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Old 06-11-2002, 10:36 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 48
Angry C 280 alignment woes - please advise

So I have an alignment problem - car steers hard to the right when braking. I take to the dealership and they quote me $1000 in repairs for the arm bushings, steering dampener etc. Am I getting screwed? I am not happy about this. It is a mercedes and has 100K on it but doesn't this seem excessive for a car built so well? They claim they cannot do an alignement without making these repairs. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

C280 96'

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Old 06-11-2002, 02:47 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
CheFrac is Back!
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mission Hills in the City of San Diego
Posts: 2,352
Steering Damper should be changed every 60k... it's only about $30 and 15 minutes labor.
Lower control arm bushings usually last 100k miles or so. Did you ever hear any popping sounds? Was the steering more squarrely? One way for sure to tell is... did you notice how much tighter the car felt when you got it back from the repairs?

For my lower control arm bushings, I was charged $450 TOTAL, parts AND labor, at my mercedes dealership. I think anything over 500 is unreasonable for this. If you are mechanically inclined, I suggest you change the steering shock yourself, it's SO EASY!!!

Good luck
2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)

1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
2000 C230k Sport sedans
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1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)
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Old 06-11-2002, 02:57 PM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
My lower front ball joints were worn out at about 115,000 kilometers, thanks to our Canadian wagon-rutted roads where the potholes ARE the road.

$1000 for the front lower ball joints and steering damper sounds excessive.

At 100K-miles, these are fairly normal wear items on ANY car.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K
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Old 06-11-2002, 05:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
If your car pulls during braking, I would consider the brakes. The other alternative is that the force of braking moves some real badly worn stuff along way from proper alignment (on one side).

What do they say the problem is? It is not normal for control arm bushings to be worn out at 100k. Ball joints maybe and tierods easily but not control arm bushings.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 07-11-2002, 01:28 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 48
Angry ABS problem

So now after spending $1200 on replacing the alignment problems the car continues to pull to the right when braking. They (the dealer)now claim it is the Teves ABS hydralic unit - $2200 - ouch!!!
The ABS light periodically comes on and off. Anyone know where I can get one of these used? I am a little nervous though since they misdiagnosed it before. They claim the cylinoid is failing. My independent guy couldn't figure out the problem but says he can fix it for about $1000 less. Any one else have experience with this problem?
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Old 07-11-2002, 02:21 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
I do not have any specific experience with your problem, but I would say you should be wary about spending any more money at this dealer. Make sure they are fixing things that are properly diagnosed to be broken rather than just blindly throwing parts at the car.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel
2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Merlin Extralight w/ Campy Record
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Old 07-11-2002, 02:25 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 70
Well, at 50K I had to have ball joints, lower control arm bushings and drag link replaced in my 97 C280 - and I drive like a grandma. I just don't think these cars hold up as well as they should (as far as suspension stuff goes). Overall the car is great - and better looking than the newer models. It seems this particular MB is too engineered - so much so that any one thing gets slightly out of spec in the suspension then the car wobbles. I've got 2 '97 C280s and their repair histories are virtually identical. My wife drives one, me the other. It's been an interesting experiment to say the least. Would I do it again? Yeah, with the caveat that the suspension will require a lot more work than would seem necessary. MBDoc, SteveBL any thoughts on this? You guys have saved me lots of $$ in lieu of all this. THanks!

Mark E.
Ft. Lauderdale
Mark E.
Miami, FL
2 X 1997 C280
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Old 07-11-2002, 06:44 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,255
I would demand a meeting with the regional Mercedes Benz Rep, they circulate from dealer to dealer in their alloted districts.
Have your receipts and dealer paper work, you should not have to pay for them to fix the car from the symptoms you give them.
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Old 07-11-2002, 06:46 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,255
What I wanted to say is, you should not have to pay for the dealer to learn how to fix a car from symptoms you describe to them.
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