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Old 05-26-2002, 08:19 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 40
Struts R&R

Hello there,

I have an 86 2.3-16 with 190K miles. It's time to have the struts replace because they show some leakage and uneven worn tires. I have done a few of these jobs on Japanese cars but never on Mercedes. Is there any special tooling I need to perform this job? I do have a set of spring compressor. Any heads up will be appreciated.

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Old 05-28-2002, 02:09 PM
csnow's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
I'm surprised you got no response to your post.
Everyone must have been working on their cars. I was...

I just did this job on my '86 300E.
I'm pretty certain your suspension is very similar, because several of the parts have the same listing numbers.

2 point control arm, separate spring and strut. (Not the typical Japanese MacPherson Strut arrangement)

Ignore my post if I am way off.

If I am on the right track, I do have some suggestions.

1) The spring is difficult to remove with the standard bolt-with-hooks compressor. This is not really the right tool. Front side is ok, but access to the rear side of spring is poor. I managed to get the 1st side out and back with great difficulty. For the other side, I decided not to remove the spring at all. I simply compressed the spring into the upper mount until pressure was released from the control arm. Just make really sure the hooks have a good grip on the mount, because you will be working around a compressed spring. This is inherently dangerous. Do not sue me. I put a big c-clamp across both upper hooks to make absolutely sure they could not pop off if bumped. Renting or buying a better spring compressor(the type with arms that reach in) is advised.

2) At 190K miles, which is where I was at too, it would be best to expect that the balljoints are toast. This is why I dug into mine in the first place. Your 190 has exactly the same balljoints as my 300E. They were about $19 each at Importec. There is little point in going through the work of replacing the struts without doing the balljoints. Both should last 100K+ miles, so why take it apart again anytime sooner...

3) My Control Arm bushings were also shot. If you decide to replace them (again, cheap insurance), buy all 4 Eccentric bolts at the same time. I had to cut some of mine to get them off, and even the ones that came out were substantially worn. Your car has the same bolts as mine. They are about $8 each X4. I did not buy them in advance, which left my car up on stands until the following weekend. None of my local MB dealers stocked the part.
Before unbolting, mark the position of the eccentric bolt heads. I used spray paint, and let it dry. This will keep your camber/caster settings close enough to safely drive to the alignment shop when you are done.

4) You might consider replacing your swaybar bushings at the same time, since you will have to detach the bar anyways. These are typically very cheap, and do not last nearly as long as struts.

5) When buying struts (Bilsteins suggested), they probably will not include the bump stops or dust cover boot, so remember to order those as well.

I did a brake job an repacked the bearings at the same time. I should have done this stuff some other weekend to keep the scope of work more manageable.

Hope that helps- Best of luck.
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Old 05-28-2002, 04:38 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 40
Smile Nice to hear from someone


It's very nice of you to put all that good infos. I'm sure that your advices will be very helpful. I really do appreciate that you take take your time and write them all down for me.
I will order every things you mentioned and have them ready before I start the job.
The wheel bearings and rotos were replaced about 1kmiles ago.

Once again thanks a bunch.
2.3-16 one the bests
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