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Old 06-11-2002, 12:31 AM
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Question Shock Replacement on 1988 300E

How difficult is it to change the shocks on a 88 300E sedan.

I want to install new bilstein comfort shocks.

If anyone has done this themselves and has any tips it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-11-2002, 01:10 AM
dtanesq's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Northern California/Western Washington
Posts: 386
Rears are easy. The tops of the rear shocks are accessed through the trunk behind the plastic trunk lining. Fronts require a little more work and a few more tools.

2003 Dodge Durango SLT
2002 BMW E39 530i Sport
1988 Mercedes 300TE
2003 Chevrolet Suburban
1999 E430
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Old 06-11-2002, 03:18 AM
pmizell's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 838
Fronts too, are a very easy DIY job. Get a jackstand if you don't already have one and use it to support the A-arm so that you don't have to compress the spring.

Remove tire. Jack up the car high enough to place jackstand underneath A-arm. Let car down some to support the A-arm. Two bolts hold the strut on down below, one 22 mm bolt holds it up top in the engine bay above the wheel well (you'll need a hex key [8mm?] to hold the strut arm while you loosen the 22mm bolt). Turn wheel to either side to gain better access to lower strut bolts.

Remember to replace the strut mounts (in bay), strut bump stops (rubber pieces that fit on strut arm -- original one will be red and really worn), and the strut bellows (accordion protective covers).

Use the car's weight with the jackstand to your advantage. Go slowly and carefully -- probably a 3 hour job for the first time DIY'er. Feel free to email if you have any Q's.

Good luck!


'91 300E, 212K miles
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Old 06-11-2002, 05:47 PM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
On the front:
I would rate those upper strut mounts as optional. They seem to hold up well. I bought new ones, but could not detect any wear after 190K miles. Of course, they are only about $25 each, and go in easy.

Check those front balljoints. If the struts are worn out, it is likely that the balljoints are finished as well. At around $20 each, these are worth replacing when you do the struts. This is a little more work (they are pressed in), but the benefit is that you should not need to take the front suspension apart again for another 100K or more. I was actually able to replace these without removing the arm (or the spring) on my friend's car last weekend, which saved us a lot of trouble. (!Thanks to advice obtained from this board!)

Control arm bushings are worth a glance, though they do tend to last longer than the other pieces. Replacing these would mushroom the project, since the springs would have to come out.

Another tip: Do not throw those old struts away until you have salvaged the plastic clip that secures the wires to the ABS sensor and pad wear sensor. The new struts will not include these.

Warning: Be really careful working around those loaded springs. Make sure the stand under the arm is very secure, particulary before knocking out the balljoints. If the springs were to get loose, they could hurt you bad!

Lastly, I would suggest Bilstein HDs over Comfort. This is largely a matter of personal preference, but the handling is markedly more taught, without being harsh.

Good luck with your project.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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