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  #16  
Old 03-22-2006, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donbryce
My '85 380SE has aftermarket 15" light alloys, and I hate the way this car 'bangs' over every hole and bump around town, most of this coming from the front end. All my front end ball joints are less than 5 years old, the shocks are good. Not my idea of a nice riding sedan. OK on the highway, but most heavy cars are.
I don't have any of that in my car. I wonder if its caused by the 15" wheels, since I still have the 14"s and probably won't be making any changes at this point.
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  #17  
Old 03-22-2006, 07:08 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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donbryce

how did you determine that your shocks are good?

it sounds like they may be past their prime to me.

and the aftermarket wheels might be heavier than stock too.

tom w
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  #18  
Old 03-22-2006, 11:21 PM
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Spent Sat afternoon in an S320, when I got back in the SD I was like man big step down ride wise.

Happens to me every time I'm in a modern one, when you get back in the old W126 you need to re adjust.

I need to not spend time in W140/W220's as long as I stay away from them my W126's feel like the top dog.
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  #19  
Old 03-23-2006, 02:23 AM
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My 1985 380SE has a soft and supple ride, but it still has the original shocks at every wheel, but handling is still good. I too can however feel those larger expansion bumps, but only from the front suspension. My front suspension is not as soft as the rear. Probably to most people the ride of my car may be too soft to the point that they may want to change the rear shocks, but they seem fine to me, because I like a softer ride. On the "bounce test" if I press down on my rear bumper, it will rebound a couple of times and stops. On the freeway, the ride can get a bit floaty if you will. It does press down quite a bit though if I put a little weight on the bumper. Front goes down once then rebounds as normal, but it not overly firm.

I have test drove a few W126's in the past and most have felt about the same. The 84' 300SD and 83' 300SD I tested was about the same as my 85' 380SE. I also test drove a 90' 300SEL and while it seemed firmer than my 85' 380SE, it still felt supple - perhaps due to the longer wheelbase. I also test drove an 83' 300D years ago, but I do not recall its ride.

I do not plan on changing any shocks. I do however think I need some front suspension bushings or something, as I occasionally have that front suspension "thunk" over some bumps.

Now talk about a soft riding car - my 1969 Chevrolet Caprice is cloud-like and that is saying a lot, because I have owned a lot of big, American sedans, known for soft and supple rides. Most every bump in the road is not even noticed in my Caprice, especially considering that the interior is still 100%+ squeak and rattle free. It has amazed me. My 73' Pontiac Grand Ville is also pretty cloud-like. My dads 69' Camaro is truck-like though, but he has HD shocks on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donbryce
My '85 380SE has aftermarket 15" light alloys, and I hate the way this car 'bangs' over every hole and bump around town, most of this coming from the front end. All my front end ball joints are less than 5 years old, the shocks are good. Not my idea of a nice riding sedan. OK on the highway, but most heavy cars are.
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  #20  
Old 03-23-2006, 12:46 PM
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Most people don't give the tires on their cars enough credit for how they affect the ride. Performance tires in general will result in a harsher ride due to the stiffer sidewalls and carcass. The tires are what comes into play on expansion joints and small abrupt road imperfections. I look toward Grand Touring tires as the best choice for a Benz and select for ride quality within that class. Also as tires get old and tread starts to wear down they tend to get harsh. I'm presently looking at the Conti Contac pro's as a good next tire.

http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=4&article_id=10252&page_number=12

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/co_nextgen_grandtour.jsp

Jorg
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  #21  
Old 03-23-2006, 01:01 PM
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Talking Right On!! Tires, wheels and tire pressure

There is no questions that what is on the wheels affects the ride quite a bit and that should be obvious, I guess ..... I like to use the best and biggest size tires that fit on the original size wheels for each car and it seems to provide a pretty good ride ..... BC
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  #22  
Old 03-23-2006, 02:06 PM
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Mercedes switched back to 6.5J 15 inch wheels from the 7J due to ride quality issues. I think that happened around model year '89.

My SDL is definitely more punishing than either the 350SD or 300SE.

Body roll is annoying in these cars, as when you fling it around a right-leaning corner, you are nearly tossed out the driver's side window.

Seems to buckle down better at higher speeds. More control, perhaps thanks in part to inertia, and thanks in part to the nature of recirculating ball steering.

Riding in a well tuned 500SEL from 1984 with the 14" wheels is like riding on a cloud.
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  #23  
Old 03-23-2006, 06:31 PM
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I have run my W126's with 14in Bundt's with Mich's, 15in 15 holes with Firestones, and 16in Bellos with Yoko V4S's. The ride only stiffens up very slightly going to the 16in wheels with performance tires and higher pressure.

Actually the greatly improved tracking, and handleing the 16in wheels offer offsets any small ride lose.
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  #24  
Old 03-23-2006, 07:10 PM
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I love how my 126s ride..firm yet not at all punishing. I run H&R's in the two 91's, AMG springs in the 89. All have Bilstein HD's up front and the standard SLS in the rear. I find the best set up is w/ 17's as the 18's like to tram line/transmit a bit too much road noise. Riding in stock cars I find them a bit uncomfortable...the lean is what really gets me..I know I can trust it but I don't much care for how it feels.

My S600 is much quieter/composed even on 18's..to be honest I find the handling SO vauge in the 600 that I don't enjoy pushing that car in corners etc.. The 126's are far more confidence inspiring.

Jonathan
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  #25  
Old 03-23-2006, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth
how did you determine that your shocks are good?

it sounds like they may be past their prime to me.

and the aftermarket wheels might be heavier than stock too.

tom w
Well, the car passes the 'bounce' test (push down with all my weight on the front corner, car goes down and up, stops dead), and certainly doesn't wallow or dip in cornering, so I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the front shocks are OK. It may indeed be a stiffness or binding in the shocks that is affecting the ride quality. How do I test this?

I doubt the alloys are significantly heavier than the originals, only one of which I have (the spare), but an additional 1" in the diameter could be I guess. The tires are Michelin All Season Rain Force MX4 P205/65 R15 set to recommended pressure.
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  #26  
Old 03-24-2006, 02:34 AM
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When you press your weight on the front corner, does it go down quickly, or slowly? If slowly, it sounds like your shocks are overly firm. Also, it should go down quite a bit (if you weigh more than 150 lbs.) My dad 88' Nissan 4x4 has very heavy duty shocks (put on my my uncle when he had it) and it barely goes down and does not bounce at all. Ride is extremely harsh. Sad, considering this truck had a supple ride when new with the factory shocks. I remember riding in it in 1988 when it was new. I was suprised at the supple ride. I hate the shocks he has on that truck now.

Anyway, back to your car- when you place your weight on the bumper, it should go down fairly quickly and easily, but still come rebound back up and stop - which yours does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donbryce
Well, the car passes the 'bounce' test (push down with all my weight on the front corner, car goes down and up, stops dead),
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  #27  
Old 03-24-2006, 02:39 AM
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Yeah and that seems even more unusual considering that the SDL has a longer wheelbase than the SD or SE. Typically LWB models have a smoother ride, but still depends alot on the shocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DslBnz

My SDL is definitely more punishing than either the 350SD or 300SE.
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  #28  
Old 03-24-2006, 05:11 AM
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Ride expectations

I have a friend with a brand new Lexus LS430. It rides very nicely but you get a lot of the bumps and sounds that the 126 suspension gets rid of. I think the design of the 126 suspension is to be more communicative than more common marshmellow luxo boat. Its not ultra smooth like a caddy or a lexus but it does move over the road well and is quite comfortable.

If you look at the time period that the 126 was built for it was probably quite good for its time. Luxury cars have evolved over time and people expect different things from their cars. I like to think of it as the "lexus effect". BMW and Mercedes cars were cupholder devoid teutonic autobahn cruisers before the American motoring public wanted a softer ride and the common luxury features. Technology has evolved as well to make cars lighter and quieter. If you drive vintage cars regularly the whine of a rear differential or road noise or suspension stiffness does not bother you really.

Additionally as the fleet of 126's ages the rubber that isolates our suspensions ages differently depending on the part of the country that your in. Unless your driving on a freshly overhauled suspension with new bushings its difficult to compare the 126 to other cars. Even a 1991 model now is a 15 year old car. My 1982 model is over 24 years old. I have done several upgrades in my car such as engine mounts and other small old rubber with amazing results. I grew to accept my diesel engine being a bit on the "rough" side at idle until I replaced my engine mounts. After the replacement the only difference between my car and a gas car smoothness wise is the distinctive clatter under the hood.
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  #29  
Old 03-24-2006, 05:14 AM
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Another thought

Another thing to consider is the condition of the drivers seat. It has its own suspension thats designed to work with the car. A worn out seat bottom is likely to communicate more road feel into your posterior.
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  #30  
Old 03-24-2006, 06:20 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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the bounce test doesn't work with bilstein shocks

long before they fail that or start leaking they will lose the abiliity to do their job correctly and you will have a bouncy ride.

when the ride gets bouncy it is time for new shocks.

also for the fellow who has aftermarket wheels... take one of your wheels and tire and weigh it. then take your spare with the original wheel and weigh that. if the one is say ten pounds heavier you will have noticably harsher ride. and the handling wont be as good on anything other than glassy smooth roads.

the principal is called unsprung weight. briefly, anything attached to the chassis is called sprung weght. anything that is attached to the suspension and will move in relation to the chassis is called un sprung weight. for good handling and ride you want less of the unsprung in relation to the sprung weight.

ie high performance cars will have aluminum in the wheels, perhaps brakes and perhaps suspension. think of porsche and ferrari and you will note aluminum brake calipers and suspension parts. excellent ride and excellent handling at the price of more expensive cost.

now think of a one ton pickup. very heavy axle heavy brake drums and very heavy dual steel wheels and big tires. very poor unsprung weight ratio...unless you put a big load in... then it will ride like a caddy. but it wasnt designed to ride well empty and price had to be kept low.


now take my old 53 caddy. the only aluminum in it was used for trim, but the chassis was so heavy that the steel wheels axles etc were light in comparison, so it rode very well, but of course with the massive weight overall cornering was not a plus.

well i guess that was not all that brief.

and bottom line is heavier wheels and tires increases unsprung weight and makes the ride harsher and the handling on rough surfaces worse.

tom w.
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