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Old 12-12-2000, 09:11 PM
Steve Gray
Posts: n/a
This is a continuing saga from my last sub frame problem that was posted. I received a used sub frame with control arms and all. It matched the broken frame that was on the car. I've had it replaced, new shocks, new bushings, etc. Front end alignment complete etc... The problem (maybe). The car's front end is sitting about 1 1/2-2 inches higher in the front which of course makes the car drive rather awkward. My mechanic said that I would have to drive it for a few days to have the 'springs' settle in. The springs were from the replacement frame not new. Sorry about the length but the questions is: Is this normal for the car to be that way after sub frame replacement?? Does it have to settle in to get back to level? Many thanks for the response in advance.

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Old 12-13-2000, 09:26 AM
cth350's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 4,026
Give it 3 days an 200 miles. Also, consider the quality (and age) of the rubber and springs in the rear.

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Old 12-13-2000, 05:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
Possibly the springs were from a 450SL or 560SL, Both use a higher spring rate than the 380's did. All subframes are interchangable. By the way I have replaced hundreds of 450's subframes under warranty recall, & even a few on the 380's that weren't covered by recall! Was it broken at the left lower A-arm mounting? Is it a US model?
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Old 12-15-2000, 07:43 AM
Steve Gray
Posts: n/a
Yes, it's a 380SL US model. And yes again to the subframe AND springs were from a 79 450SL. It was snapped at the left control arm mounting. How do I get the front end down? Replace the springs with 380SL model types? Wouldn't new springs now sit the car as high in the front as it is now? The mechanic wasn't comfortable using the springs off the original subframe as quite a bit was rather bent due to the control arm break. Thanks for all the advice once again.
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Old 12-15-2000, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I would use the original springs if you have them, unless they are visably bent in the previous event. (I have never seen the spring hurt in any of the ones we have repaired).

The proper springs for a 380SL #115 321 29 04 aren't all that expensive at $99 list (each). Replacing them and the spring shims will be the real answer. The shims 107 321 02 84, 03 84, 04 84, and 05 84 come in increments of 8, 13, 18 and 23mm respectively. I would probably recommend the 13mm for first try since your have old rear springs (I presume). If the original rubber shims are whats on the car I would look at the ridges ("burls") as they denote the size 1 = 8, 2 = 13, etc. Use one size less to allow the new front springs to compare with old rear springs.

Changing shims is not easy so you don't want to do it many times, but thats about the only way to achieve a desired height. Alignment will have to be corrected after each change.

Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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