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Old 10-09-2003, 05:42 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 42
Front Suspension

I have a 1991 500 SL with 115,000 miles. The steering has more play than I would like. Independent mechanic told me that idler arm should be replaced.

I plan to keep this car and am inclined to rebuild the front suspension. So, I was going to replace:

Tie rods, idler arms, shocks, shock rubber stops, steering shock, ball joints, sway bar bushings, tie rod assemblies (left, right and center) and control arm busings.

My question is this: Am I wasting time and money. The parts are around $500.00. A friend will do work for a good price.

Still, I do not want to do this if I am not going to feel the difference.

Any thoughts? Also, are there any other parts that I should replace in the process?


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Old 10-10-2003, 01:35 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237
If you have play in the steering wheel check the coupler that goes between the steering wheel shaft and the steering gear box. I have a 450slc and you can just barely see this coupler by looking down alongside the engine. Get someone to move the steering wheel and you can see the shaft turn. The coupler is right beside the engine and not easy to get to.

I had about 3 inches of play in the wheel and replacing this coupler cured the problem. The coupler is about $40 but the labor is about $200 at a shop that charges $35 an hour. The coupler is very difficult to get to and requires that the bolts on the steering box be removed and the box be shifted out of place. The box does not have to be removed, just moved aside.

I don't know that I would start replacing all the steering componenets at 115k miles w/o checking them first. The 'while I'm here I might as well' approach can end up costing you a bundle. Any good suspension man can tell you in a flash whether the components are worn. Tell him before you start that you are not ready to change the components now because you can't afford it but that you will pay to give you an estimate so that you can mortgage your first born child to pay for the repairs.

Last edited by kip Foss; 10-10-2003 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 10-10-2003, 06:56 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 33
I had all of that done on my 75 SLC recently. The dealer was replacing the subframe under recall and they replaced tie rods, drag link, steering shock, subframe bushings, steering shock, and control arm bushing for no charge labor. I bought the parts from a local shop that cost half of what the dealer wanted and it was as cheap as Ebay without paying for shipping. It made a tremendous difference in the way the car handled. I still have steering slop that may be the coupler or maybe the box itself, still need to work on that. If you already have the parts I would do it, you'll need to at some point anyway. If you haven't gotten the parts it would be best to have it cecked out before buying all of that.
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