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Old 09-24-2002, 12:39 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: fort worth
Posts: 363
how long do control arms and bushings last?

I have an 87 300E with 307k miles. Someone suggested replacing the lower control arms, ball joints, and bushings. I have owned the car since 60k and do not remember doing it. Are there signs or symptoms I should look for?

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Old 09-24-2002, 02:05 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Jax, FL
Posts: 1,785
Check the rubber bushings...

you should be able to see damage to the bushings. How does you car ride? Noises? Vibration?
If you had your car since 60K you probably will not notice the difference, as the deterioration of the suspension system is a slow process. Drive another 300E (from a friend, a mechanic or MB meet) and compare the difference.
'86 300E
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Old 09-24-2002, 09:43 PM
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Pardon me for changing the subject but 307K is an awful lot of miles for a gasoline engine. Can you tell us about repairs and maintenance on your car?

Any major problems? Kind of oil service? Things to be aware of?

Thanks in advance.

Bud Cook
1991 300E w/54K on the clock.
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Old 09-24-2002, 10:48 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: fort worth
Posts: 363
1) took it to local shop (Lone Star Bavarian)which very kindly put it on a rack. control arms fine slight wear on some bushings. Dust boots shot on Bilsteins(replaced earlier.) No maint needed

2)longevity-perhaps several reasons a) religious oil changes b)reasonable oil eg. castrol, then castrol syntec for years, now Delo or Delvac (1$ qt at costco in bulk.) c) religious maintenance d)avoidance of useless acceleration-smooth driving

3) signif maint a)resealed trans at 220k b) new AC parts once c) valve guides 200k d)climate control fouled twice e) climate control doors -expensive had to pull dash. earlier ac blower
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Old 09-26-2002, 04:39 PM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
Just for the record:
At 180k, the rear control arm bushing on the right side was shot.
The other 3 were actually ok for whatever reason, but I replaced them all at once.
Balljoints seem due for replacement around 100k in my region.
Perhaps the roadsalt is a factor.

The control arm itself should not wear out- no moving parts.

Best of luck
Hope I can make it to 307k too!
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.

Last edited by csnow; 09-27-2002 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 09-26-2002, 06:47 PM
David C Klasse's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mission Hills in the City of San Diego
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I have heard that they last a little over 100k miles. I had mine replaced at 105k on my 95 C280.
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
2001 CLK320 Cabrio (Mom's)
1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)
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Old 09-26-2002, 10:21 PM
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I just had my lwer ctrl arm bushings replaced, 134k on odometer now. I had a vibration and read one of the other threads about these bushings causing problems. Mine is on a lift right now haveing other maint done also, I will let you guys know if there's any improvement.
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Old 09-27-2002, 11:54 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 612
Control arms should theoretically never wear out (just the bushings and ball joints), but do some homework on parts prices if you can. When I did the front end on my 201, I went with new control arms because it was actually cheaper to buy new ones with bushings and ball joints already pressed in, than it was to buy the bushings and ball joints separately, and have them pressed into my existing control arms. (wow was that a run-on sentence!)

BTW, the old bushings were not visibly worn, but the new bushings made the car ride really smooth.

Jeff Pierce
Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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Old 10-09-2002, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Las Vegas, Atlanta
Posts: 670
I have a complaint about my 300SL. There is entirely too much road feel transmitted to the steering wheel. I think I can tell when I run over a stone!

I have replaced both front shocks with their mounts and the steering damper. The wheel bearings and steering linkage are tight with no play to speak of. All four tires were recently balanced at the dealer.

Getting to my main point, I went by the dealer today with the above complaint. He suggested the front control arm bushings may be shot. According to him it is not uncommon for these to require replacement on a car with 115K miles. And he added that bad bushings can visually appear just great from the outside.

And I asked about the lower ball joints. He said these require replacement far less frequently.

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