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  #1  
Old 05-30-2002, 12:38 AM
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changing struts...

Hey everyone! Alright, I need help with my 92 300E. I was checking the manual about changing the struts on my car, and it said I had to use a spring compressor up front when I do the work? Is this true? Is there some way of getting around using a spring compressor? I say this because I don't have a mercedes spring compressor, or any compressor for that matter... any help pertaining to changing the struts and shocks would be greatly appreciated....
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2002, 12:50 AM
NoDubs
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In my experience, I would advise to ALWAYS use a spring compressor when changing struts. It is extremely dangerous not to, not for the car but for YOU. You could be killed if done incorrectly.

If the car has MacPherson Struts, then there is a compressor designed specifically to decompress. This tool can be rented pretty much anywhere for like $10/day. It is pretty self explanatory too.

I have never changed the struts on a benz, but I have on all my VWs. I hope I provided some insight.
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2002, 01:26 AM
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Despite NoDubs good intent, your 300E springs do not need to be compressed in order to remove and replace your front struts (shocks) -- they are both independent of each other, not the MacPherson type as I suppose are found on VW's.

3 bolts hold the front shocks in place on the bottom portion, one 22 mm bolt up top in the engine bay. To access the shock easier, turn the wheel for clearer access around the brake rotor/caliper.

This is a very easy DIY job, even for a woman. (sorry )

~Paul

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  #4  
Old 05-30-2002, 09:34 AM
1992300e
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Hi

I have a 1992 300e and am in the middle of doing the same thing. I removed the lower a-arm without a spring compresor and almost killed myself. The spring, even with the suspesion fully unloaded was under a lot of tension with the strut still attached. I would consider using a spring compresor, I would be concerned that as you unbolt the strut the spindle assembly (steering knuckle) is gonna come down fast as the spring decompresses.

I hope this helps and I am accurate, all I know is when I pulled out those a-arm bolts that spring really let go, honestly lucky I did not get hurt.

Good luck,
Joel
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2002, 10:03 AM
Potomac German Auto
 
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I have to side w/ pmizell on this one. I have swapped out struts on both a 190 and 300E w/o using a compression tool. As long as it is done in the proper order it is completely safe, keeping in mind that I had access to a lift. However, if you have never done this b 4 I would say rent a tool or have someone w/ more experience give you a hand. Good luck
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2002, 01:13 PM
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Danger?
I did this job last week, and I cannot even imagine how it could be done without compressing the spring. Even if you could get it apart without getting hurt when the spring breaks loose, how would you ever get it back together again?
Even at full travel, there is still an enormous amount of pressure on the control arm.
I'm going to assist a friend with the same job soon, so I am genuinely curious...
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2002, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Even at full travel, there is still an enormous amount of pressure on the control arm.
That is what a jack stand is for. You place it underneath the contol arm for support. In conjunction with the jackstand, use the jack to lift/lower the vehicle as needed to get strut arm clear of strut mount.

I will repeat Pat's statement: if you've never done this before, then it's probably best to rent a tool or have someone with more experience assist you. However, I had never done it before and found it pretty straightforward, FWIW.

YMMV.

Good luck!

~Paul

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  #8  
Old 05-30-2002, 01:25 PM
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and the rear springs?

I need to change out the spring collars ( the big rubber dudes). Any suggestions on an easy way to change these out?
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2002, 01:29 PM
Potomac German Auto
 
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If you loosen the inside lower control arm bolts (2)-(24mm i think). Then and only then with the weight on the wheels remove the 22mm bolt the holds the strut in place. From this point raise the vehicle so that the pressure from the springs is slowly released. Otherwise you will take your head off. At this point w/ the control arm loose and all your wires disconnected. (wheel speed sensors & ABS sensors) swing the complete assembly down and voila !!! This in no means is how it is done properly or is it intended to tell you how to do it, this is just my humble opinion if you are in a pinch.
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1994 E500 (MY SUNDAY DRIVER)
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1997 C230
2002 ML320
2000 BMW 528I (WIFEY'S CAR)

"Excuses are crutches for the unfounded."
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  #10  
Old 05-30-2002, 02:00 PM
1992300e
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Spring collars

Just be carefull of the spring, they are strong and heavy and if anything slips (jack stand or control arm if unbolted) that spring can go any which way it wants to.

Be cautious, just did this last week almost got per-twanged by the spring as my jack slipped from under the control arm.

Good luck,
Joel

PS> Most of these guys have a lot more experience than me, I've done this work a bunch of times on my Nissan, this is my first experience with a Mercedes. I was surprised at how loaded the spring was even with the car completely suspended by jack stands.
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  #11  
Old 05-30-2002, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for the ideas...

Thanks for the idea of using the weight of the car to my advantage. Seems obvious now...
I too have much more experience with MacPherson struts, where you always have to remove the springs...

As stated, I can see how if you are not interesting in removing the control arm itself, you could simply leave the spring in place, and under compression (with some of the weight of the car remaining on it), and still be able to replace the struts and the balljoints. This is a great shortcut.

If you actually wanted to remove the spring (no choice, my bushings were toast), I would be concerned that the spring might pop out of its mounting on the control arm end before the pressure was entirely released, due to the severe angle. A solid clamping to the arm could prevent this perhaps, but spring compressors would still be safer.

The hardest part of this job for me was removing and installing the springs with my standard bolt-type compressors. The biggest problem here is that only a short segment of the spring is accessable for clamping, so it is difficult to compress it enough to remove and install it.
Since my friend's control arms really do have to come out for new bushings, this will be the modified technique when we do this on his 300E next week:

1) Place jack under control arm and lift until all possible weight is on it. Lift fairly high- you will need extra downward travel later.
2) Place jack stands under frame (for safety-weight stays on jack for now).
3) Attach spring compressors (the cheap bolt-type are only about $10), and tighten just until taught. This way, the spring pressure will release before it is fully-extended, which should be both safer and easier.
4) Loosen eccentric bolts (control arm to frame), but leave in place for now.
5) Remove bolt that clamps steering knuckle onto balljoint, and pry open the split slightly to loosen.
6) Slowly lower car onto jack stands, and continue to (very slowly) let control arm drop. Strut should bottom out first, balljoint stem should slide out of clamp (warning- this may need some "persuasion" to get it started), and eventually the pressure on the spring should be fully released. Having the cheap-style compressors in place should substantially reduce how far the arm needs to drop before the spring is loose.
8) Now, everything can be removed as needed.
7) Installation is reverse of assembly (as they say)...

This is going to be much easier next time- thanks again for the ideas...
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  #12  
Old 05-30-2002, 09:37 PM
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wow... thanks a bunch guys... I think I will go and rent the spring compressros just for safety, but im not going to need to remove the springs... this, as well as changing out the rear shocks is my first job under the car. I had earlier replaced the blower motor... but that was pretty easy. I just hope im not in over my head ;-)
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  #13  
Old 05-30-2002, 10:19 PM
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Autozone and O'Riley auto parts rent spring compressors for free. They charge you the actual cost of the tools upfront but when you return them, they refund the full amount.

In fact they have a list of all tools (with pictures) that they rent out on their parts counter.

Good luck.

hs
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2002, 12:08 AM
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Here's how I do it: jack side of car up and remove wheel. Keep jacking car up higher until your jackstand will fit underneath the A-arm. With jack stand in place underneath A-arm, jack car down until it is supported by the jack stand. Now remove the top 22mm bolt from the strut mount in bay. (strut arm will not move because of jackstand support). Jack car higher and you will see the strut arm start to recess out of the engine bay down below ... keep going until it is just underneath. (A-arm is fully supported and there is nowhere for the spring to go)

Remove the bottom 2 bolts and the plastic attachment and voila, strut is removed.

Pat's method sounds just as effective -- I'm sure there are many ways to do it. If you go slowly and carefully you can remove strut perfectly safely without compressing the spring.

Good luck!!

~Paul

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ps Make sure you replace the strut bellow (accordion) along with the rubber bump stop too.
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  #15  
Old 05-31-2002, 09:01 AM
1992300e
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Doable

Hey Badinfo,

Doubt you are over your head. I bet with the advice you've gotten, when it's all over you'll be glad you did it and surprised at how relatively straight forward it was.

Good luck and please let us know how it goes.

Thanks,
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