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  #1  
Old 07-16-2001, 12:27 PM
sixto's Avatar
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I know my outer tie rods have torn boots so they're in line for replacement. I've yet to properly check the rest of the steering linkage -- I've been told that yanking and twisting isn't sufficient

Despite the torn boots on the outer tie rods, it tracks straight and true. For the most part I can't tell that anything's not right with the steering. However, when I turn the wheels almost to the stops, I feel a slight clunk as I start to turn them straight again. The clunk feels like there's a lag between when I start to turn the steering wheel and when the road wheels catch on. Is this a result of worn tie rod ends or am I looking at loose knuckles and/or deeper problems?

Thanks,
Sixto
91 300SE
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2001, 01:28 PM
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I have a similar problem. My mechanic has checked out the front and back ends and says the shocks are looking worn (leaks, etc). I recently replaced the steering damper and that made a big improvement in the steering. This looks like a shock absorber mounted cross wise almost between the tie rods. You can't miss it if you look under the car, and it makes a big difference if you replace it. They only cost about $50 and are easy to replace. I am having all my shocks replaced this Thursday. I will let you know if it has a positive effect on overall steering. I have heard others say that shocks made a difference.
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1999 E430
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2001, 09:53 PM
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Whats the difference in replacing the steering box and the shocks?
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  #4  
Old 07-16-2001, 11:15 PM
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From what I understand, in the w126, more often than not the steering box is not the problem in loose steering. I would suspect that in Sixto's car which is a 91 the steering box should be fine. Shocks can cause poor handling when they start to wear that feels like a steering problem. There are many variables however, so a competant tech should check it out.
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1999 E430
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  #5  
Old 07-17-2001, 03:34 AM
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Jason,

How many steering dampers altogether are there in a W126?
I may replace mine too, together with the idler arm.

Mervyn
1983 W126 (280SEL)
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  #6  
Old 07-17-2001, 04:27 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts. My shocks are a few months old, but there could be a bum.

After more testing, it only happens after I turn the wheels all the way to the right. I don't notice it after I turn the wheels to the left.

I did notice that the steering damper has a dead spot when you start to compress it from being fully extended. I don't know if it gets fully extended while in place. I imagine there's some margin to prevent pulling the damper apart. If a fully extended damper corresponds to the wheels turned to the right, that could be it.

And that's a reminder to check that my steering box is securely mounted to the frame.

Thanks,
Sixto
91 300SE
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  #7  
Old 07-17-2001, 05:52 AM
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I had sloppy steering in my 380se, which is five years older than your 300. I changed the steering damper, and the problem disappeared. For the $50, it's the most drastic difference you're going to get for the buck. The other worn parts should be replaced, but the potholes and expansion strips take their toll on the damper.

KM
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  #8  
Old 07-17-2001, 06:04 AM
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Mervyn,

There is only one steering damper on a W126. Easy DIY job.

Regards,
Sixto
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2001, 02:18 PM
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Sixto, thanks!

Got this article from a MB site, sorry I couldn't remember the URL. Food for thought. Enjoy........
--------------------------------------------------------
Making Your Steering Brand New Again
There's a bunch of things you need to do to make the steering factory new and this applies to almost any Mercedes
1) There's an adjustment on the steering box. Ideally you remove the box and adjust it to spec on a bench. In practice you tighten it up, to the point there is some, but minimal free play.

2) Replace the idler arm bushing and steering shock.

3) There may or may not be a flexi disc and u joint in the steering column in the engine compartment. Replace them.

4) There are two or three bushings in the steering column itself. Remove it and replace them.

Do this is it will literally be as good as new.

Number 4 usually makes the biggest difference. And yes, it's quite a difference.
--------------------------------------------------------

Mervyn
1983 W126 (280SEL)
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  #10  
Old 07-17-2001, 02:28 PM
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Given that the tie rods push and pull the steering knuckles. And, given you are saying there is a lag between steering input and road wheels turning, and given you are saying that your tie rod ends are damaged (torn boots). I would suggest getting it to an alignment shop and get a proper diagnosis before you start throwing money at parts that may not be the problem, unless you want to fix anything that is worn. Idler arm can also be the culprit, but I would suspect the tie rod ends.
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  #11  
Old 07-17-2001, 03:27 PM
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Merv - thanks for the tip. Will get the 126 checked when I'm back from Melbourne.

There aren't many 126s here as compared to Malaysia, and certainly haven't seen more than a couple of 140s and not even one sighting of the new S/C-class on the road.
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  #12  
Old 08-20-2001, 04:14 PM
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Location: BC, Canada
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I've mentioned before that I have steering play on my W126 as well. I finally took it to my new favorite mechanic since it was wearing the insides of the front tires.
Well, the mechanic found a number of things that 3 others missed. First, my motor mounts were heavily worn and one was broken. A shock had failed as well as a bushing. He found out that my wheels are not correct for the car. They look right, but the offset is wrong. Finally, W126 cars can a the wheel front/back separation adjustment. Mine was too short by 10mm.
So, all previous chassis crimes were corrected as well as a new steering pump since the old one leaked badly. The car was taken out for a test drive and not a mile from the shop, the hood popped open which destroyed it and the hinges. Evidently, the hood is aluminum and thus crushes easily. Luckily, the mechanic had another hood and is putting that on now. I have little doubt that the car will handle like new now.
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