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Old 09-06-2002, 11:19 AM
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Front strut and strut mount on 124 - DONE

I just completed replacing the front struts and mounts. It took about 2.5 hours, and part of that time was due to a bonehead mistake on my part.

I read all the threads on this site, used the CD manual and what came with the Bilsteins.

I broke one socket using a cheater bar. Purchased a whole new 1/2 inch metric socket, but came to find out that some metrics and SAE sockets are the same. Wish would have known and saved money by not purchasing the new socket set. 19MM is an exact fit for a 3/4 inch.

As noted on this and other sites, the "bounce test" is not valid. The car bounced just fine with the old struts. Once off, the pistons of the old struts could be easily pushed down with one hand. The top of one strut was shiney due to the strut bump buffer hitting it all the time.

At any rate, glad the job is done. Am anxious to test drive and feel the difference,

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Old 09-09-2002, 05:13 PM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
Great news Ron, and 2.5 hours is a really impressive time for that job. The difference will be amazing.

This is more of a poll than anything else:
Did you find that your strut mounts show any signs of wear?
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.

Last edited by csnow; 09-10-2002 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 09-09-2002, 07:53 PM
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I just had my struts (and rear shocks) replaced on my 1989 after 230K.The front struct mount were still in excellent condition and would have been a waste of money (according to my thrusted mechanic) to replace them.
What a difference in the way the car drives and feels.
I had OE replacement (Borge/Shash).
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Old 09-10-2002, 12:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 22
I've been considering new shocks/struts for this fall's project.

I, too, pass the "bounce test" - but I fail the following;

(1) starting to notice the plastic panel scraping more and more often when I drive over bumps and dips in the road - and -

(2) my wife's Saturn wagon doesn't clunk backing out of the driveway like my 260e does.

both of these are probably better real world tests showing that I need some suspension work.

However, I'm debating whether or not to get new coil springs too. I'd hate to spend $400 on some new Bilstien HD's only to have them make little difference because the springs are bad.

Is there any way to know if the coil springs should be replaced? If they are original, they have about 260,000 miles on them. (Front are rusty - no black paint. Rear are still black. Oh how nice it would be to have previous service records.) If I do need new springs, is this a good job to have my mechanic do? My thinking is that he would have the spring compressor, and could do the new suspension alignment all at the same time. Any guess on what a shop would charge for this?
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Old 09-10-2002, 12:27 PM
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yal yal is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, Long Island
Posts: 2,704
When I changed my struts to bilstien sp's I did not notice any wear on the strut mounts but I ordered them anyway. When I finally got the old ones off and compared them to the new ones there was definately some structural wear on the old ones. I'm glad i changed them. The strut mounts weren't that expensive or hard to change.
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Old 09-10-2002, 12:53 PM
I told you so!
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,741
Hieber, the only reason to change springs is because of sag, or if you're not happy with the stiffness of the spring. I've had to change springs on one car because the car sagged about one inch from specification. The car was handling somewhat squirrely, trying to wander to each side, which is another sign of sagging springs. You'll need to find the specification for your car and measurement location (usually a frame point). I imagine a lot of people needlessly change springs when it's really a weak shock or loose suspension point causing problems.

A tip for Ron and others... I've made a table of the standard size wrenches and sockets I use with the converted metric size listed next to it and taped it to my toolbox. This way, whenever I'm searching for the right size socket and don't know if it's a metric or standard bolt, a quick glance to the table will tell me which wrench to try next. I use it a lot. It's a real time saver and could've helped in your case where standard and metric are nearly equal.
95 E320 Cabriolet, 131K
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Old 09-10-2002, 02:27 PM
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CSNOW - as for the strut mounts, the right one was cracked (previous owner must have dropped the wheel off the road into a huge hole) and left one showed no sign of wear. If I had not noticed the cracked one to begin with, I probably would not have replaced the mounts, but since they are not that expensive and you are already there replacing the struts, might as well do it all at one time. But - the MB mounts are very simple and really not much to wear out. The Toyota I have has bearings in the mounts. The shaft of the strut passes through this bearing. Strange.

KESTAS - good idea on the socket metric/SAE sizes. I did not think that there were that many that would match up. On an impact socket set I saw when buying the metric set, I say they noted the equivalent metric to SAE size, but I thought they were just being cheap and that the match would not be exact.

JACKD - 200,000+ miles on set of struts is outstanding from what I have seen on other posts.

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Old 09-10-2002, 08:31 PM
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Ron, I would not say 200K is outstanding. I'd say it was way over due. the last 25 to 30K were like dancing between white lines.
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Old 09-11-2002, 10:12 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,303
"the MB mounts are very simple and really not much to wear out. The Toyota I have has bearings in the mounts. The shaft of the strut passes through this bearing. Strange."

Not so strange - the bearing is the upper steering pivot - the lower being the ball joint. If pivoting were allowed to occur within the strut, it would cause accelerated wear of the strut bushings. The stresses on front-end suspension parts is much greater in FWD than RWD. Thus, you also have tension or compression rods to support the lower radial arm, as well.

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Old 09-11-2002, 10:31 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,096

would you post the metric ~ standard conversion table?
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 09-11-2002, 02:48 PM
I told you so!
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,741
This is the table I use

inches .... mm

. 3/16 .... 4.76
. 7/32 .... 5.56
. 1/4 ...... 6.35
. 9/32 .... 7.14
. 5/16 .... 7.94
11/32 .... 8.73
. 3/8 ...... 9.53
. 7/16 .. 11.11
. 1/2 .... 12.7
. 9/16 .. 14.29
. 5/8 .... 15.88
11/16 .. 17.46
. 3/4 .... 19.05
13/16 .. 20.64
. 7/8 .... 22.23
15/16 .. 23.81
... 1 ..... 25.4

I made this table after too many times finding myself grabbing a standard wrench and finding the nut is metric, or vicey-versey. This table lets me know which wrench to grab next. After 20 years, Detroit still puts out cars with hybrid fasteners!

It may be good to know that tools - as well as fasteners - are not at the exact size but have a range of play designed into them for guaranteed engagement during use. This means that you can actually take the "wrong" size wrench and have a tight fit on the fastener, reducing the chance of rounding a nut. Again, this is where the table comes in handy.
95 E320 Cabriolet, 131K
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Old 09-11-2002, 07:15 PM
Posts: n/a
Steve - thank you for the explanation on the bearing in the strut mount.

Kestas - thanks for the conversion table for the sockets.

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Old 09-15-2002, 10:20 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 40
New struts new car

I had just replaced the struts for my 2.3-16 and what a difference, feel like a new car again. I also replaced the strut mounts, old ones had some cracks.
It took me about 5 hours but I enjoyed doing it. The only thing that gave me a hard time was the new Bilstein struts came with a 7mm allen key on top of the strut piston instead of 8mm from the OEM. I had to run out and get the dawn 7mm Allen key order to finish the job. And this was the only inconvenience.
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