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Old 12-23-2002, 12:37 PM
Sicangu Oyate
Posts: n/a
Strut Replacement for 190e

Hello friends,

I am contemplating doing this job myself. I haven't done struts on anything, but have replaced shocks on so many 60's-70's American cars I lost count.

I'm just looking for a review of what I might be in for regarding difficulty level (also knucklebusting in the cold!). I'd also know what incidental components might also need replacement with the struts.

The old War Pony now has 168K miles, and the struts were replaced once (by the dealer) at 70K just before I bought the car. I'm doing this because I replaced the rear shocks (one of them broke) last year, and I noticed better stability and a better ride in the rear (it is still like that now). I'm also getting a little "lunging" at higher speeds while cornering, but no real noticeable abnormal tire wear.

Any and all advice and recommendations are appreciated.


1985 - 190e 2.3L
1986 - Pontiac Firebird, 305 4-bbl
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Old 12-23-2002, 01:59 PM
csnow's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
This job is relatively easy.
Much easier than with MacPherson struts, since there is no need to remove the springs.

Caution and common sense should be observed, however, since a slip of a jackstand can send a spring flying. This procedure is inherently dangerous . Please do not sue me.

Some suggestions:
1) Do one side at a time. Safer, and you can reference the other side as needed.

2) Lift frame with jack, place jackstand under control arm as far out as possible. This is important. If the stand is too far in on the CA, the spring can get away (leverage).

3) Strongly suggest using the type of stand that has a 'concave' tube axle-type top, as opposed to a flat top. There is a perfect 'notch' in the CA, just inboard of the balljoint to receive this type of stand.

4) Drop weight of car onto stand. Do not be tempted to use jack under control arm instead. This is not safe practice.

3) Make sure stand is on a hard level surface, and totally secure before unbolting strut.

4) Removing the top of the strut from its mount requires a 7mm hex key to keep it from turning as the nut is removed. This is not a common size, so check your toolkit first. This was the right hex size for both Bilstein and Boge. Others may vary.

5) Remember to salvage plastic clips that secure wires to strut from old strut.

6) If you do choose to replace the upper mounts, mark the position of the 3 nuts with paint (or something) first. This will preserve your camber/caster settings.

7) Check balljoints for play before starting work. At that mileage they may be toast, and there is no point in tearing into your suspension again for this anytime soon. (Balljoints are a whole other procedure, with other concerns not mentioned here).

This job is otherwise very straight-forward.

Bonus parts:
Bumpstops are not included with struts
Accordion dustboots
Upper strut mount (I have yet to see one deteriorate, but I hear it happens)

Best of luck, and happy wrenching.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 12-23-2002, 02:11 PM
J.HIDALGO's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Jax, FL
Posts: 1,785
Go to!

Good luck!
'86 300E
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Old 12-23-2002, 02:35 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 1,006
I replaced the front struts on my '87 300D with csnow's procedure. The key is to put the jack at the end of the control arm like he says. Its VERY dangerous if the spring should break free. If the jack slips, there is a decent change the control arm bushings won't allow enough deflection for the spring to fly freely (at least when they are relatively new control arm bushings). However, be careful and don't stand in front of the spring just in case!

Check your upper strut mounts and make sure they're not cracked. IF they are, replace them at the same time. ~$45/ea.

Brian Toscano
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