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Old 02-11-2010, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 95
96 SL500 Alignment Question

I took my 96 SL500 in to my local Mercedes shop(not the dealer) to have the car aligned. He told me that because my car was 14 years old, I really should replace the tie rods and bushing in the Idler arm. He said there was a little play and I would be wasting my money doing the alignment.

Frankly, the car tracks straight andI cannot feel any major play in the steering wheel.

Does what he says about my wasting my money on the alignment on a 14 year old car without doing what he says??


Wilmington, NC

1996 SL500 Mine!!!
2010 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 with Tech Pkg(Wife's)
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:20 PM
pcsessler's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 17

Drivel. He is just trying to get you to pay- that's why they are called "stealers." Really, MB cars are no different then most cars out there (in terms of the suspension)- except when you are led to think that you own something "different" and thus warrants extra $.

I would just lubricate the suspension points once a year and let it go at that.

Back in my early days, I drove a taxi in New York City- and after 100,000 miles in the same car, there was no problem with the front end. This was in a Chevy Impala. If you don't know, NYC has some of the worst roads.

Peter C. Sessler
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:13 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Milwaukee Wisconsin
Posts: 1,150
Find a shop which has a drive on laser alignment jig. In just a minute or two, with very little fuss, the alignment can be checked to see if it is either in or out of spec. If it's in spec, then that's the end of the issue and there should be no additional charges, as no further adjustment is necessary.

Generally, if the car drives true and the tires do not show signs of uneven wear, the alignment is good. Specific age of the vehicle is not a direct factor, although rubber suspension parts will deteriorate over time.
Resistance is Futile.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:39 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Posts: 2,463
After 14 years you can expect to need to replace some of the front end. Sounds to me like he was saving you some money by not wanting to do an alignment. BTW you also have a good service department at your dealership in Wilmington. I am always treated well there. Del, the service manager, is very fair and honest. That is the only place I take my car for alignments. Other than alignments though, I do all of my own service.

'59 220S Cabriolet-SOLD and living happily in Malta
'83 240D 351,500 miles original owner-SOLD
'88 560SL 41,000 miles - being parted out
'99 E300 turbo 220,500 miles
'03 SLK320 40,000 miles - gave to my daughter
'14 Smart electric coupe 20,000 miles
'14 Smart electric cabriolet 18,000 miles
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 95
Thanks for all of the comments. I got a little turned off when my dealer charged me $600.00 to replace my antenna motor. I will call Del and get a price.
Wilmington, NC

1996 SL500 Mine!!!
2010 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 with Tech Pkg(Wife's)
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:59 PM
DanielG's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Deerfield, Illinois
Posts: 349
well that is a very special antenna -- it picks up those fancy radio signals ya know!

1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

1987 560sl (55.6k miles)
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:05 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 23
My INDY recently did my front control arm bushings, tie rods, idler arm repair kit, strut mounts, motor mounts, front struts, and strut mounts and some other stuff, full front rebuild and was around $2,000 parts and labor. Feels tighter than new, I imagine, since I have never driven a new R129. The cost hurt, but like all things I got on with it and love it.

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