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  #1  
Old 05-24-2016, 09:21 AM
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W123 Front Springs

Hello -- Ive noticed that pre-1980 W123 body mercedes tend to ride high in the front. At least my 280CE does. I've purchased new springs 1233213604. But I dont want to go through the hassle of swapping them out if its not going to fix the problem. These springs are listed for all the w123s, heavy diesel motors included. I dont have the weight of an AC compressor either. Maybe I should cut the springs and inch or two? Any thoughts please

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Old 05-24-2016, 12:01 PM
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Cutting springs is not safe.

However, if you can find the w123 shop manual online, you need to find page 23-010 Permissible combinations springs -- shock absorbers, or you can post the extension of your chassis number (123.133 is my '85 300D, for instance), and I can provide you with the correct part numbers.

Have you considered that your rear suspension might be sitting a bit low? I was at a show Saturday with a 300d turbo with 55,000 miles on it, and noticed that the rear seemed low - the rear fenders have a different arch to them than the fronts. My 300D also sits lower in the rear than I think it should, I plan to swap out the rear shocks shortly with a matching pair to the fronts to see if that helps. (well, and mostly to improve the ride quality a bit more)
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:05 PM
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Demothen, as far as I know ride height depends on the length of the springs. Older springs collapse a bit, so the vehicle will sit lower than when new. Shocks/struts dampen the vehicle motion, and determine how soft or stiff the vehicle rides.
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  #4  
Old 05-24-2016, 05:06 PM
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Springs can and do sag, but if I remember correctly from replacing my front shocks, they took a surprising amount of force to compress. This would indicate that the shocks have at least some amount of pressure in them that would make a difference to ride height. On other cars I have owned, the shocks were resistant to movement, but did not expand on their own, meaning they were 100% dampeners. Either way, its unlikely that the front springs have gotten taller with age, which means either the rear is sitting low, or the front springs have been swapped to a firmer set. If so, and if the OP can provide the chassis code for their car, or even the part number from the springs, we can help verify the correct fitment. A picture of the car or measurement of ride height at a known point might help, though I can only comapare to my diesel sedan.
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  #5  
Old 05-24-2016, 07:06 PM
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Hi there -- thanks for your help with this.

I did change out the rear springs for some off a 240D -- I think it was. The ride appears about right to me.

If I put stiffer springs in the back, would that bring the front down?

(I recently had a 1980 280CE and the front was much lower. But that was an automatic with AC.)

The VIN on the 1978 280CE (stick shift, no AC) is 123.053

And the new springs are stamped: 1233213604
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  #6  
Old 05-25-2016, 10:31 AM
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According to the chart I have, you should have spring 123321-(2104,2704,3604) so the spring you bought should work fine. Your rear springs should be 1233241504. Raising the rear wont really lower he front (aside from pitching the front down slightly). What I wws trying to point out is that these cars have a surprising amount of fender well open on the front, especially compares to a modern car on 18" wheels. You might be seeing that in comparison to the rears and thinking that its riding high in the front, when it might really be riding low in the rear.

I would check the front springs to see if they are one of the acceptable spring numbers before you swap them out. Unless they are springs for a heavier car, you arent going to lower the front by swapping new ones in
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:46 AM
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Yes I see what you mean. Not sure Ill be able to find the numbers on the existing springs so perhaps its best just to raise the rear! I could send a picture if you like
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:22 PM
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Post a picture if you want. You can also post a measurement at a fixed point (top of the fender well perhaps) and I can compare it to my 300d, though since my engine weighs...well, a lot, so my ride height might not have been comparable really. Honestly I would try to make sure your front is using the correct parts before you throw more money at the rears, though
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2016, 05:32 PM
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W123 Front Springs-img_20160519_140809.jpg
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  #10  
Old 05-25-2016, 10:49 PM
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That angle really doesnt tell me too much unfortunately...
Also, i just tried compressing a brand new bilstein shock for my car (rears, but that shouldnt matter). They do have a tendacy to expand once compressed, albeit without a huge amount of force - meaning bad rear ones might cause a little drop at the rear. If the car is on the springs, it doesnt take much force to move it an inch or so up.
I would still suggest that you pull the front springs if you have the tools to do so and check that they are original, if not swap the new ones you have in, then you can go forward from there.

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