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  #16  
Old 11-04-2001, 04:05 PM
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Location: oregon
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26 hundred for a steering box! what's labor a thousand dollard an hour.I can get a rebuilt steering box for my SD from FastLane for less than 6 hundred ,looks to me than any front end man could do the job in a couple of hours, But then maybe the repair price " scare "is why we can buy these wonderfull older cars for less than than the price of a worn out Ford Tarus......
William Rogers.....
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  #17  
Old 11-04-2001, 08:16 PM
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Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
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blaubenz_mb;

I do not think the different style of weights you have on the tires can adversely affect the handling. At high speed if tire balance was the source of your instability problem you would also note a pretty serious vibration.

I also wonder how the steering box can be causing your car to handle improperly at higher speed as you have not described a steering play issue at any speed. Typically play in the steering box is apparent at all speeds, and can be checked with the car in the driveway. Have someone turn the wheel while you watch the input shaft move and compare its motion with that of the steering arm on the output side. If there is a big "delay" while the input shaft turns to take up slop in the steering box before the output arm starts to move, then the box is loose. I have had good luck improving this condition on my older cars by flushing the power steering system and putting in a new filter, then tightening up the steering box with the adjustment nut on the top.

As was noted in the earlier posts in this thread, high speed instability is not a characteristic of Mercedes-Benz automobiles. In fact the opposite is true, it is one of the pleasures of driving one of these cars. So if you are experiencing a loss of high speed stability there is probably a suspension system problem. I would start looking at the shocks, as when they begin to degrade the tires and the suspension system are not held in the design location for the typical loads they encounter. The next thing would be bushings and other rubber parts as they degrade and loose the ability to constrain the motion of the wheels under loads. And out of balance tires can bring out the worst of all these by swinging the tire off the ground at high speeds. This is usually apparent though as the car will vibrate.

Replacing the steering box, especially at the price you were quoted, is not where I would start this quest. Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #18  
Old 11-05-2001, 01:44 PM
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JimSmith--

Thanks for the info. After reviewing the previous owner's service records, I think you might be right. Two years and 30,000 miles ago, the previous owner changed the shock absorbers. Shortly thereafter he took it in to have the front suspension check, I guess it was vibrating. The mechanic thought that it was belt separation?-- due to bad shocks? He had the front tires replaced. When I took it in for a for a pre-purchase inspection, everything checked out except the gearbox, which at the time they thought it only needed to be adjusted.

A few months ago, I did have the steering gearbox adjusted a few months ago by the dealer. It really did not help much. My problem starts about 60 mph when the car seems to be "blown about". On a day when there is a small amount of wind, the car seems as it is floating left and right-not the most comforting feeling. The instability is more lateral than fore/aft. I thought that it was more steering... Sometimes when I drive over bumpy roads, (20 mph) I hear a small "squeak" when the vehicle hits a bump. It seems to come from the passenger's side front tire area. Could this be the cause of my problem?

The car has a delayed response in turning. Although, I have not checked the input and output shafts--I will do that soon. During extreme turning positions (U turns, roundabouts, ect) I can feel the "excessive play at the left and right 'full' turn positions" The more I turn the wheel the less the car seems to turn. I rarely need to make utilize the full turn radius of my car... so this is not a concern for me.

After searching the archives I came across this Can't cure your loose wandering steering problem, read this! although my 190e 2.6 is a not exactly a 280 does it have of these?
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  #19  
Old 11-06-2001, 01:26 AM
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blaubenz_mb,

The belt separation that was noted by the mechanic is the circumferential belt that forms part of the tire internal structure. When this structural element loses its bond to the adjacent structural elements the tire expands due to centrifugal loading at high speeds in an uneven fashion, making the tire go out of round. This is a characteristic of a poorly designed and manufactured tire in my opinion, caused by the engineering approach favoring lighter weight over robustness, or using new, unproven manufacturing methods. When this happens it is approximately the equivalent of a metal fatigue failure, except it is in the complex structural composite of a tire. Anyway, I do not use Pirelli tires anymore as I found them unusually prone to this kind of failure. My 1986 190E 2.3-16 came with Pirelli P600's (Z rated) and they suffered a belt separation within a year and 12,000 miles. I spent quite a bit of time at 80 mph and higher, which made the condition intolerable. The tires would balance ok on a machine in a shop where they may spin at 35 to 45 mph, but on the car at 70 they would start to shake. After trying a number of brands and performance levels of tires, I have settled on Michelin Pilot XGT-4 types in an appropriate speed rating for each car (H, V or Z) and have never had this kind of problem again.

Back to your problem. You do have the same kinds, or equivalent parts in your steering as the 280. And I have changed a number of these bits and parts before to correct play in the steering. The difference between play and floating however is probably the key to figuring out what your problem is.

With the car running and the emergency brake on, or the transmission in Park, set the wheels in the straight ahead position. Then turn the wheel one direction until you feel resistance, and back the other way until you feel resistance. In a car with a tight steering box and linkage, this should be approximately one quarter to half an inch of circumferential travel. Mercedes allows up to an inch before they consider the play excessive.

With the alignment within specs, and properly functioning shocks, play in the steering is readily distinguished from the floating issue. The car will still track in a straight line, you just have a no "on-center" feel with excessive play. When you go through the inch of play, it almost feels like the steering wheel is not connected to anything. Once you take up the play though, the steering should feel quite normal, until you get into a cross wind or a change of road camber that requires that you quickly turn in the other direction and go through the dead zone again. This condition is apparent at all speeds. Is this one of your problems? To see if it is in the steering box or the rest of the steering links, you need to check the steering wheel motion into the box vs. the steering arm motion coming out of the box. There should be only a few degrees of free rotation of the steering wheel input shaft before the output starts to move.

I am not familiar with the action you describe as you get to the end of the extreme left or right turning capability of the car. I have never experienced such a condition, or I may be misunderstanding what you meant. I believe you are saying the rate of steering response to turning the wheel lessens as you approach the end of travel in each direction. I do not think this is built into the geometry of the steering system, so if it is happening, it might be related to the power steering pump performance. Dirty fluid can clog the filter, starve the pump, and, until you turn the wheel fast you will not notice the effects. The filter and fluid should be changed/flushed before you attempt to adjust the steering box.

The causes of floating as I have experienced it are related to a combination of misalignment, tire unbalance, weak shock absorbers, and worn steering hardware that maintains the correct geometrical relationship of the front wheels as they are steered through the turn. A good inspection by an alignment specialist should uncover any of these issues. If you have worn steering links and bushings, or rear links and bushings, you will not be able to align the car and get repeatable measurements. A good technician will examine the front end before he starts the job, and will take readings after turning the wheel each way before tackling the adjustment features with a wrench.

Sorry to be so long winded, but my 190E 2.3-16 has over 200,000 miles, and with regular power steering fluid/filter changes, and two sets of front shocks (the first ones were under warranty from the dealer in Germany) the steering is wonderfully tight and the car fun to drive. Jim
__________________
Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #20  
Old 11-06-2001, 06:44 PM
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This is exactly how my old 87 300E felt when the various links in the rear suspension wore out. Parts are over $300 in the Fast Lane, probably $450 at the dealer for all 4 links and kits on both sides. I believe that labor was over $600. If you're handy, it might turn out to be a DIY job.
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  #21  
Old 11-06-2001, 06:51 PM
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I second what Bob just wrote.

Do a search on this forum for "Floating 300E", thrust arms, etc. (the various rear suspension pieces back there) and you'll find a wealth of information which will likely relate directly to your particular set of symptoms.

The first time my 300E sidestepped on an off-ramp which I entered hot scared the physiological waste out of me. Until I had the problem cured, it was the last time I went into a corner with any real speed.
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1988 Mercedes 300TE
Hers:
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  #22  
Old 11-06-2001, 07:06 PM
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Posts: 17
Hey there,

My 1987 300tdt (w124) has same high speed "floating" on highway. My local mechanic is going to replace control arm bushings and the front ball joints and tie rods due to bad wear.
Hopefully this should help.
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  #23  
Old 11-07-2001, 03:42 PM
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Thanks for all the info!! I did set up a service on Monday with a local independent Mercedes mechanic to have the problem looked at. He wants to first do an alignment and then check the suspension parts. I have a good feeling about this. He feels that the problem might be coming from the rear of the car... contrary to the front, which is what I had previously thought. I will keep you posted. Thanks!
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  #24  
Old 11-07-2001, 07:23 PM
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Location: Gainesville FL
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Just to throw a wrench in the works, I have fixed numerous problem cars (cars aligned and worked on numerous places), that had their steering boxes tightened to tight. It causes a wandering sensation as you are constantly correcting that which the car should do itself. Improperly installed ball joints will do similar.

I mention this because you said the box was adjusted. It is very hard to adjust a box on the car and it should only be done by someone with gobs of experience. If you hadn't mentioned that I would have went with all the other good input about the rear links.

If you have the box problem it can get by a lot of people. If you mention the possibility it should be easy for them to verify as they do the alignment.
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Continental Imports
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  #25  
Old 11-15-2001, 11:40 AM
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First, thanks for the help! I got my car back from the shop and I am pleased to say that it's fixed! It's a wonderful little Benz! On Monday the shop checked out the car's suspension and and found two things wrong: 1. The wheel bearing needed to be adjusted. 2. The idler arm bushings needed to be replaced. They adjusted the wheel bearing on Monday, but they didn't have the kit so they had to order that. Tuesday, I drove the car and I could tell that it felt better, but the "floating" was still there. After the kit arrived they replaced those as well. That cured the problem. The cost for the bushing kit was around $42.00 with the labour (including the wheel bearing adjustment) was around $93.00.

Again, the problem was in any sort of of crosswind, at speeds in excess of 100 kph the car felt as if it was unstable by being blown left and right.

I hope this helps!
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