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Old 06-25-2007, 09:11 PM
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Shock absorber questions

OK, I did a search and couldn't find my answer(s). The issue is that my '85 380SE (w126) rides like a buckboard, absolutely terrible over any kind of bumps, pavement cracks, potholes, you name it. If it isn't a glass-smooth highway, the suspension magnifies every little imperfection, sound and feeling-wise. The car actually seems to leave the road if it encounters a series of small bumps, bouncing and thumping/banging over them as if there were no springs at all!

So I'm trying to zero in on what to do, and am thinking the shocks are the culprit. Can shocks be too stiff, so they prevent the springs from absorbing the road vibrations? I only know of the 'bounce test', which in my case is: front left and right, push down hard on the corners and you can barely get it to go down. It comes right back up and stops. left rear bounces up and down several times, right rear goes down and back up, but much easier than the fronts.

I'm thinking that I have 2 bad fronts that are way too stiff (is this possible?), a left rear that has no stiffness left, and a right rear that is borderline OK. None show any leakage, and I think they are cheapos, or at least not Bilstiens or whatever they should be.

Should I just go ahead and spend the $400.00+ for Bilstiens? I replaced shocks on my older 76 450SE some years back and found no improvement in the ride, so felt it was a waste of money. I don't want to repeat this.

Is there any way to test if these shocks are indeed the cause, short of removing them from the car first? Any test to see if it's hard rubber bushings or something else (other than ball joints, which are known to be OK in my case)?

...and can anyone tell me what the original brand was for this car (1985 380SE), as parts suppliers list Bilstein and Sachs-Boge? Recommendations for the best (smoothest/softest) ride?


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Last edited by donbryce; 06-25-2007 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:58 PM
Hatterasguy's Avatar
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Bilstein Comforts will probably improve the ride a bit. Are the currant shocks original? If so you will notice an improvement. They cost about $65 each and are very easy to install.


But it still won't ride like a modern luxury car, W126's ride real stiff for what they are. The W140 and newer S class series totaly PWN them in the ride and handling departments.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:04 PM
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Correct, Bilstein comfort shocks are the best compromise for smoothness and good handling for ordinary use on the W126 sedans and coupes. Replace the front steering shock (about $30 or so, along with the shocks.)

I am pretty certain the new Bilsteins would come with a lifetime guarantee, so it'd likely be a one time expense if it was true. I would order them from EPS Parts, Phil at Fastlane, or Rusty at MB parts in Atlanta, online. All of those vendors are good and have good prices.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatterasguy View Post
Bilstein Comforts will probably improve the ride a bit. Are the currant shocks original? If so you will notice an improvement. They cost about $65 each and are very easy to install.
But it still won't ride like a modern luxury car, W126's ride real stiff for what they are. The W140 and newer S class series totaly PWN them in the ride and handling departments.
The shocks are definately not original. They're too grungy to tell what brand but they don't look like Bilstein or Sachs-Boge, more like the canister-shaped KYB type.
I found much better prices stateside than Canadian on-line suppliers too, so I think I can get 4 for less than $300.00, delivered. Still not cheap though, so I'd still like to get opinions on Bilstein vs Sachs-Boge. Actually, my preferred supplier only stocks Sachs for the front, so I was thinking of 4 of them....
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Old 06-26-2007, 11:03 AM
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I have never found anything that works as well as bilstein on a benz. If you are planning to keep the car for sure I would go that way.

Tom W
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Old 06-26-2007, 11:14 AM
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On the other hand, I've never been able to tell a quantifiable difference between similar Sachs and Bilstein dampers.

Warranty is the same.

Not sure about cost for your car, but availability is a nice feature.

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