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  #31  
Old 03-24-2006, 08:18 AM
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My $.02

As I recall, MB really took a beating over ride quality when they introduced the 126 cars and had to make several changes to spring rates and shock damping over the production run. I noticed this first hand when we imported a 1983 380SE at the end of 1984 and also owned at the time a Euro 1979 450SEL. The 450 handled better and rode better than the 380---less lean on corners and the shock damping was "just right". Not too firm, not too soft. All 126's that I have driven (including SLS and full hydraulic systems) seem to suffer from rear shock damping that is too stiff in compression, causing the rear end to hop over bumps. I have noticed the same thing with the first couple years' production of 203 240 engined cars, the 163 ML's and the 2001 and up steel springed AMG cars. Although the AMG engineers are clearly tuning their suspensions for performance and not ride, I think the difference in road conditions in Germany vs. the USA has something to do with it. I took delivery of a 2001 E55 at the factory and had the opportunity to drive it approx. 2000 miles in Germany and Italy on highways, secondary roads and back roads. I was very impressed with the suspension and never thought of it as harsh. Once home, the harshness of the rear suspension on our roads became annoying to the point that I considered swapping out the rear shocks for adjustable KONI's. I find the same to be true with with my wife's SLK32. Over the years I have driven and owned a number of MB's. Of the vehicles I have owned, the vintage air suspension vehicles (1965 300SE, 1970 300SEL 6.3 and 1972 300SEL 4.5) had the best ride and handling compromise, the SLS equipped vehicles (1983 300TDT and 2001 E320 wagon) are next, the steel springed 116 bodies are next, and the 126 bodies (380SE and 500SEL) are last (as stated before, too much body lean, too much hop, not enough control). The SLS equipped 124 bodies (1991 300TE and my father's 1995 E320TE) are too much like the stereotypical US boat---undersprung and underdamped. Oh, I almost forgot, the Grosser 600 sedans (short body) of the 60's and 70's that I had the opportunity to service rode and handled phenomenally given their weight and size. The title should have read "My $.01". Mark
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  #32  
Old 03-24-2006, 05:24 PM
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Well considering probably about 80% of the rubber parts in the suspension of my SDL are under a year old I think it represents pretty well what they should ride like.


You cannot use the bounce test on these cars, with shot shocks they will pass that test just fine. If it does bounce then the shocks are far past shot.

With recent Bilsteins if you do say press down the rear bumper it just rises right back to level.

It really isn't fair to compare these cars to newer cars because they are a late 70's design. But the newer ones just soak up the imperfections of the road so much better and still don't lean in corners. I love the W220's with air suspension. Slam on the brakes it stays perfectly level, hustle around the corner still level...

For there day they were good, but I think a similer vintage XJ6 was probably a better riding car.

I have also noticed that the SWB W126 is a much better around town car, seems to almost edge the LWB version out ride wise as well. But its close.
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  #33  
Old 03-24-2006, 05:29 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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oh yeah

jags and bimmers ride better, in my experience.

tom w
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  #34  
Old 03-25-2006, 04:28 PM
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I wish I recall how my 1982 BMW 733i was, but honestly, I can say for sure, but I think it was not as soft as my 1985 Mercedes 380SE. Now, my uncles 1984 Jaguar XJ6 sedan was like riding on a cloud.


Quote:
Originally Posted by t walgamuth
jags and bimmers ride better, in my experience.

tom w
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  #35  
Old 03-25-2006, 11:40 PM
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Maybe I'm spoilt rotten or just lucky, but I like the ride of my 300SD. But then, my previous 3 years were spent in a 325i, and it's lively but stiff as hell -- make that firm.
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  #36  
Old 03-25-2006, 11:41 PM
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Jags and BMW's

I have to agree with the Jaguar and BMW comments. A friend of mine was looking for a cheap used car and we drove a 90's vintage BMW 318. While most of the car was ready for the junkyard it still handled and rode quite well. I test drove a late model Jaguar XJ6 and it was wonderful as well would have bought it if the center pillar for the door did not interfere with my elbows.

I think in a lot of cases the Engineers are too Analyitical on Mercedes cars. A good example is why I own a Volvo Station wagon. While I would absolutely love to have an MB wagon the engineers were too obsessed with design that the strut towers for the wagon and full sized spare interfere with the cargo space. I can get amazing things into the back of the Volvo wagon that just won't fit in a Mercedes.

There's probably a reason for the suspension to be the way it is. We have to keep in mind as American drivers that we are only privy to half of the speed capabilities that the suspension was designed to endure. I notice my car rides much better at higher speeds. Perhaps a sacrifice was made for mid to low speed ride quality for high speed stability and comfort.

Additionally a lot of handling and ride is subjective. American drivers in general are used to the marshmellow ride of our domestic luxury cars. Cars that ride well but have absolutely no handling or saftey at high speeds. Mercedes designs their cars to be driven on the Autobahn at 100% throttle for many hours on end and still be safe and make emergency lane changes at speeds that would result in a loss of control in many domestic cars.

Considering all these factors and that I am driving around in a 24 year old car I think it handles and rides pretty darn well. Although one has to take my opinion with a grain of salt since the perceptive will notice Im shopping for a 140 in another post.
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  #37  
Old 03-25-2006, 11:56 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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yeah

i think you are right on about the suspensions and what they are designed for. excellent points

those volvo wagons lean a lot but once they get leaned over they corner quite well.

if you like the room in a volvo you should take a look at the old eighties peugot wagons. i had one for a few months one time. drove really nice, had about 50% more room than a volvo but wow! impossible to get parts for.

the benz wagons with their more aerodynamic back end just dont hold stuff like the volvos.

and on the 140? maybe you are looking for something complicated and fussy to offset the simple and reliable volvo.

tom w
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  #38  
Old 03-27-2006, 12:09 AM
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Friend of mine had an 80s Peugeot wagon. It was some kind of freight hauler. My dad had an 80s Peugeot diesel sedan -- forget the model number -- we drove it from Wa. state to San Diego and back once. Nice running car, smooth and fast.

I can only assume they quit importing them cause sales were insufficient.
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  #39  
Old 03-27-2006, 09:52 PM
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I drove my 123 car this weekend to compare the rides between the two. Gotta say, its a better driving car until about 50mph than the 126. Goes around corners faster, feels more solid, and has a better turning radius (or it seems to).

After 60mph, the 123 car runs out of power (non turbo) which tends to make it feel maxed out.

I also prefer the big steering wheel in the 123 car.

Again, bit cars have rebuilt suspensions and recent shocks all around.
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  #40  
Old 03-27-2006, 10:04 PM
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i like

the 123 or 124 around town better than the 126 but the 126 i s nicer on the road. though the 124 is very close on the road.

tom w
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  #41  
Old 03-28-2006, 05:33 AM
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Drove the 140 I was looking at

Hmmm,

I drove the 140 I was looking at. While it was much smoother and quieter than my 126 I did not get the "big let down" from steping back into my 126 to drive home to think about the deal a bit. The 140 had a really really solid low speed feel to it and seemed to ooze over the roads effortlessly in an almost surreal way like the car was sitting still and the earth was doing the moving rather than the car. It had an even more tank like feel than my 126. The 126 does ok in comparison to the 140 though considering its rolling around on 1979 suspension technology and is a smaller car.

If I had to pick just one thing to keep out of the 140 it would be the sound deadening. The 126 suspension seems ok but my car is quite noisy (probably more noisy than you gassers out there since I have an OM-617 diesel).

In some ways I think the whole road feel issue is a number of different factors. Noise, Vibration, handling and suspension feedback all come into play. The 140 puts them all together in a great package. I wonder what some extensive sound deadening and on the car wheel balancing would do for some of the psychological elements of ride quality. Tires certainly have a major impact on ride feel as well. I have owned cars that have had night and day changes with a different brand of tires.

Has anybody tried additional sound deadening and an on the car wheel balance????
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  #42  
Old 03-28-2006, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rchase
The 126 suspension seems ok but my car is quite noisy (probably more noisy than you gassers out there since I have an OM-617 diesel).

In some ways I think the whole road feel issue is a number of different factors. Noise, Vibration, handling and suspension feedback all come into play. The 140 puts them all together in a great package.

Has anybody tried additional sound deadening and an on the car wheel balance????


First, do you have a hood pad? They're not too expensive and apparently make a vast difference in sound levels at cruise RPM. Only my 420SEL has one currently.

Deadener on the doors is a good idea, just use some Peel and Seal from the home improvement center. Cheaper by a long shot than Dynamat, B-Quiet, etc.

The floors of the W126 have pretty thick carpet and the sheet metal is coated already with something. I do not know if I'd spend the time coating it.
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  #43  
Old 03-28-2006, 03:15 PM
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One of my 300 SEL's has Monroe Sensa-tracs on it that the previous owner had put on right before I bought it. Those paired with some Kumho ASX 225/60/15's give it quite a bit smoother ride than my other 300 SEL which has ---

Stock suspension with BFG Traction T/A V rated 225/60/15's... around town at low speeds the thing can be quite punishing on the rough streets, but I believe a lot of that is from the tires. Those BFG will let you feel any tiny variance in the terrain. Once you get the thing up to 65 mph+ it all smooths out. I use this as my highway traveling machine so it works out well.

Tire pressure has a huge effect on the ride quality in these cars. When I first got the car with the Monroes on it, the owner was running the old Michelins at 28psi all around. It felt like it oozed around at that pressure, so I pumped it up to 32/34 and it turned it into a totally different machine.
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  #44  
Old 04-14-2006, 02:59 AM
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The thing that's really lacking in the 126 suspension is the sub-frame mounting design. It does a terrible job of isolating road chop and chatter. This may actually be desired by some as road feel. Personally, I don't need it. Here in California we have little warning bumps separating the lanes. These little nubs can rattle your teeth in a 126. While in a notoriously overly-stiff 94 Saab 900s these lane bumps are barely there. Little bumps and road chop are not really handled by shocks and springs; it's almost completely up to the rubber between the body and subframe to absorb and quiet these choppy little bumps. I love my 300sd, but honestly the 126 is completely sub-standard in this area.
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  #45  
Old 04-14-2006, 09:10 AM
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350 SDL Rides like a Benz

I have a '91 350 SDL, and was driving a '97 BMW 740iL before that, so I was spoiled.

Well, I sold the BMW! The MB rides big and heavy, but tight like a precision watch. Of course as a diesel, it is no rocketship, but man, it drives not too stiff, not too loose. All original suspention 208K miles!
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