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  #1  
Old 07-11-2003, 10:50 PM
BigPoppaBenz
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loose steering on 126???

I was driving my dad's 1988 420sel yesterday and noticed that the steering seemed loose compared to my 1988 300e. The funny thing was that there seemed to be a lot of play when the wheels were relatively straight but once the wheels were turned a bit there wasn't very much play at all.

I'm wondering if this is natural for the 126 models or if something needs to be fixed/adjusted in the car? I don't have a very good idea of how the steering works on a car so I can't guess what it would be, but I know somebody out there does!

Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you

Peter
1988 420sel
1988 300e

edit: ok, so I just did a SEARCH on the subject and it turns out this is a very nicely covered topic. Sorry to waste your time. I guess I've learned to do a search before posting. oops

Last edited by BigPoppaBenz; 07-11-2003 at 10:59 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-11-2003, 11:18 PM
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Hey, at least you asked before you started complaining!

Lots of stuff will make the steering "loose", you will need to determine the exact cause. Since it is only in the center position, two things come to mind at once -- steering coupler and over-center adjustment on the steering box. If the coupler bushings are gone, the steering wheel will rattle on rough pavement or gravel, and you will be able to see the steeing column side moving without moving the steering box side. Gives about an inch of play.

If the box needs adjusting, the coupler will be tight, but the wheel will turn slightly before the pitman arm moves.

The steering on the MB big cars is a little "numb" right at center. Keeps you out of the ditch if you sneeze at 140 mph.

Peter
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2003, 09:30 AM
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possible

could be your steering dampener too...
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SOLD 1977 Jaguar XJ6 Coupe Antique Roadster 85K

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  #4  
Old 07-12-2003, 10:23 AM
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Psfred

Psfred - coupler bushings - same as steering coupling? I have that "rattle" you described and wanted to check that area.
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  #5  
Old 07-12-2003, 01:56 PM
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"The funny thing was that there seemed to be a lot of play when the wheels were relatively straight but once the wheels were turned a bit there wasn't very much play at all."

If you were testing sitting still with the engine off, this is a sign that the sector gear is worn beyond useful adjustment. With a new box, you would expect less play at the center.

If you were testing on the road, while turning, the steering will be loaded in a turn. This will take out all impression of freeplay, unless a tire hits a road imperfection.

If testing with engine off, more freeplay off center while still a bit at center - you can often adjust it out, or at least minimize it.

Steve
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2003, 02:06 PM
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"First off, and most importantly what is the pitman arm and where is it?"

It connects the steering box output shaft to the steering linkage.

"How could I tell if the wheel is turning before the pitman arm moves? Do I need somebnody in the car to turn the wheel while I look?"

Yes. If necessary, drive the car up on blocks at the front, but the wheels must have their normal vehicle weight. The steering wheel is turned back and forth JUST to the point where the wheels show movement. You look at the entire linkage for signs that some things are moving and others aren't, or are moving in a direction OTHER than what their bearing should allow. This won't be so helpful for diagnosing looseness in the steering box or coupler, but will allow you to take care of the rest of the linkage first.

Steve
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Old 07-12-2003, 03:05 PM
BigPoppaBenz
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Thanks for the replies. I'll take a look at the car again tomorrow, but in the meanwhile do you know how to diagnose these problems?
I'm assuming the box needs to be adjusted because I don't notice any rattles. First off, and most importantly what is the pitman arm and where is it? How could I tell if the wheel is turning before the pitman arm moves? Do I need somebnody in the car to turn the wheel while I look?

Thanks for all the help

Peter
1988 420sel
1988 300e
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