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Old 05-22-2003, 10:36 PM
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diagnosing a dead strut

anybody have like a procedure to diagnose a dea strut without having to take it out?


190E 2.3 16V
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Old 05-22-2003, 11:27 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,011
Unless it's obvious that oil has leaked out it's probably not dead, but if the car shows lack of rebound control at that corner, there may be a problem.

I experinced some strange behavior a few years ago at the RF of my Cosworth Vega. When I removed the Bilstein shock for investigation I could not compress it all the way, but there was no evidence of leakage. Took all the shocks down to Bilstein in San Diego and they rebuilt all four on warranty as I still had the original purchase receipt from 1979, and that was all I needed for them to honor the lifetime warranty on aftermarket purchases.

If you do turn out to have a bad strut, Bilstein should show an OEM replacement in their catalog, and as far as I know they still offer their lifetime warranty.

I ended up selling the rebuilt Bilsteins off the CV in favor of a set of Spax adjustables. I got a little more than I originally paid for them new.

A few years before one of the front struts in my 201/2.6 leaked oil and I replaced it with with a Bilstein OEM replacement. It was indistiguishable from the original, except the top of the strut hold was Torx instead of metric hex.

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Old 05-23-2003, 09:27 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Dallas
Posts: 330

Do you consider an adequate test of "rebound" to be pressing down at the offending corner and releasing, watching for any "bounce" past the original position of the corner before compression?
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Old 05-23-2003, 11:22 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
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I don't consider a static "bounce test" to have much value, but there is a road not far from my house that has some drainage channels running across. You have to slow quite a bit from the 35 MPH speed limit to traverse them or the body will rebound nearly to the stops on most cars.

This road is what I use to test shocks and set up the rebound damping on adjustables.

The unequal response on these dips at the front end of the CV is what led me to investigate the RF shock, and the Spax are set up to keep the front and rear from rebounding past normal ride height, which is very stiff, but I use the CV for fun driving and race track hot lapping.

My 201/2.6 can traverse this section faster than any of my other cars or most production cars without discomfort due to its combination of soft springs, generous suspension travel and well matched damping, which is what makes Mercs such great touring cars. They can handle virtually any road real world road gracefully, but it's a little too soft for Willow Springs.

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