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  #16  
Old 01-05-2001, 03:50 AM
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Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 38
Similar experience

Rick, I had a very similar experience with my '78 450 SEL. The problem turned out to be the steering shaft coupling, which is a universal arrangement as I recall. It is located just inside the engine compartment on that side of the firewall and you should be able to see it easily. The coupling connects the steering wheel shaft to the steering gear box via another shaft, which is the purpose of the coupling. There were two sets of nylon, or some sort of polymer, bushings which had worn out, cracked, and fallen apart around two of the four bolts of the coupling.
The slop in my case was caused by the loss of integrity of the coupling without the bushings in place. I could turn the steering wheel several inches (2 to 3 or so) just sitting in the car without the engine running. At highway speeds, I would actually get a chatter out of this coupling since the metal of the coupling plates were was hitting the bolts.
I suggest you look at this coupling before you spend a lot of time trying to adjust the play via a steering gear setting.
My alignment was good before and after this occurred, which really became severe on a trip of course.
The replacement of the coupling is not very difficult, but I had to remove the steering wheel, loosen the shaft at the coupling and pull it inside the steering column to enable the coupling to be removed and replaced. The manuals do a reasonable job of describing this process, but be careful on shaft alignment since you will loose the relationship of the two shafts once the coupling is removed. If this turns out to be your problem, I would recommend marking the steering shaft and lower shaft in some fashion (chalk? or tape?) before you separate the two.
Anyway, I hope this is your problem since it is a pretty inexpensive problem to fix. It is also a little dangerous since the only thing connecting the steering of the car to the power steering box is the four Allan headed hex bolts without the bushings in place to keep them from wearing.
Good luck.

Redflash
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  #17  
Old 01-05-2001, 06:41 PM
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Location: buckhorn, ontario, Canada
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Rick, you've got it - 1" is the total back-and-forth play (as per MB spec for a 124). Rotation beyond 1/2" in either direction from center should begin to move your tires.

As you've gathered from these posts, there are many linkages along the way that can account for any additional slippage.

Also be alert to design-differences between models before transferring the helpful recommendations and experiences of others (when the weather gets better!)

Regards, Barrie
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  #18  
Old 02-09-2001, 07:24 PM
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Steering Wheel ..slop

I took your advise and took the slop out of my steering today, everything works fine, but I am going to replace the steering damper. Thanks for the info
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  #19  
Old 02-09-2001, 07:56 PM
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I checked the specs. in the manual and it says the max amount of play should be 25mm, which equals about 1 inch. This is exactly how much play there is in the wheel. Again this is with the car not running, moving the wheel back and forth. There is a combined 1 inch of free play. It's almost like there is nothing connected to the wheel. I find it odd that MB would consider this much slop as normal. Today it got up to th upper 50's but unfortunately I had to work and of course it gets dark quick. I will keep in mind all the great advice given here when I do get a chance to spend more time on it.
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  #20  
Old 04-16-2001, 05:56 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
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Rick,
Have you had a chance to check your steering yet? I have a
similar problem with my W126 even after replacing the steering
shock and various other parts including the steering box. I
have to get under and check the column joint. I think it's
harder to get to with the V8.
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  #21  
Old 04-16-2001, 06:26 PM
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There are also bushings for the steering column. They could be the culprit.
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  #22  
Old 04-16-2001, 09:09 PM
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Boy, I almost forgot I started this posting.
My steering at highway speeds has been improved greatly, not by doing something to the front end, but to the rear.
At the time I started this topic in Jan, the car still had it's original coil springs and some old Monroe shocks at the rear.
Also the rear sway bar was rendered useless by the fact that some previous owner had it cut. Don't ask me why, but it was cut by a torch.
Since January I have replaced the rear sway bar, sway bar links, coil springs, and replaced all 4 shocks with Bilstein.
The car drives much better at highway speeds now.
I do still have some work to do for the front end.
I am sure the steering could be a bit tighter if some things were replaced, like the steering damper, though my first priority is the lower ball-joints.
The driver's side ball-joint boot is split, bone dry and making grinding sounds.
Hell you can feel it in the floorboards, unfortunately it doesn't look like a DIY.
The ball-joints have to be pressed in and you need a special tool to get them out, to do all this the wheel spindle has to come out.
Tomorrow I am going to see what my mechanic will charge to do it.
The weather is only starting to improve here in NJ, though, on the days when it's warm, it's usually raining.
I want to get a look at the steering column itself under the dash, to see if there's any tightening I can do there.
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Last edited by whunter; 08-23-2010 at 12:56 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #23  
Old 05-02-2001, 10:12 PM
Trius91
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I will be going in to have my steering box replaced. I have 3 inches of play. When I do should I have anything else replaced like the steering shock? Should I have anything else checked at the same time like asking for the steering linkages and arms to be looked at for sloppiness? Or is all of this automatically checked by the technician?



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  #24  
Old 05-03-2001, 11:41 PM
gerryh
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On my 78 300 D I had to turn the allen screw on the steering box quite a bit, in 1/4 turn increments, to get rid of very excessive play, worked great though......
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  #25  
Old 05-04-2001, 12:22 AM
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Whats the price of a steering box you gonna get Trius?

I've been observing my freeplay and sound from the steering box and reckon I might have to replace it a year from now.
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  #26  
Old 05-04-2001, 02:45 PM
Icesailor
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Rick

I had a similar problem on my 82 W123 and traced it to the steering box. I could see the slack in the box by gripping the steering shaft above the steering box and rotating it back and forth from where resistance was felt to where resistance was again felt. I noticed that the pitmen arm, the arm connected to the output end of the steering box, moved very little while I moved the shaft. I found that I needed to put a foot long extension on my ratchet to get it up to where I put enough leverage on the lock nut to break it free. Here are two suggestions: 1 turn the allen wrench to where you think it should be, then tighten the lock nut and then test the slack again as the adjusting bolt will turn a bit while you tighten the lock nut. If you find there is still too much play then go through the steps again. 2.0 If you go too far and go beyond just removing the slack, you will not only put undue strain on the internals of the steering box; you will also loose the self centering when you turn a corner. ( the wheel will not turn back to straight.) I hope this helps.

Rick
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  #27  
Old 05-04-2001, 09:27 PM
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I am going to tackle this tomorrow. First though I have to buy a 19mm socket. The largest I have is 18mm. The "slop" that I have is within specs. Actually it is exactly at spec., 25mm or 1 inch. I would like to curb this a little.
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  #28  
Old 10-21-2001, 04:15 PM
Trius91
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Ymsin,

I was quoted $550 CDN for the re-built steering box not including tax and labour. I had it installed and it drives very well now.
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  #29  
Old 06-19-2003, 09:20 AM
nickvyse
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230e w123 steering adjustment

Firstly, thanks for a great thread - a quick search has given me all the answers I was looking for.

Can I just confirm this is correct:
---------------------------------------
As the adjustment is on the top of the box, you need 19mm socket to break the lock nut loose, 19mm wrench to counterhold the lock nut & a long 6mm allen socket to adjust. Turning the 6mm allen COUNTER-CLOCK WISE takes out the play!
---------------------------------------

No reason to doubt the poster, except that it seems illogical to somone who doesn't know the internals of these steering boxes!

Cheers,

Nick Vyse
London
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  #30  
Old 06-19-2003, 04:49 PM
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We'll let this slide because it's only your second post and you don't know the folks here yet. M.B.DOC is a master technician who has worked on Mercedes for many many years. Not to mention helping us out here at Mercedesshop for a long time. Did you notice that the thread you dragged up is over two years old? Yes, you can trust what the Doc says.
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