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  #1  
Old 07-23-2002, 08:54 AM
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Cracked subframe-where to go for help from MB

My local mechanic put my car up to see if he could see what was causing my steering to be so loose and to my surprise he thinks I have a cracked subframe. I recall seeing something about a subframe re-call on the web but can't find it anywhere. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

J. Boggs
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2002, 09:07 AM
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What model car?? The 1972 thru 1980 450SL's(USA models) had a subframe recall!!
If your car is that model & year group, then go to any dealer!
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2002, 10:21 AM
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Sorry, an 83 380sl

There is a hairline crack where the drivers side lower arm connects to the frame.

Thanks.

J. Boggs
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2002, 06:27 PM
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The 1983 380SL isn't covered under the recall!! However we replaced a few under GOODWILL waranty several years ago.
NO harm in asking the local zone rep! Welding Won't last long.
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2002, 06:31 PM
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Well the ones we have reinforced and welded are doing fine. We do exactly what MB did only we use thicker material. All done on the car for a lot less money.
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  #6  
Old 07-23-2002, 09:19 PM
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Can you elaborate on the weld?

I am taking my to a dealer for a looksee tomorrow but on first glance it looks like it is cracked at the lower arm bushing. From what I am told, most of them cracked at the top of the subframe where the mounts mee the body.

What kind of weld and reinforcement are typical?

Thanks.

J. Boggs
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2002, 01:15 AM
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I was talking to a warrantee rep friend of mine who I apprenticed with years ago,and I believe he said MB is also covering the all alluminum engine now. Don't quote me,but ask.

Good luck,
Peter
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2002, 07:51 AM
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MB was paying to have the subframe replaced if it was the older style frame without the reinforcement gussets. Only if there was already a crack though. If there was no crack, they would have the gussets welded in for you only. Your probably out of luck if the car came with gussets from the factory and it cracked anyways. I replaced a subframe just last year at no charge to the owner on a '77. One lower control arm mounting plate had cracked right off, of course the recall had not been done back in 84 when it should have though, but MB covered it anyways.
Gilly
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  #9  
Old 07-24-2002, 08:47 AM
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Don't understand that lingo I guess?

This appears to have a hairline crack on the rim of the rear lower mount connection-kind of looks like a small cup and the I had to look several times to see it.

What's a gussett?


J. Boggs
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  #10  
Old 07-24-2002, 09:14 AM
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As "Gilly" said IF the original subframe was not cracked & then modified, you wouldnt have any structural problems. If the crack is very small you might add the reinforcements & not have any later problems either. Quality of welding is important!!!
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  #11  
Old 07-24-2002, 05:43 PM
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Subframe crack update.

Dealer mechanic looked at it and they brought me in the back to show it to me. The mechanic was away for a second so I showed the service manager where I thought it was. Sure enough, there is a pretty good crack in the frame at the rear where the lower arm attaches to the subframe. The mecahic walks up and says "I guess you saw the crack" and shines his light on the front of the subframe at a loose weld. He hadn't even seen the other one. So now I have two cracks.

RBM Atlanta wants $1700 to replace. I'm holding out for a total comp. I know the subframe can be bought for $400 and change. I can get a used but inspected one for $200 from Potomac. It has new sway bars, subframe mounts shocks, tie rod ends and center link.

Needs new motor mounts, they quoted me $900 for motor mounts installed-they cost about $50 a piece and it takes an experienced mechanic 1 1/2 hours to install-NINE HUNDRED BUCKS? I can do that myself of less than $100 right?

I'll keep posting the results. What would you guys do?

Thanks.

J. Boggs
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2002, 10:05 PM
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I'd call my buddy that tig welds for a living
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  #13  
Old 07-25-2002, 12:21 AM
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J.

I'm not accusing, but I think you might be getting ready to be stiffed. Before you do anything,let me make a few inquiries at the back door. I'll email you privately.

Peter
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  #14  
Old 07-25-2002, 12:46 AM
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The "gussett" is like a small reinforcement bracket. The earlier cars didn't have them, and MB started seeing them crack, so they came up with this reinforcement idea, which works pretty good. i would say your car probably had them from the factory, as soon as they came up with this idea they added the bracket at the factory. I don't know if they will stand behind it if the bracket (gussett) was there from the factory, they only seem willing to help on one that was built before the modification was done at the plant. Seems more than fair from the standpoint that the bulletin and letters were sent out back in the mid-80's, now here it is 15+ years later and they paid for a new subframe for some guy who never had the gussetts welded in. If he would have had it done back then, it'd probably never cracked.
At this point I would get it inspected at the dealer and see if there is anything MB would be wiling to do. i'd be curious to know if the gussetts were installed at the factory. I may be able to fish up that recall bulletin, MB DOC is probably right that an 83 is too new to be affected by the old recall, but I'll look. You can also ask the dealer to check VMI to see if there is any outstanding recall work on the car, if there is one for this repair, then I'd say you have a new subframe coming!
Gilly
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  #15  
Old 07-25-2002, 01:17 AM
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Gilly,

I'm disagreeing with you on the fairness of the 15 year thing. Mb stood there with their boots clicked together stating they offered a superior product,only to end up putting out a product that allowed the left front wheel to fold under at road speed. The problem is chronic on the 107 series. Before that they put out the 108 and 114 series where the steering box broke away from the frame. All in all MB used to make a fine automobile, I just wish they wouldn't use their screwups to try and turn them into a profit. I've been down this road before, and I'd just like to see MB tell the owner that they will put in new mounts or whatever to try in some way to make up for the fact they put the owners life in danger. As I recall, every 107 I sent to the dealer during that era become a profit incentive for the dealer. I can't fault the dealer for trying to pay the rent;MB should have picked up the tab.You might disagree with me, Gilly,but that's how I feel.

Peter
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