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  #1  
Old 03-12-2003, 04:32 PM
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Replace all 4 shocks at once?

The rear shocks on my 1992 300E have been leaking for a while and handling has deteriorated to the point where I need to replace them.

I'm wondering if I should also replace the front shocks at the same time to keep everything matching?

The car has approximately 100K miles on it. None of the shocks have ever been replaced from what I can tell.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2003, 05:51 PM
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IMHO, you can always do just one end at a time.

It is not unusual for the usual OEM Boge struts to last 100k+, but they may not be performing a their best.

If it were my car, I would take this as an excuse to buy 4 Bilstein HDs, and enjoy the benefits on both ends for the next 100k.

Best of luck.
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  #3  
Old 03-12-2003, 06:10 PM
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The rear shocks on our 190E had showed some signs of leakage, and the boots were in shreds. Handling was loopy - bordering dangerous - at least in feel. When I replaced the shocks, I was surprised on how little difference was apparent in the old shocks from the new - off the car. The old ones still had no freeplay, and damping only slightly less than the new. Of course, replacing the shocks did NOT take care of the problem - tightening a loose track strut did.

Steve
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  #4  
Old 03-12-2003, 08:51 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I'm assuming the HD in Bilstein HD stands for Heavy Duty? What are the benefits (and downsides) of those, and do they work with the factory springs, etc?
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2003, 09:08 PM
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Bilstein HD's are very firm. The valving is the same as the Bilstein Sport ( used with lowering springs ).
For my money, I would go with Koni adjustables. This way you can dial in your own comfort/sport damping.
Both carry a lifetime warranty.
I have used all of them in years past, and will resort back to Koni's, whenever my stock shocks require replacement.
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  #6  
Old 03-12-2003, 09:37 PM
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Stu Ritter mentioned in a technical article in the current issue of The Star Magazine that while original Bilstein shocks / struts have an amazing life span, they do deteriorate over time, and that the rear shocks almost always wear out first.

If you have to replace them, I'd try the rears first.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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  #7  
Old 03-12-2003, 10:34 PM
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I replaced all four of the shocks on my 1990 300D with Bilstein HDs. It improved the ride greatly.

The reason that i did this was that the front tires were showing signs of cupping. There were no symptoms in the rear.

All four shocks were still pretty stiff when I removed them. I took the shocks off an 82 Buick Regal once that were easier to squeeze shut than a concertina, though not so musical.

The new shocks also seemeed to have raised the car a bit, because now the spoiler no longer rubs on the same parking lot wheelstops as it did before.

I described the whole procedure on this site, by the way. You will need a bottle jack and some other weird tools to get the shock in position.
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1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)

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  #8  
Old 03-13-2003, 12:35 AM
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Richard, by "improved the ride greatly" what do you mean? I would be concerned about getting too stiff (car mostly used for low-performance hauling of family). Your car should be pretty similar to mine to weight so I'd be interested to know.

suginami, that's interesting that the rear shocks wear out first, I would have expected just the opposite from the weight of the engine. Did he give a reason why?

manny, if I replaced just the front shocks with Koni's do you see a problem with that?

Thanks again for the replies.
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2003, 12:45 AM
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would suggest looking at the wheels/tires section
of the forum for more info re shocks/springs/tire combo.
i might be doing some replacement this summer.
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2003, 01:37 AM
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300E shcocks

Here's yet another opinion on the subject. At 100K miles, all four of your shocks are on borrowed time. Leaks, or no leaks, are not the criteria for replacement. It's the internal parts that wear out and they do so slowly so that it all sneaks up on you. As to Koni's, I say no. I replaced Bilsteins with Koni on a past Mercedes and ruined the ride. And, as to Bilstein HD's, on the other MB lists I have seen plenty of posts from owners who fitted them and found them too stiff.
Buy the "comfort"version Bilstein and not from your dealer. I replaced the shocks on my C280 and paid about half what the dealer wanted from another source.
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  #11  
Old 03-13-2003, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
I replaced Bilsteins with Koni on a past Mercedes and ruined the ride.
Several years ago I installed 4 new Koni shocks on my 1974 BMW 2002. In 9 months I had to throw away all 4 shocks and install a set of Boge. The ride could only be described as diabolical. As far as lifetime warranty, it means nothing. The time *I* have to spend working on my car has no warranty.

On a Mercedes, I would stick to regular Bilstein, and not HD, unless you plan to use the car in competition.
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  #12  
Old 03-13-2003, 09:45 AM
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HD Bilsteins improved the ride

First off, the car leans less in turns than before with the old standard shocks.

It is not a rough and bumpy ride at all. My friends mention that the car rides really smoothly. I should mention that I have the stock 15" 15 hole wheels the car came with. My guess is that if you use 16"wheels and skinnier tires you will get a bumpier ride, even though you may look cooler while doing it and you will spend less time cleaning brake dust out of those 15 hateful holes with an old toothbrush as I do every month or so.

The car seems to track better at high speeds (85 is as fast as I've gone).

I replaced the four shocks with HD Bilsteins and also replaced the yellow plastic shock bumper thingies (that fit at the top of the front shocks) and the bellows. All these parts were clearly worn out. After I queried several shops about this, it eseemed pretty clear that they didn't believe that it was necessary to replace anything but the shocks. They all agreed that this was a really really HARD job and was worth $400 to do. It was harder for me on my patio than for them with a lift, I am sure, and it took me a day and some minor aches. I am a college teacher and no one ever pays me $400 for a day's work, and I like learning new stuff, so I decided to do this myself, since no electricity was involved.

As I said, the front spoiler dragged on parking lot stops before and no longer does. The car is still too low to drive up on my ramps. One thing I like about my 123 wagon is that it rolls right up those ramps, thereby saving me jacking and jackstands. I always change my own oil and filters, because that way I know that everything is tight and done as I want it done.

The front shocks have more bolts holding them on, but the rear shocks seemed harder to mount. Jacking the shock into position and turning it so that the bolt holes lined up was a real pain, The first one took about an hour, the second under ten minutes. I used a balljoint device called a "picklefork"I bought for a dollar in a yard sale to jockey the shock into position and lever off the jack and into its hole.

This was the first relacement of shocks on a Mercedes that I'd ever done.

I don't know anything about Konis. I do know that the local guys did not have and were not aware of the existence of HD Bilsteins. They had Boge comforts at about the same price.
I don't know anything about Boges, either. I bought the Bilsteins because the consensus on this website is that they are the best. Labor is the major expense in doing the job, but I always try to use the best materials so I won't have to do the job twice. Again, I don't KNOW that Konis or Gabriels or Boges are just as good or better because I have no experience with them. I am very happy with the results of the HD Bilsteins.

The four shocks cost right at $400 delivered. The bellows and plastic bumper things were extra and not expensive, but my guess is that if I had known of their existence before the job I would have bought them from the same vendor for less than I paid the local guys.

I bought them on the web, but I don't recall the vendor at the moment. I did mention all of this stuff earlier, I think.

Good luck with your shocks.
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Semibodacious Transmogrifications a Specialty

1990 300D 2.5 Turbo sedan 171K (Rudolf)
1985 300D Turbo TD Wagon 219K (Remuda)

"Time flies like and arrow, yet fruit flies like a banana"
---Marx (Groucho)

Last edited by Richard Eldridge; 03-13-2003 at 09:57 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-13-2003, 10:53 AM
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"First off, the car leans less in turns than before with the old standard shocks."

"It is not a rough and bumpy ride at all. My friends mention that the car rides really smoothly."

The only way that new shocks can allow the car to corner with less lean is if they increase the spring rate. If they increase the spring rate they will also increase the stiffness and height of the ride. This would be expected with hp gas-charged shocks such as Bilsteins, if the old ones were in need of replacement.

Replacing comfort shocks with HD shocks designed not to change ride height will not make the car corner with less lean, however. While the ride may appear smoother, and transitions more controlled, such a switch does not affect spring rates nor center-of-gravity change. A sway bar transfers spring rate from the inside to the outside in a turn, and thus will reduce lean.

Steve
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  #14  
Old 03-13-2003, 11:43 AM
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I'm sure the Konis are good too. Perhaps I 'travel' in different vendor circles, but I have not even seen Konis listed for a 124.
If they are the type that can be adjusted post-install with a knob, that is a pretty cool feature, but I recall them to be fairly expensive.

I really like the HDs. They are firm, but not harsh, and work very well with stock springs. They perform surprisingly well under a wide variety of road and speed conditions. You get somewhat firmer damping without spring or other suspension mods, which is a good deal. As Steve said, they may not reduce the 'net lean' in a turn, but they do manage lateral transitions more effectively.
I am not interested in a lower ride height or stiff springs for daily driving on frost-heaved/pot-holled roads. I have used HDs on 3 different BMWs, 1 Audi, and my current 124. Never had a single complaint or failure.

I have stock size wheels and tires on the 124.

I had one good Koni experience on a BMW, and one poor Koni experience on a Honda. On the Honda, they were simply not in sync with the stock suspension. These Konis were adjustable, but not post-install.

Happy trails.
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Last edited by csnow; 03-13-2003 at 11:53 AM.
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  #15  
Old 03-13-2003, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Benzwood

suginami, that's interesting that the rear shocks wear out first, I would have expected just the opposite from the weight of the engine. Did he give a reason why?

Thanks again for the replies.
Here's what Stu Ritter says:

"Our experience shows that rear shocks wear out much faster than front ones. The rear shock controls much of how the car feels in a corner, so they should be examined."
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