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  #1  
Old 02-02-2018, 06:13 PM
multi string slinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Los Angeles, CA United States
Posts: 113
W123 Suspension/ride height woes

Hi folks,

My 2nd thread for the day. I mentioned that I have been hit with a few problems lately and here is the 2nd (first being the leaky radiator)

I recently changed all 4 springs and shocks.

Used Lesjofors springs and Bilstein comfort/OEM shocks.

While the ride quality is excellent, my ride height is garbage. I am suspecting the springs I got, at least for the front are meant for the turbo (heavier engine etc). I used new spring pads with the 2 nubs - just the like the originals I replaced.

Before replacing the springs, I did compare the overall height with the old one and there was an obvious difference; however I just assumed it was because the old springs had sagged over time, didnt expect the ride height to go up this much.

Keep in mind, the pictures attached are after an alignment (which helped a bit and the car now drives nice); however the raised front end definitely looks off to me.

Also, when I go over speed bumps at a reasonable speed, there is a big "thump". It almost feels like my wheels lose contact with the ground and then slam down faster than the nose of the car. I could be wrong but just my theory. I will try to attach a camera somewhere in the wheel well to get some footage of this and hopefully post soon.

Any advice from the seasoned members here would be greatly appreciated.

Worst case scenario, these springs are meant for the turbo engine and not suitable for my car. In which case, I would be willing to trade with someone for the right type of springs (even used). A friend even suggested cutting a coil - I feel squeamish about doing that.

Your responses are greatly appreciated.

Attached Thumbnails
W123 Suspension/ride height woes-img_20180131_162427244_hdr.jpg   W123 Suspension/ride height woes-img_20180131_162409002_hdr.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2018, 06:43 PM
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That beautiful car looks level to me.
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  #3  
Old 02-02-2018, 08:50 PM
multi string slinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Los Angeles, CA United States
Posts: 113
Man, I wish that was just an illusion of road surface angle thing but unfortunately it isnt level. The front is riding high. If you look at the bottom of the doors or the window lines, you can tell.

Has anyone had any experience with the Lesjofors springs? Do they just make a stiffer/taller spring for turbo models?

In all honesty, I could possibly live with the taller ride height in front but the thumping while going over speed bumps of a tall driveway part really freaks me out. It just doesnt feel right.
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2018, 08:55 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
dieselarchitect
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
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I don't know about the thumping but it looks very high to me too. I'd say wrong springs, though they may settle with use.

The thumping could be because of the wrong shocks....too long?
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2018, 10:29 PM
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Location: Middle TN
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What did you install besides springs, pads and shocks?

Comfort shocks are well known and work well even though people argue the merits of Comforts vs HD.

I worked on the front of my 126 cars. Putting new spring pads raised the front end slightly over what the old saggy pads allowed. It also took a (very) little time for the suspension to settle after all of the work but it is still higher than before. I'll go with thinner pads if the springs ever come out but I think all is as designed.

Your clunk could be something that you haven't addressed. Worn guide rod mounts are one example of a part that can cause a clunk over bumps. The springs may also make noise if they aren't properly seated in the spring perch. I've also seen shocks that weren't properly installed make noise when the tops or bottoms slammed around.

So, check what you worked on especially if the clunk wasn't there before the work. Check what you didn't work on especially if the clunk was there.



The only thing I'd
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2018, 10:43 PM
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Location: central Texas
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I think you need to check the ' wire size' as MB calls it... the thickness of the spring...
The unloaded springs .. out on the ground ... will probably be exactly the same length ....
with only the size of the coil different....
The Chassis manual has all the combinations and numbers... and also ' colors' marked on the springs for what is supposed to go on what.....
For a thunk ... also check to see if your engine mounts might be broken... it can be very hard to find a break in them.. but I had a car which I finally found that to be the cause of a thunk...
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2018, 11:26 PM
Bengoshi2000's Avatar
1991 300D 2.5 Turbo
 
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How long have the new springs/shocks been in place? It might take a couple hundred miles for them to settle into place.

But with that clunk over bumps, I think Junkman is onto something... springs may not be settled properly into the spring perch... that could also affect the height.
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  #8  
Old 02-03-2018, 05:13 AM
multi string slinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Los Angeles, CA United States
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

I have had the springs on for about 1 month now and have likely driven over 300 miles total, easily.

Junkman, nothing else. Just spring pads, springs and shocks. I kept everything (spring pad thickness etc) the same as whatever was on the car originally - hoping to maintain things but better. All other front end components were replaced 1 year ago.

I will check for spring settling tomorrow in the day light. There is a small chance that they didnt "seat" into the right spot; however I still suspect that my springs are just not right for my car. The "thump" may possibly be from metal on metal contact since the tie rods and lower control arm are at a fairly steep angle - which likely causes some kind of contact when going over bumps at certain speeds etc. Just my theory though.

FYI, all of the other front end suspension components are 1 year old. I replaced everything around this time last year with Lemforder or equivalent parts.

The engine mount theory is quite plausible since my car does "lope" a lot and I have had the same mounts for a couple of years now - through numerous suspension and other changes.

I will try to capture some wheel well footage tomorrow and hopefully be able to post. Fingers crossed.
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  #9  
Old 02-03-2018, 08:24 AM
Bengoshi2000's Avatar
1991 300D 2.5 Turbo
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 302
This is a pure WAG (wild arse guess)...

If you replaced all of the other suspension parts about a year ago, you would have tensioned/torqued them into place with the old/worn springs and shocks.

Makes me wonder if loosening and re-torquing those suspension bits would settle the ride height.

I'm likely wrong... so feel free to flame me (I wear asbestos underpants).
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1985 Mazda RX-7 GSLSE
1982 Toyota Supra
1977 Datsun 280z
1971 Datsun 240z
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2018, 12:54 PM
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Brand name for rubber parts replaced last year? Sway,bar mounts good? Guide rod mounts especially need checking. And both ends of shocks.
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  #11  
Old 02-03-2018, 01:07 PM
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Rule #1, don't freak out.
 
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Location: Seattle, WA
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I've always thought w123s look very odd with the way Mercedes set up the ride height. The front tire to fender gap seems a little too much and the rear tires to fender gap seems a little to small (almost sits down over the top of the tire)

But yes. Your front is too big.

How about we get some measurements?? Top of tire to bottom of wheel well lip? On both front and bsck. And we compare with other members. So wr can get an exact amount which you are off. (I have 2 non turbos outside ride now so I can help too)

From there you can see how much lower u need it to be and either look online for some springs that are "X" inches smaller than the ones you bought.

Or yes you could also take that number to a suspension or welding shop (or your shop, if you are confident with a grinder) and just cut the springs down that amount. Yes this is a Jerry rig, bit it should be fine in my opinion.
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  #12  
Old 02-03-2018, 02:32 PM
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Ride height specs are in the FSM - at least for the 126. I don't have the 123 FSM but someone can look them up.
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  #13  
Old 02-03-2018, 06:39 PM
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loud thump over speed bumps at speed does sound like shocks bottoming out- extending too far. My mk1 VW does that on big speed bumps (that I'm hitting too fast), but it has badly worn out shocks front shocks.

Personally I would want to keep the extra lift, if possible, and raise the back to match
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  #14  
Old 02-03-2018, 11:19 PM
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Bilstein shocks do not bottom out on normal bumps unless something is wrong.
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  #15  
Old 02-04-2018, 11:52 AM
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Your car looks like how my wagon was when I got it, and I hated the SUV look. So I cut down the front springs 1 1/2 coils and and used the one numb pads first. This was a bit too low, so I replaced the pads with new 4 numb ones and I am now happy with the ride height. I think the US cars ride like this to make the min. bumper height. My Euro coupe ride height is about the same as what my wagon is now. With the stock rims I had 205/70R14's, which are taller than stock tire size. And the BBS rims have 225/50R16's, which are very close in diameter as stock 185/75R14's.
Attached Thumbnails
W123 Suspension/ride height woes-done5.jpg   W123 Suspension/ride height woes-goldbbs.jpg   W123 Suspension/ride height woes-w123-7.46.19-am.jpg  

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