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  #1  
Old 07-15-2010, 03:33 PM
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w124 steering self centering

I've searched a bit here and found no real exact problem and possible solutions.

I had my W124 300TE in for inspection today to see if it is worth fixing it up and keeping it. One of the failures where that the steering will not (or is very slow) to return to center while driving.

What could cause this? I think I have learned that there is some sort of a steering damper. Maybe this could have such effect? Could it be the steering box that causes this?

Hopefully it is something that isn't too expensive.

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  #2  
Old 07-15-2010, 05:03 PM
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4Matic car?
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  #3  
Old 07-15-2010, 06:45 PM
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It sounds like there is some resistance in the steering. The steering damper could be rusted (seals leaked, got water in after oil got out), or it could be seizing ball-joints (failure is dangerous).
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  #4  
Old 07-15-2010, 07:47 PM
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It'll probably come back to worn components in the end, but my understanding is that if the adjustment screw on the steering box is too tight it'll reduce self-centering.

But...people adjust the screw to compensate for wear, sometimes in the steering box itself (i.e. too "loose" at center due to wear in the Pitman gear) and sometimes in other components.

A thorough inspection of the steering components is in order. If they all look good, you might consider loosening the adjustment screw to assist with self-centering. It may make your steering sloppier than you like.

I'm assuming you've already looked at the basics, like fluid level, P/S pump belt condition, fluid condition, etc.
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  #5  
Old 07-15-2010, 08:39 PM
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It's none of the things already mentioned. Check front end alignment, specifically the caster. Even if there is something else "off" with the car, the caster can be adjusted to compensate and get you past the inspector. You want lots of "positive" caster. You can go more positive than the specs call for and there will be no ill effect. This is a common trick racers use all the time to get better handling and road feel.
Regards, Eric
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  #6  
Old 07-15-2010, 09:37 PM
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Sorry Eric, but I've had both of the above cause this symptom. Alignment can be a factor, but I'm not sure that the caster has much adjustment on this (strut) car.
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  #7  
Old 07-15-2010, 10:51 PM
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The OP will have to let us know what the cause is when he finds it.
Regards, Eric
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89 300E "Benzer1" 15.924 Uncorrected
93 400E "Benzer3" 14.200 U.C.
95 E420 "Benzer4"
92 300E "Benzer5" 16.299 U.C. Future turbo CNG
87 300D "Benzer7"
87 300D "Benzer8"
87 300D "Benzer9"
87 300D/70 AMC Javelin "Sidewinder-Benzer"
87 300TD "Benzer11"
06 E320 CDI "Benzer12"
05 E320 CDI "Benzer12A"
71 AMC Javelin AMX 401 "Sidewinder"
74 AMC Hornet 401 "C.K.10" 13.63 U.C.
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2010, 04:54 AM
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OR let us know if it's a 4Matic car, because if it is, those things drive like tanks anyways and it's normal.

Gilly
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  #9  
Old 07-16-2010, 05:06 AM
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Yeah, we've all given our best guesses. Now he's gonna have to figure out which one it is. (Pssst: It's the too much negative caster guess.)
Regards, Eric
__________________
89 300E "Benzer1" 15.924 Uncorrected
93 400E "Benzer3" 14.200 U.C.
95 E420 "Benzer4"
92 300E "Benzer5" 16.299 U.C. Future turbo CNG
87 300D "Benzer7"
87 300D "Benzer8"
87 300D "Benzer9"
87 300D/70 AMC Javelin "Sidewinder-Benzer"
87 300TD "Benzer11"
06 E320 CDI "Benzer12"
05 E320 CDI "Benzer12A"
71 AMC Javelin AMX 401 "Sidewinder"
74 AMC Hornet 401 "C.K.10" 13.63 U.C.
74 Bricklin SV1 "Presto" AMC 360 pwrd.
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  #10  
Old 07-16-2010, 09:34 AM
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I can't say for all 4matics, mine was a '91 TE, but from new until I sold it at 119,000miles it self-centered quite well.
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  #11  
Old 07-16-2010, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful tips. I will have a looksie under and see if I can spot anything off.

Its not a 4matic though. But it has been sitting for 1.5+ years so I guess the ball joints might have seized up or rusted a bit is very plausible. Also I noticed the car wanted to tug either left or right - following grooves in the road so I had to compensate quite often to keep it straight. Alignment came to mind. I had a 200 mile trip to clear off rust on the brake discs before the inspection.

Anyways, it seems it shouldn't be too costly if it's just regular old worn parts and not something serious like the steering box. Which by the way hasn't been tampered with as far as I know.

Thanks again folks! I will see what I can find out tomorrow when I poke around under there and post back.
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  #12  
Old 07-16-2010, 06:51 PM
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Since it's not a 4matic, my first guess would be a tight idler arm or worn out idler arm bushes. Especially if it's been sitting, as you say.
Gilly
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  #13  
Old 07-17-2010, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amuso View Post
Also I noticed the car wanted to tug either left or right - following grooves in the road so I had to compensate quite often to keep it straight. Alignment came to mind.
That description makes me think it's either too much toe in or too much toe out. Someone could have hit a curb or something and knocked it just a little off which would be enough to cause this.
Regards, Eric
__________________
89 300E "Benzer1" 15.924 Uncorrected
93 400E "Benzer3" 14.200 U.C.
95 E420 "Benzer4"
92 300E "Benzer5" 16.299 U.C. Future turbo CNG
87 300D "Benzer7"
87 300D "Benzer8"
87 300D "Benzer9"
87 300D/70 AMC Javelin "Sidewinder-Benzer"
87 300TD "Benzer11"
06 E320 CDI "Benzer12"
05 E320 CDI "Benzer12A"
71 AMC Javelin AMX 401 "Sidewinder"
74 AMC Hornet 401 "C.K.10" 13.63 U.C.
74 Bricklin SV1 "Presto" AMC 360 pwrd.
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  #14  
Old 07-17-2010, 07:59 AM
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This could be toe, front or rear, or any loose steering/suspension component front or rear.

Sounds like you need to lift the car and check the suspension bushings. Front control arm bushings, tie-rod ends, link bushings, steering box play, rear suspension bushings/links, rear sub-frame bushings.

Unfortunately, the car following ruts in the road can be caused by many different problems and it is best to go through and find any looseness as an alignment is pretty much useless until the suspension is tight.
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  #15  
Old 07-17-2010, 10:15 PM
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Oh, and yes it does have a steering damper which could easily be removed as a test to make sure that this isn't the problem. But I've never seen one make the steering tight.

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