I have to turn my wheels sharply at low speeds, like when navigating a shopping mall or when parking. The noise is obviously coming from the right side only... Kind of hard to put into words what exactly the noise is, but imagine a piece of unlubricated rubber between two metal plates, and if one metal plate would slide against the rubber, the rubber would sort of creak/squeal a bit... This is the kind of sound I am hearing from the right side. It could be one of the rubber boots on tie rod ends or such rubbing against metal that it's sitting on for the lack of lubrication, or who knows... I am not sure it's relevant, but I thought I'd note this because when the vibration starts, I feel like the right side is to blame and that I hear just a hint of a tire rumble on that side during the vibration (although all front wheel bearings have just been replaced)....
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  #9  
Old 07-22-2006, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deniss
One more detail that I just remembered, which might be of interest to this question... The front suspension on the right side makes some sort of a noise, like a creaking (not groaning) noise of rubber against metal, when I have to turn my wheels sharply at low speeds, like when navigating a shopping mall or when parking. The noise is obviously coming from the right side only... Kind of hard to put into words what exactly the noise is, but imagine a piece of unlubricated rubber between two metal plates, and if one metal plate would slide against the rubber, the rubber would sort of creak/squeal a bit...
..........I'll be GD............

The SD does exactly the same thing at exactly the same speeds with exactly the same noise...........from the right side only.............!!!!
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  #10  
Old 07-22-2006, 10:17 PM
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Mine used to.....back when I got it......it has since went away (squeaking steering at low speeds issue)....and has never returned. I had a steering groan when first starting the car in the morning a little while back....and I thought "hmm, maybe its the P/S fluid level" sure enough, it was a bit low, I filled it back up with about 1/4 a quart, and the sound was gone. My return hose sweats so I loose ever so slight amounts of P/S fluid...I'll replace the hose...eventually.

As for the shimmy feeling, I get it sometimes when going onto the freeway at 60-70mph, but then it will go away after about 4-5 miles. At 60 and below it never appears, nor above 70....very odd. I am pretty sure my steering damper needs replacement though, I'll be replacing it sometime in the next few months.
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  #11  
Old 07-22-2006, 10:28 PM
deniss's Avatar
'84 300SD W126/OM617
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Central NJ, USA
Posts: 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton
..........I'll be GD............

The SD does exactly the same thing at exactly the same speeds with exactly the same noise...........from the right side only.............!!!!
HA... that is kinda funny, isnt it!

pawoSD - I did put in a brand new steering shock, but that didn't help any... personally, i am not convinced it can help against vibrations like that... lower control arm related stuff was my first guess because that's where the guide rods bolt on and when i had worn guide rod mounts, it was shimmying like a b*tch! much much better now with new guide rod mounts, but as F18 mentioned, the worn/loose LCA bushes could be it...
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  #12  
Old 03-24-2008, 04:12 AM
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Ever figure out what was causing this? My car makes that exact squeek sound when turning at low speeds.
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  #13  
Old 03-24-2008, 08:39 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Sometimes the ball joints get dry. A little grease shot into the rubber boot with a needle on the grease gun will often help for a good while.

Tom W
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  #14  
Old 03-24-2008, 12:27 PM
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Oh, I should also add that when I bounce the front of the car, it makes a similar sound, not exactly a squeek sound, but sort of a rubbing "squish" sound. So this is ball joints then?
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