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Old 09-26-2002, 08:08 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 375
Suspension work on 126 (87 420 SEL)

Hello everybody,
I am a new owner of an 87 420 SEL which had 45k miles on it when purchased in August.
As I haven't found a good mechanic yet in Mobile, AL (any recommendations?), the local MB dealer replaced the front brake support (1 drag link, 2 tie rods, 2 axle joints and 1 steering damper).
After I still complained about the noise from the suspension, I was told it needed new shocks all around and new rear sway bar links.
As they quoted 4 hours, I thought I tackle the job myself based on some archive search in the shopforum (thanks George Stephenson).
Now I have a few questions which are probably easy to answer for the pro's:
1:For the front shock absorber, the CD rom lists "auxiliary rubber ring (stop buffer) in 2 sizes based on when the car was built:
up to 6/88: 95 mm length
after 9/99: 105 mm length
However, the parts dealer tells me the shorter one is no longer available and replaced by part no. 2.
I will see which length is installed in my car when I take it apart, but assuming it is the smaller one, do I need to make an adjustment at the upper mount, i.e. do I need to screw the top nut in less (10 mm if possible) or did MB reduce the wheel travel by 10 mm on purpose?
2. Besides the rear sway bar links I also ordered sway bar bushings and new screws for the mounts. Can I work on one side each by lifting the car on one side and remove the link or will there be tension on the connection due to the lifted wheel/axle half?
3. I assume I can slide the old bushing to the end of the sway bar once mounting screws are loosened and the new bushing back in, right. Is there any lubrication for that bushing available that makes the sliding easier (except WD40)?
4.Anything else I should watch out for?
Thank you for your help.
Reinhard Kreutzer
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Old 09-27-2002, 02:48 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
never heard of Bilstien Shocks needing to be replaced at 45K My 86 Se has original shocks and they are fine 180,000 miles..........
William Rogers......
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Old 09-27-2002, 08:42 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 375
Thanks William,
but the shocks are 15 years old and when I looked at it to see whether my sockets will fit the bolts at the bottom, it seemed like oil had leaked out and was just visible at the end of the plastic protector. At least the new ones are Bilsteins too.
Any advise to my questions, anyone?
Reinhard Kreutzer
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Old 09-30-2002, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 638
DIY suspension work on 126

Based on the level of your questions, this job will tax your experience and skills beyond safety.

Use the longer shoch rebound bumbers - it rides better on rough roads.

Yes, if you jack up one side of the car, the sway bar has lots of load on it. You either leave it on the floor or support both wheels.

The rubber bushings are split, and do not slip on.

be careful
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Old 10-01-2002, 11:29 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 375
Thanks Kebower for your concern,
at least I thought about the dangers and you are right I don't have much experience of working on cars.
I received the sway bar bushings and was happy when they turned out split. I mounted them on Saturday with both rear wheels on leveling boards I have from my motorhome. That part was easy and done safely.
I haven't received the sway bar links nor the shocks yet but I'll be careful and keep the rear axle level when working on the sway bar links.
Any other hints?
Thank you.
Reinhard Kreutzer
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Old 10-02-2002, 08:55 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 375
Hi everybody,
to bring this story to an end, I installed the front and rear shocks without problems. By turning the wheels to the left when working on the left side, access to the lower bolts is available.
For the rear, the MB tire jack needs to be cranked up all the way for the shock to come out through the spring.
The sway bar links went in also without a hitch. I disconnected the link to the swaybar first on both sides with the car's rear raised a bit on two boards. Then off with wheel #1 and the lower connection to the control arm(?) is accessible. Took old off, cleaned around a bit and screwed on new link. Then connected to swaybar which had no pressure on it. Tire back on, other tire off and repeat. The swaybar had now pressure, but I could bend it down to link. I used a small jack to raise the axle anyway to make screwing and torqueing easier.
The sway bar link was very worn and the "clack" is now gone.
The car rides now quieter but I'll still have the subframe mount bushings replaced in the near future.
Reinhard Kreutzer
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