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Old 08-20-2001, 11:40 PM
Posts: n/a
Post Misc. 87' 300SDL Repair Questions

Hi there. My family has a 1987 300SDL. [I just turned 16, I've been a mercedes nut for awhile though [So I tend to do most of the nit-picking]] Palamino exterior with tan interior. 168,893 on the odo [last check]. Love it, it's fantastic! I've noticed a few little problems that are bugging me, and I've been ignoring for awhile- I was hoping you guys could help me. [I'm probably being nit-picky on some of these, but I think you all know how that goes..

1. Steering seems to have excessive play. [E.g. When the car is sitting still [running, or off] i can turn the wheel back and forth for a few degrees before i feel it actually begin to turn the wheels. It's really noticeable at 60+mph, especially with a light wind. It makes staying within the lines fairly difficult. [Picture someone who's had too much to drink driving down the road]

2. I can hear a very high pitched squeal / squeak right as i start to apply the brakes, I think it's only coming from the right front wheel, but hard to tell. I'm pretty sure I can also hear it sometimes when I'm not using the brake.

3. How can I stop so much brake pad dust from accumulating on the front wheels? I've heard this happens on most mercedes because of the softer brake pads? Performance Products has a plastic disk that fits inbetween the wheel and the rotor that supposedly prevents so much dust from escaping and making it's home on the wheel.

4. How hard is it to replace a trunk seal?

5. I've never had my tires rotated, and it's definitely time. I was thinking I could do it myself. What is the pattern? Front to back? Diagonal?

6. The front overhead light flickers alot as if the switch contacts are dirty or otherwise. Should I take it apart and try to clean them myself? How do I get it out?

7. Has anyone put HID bulbs in their cars? How do they look? How much better do they work?

8. The a/c controls have started acting up lately. I'll press the O, and it will go off, and usually seconds later I hear it turn back on. Changing from maximum, auto, or minimum fan doesn't change that. Sometimes after holding the O switch down for a few seconds it will stay off, but it really seems to have a mind of it's own.

9. After washing the car, I'll open a door and some of the water from the seal, or chrome trim plate will drip onto the leather. It leaves spots, like the leather is very dirty. Is it hurting the leather? Should I clean it? [I know, I probably should anyways]

10. The rear of the car seems to be sagging a little. The wheels seem a little high in the wells when it's completely unloaded [except for fuel, of course]. Where do I measure to / from, and what is the height supposed to be?

Well. That's all I can think of right now. Thanks very much!

James Dalziel
Northern California

79' 240D
79' 300SD
87' 300SDL
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Old 08-21-2001, 10:06 PM
Posts: n/a
Views, but no posts.

Was it something I said? -- Lol. This seems like the third or fourth time this has happened. I'll ask a question [while this one is more like a short story] and it will go completely unanswered. Is there some decoder ring I'm missing? Am I a hopeless techno-weenie that doesn't have a hope or prayer? WHAT?!?

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Old 08-21-2001, 11:34 PM
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L' Résistance
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Republique de Banana
Posts: 3,483
I would suggest just raising 1 or 2 topics at a time. 10 at once is a bit overwhelming. Good luck.

2004 C240 Wagon 203.261 Baby Benz
2008 ML320 CDI Highway Cruiser
2006 Toyota Prius, Saving the Planet @ 48 mpg
2000 F-150, Destroying the Planet @ 20 mpg

And remember folks, Only You Can Prevent Hilliary.
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Old 08-22-2001, 01:23 AM
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#1- There have been a few posts on this recently, it's a common occurrence i think

#3- just deal with it. I had brake dust covers on my '88 420SEL, and they caused excessive brake fade, to the point I had trouble stopping at all. Do your best to keep 'em clean.

#6- To remove the light, push the entire assembly to the left (push fairly hard), and pull down on the right side. The owner's manual says to push to the right, but I found it easier the other way.

#8- A/C work is expensive. That's all I can say.

#9- Just dry it off, I think it's just a design flaw, mine does it on the drivers door.

#10- Can't tell you the measurement, but I think the only fix for that is new springs. Common problem, I see it a lot on 126's.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-22-2001, 04:22 AM
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Thanks a bunch for those answers. Yes, I do realize 10 was a bit overwhelming for most, but I was hoping people would just offer advice on one or two.

Thanks Again,
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Old 08-22-2001, 11:31 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Tampa, Florida, USA
Posts: 214
These are just general answers since I'm not terribly familiar with any of the body styles other than W123 like my and your 240Ds.

#1. You can probably adjust the steering box. Like BigPimpin mentioned, it's a relatively commonly discussed topic. Also, changing power steering fluid and filter is a pretty easy task and should be done if you don't know when it was last done, especially if steering makes any noise or doesn't feel smooth.

#2. Have you checked pad wear? Who did the last brake job? Are they real Mercedes pads or those awful "lifetime" pads? I've had bad experiences with so-called "lifetime" pads on my W123 240D. If you're extremely concerned about the noise, you could take the brake pads off, clean the calipers and pads thoroughly with brake cleaner, apply brake quiet to the backs of the pads, and reinstall them. Or, you could wait until you need new pads then make sure everything is clean and the new pads have Brake Quiet on them before installing them. Make sure to get Mercedes pads.

#3. I've never used Kleen Wheels, but others say they work as advertised. Your only concern might be excess heat due to decreased ventilation at the brakes.

#4. Have the new seal and some Weatherstrip Adhesive (3M or Mercedes) on hand. Rip out the old seal, scraping as much out of the seal seating track as possible with a *plastic* (not metal) scraper. Clean the track thoroughly with 3M adhesive remover. Apply weatherstrip compound to the track and/or new seal as directed on the package. Carefully place new seal. (this works for my W123 240D, might be different for yours)

#5. Hmm, perhaps check the "Wheels & Tires" forum or your owner's manual. If the tires have directional tread (look carefully on the sidewall for an arrow) then they may ONLY be rotated front to back. If you rotate them diagonally then you'll reverse the tread, which could have unpredictable results ranging from erratic handling to tires self-destructing. Or, your car might operate normally but when you drive with the tires on backwards, the earth begins to rotate backwards like in that Superman movie where he reverses time to save Lois Lane... anyway, you get the idea. Check for directional tread before rotating.

#6. I removed and cleaned my dome light which was doing the same thing. It was hard to disassemble and reassemble - took about 2 hours for the whole job - but has worked fine ever since.

#7. You might look for Hella replacement bulbs, which legitimately improve your lighting but are somewhat expensive. Please avoid those tinted blue bulbs; they're ugly, ricey, and illegal in some areas sine they don't provide as much illumination as normal bulbs.

#8. The pushbutton A/C controls in the later W123 body styles are notoriously finicky (i.e. they break). You may or may not have the same pushbutton system. I luckily have the manual climate controls.. sorry, I can't help with this one.

#9. Check the "Detailing" forum for leather cleaning. Also take note of David C Klasse's problem with Lexol:
Leather Painting

I have MBTex seats with sheepskin covers. It occasionally drips in the same way but I'm not terribly concerned about it.

#10. Sorry, don't know. Springs don't last forever and can begin to sag after many years. However, springs aren't an easy DIY changeout job: a compressed spring of this nature holds a LOT of energy and can potentially maim or kill a person if handled improperly. Your best choices are to ignore it (like many of us do), have a pro check it out if you're really concerned about it, or just tell all your friends that it's lowered. Slammin!!

Good luck,

- Nathan
'83 240D "Steiner"
'00 New Beetile TDI
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Old 08-22-2001, 11:50 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Los Angeles, Calif, USA
Posts: 521
Re: Misc. 87' 300SDL Repair Questions

Q #1. Steering seems to have excessive play. ....... It makes staying within the lanes fairly difficult.

Ans: Some steering play is acceptable. I believe the spec is 3/4 ". But difficult staying in lanes is not normal, many reasons: such as, toe-out, tie-rod ends, steering shock, ball joints, gear box, tires, idler arm, steering mounts, etc.

Q #5. I've never had my tires rotated, and it's definitely time. I was thinking I could do it myself. What is the pattern? Front to back? Diagonal?

Ans: For 4 tire rotation, if you do it every 5000 miles, cross-rotate to the drive axle. In your case (rear drive model), right front to left rear, left front to right rear, left rear to left front, and right rear to right front. But if the tires have been on the same left or right side for long time, do not cross-rotate. Just switch the front and rear on the same side.

Q #10. The rear of the car seems to be sagging a little. The wheels seem a little high in the wells when it's completely unloaded [except for fuel, of course]. Where do I measure to / from, and what is the height supposed to be?

Ans: I do not have the spec with me. I cannot tell you how to measure the height at this time. The cheap way to fix it is to use the spring spacers. I once used a rubber ring insert on a non-MB car. It worked well. But if it is too big or too high for you, use the tiny metal insert instead. You do not need a big insert to correct the sagging, just need the right size. The expensive way to do it is to replace the springs and/or put in correct size of spring pad (if any).

Your parents should be proud of you being a MB fan at such young age.

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Old 08-23-2001, 02:21 AM
Posts: n/a

Thanks again!

This is definately one of my top 10 most visited sites, probably number one lately. [Hopefully going to get a 190e 2.3-16v in the next few months for a first car] -- Anyone noticed that most teenagers want mustangs? [At least around here] A lot of people just don't seem to realize that you can get a REALLY nice used mercedes for the same price, or in many cases much less than a mustang, or whatever.

My parents /should/ be proud. However, neither my mother nor father care too much about cars. They're very much of the mindset "It gets you from point a to b" which is completely true. I agree somewhat, but why not do it better, safer, and cheaper [in the long run]. That said, I'm really looking forward to taking the 16v to the cruise / other gatherings.

This next part is a ramble [not that the above wasn't].

In some ways I think I'm really into MB's because my grandfather was. He died when I was four months old, but my father told me of the three or four times they flew to europe and picked up a brand new MB. [Our '79 300sd is the last one my grandfather picked up from the factory] How people would crowd around the 6.3 they picked up at gas stations while the hood was put up. Ah, memories. :p

--[End Ramble]--

Anyways, thanks a bunch-
Sorry about the ramble-

James Dalziel
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