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Old 03-11-2000, 01:44 AM
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I have an 1985 300D in immaculate condition.
It has 86,000 original miles on it. My problem is that the steering seems to have about an inch or so of play to the left and right (sloppy). My mercedes dealer says that he could only tighten up the steering box so much...that it needs a new steering box! I am having a hard time believing this! He put in a new dampener shock in the front and did an alignment. It did not help. It really has too much play in the steering. Is this safe?
Has anyone else had a similar experience? Any other cures or do I really need to put in a new steering box?

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Old 03-11-2000, 08:50 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Powder Springs, Georgia, USA
Posts: 207
A Mercedes dealer told me the same thing. They said if they tightened it up it wouldn't feel right ! I had a 1985 300 D. I figured what could I hurt if it was already worn. So I loosened the lock nut and adjusted the sector gear screw on the steering box. I think I had to turn counterclockwise. Don't do too much at a time. I drove mine for 80,000 more miles after that until my car was in a accident.
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Old 03-11-2000, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844

To tighten the box you must turn counter-clockwise. The box is not supposed to be adjusted on the car as the torque necessary to turn is to be measured as the adjustment is made. With that said the consequence to to much tightening is a car that goes where its pointed and has to be constantly corrected - the natural road following tendencies are overcome by the stiffness.

If you grab the coupling, at the box, with one hand from above and gently rotate back and forth one can "feel" the play. If you tighten the screw slowly you can feel this play go away. On this car its pretty easy and can easily be corrected if gone too far.

BTW what you are actually doing with this adjustment is raising the pitman shaft. The input shaft has the recipricating ball cylinder threading its way up and down the input shaft. It has a ball attached to the bottom which fits into a cup at the end of the internal pitman shaft arm. Raising and lowering the shaft engages the ball into the socket. When there is play the ball is loose in the socket. When its tight the arm drives the ball upward driving ball cylinder against its threads locking up the mechanism.

Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
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Old 03-12-2000, 02:33 PM
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Thanks DeltaDave and Stevebfl. I purchased a 19mm box end wrench and cut it in half with a hacksaw. There is not a great deal of space down there! I loosened the nut with a socket and long extension first. Then held it with my shortened 19mm boxend as I turned the allen hex screw counter-clockwise. I adjusted slowly and then test drove the car. After adjusting 3-4 times, it is now fixed! Hmmmmm....I don't think the dealer adjusted the box at all! Maybe he didn't have a special home-made 19mm box-end wrench!

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 03-14-2000).]
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Old 03-13-2000, 09:27 AM
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Good Job!!

The steering box is one of the few achilles heels of the 123 cars.

I just thought that you should know that a month or two ago, one of the professional MB techs who frequently chime in warned that MB reccomends not adjusting the steering box, he said that it can cause problems. I take his advice seriously, but it was after I've made many adjustments to boxes in my own cars.

If you do get it too tight, you will know it in two blocks. Keep an eye on it.

Good luck,

Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 516K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles

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