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Old 05-07-2003, 09:22 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,513
124 Front Suspension Qs???

Howdy All -

I've been carefully going over my 124, making up a list of everything that needs attention. It's an '87 wagon (124.193) with 130K miles, BTW.

Anyways, with the front suspension off the ground, there is noticeable play in the tire/wheel when you grab it at 12 o'clock and 6 'oclock positions. It has this same play both with the suspension at full extension and also when you use a floor jack to compress the lower control arm a little bit. Both sides are the same.

There is no play at all at the 9 o'clock/3 o'clock positions.

Any idea what could be causing this?

The tie rods/drag link are a few years old, everything else is factory original. The accordion boot and jounce bumper are in pretty bad shape, but the struts don't show any sign of leakage. Rubber boots on the ball joints are completely intact and in good shape.

I'm basically looking for input on what component might be causing this play, and whether it's a "need to fix" or just a "don't worry so much" kind of thing.

- JimY
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Old 05-07-2003, 09:47 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 1,006
12 & 6 o'clock is probably loose wheel bearings!

If I find them REALLY loose I usually replace them, but that's just MY opinion. They are servicable and should be tightened. Grease should be repacked at 90Kmi intervals.
Brian Toscano
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Old 05-07-2003, 10:11 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,513
You know, I thought of that, but discounted bearings as a possible cause. Wouldn't you expect to feel bearing play both in the vertical and horizontal planes?

- JimY
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Old 05-07-2003, 11:17 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,303
Bearing play may be more noticeable in the vertical because there is less flex in the suspension mounts than in the steering linkage. Still, my guess would be strut wear. How much is acceptable would be tough to gauge based on a print description.

Note, though, that loading with wheels on the ground is different from your tests. I would also check this way. You may find less strut movement with the strut in a more normal range - or more.

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Old 05-07-2003, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
Well, seems in that plane it can only be:
1) The ball joint
2) The strut
3) The bearing
4) CA bushings (least likely)

Do not presume the balljoints are good just because the boots are intact. The boot material is unusually good on these. Heck, one of mine had an intact boot, and it was so corroded, it popped out of its socket...

Balljoints would be less likely to exhibit play when they are 'loaded' (springs are fully extended), however.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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