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  #1  
Old 07-26-2001, 07:50 PM
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I bought the replacement bushing kit for the idler, without it being clear to me if there is actually clearance to do the job. There is a heat shield between the idler and exhaust downpipe which looks easy to remove, but is there enough clearance then to remove the idler and mounting bolt without removing the downpipe or jacking the engine off its mounts? Thanks in advance.

Steve
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2001, 02:33 AM
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Couldn't wait for advice, went ahead and tried it tonite. Plenty of room with the heat shield removed, the job was a snap. SO much easier than the last idler I replaced - in a Chevy G-30 van. Twitchy handling now gone, but I think it still needs a toe adjust, which I will do in the morning.

As an aside, I discovered an exhaust heat shield under the floorboards had broken loose and was rattling around. This is probably the cold-engine rattle I have been hearing. Gooped it up around the break with muffler cement - I'll see if that holds when dry in the morning.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2001, 08:45 PM
jfujimoto
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Steve,

I've been planning to do the same on my '85 190E. I don't have the special tools as required in the MB repair CD. Can you tell me how you did it?

Jeff
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  #4  
Old 07-31-2001, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jfujimoto
Steve,

I've been planning to do the same on my '85 190E. I don't have the special tools as required in the MB repair CD. Can you tell me how you did it?

Jeff
Jeff, I don't have the MB manual, just a $13 Haynes for the wrong year, so I wasn't hampered by knowing what tools I didn't have!

Put the front up on jackstands, removed the right front wheel for improved access to slide into position.

The heat shield removes with a 10mm box wrench on a nut and a screw, and I used a box wrench to hold the idler's through-bolt upper head while using a socket and ratchet on the bottom nut. Slip the bolt up and out, and the idler arm pivots aside without removing the tie rod or tranverse rod.

I gripped the lower bushing with a pair of offset slip-joint pliers, and gently worked it out. Then I inserted a socket on an extension into the idler bushing tube and tapped out the upper bushing.

I inserted the new upper bushing and 'pulled' it down as far as I could, then the lower one, and pushed it up until seated. Then the new bolt through the idler arm, spacer, and dust cap into the upper bush, through the lower bush, dust shield, and new locknut. Tightened, forcing the upper bushing to seat, then torqued to spec. Took about an hour total, taking it slow and easy.

Steve
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  #5  
Old 07-31-2001, 03:04 AM
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As an addendum to this job, I still wasn't satisfied with the handling having replaced the worn idler bushes and adjusted the toe. The car still pulled to the right, steering was rather stiff and numb when driving straight, and small side-to-side rocking motions still seemed to come from the back. all these effects were less pronounced than before, but still detracting from the 'Mercedes' feel.

With the car down on all fours, I rocked the wheels vigorously in various directions by hand. The fronts seemed to have a bit of vrtical play, which I think is strut wear, but I didn't think it was abnormal nor would cause the problem. The left rear wheel could not be moved this way, but the right rear could be rocked considerably fore and aft, when grasped at 9 and 3. Jacked up with the wheel off the ground, I couldn't replicate it, so I put the frame support on a stand, and jacked up the suspension spring support arm. Now there was considerable wobble in the 'track arm', due to a loose mounting locknut at the subframe attachment point. I tightened that to spec, took it for a test drive, and it tracks perfectly now, with no unsettling motions.

Steve
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  #6  
Old 07-31-2001, 04:00 PM
jfujimoto
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Aloha Steve,

Thanks a bunch for the replacement process of the bushings! Yep, it sounds very simple. The repair manual described how to access the idler arm by removing the drag link which, by the way, has a lot of play and might have to be replaced. I thought I had to remove the ball joints to get at the idler arm. I wasn't sure how to remove the ball joints without a puller. BTW, does your drag link have any play while the car's on the ground? Mine does. I'm aware of the "wandering rear" syndrome but it hasn't happened to my car...yet.

Thanks again for your help,

Jeff
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2001, 04:23 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by jfujimoto
[B]Aloha Steve,

BTW, does your drag link have any play while the car's on the ground? Mine does.

Jeff, the only lateral 'free-play' I diagnosed was the idler arm. With the new bushings, there is no feel of this, but there is some degree of wheel movement possible against resistance of the steering linkage. Very different feel than before, though you can see vertical deflection of the idler when this happens. Note that the engineering purpose of the rubber in the idler bushings is not just noise and shock isolation from the passenger compartment. They also absorb impact transmitted to the linkage, helping thus to reduce wear on the linkage pivot points. A small amount of flex is thus to be expected.

There is still a small amount of free-play when you grasp the top of the tire and shake in-and-out. This is from the strut, I believe, and I don't notice problems from this while driving.

Steve
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2001, 05:25 PM
jfujimoto
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Steve,

When I grasp the drag link and steering damper (as a unit), the ball joints pivot like crazy (fore and aft). Time for a new drag link?

Jeff
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2001, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jfujimoto
Steve,

When I grasp the drag link and steering damper (as a unit), the ball joints pivot like crazy (fore and aft). Time for a new drag link?

Jeff
Answering this remotely is a little tricky, Jeff. The ball joints are SUPPOSED to pivot radially about the center of the ball. This is what differentiates a ball joint from a single-axis rotating bearing surface. The important thing is whether you see displacement at the ball joint in the direction the linkage moves.

The best way to test this is to have the car on all fours, but arranged so there is room to get under it. E.g., up on ramps, with safety jackstands stategically placed. Else look under the car to get the best vantage point of each set of ball joints in the linkage.

With the engine off, have someone gently turn the steering wheel back and forth, just to the point resistance is felt - try to not actually turn the road wheels. Meanwhile, be examining the joints for signs that there is any movement of a linkage rod with NO corresponding movement of one attached by ball joint. This is freeplay. If the joints all pass this test, they are ok. If the idler arm moves up and down appreciably, the bushings need replacement. This should be done before making a final determination of linkage looseness.

Steve
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  #10  
Old 07-31-2001, 08:25 PM
jfujimoto
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Steve,

I'll double check the steering components tonight. Thanks for all the info!

Mahalo,

Jeff
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