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  #1  
Old 08-30-2016, 12:23 PM
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W124 '95 Cabrio alignment problems

Hello,
I have a problem with aligning the front end on our '95 W124 Cabrio. I put new (used) wheels and tires on the car going front 15" oem to 16" CLK wheels. (note: tires are the same diameter 25") After installing them the car pulls to the right constantly. Granted tires could be bad. However! The problem the shop had was they could not get the caster to +10 on either side. Only to +8. The toe was ok, camber slightly under. They looked over the suspension and did not see any "failed" parts. They alluded to worn struts or strut mounts.

I have searched the forum and learned of the spreader bar requirement for toe. I will check with the shop to find out if they used one. Would this affect caster? I wouldn't think so.
Is there a certain order the alignment process needs to be done?

We have only had the car a few months and this is the first alignment. the car did not pull before changing out the wheels and tires. I do not have previous alignment records to know if this is an old problem.

All ideas and help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Brian

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  #2  
Old 08-31-2016, 01:54 PM
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Brian,

Those Continentals ran straight and true when they were on my cabrio 3 months ago.

Try swapping front to rear to eliminate any doubt about the wheels and/or tires.

Jim
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  #3  
Old 09-01-2016, 09:31 AM
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72junky, recommend having the alignment done by a MB Service Department. Their techs will know how to do it properly, and they will have the proper tools.
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  #4  
Old 09-09-2016, 12:27 PM
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Hello Jim and Fred,

Thank you both for responding. Sorry, for not replying sooner, was out of town.
Jim,
I did rotate the tires to see if it would make a difference, but, it still pulls. I think we should have marked the tires when we removed them. It could be they are on the opposite sides of the car now and have developed a tracking "memory".
Fred,
Thanks for the advise. The independent I used is familiar with MB's and has the tools. He doesn't work on a lot of them, but, has in the past. He was perplexed why the caster would not come into spec. I will discuss with the Stellarship my options.

If anyone else has any experience with setting caster problems on W124s I would appreciate your info.

Brian

For now, I think I will remount my old 15"s and see if there is a change.
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2016, 01:44 PM
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what is the condition of the ball joints and the arm bushings?

you dont always need the spreader bar for alignment. it basically mimicks road load and spreads the wheels apart from the front. It was useful on old optical machines or hanging alignment. The new hunter machines are great and if the operator is sharp they can do it quite easily without the bar.
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2016, 02:16 PM
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Zulfiqar,

I was told they were ok. I have not had time to check myself, but, on this weekend's "to do" list. The shop just updated to a Bosch system still using the Hunter drive on rack. They really like it, but, one interesting note I just thought of... they said they had to go into a Canadian database to get the alignment data for the car. Makes me now wonder if it was setup with the right info. Wonder if they used a sedan vs. cabrio. I have painfully found there were many changes made between the '93/'94/'95 models years. this one has the biggest brakes of the 3. maybe there were some geometry differences also. don't know...
Brian
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Old 09-09-2016, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72junky View Post
Zulfiqar,

I was told they were ok. I have not had time to check myself, but, on this weekend's "to do" list. The shop just updated to a Bosch system still using the Hunter drive on rack. They really like it, but, one interesting note I just thought of... they said they had to go into a Canadian database to get the alignment data for the car. Makes me now wonder if it was setup with the right info. Wonder if they used a sedan vs. cabrio. I have painfully found there were many changes made between the '93/'94/'95 models years. this one has the biggest brakes of the 3. maybe there were some geometry differences also. don't know...
Brian
There is some difference in the sportline cars due to being lower and also some differences when the drag link design changed in the W124,

The caster had a little change too, it was 9 degrees 55 minutes compared to 10 degrees 10 minutes of the older W124s. The turn caster is also slightly different.

You can get the correct data from W124-zone.com and take it with you to the shop, the correct way to do alignment on this car easily is to follow three steps

1 set toe to zero
2 set caster and camber
3 set toe

when setting the camber and caster it is vital to set the toe to zero if it moves, The camber will be thrown off if the toe is not set to zero, the final toe in is done last.

caster being maxed at 8 degrees usually means that your wheels are pushed back - this can mean the car has some frame damage or the ball joints and the control arm bushings are shot. To test the ball joints you will need to jack up the car from the control arm and lever the ball joint, by design they are under a pull tension and always show up perfectly tight by eyeballing or wrestling (its held tight from the loco grade suspension spring you see)

OR

the person doing the alignment was not measuring it correct or the reflectors hanging off the wheels were knocked loose or were hanging. The original tool to align german cars is a 5 prong unit which fits into the 5 little holes you see on your rim, you will notice these same holes in BMW, VW and Audi cars too. The tool contacts the hub/rotor and is locked into place so vibration cannot upset it. (not many shops have that tool)
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  #8  
Old 09-09-2016, 04:46 PM
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I was going to weigh in on this until I got to your words that are quoted below. . . . Fail . . even though the spelling looks to be incorrect for your intended description.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 72junky View Post
I will discuss with the Stellarship my options.
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  #9  
Old 09-14-2016, 08:16 AM
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Zulfiqar,

Thank you for this this info. I know the shop's new Bosch alignment machine was clapped on the bead, I was there when they were finishing up. This could be a definite problem. I will discuss with them today if they have the 5 point mounting system. However, this equipment does not use the old style beam and reflector method. each wheel has a transponder that sends the data back to the center via wireless. In thinking about what I just wrote, makes me wonder, what would happen with a bent rim... Hmmm... If not, on to another shop. I will review with them the W124-zone spec sheet. This could have also been part of the problem, wrong data geometry. Another could be... new machine and lack of practice.
Unfortunately, I did not have time over the weekend to work on the car due it becoming a John Deere repair weekend instead, the grass never stops growing. I will do the inspection ball joint as you outlined this coming weekend and see if they are worn.

Thanks again!

Brian

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