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  #1  
Old 08-30-2002, 11:50 AM
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front end rattle

I have a 85 190E with 135K miles. for the last few months, it has developed a rattle from the front driver side - its a clear "thud" when it goes over bumps or potholes. No other problems - steering is fine, no play, no "wandering", no uneven tire wear, the vehicle doesn't drift to any side, everything else is fine.

What could be the possible culprits?

Also, what can be ruled out as the problem?

The reason I ask both these questions is because I want SOME idea before I go to a tech. I showed it to one guy, and he basically wanted me to get everything in the front end replaced, including shockers. Just throwing parts at me. I want to get ONLY the problem parts replaced, not everything. Its a 17year old car, so I am sure the parts are not ALL upto specs, but as long as they are OK, they don't need to be changed. But there must be something that has totally given up, that is resulting in this thud/rattle.

Would really appreciate any insights/experiences.

I don't want the shop to use this as an opportunity to make me spend 2K, and then of course (hopefully!) the problem will be gone, but may be it was a $200 fix to start with.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2002, 01:25 PM
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Change only the swaybar bushings, cheap and relatively easy. betcha sounds goes away pretty quick.
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1995 MB E320 Wagon
2001 BMW 530i
2007 MINI Cooper S (!)
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2002, 02:30 PM
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How much labor is involved in changing the swaybar bushings?
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2002, 02:44 PM
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for my E320, about 1 hour's time, get both wheels off the ground, using jackstands. check your owners manual as to where to put the stands.

once wheels are off the car, you will see the c-shaped sway bar brackets holding it and its rubber bushings, to the front of the control arms and where it is also mounted to the subframe on both sides.

standard ratchet and socket is all you need. plus some silicon grease to help you get the bushings off and on the bar.

4 bushings=approx $30
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1995 MB E320 Wagon
2001 BMW 530i
2007 MINI Cooper S (!)
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  #5  
Old 08-31-2002, 02:08 AM
Christian
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an alternative......

the same thing happened with my C200....Everything is fine but when u go over a bump it would thump....i brought it everywhere and no one knew...brought it to this last place and they told me that its the steering damper has leaked all its fluid out.. they fixed it up and its like normal

Christian

1989 300TE
1997 C200 Elegance
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2002, 11:32 AM
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If the steering damper is the culprit, shouldn't the noise come when EITHER of the two front wheels go over bumps? In my car, it happens ONLY when the driver side wheel goes thru bumps or potholes.

Also, could it be that the driver side control arm is cracked or something?
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  #7  
Old 09-04-2002, 01:16 PM
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anyone has some ideas?
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  #8  
Old 09-04-2002, 03:25 PM
jfujimoto
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benz320,

Worn ball joints make that noise going over bumps or turning. Check for damage.
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  #9  
Old 09-04-2002, 03:28 PM
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There's no noise while turning. Only when the driver front wheel goes over bumps/potholes.

what other bushings could cause this, apart from swaybar bushings?
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2002, 03:34 PM
jfujimoto
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benz320,

There are control arm bushings. Did you take a look at the driver's side ball joint?
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  #11  
Old 09-04-2002, 03:37 PM
jfujimoto
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benz320,

Strut mount may be worn also. Usually rubber parts deteriorate over time.
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2002, 03:46 PM
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thanks, jfujimoto. I am just trying to figure what the possibilities are, and what can be totally ruled out as a cause of the thud/rattle. As I said earlier, I showed it to a tech, and he wanted to replace EVERYTHING in the front end. That doesn't make sense. Its like not understanding the problem and changing everything, so that most probably the problem will go away.

Swaybar bushing are one thing that can cause the thud.

Can a worn ball joint cause this kind of thud without any other symptoms?

Can a worn control arm bushing cause this?

Can a worn strut mount cause this?

If the answer is yes, yes, yes, then that puts these three also as possible suspects.

I just trust the opinions of many on this forum more than many of the techs out there - I guess only the good ones show up here.
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  #13  
Old 09-04-2002, 04:07 PM
jfujimoto
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Maybe, maybe, maybe. Do you have the means to check the parts in question? You'd save a lot of moola if you DIY.
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2002, 04:13 PM
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No, I am not an auto tech type, so can't DIY. I do understand a lot of this stuff though, have an engineering background.

So your response is that this kind of an islated thud COULD be due to ball joint, control arm bushing, or strut mount as well. THen how can find out the culprit - can the tech do it by a visual inspection, or does he just have to guess and keep changing parts till it gets fixed? Are there any tests that he can run?

Thanks again. I am hesitant to take it to the dealer due to past bad experiences - he will charge me 150 bucks for "disgnostics", and then say it need 20 new components, give me another 1500 bucks, but I don't guarantee that the noise will go away. Has happened to me before.

Can I crawl under the car and check the components myself a little bit? If yes, can you be so kind as to tell me how?
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  #15  
Old 09-04-2002, 04:14 PM
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Another thing, I do have a repair manual for my car though. so I can look some things up if needed. Again, its a 85 190E 2.3
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