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  #1  
Old 04-24-2003, 05:49 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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Cock-a-doodle-doo: swing shift makes for some screwy DIY hours

Have finished the front end rebuild. Wow.

I always thought this 560 drove out nice and was really surprised to see that every joint in the front end was shot. I actually buttoned up the suspension this morning before going to work and only had to clean, paint and replace the battery tray and battery. Got home about midnight and knocked it out, was just about to call it a night and hit the rack when I decided to check out the work here at nearly 2AM.

Went out for a five mile run. I got the front alignment pretty close with a tape measure, car tracks straight at speed and stopping too. At least I know I'll be able to get to the alignment shop without eating a pair of new tires.

In just the short drive I made I really noticed some difference. Mainly, road noise is nearly zip and the car doesn't wallow through the dip in my driveway now. Steering seems to be more responsive as well.

I'll post a couple pictures tomorrow, right now I'm beat and going to bed, I think I earned it.
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'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2003, 08:29 AM
LarryBible
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Mike,

You really would think that those people that illegally cross the border would do it only during business hours so that you guys could get some sleep. I guess you guys just can't get any of the respect that you deserve.

I desperately need to do the same thing to my 300E. It has almost 250,000 miles on it now and needs the front end rebuilt and a set of shocks. If the economy will turn around and the company can get back on its feet, I'll treat the ol' girl.

Sleep well,
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2003, 08:34 PM
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Good job, Mike.

Can't wait to see pictures, but more important, I'd like to go for a ride in it too see the difference (at the next GTG).
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #4  
Old 04-24-2003, 08:53 PM
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Ditto on wanta rebuild front-ends and the economy. If the Valley picks up there are two cars I would love to tackle.

Mike, if you can include the parts list.

New front-end ... to me just about nothing more gratifying.

Thanks for updating us,

Haasman
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  #5  
Old 04-24-2003, 09:19 PM
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I'm also up for doing a front end on mine. Mike, in addition to the parts list Haasman requested, could you share with us about how long we can expect to work on it, if any special tools are needed, and if there are any major PITAs and "tips and tricks" to get around these. Thanks!!
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  #6  
Old 04-25-2003, 05:45 AM
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Well, where to start.

I took my time, meaning I only worked a little each day, actual working time I guesstimate about six hours, but I spread it out over several days.

I replaced the upper control arms, lower ball joints, guide rod mounts (rear). I left the front mounts alone since I could only move the rod a little bit laterally, no up/down movement. Also replace the steering damper and inner grease seals on the rotor. Checked and repacked the bearing using MB green hi-temp grease. Cleaned and repainted the battery tray and cleaned out a bunch of rotten leaves and crud fron under same. I did not replace the lower control arm bushings. Only unexpected part: I had to replace one washer pump, after I broke off the attachment tube for the line while removing the washer resevoir .

One lower ball joint was knocked free in just a couple light taps, the other was another story. On that one, the balljoint separator tool did nothing, beating with a sledge did nothing either. I finally resorted to fire. Careful placement of heat, accompanied by two handed hammering finally drove the balljoint out of the control arm. If you have to resort to this tactic, be sure to thread on the bearing nut because when the joint lets go, the spindle will fly. Don't ask how I know. Fortunately I have a thread file with the proper size and any thread buggering I may, or may not have had was cleaned up .

Special tools: a come-along or porta-power, a good 3 pound sledge, an old king pin also comes in handy. Of course you'll need the ball joint tool, or take the easy way out and just deliver the steering knuckles to your local Indie. I had mine pressed in for about $70 (1/2 labor per side). Everything else is stock sizes, 10mm, 13mm, 17mm, 19mm and 22mm, plus a 5mm and 8mm allen.

You'll need the come-along to get the guide rod mounts out. Once the bearing bracket comes free, the control arm wants to shift rearward. That movement and the nearly three inch long adjustment rod make it nearly impossible to get the mount out because the bearing bracket will make contact with the chassis.

Access to the inner bolts for the control arms is pretty straight forward. One the passenger side (LHD) you have to remove the battery, washer resevoir and battery tray. The bolt head is hidden under the wire loom, don't pull out too aggressively on the wires though. The driver's side is simple - if you can make your hand a snake. No need to remove anything on this side, just weave your arm under the brake resevoir and around all the lines and cables. Excellent eye/hand coordination is necessary to reinstall the bolt though.

A few pics


Got a "gahdunk" at your feet? This is the likely cause. I should have grabbed a couple pictures of the replacement process. While most straight forward, there is a rubber "butterfly" that get mounted to the inside cover. The old one has to be cut off and the new one installed. It won't be compressed, so the cover has to be pressed down hard to start the bolts.


The steel shell of the mount was heavily corroded. Not sure if that is from trapped water or electrolysis. Requires the sledge to beat the mount out of the bracket. One of the mounts came out in two pieces, the shell was so solidly seized to the mount that I literally beat the center out of it. The king pin makes a great punch for driving out the reminant shell. Also great for seating the new mount in the bracket.


The bushing on the right is the original. Notice the silvery color. On close examination it appears that the aluminum of the control arm has actually imbedded particles into the rubber, giving the bushing that aluminum sheen. Likely the source of the low speed moan/groan I had.


You can actually see the wear from the constant rubbing of the sway bar bushings. The center line on the old arm was actually worn to a rounded hump, while the new one has a squared off ridge.


New control arm installed and hanging free, bolts are only finger tight until the wheels are on and the car is on the ground. Once the suspension is loaded, then the attachments are tightened to spec.


Steering knuckle back from the shop. New ball joints in and all cleaned up. Didn't even get dirty installing the spindles.


I should have taken a before shot for comparison.

A couple tips I picked up on along the way. Lube the sway bar bushings using a urethane bushing lube. I was also advised to use a little anti-seize on the guide rod mounts, see as how the old ones had rusted up so bad it sounds like a good idea. Good idea to check the torque on the steering box bolts while the left wheel is out of the picture. All three are easily accessed. Per Steve Brotherton; don't clean out the mount seat on the bearing bracket too good, the mount needs to fit tightly - the bracket is aluminum and by over cleaning you could change the dimensions.

I went for my alignment this morning. I got pretty dang close with my trusty tape measure. The left side I had all within specs and the right side I was one tenth of a degree out of the max range on the caster. On the cross camber I was two tenths of a degree out on the low side (-0.5* range [-0.3* 0.3*]), cross caster I was dead on.

My total cost, including alignment was just about $520. I logged about 60 miles today, just driving around enjoying the new ride from the front suspension. I said it before, I was really surprised at how badly everything was worn, yet the car drove so nice.

A couple things I noticed that could be good early warning signs. The worn front suspension parts did transmit road noise. I noticed the same thing with the front sub-mounts on the 4.5. A little wandering on grooved pavement. I had it, but wrote it off to the wider than stock Yokohamas - no wandering after the work. The "gahdunk", dead give away of guide rod mounts, a well documented sound.

I have discussed the job daily with Thomaspin. He will be doing the same job soon. Betcha dollars to doughnuts it'll be laid out much better than I have.
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Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2003, 01:33 PM
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Excellent! Thomaspin is a genius with pictorial DIY guides.

Can't wait to see the step by step process with pictures.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2003, 11:04 PM
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Mike,

Congradulations on your new front end! I wish I was out in CA so I could come check it out at the next GTG. Sigh, maybe in another year or two...

There's a lot of terrific information in your post. I'm going to spend some time this weekend checking out my suspension, pretty sure its not much better than yours was. Another fun summer project to look forward to!
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2003, 11:40 PM
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Mike can you give a blow by blow with the pictures.
I have a 560SL and the service manual calls for lowering the subframe prior to doing any suspension work.
Also how did you get the coil spring compressor into the coil spring? It seems the body is in the way of the top of the coil spring for access to the compressor when installed?

As I said a blow by blow would be great.

I just did the 300TD and it has a different set up when it comes to access.

My Sir Tool compressor is supposed to work on the 107 but I have not really looked at it in detail.

Thanks
Dave
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1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2003, 11:56 PM
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Sorry you have a E between the S and the L
I thought it was a SL
Thats what a couple of glasses of German wine will do to you




Mike I'm a little confused.
Did you rebuild the 107 560SL????

My 88 front end is a double upper control arm as shown in the picture. Your looks like my 300TD setup.

It was your 86 560SL that you are showing in the pictures???

The photo below is my setup

Dave
Attached Thumbnails
Cock-a-doodle-doo: swing shift makes for some screwy DIY hours-560sl-suspension.gif  
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1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
1980 240D, owned 1990-1992
1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
2008 Hyundai Tiberon. Daughters new car
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  #11  
Old 05-05-2003, 02:25 AM
MikeTangas's Avatar
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I did this job on the W126 560 SEL.

Not sure about having to drop, or lower the subframe on the 107 though. I ended up not compressing the springs, doing everything but the lower control arms and front guide rod mount as both were intact and still tight. Everything else was replaced.

As far as a blow-by-blow, it is all fairly straight forward. Pull the wheels and brakes, then the rotors. Once all the stopping aprts are off, you have to remove the ABS sensor if equipped ( easier to push our of the spindle once everything else is gone, a real bear to pull out). Next remove the backing plate, should be held to the spindle by three 5mm allen bolts. Now you have to unbolt the steering arm from the back of the spindle. Doing this keeps you from having to split the tie rods from the arm, just remove the arm and swing the out of the way while still attached to the ti rod.

Once you have everything stripped off you are ready to attack the ball joints.

Loosen the upper and remove the nut. A couple well placed taps with a 3 lb sledge should free the upper. Once that is loose from the spindle you can swing the top of the spindle outward to gain access to the lower balljoint nut. Once that nut is off, a couple more well placed hits should free the lower. BIG TIP: be sure to thread the bearing nut on the spindle BEFORE knocking the lower balljoint free. If you have to hit with any force, when the joint comes free, the spindle will fly to the ground and guaranteed it will hit on the threads (don't ask how I know).

Not sure if the 107's have guide rods or not, so that is all the blow-by-blow for now.
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Mike Tangas
'73 280SEL 4.5 (9/72)- RIP
Only 8,173 units built from 5/71 thru 11/72

'02 CLK320 Cabriolet - wifey's mid-life crisis

2012 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI...at least its a diesel

Non illegitemae carborundum.
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2003, 06:38 PM
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Great job, Mike

I just caught this post today - somehow missed it before. Nice pictures and a great explanation.

I've been putting it off but am beginning to feel peer pressure to get on with it!
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