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  #1  
Old 02-14-2000, 12:32 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Germantown, MD
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I understand that it is common for play to develope in the steering gear of 85 300TDs and related models. What component is wearing? Is it the worm gear? Is it the pitman? Is it possible to adjust this play at all? Can it be rebuilt? Options?
Overall the play is not bad but it is noticeable and detracts from the feel of the car even though it is a wagon.

Thanks.
Alec.
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2000, 06:30 PM
LarryBible
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Unfortunately this is one of the few achilles heels of the w123. I have gone so far as to do exploratory surgery on a salvage gearbox to see if there is anything that can be done outside of buying a rebuilt box.

There is large nut at the top, below the column coupler. I thought that maybe this would take out play from tapered bearings, but this is not the case. I wouldn't bother adjusting this nut.

You can carefully adjust the Allen bolt and locknut. This is tightened by loosening the nut and turning the Allen counterclockwise to tighten. BE CAREFUL, if you get it too tight, the steering gets "sticky", and it is even more of a pain to drive than with play in the steering. I have adjusted these boxes and you probably can expect to improve the play situation slightly.

You, of course, need to check all steering linkage components including tie rod ends, idler arm and Pitman Arm joint, however, I have a 240D with 516,000 miles on which they have never been replaced and are still tight.

A rebuilt steering box costs around $500 or $600.

Good Luck,
Larry
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2000, 09:15 PM
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Location: Philippines
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Does the same go for a 124? I have an 85' 300D (124) and I have about an inch of steering play. Can I adjust this?
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2000, 10:10 PM
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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I do not, by any means, recommend tightening the allen bolt that Larry was referring to. Basically, it gives the driver a sense that the steering play has been cured but in reality, the box just wears quicker and it can easily become dangerous to drive the vehicle. If you've got play, replace the coupling, and/or replace the box if it's leaking. I am sorry to oppose your suggestion, Larry, and I know that the information is given in your best interest, but when I was told that Mercedes strictly recommends against making those type of adjustments, and have witnessed the results of that, I can only recommend to replace the worn parts.

------------------
Rgds,
Aaron Greenberg
MB technician
Precision Motorcars, Cincinnati, Ohio
'67 250SE Cabriolet
'77 450SL
'79 6.9 (SOLD)
'80 300SD
'85 380SE
'89 420SEL
'93 300E 2.8
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2000, 08:30 AM
LarryBible
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Aaron,

I hope you noticed the caution that I put in my comments. I am convinced that the allen can be backed out SLIGHTLY. You do not want to in any way TIGHTEN it. In 516,000 miles I have adjusted this three times very cautiously. If the allen can be adjusted at all, it will be found to be very loose. Back it out until there is any snugness at all, and then turn it clockwise just enough to ensure that it is NOT tight. If the allen is found to be tight after loosening the nut, don't move it.

I have never seen any slack in the coupler above the box. You would of course want to check and replace if there is any slack.


------------------
Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 516K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2000, 08:34 AM
LarryBible
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Aaron,

I am curious, have you ever seen a steering box totally fail to a point of total steering loss?

Thanks,
Larry

------------------
Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 516K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2000, 11:12 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,935


Larry,

I have not seen one fail and cause a total loss of steering, but I have seen a few that we discovered had been adjusted and boy were they wrecked. The cars had to be towed in because the owners were afraid to drive them because there was so much slop in the wheel. That is why I don't like to make any adjustments, because I have seen this happen more than once. Just my $0.02


------------------
Rgds,
Aaron Greenberg
MB technician
Precision Motorcars, Cincinnati, Ohio
'67 250SE Cabriolet
'77 450SL
'79 6.9 (SOLD)
'80 300SD
'85 380SE
'89 420SEL
'93 300E 2.8
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2000, 09:15 AM
ColMc
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Hers a tip that might help.

When you back off the Allen screw, Back off the Locknut instead.
When it starts to feel snug(not tight). hold the Allen screw with a key and tighten the nut back down.

You might find a bit more feel in tightness this way.
Do it in steps and check the freeplay in the Sterring wheel each time. Make sure the front wheels are in the straight ahead postion.Give the steering wheel a little shake and see that it moves freely in its freeplay area of arc.

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