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  #31  
Old 07-24-2003, 01:48 PM
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Forget I used the word exact. The splines allow "a few degrees variation. Any more than one spline difference suggests a problem exists.

Don't assume the steering box is centered. You need to center it and check the position of the steering wheel. If its not level, the steering wheel is off and needs to be made level. Then the alignment needs to be re-done to adjust the length of the tie rods side to side.
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  #32  
Old 07-24-2003, 02:01 PM
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Is this a job I can do myself? I have very few tools and when my tech replaced the steering box he said it was quite a pain to get to. If its something I can do, how do I center it and check the position of the steering wheel myself? Thanks!
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  #33  
Old 07-24-2003, 04:00 PM
LarryBible
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It sounds like there have been many attempts. After quickly perusing the above, I have only two thoughts to offer;

1. I did not catch the details pertaining to tires. If you have not already worn yourself out swapping tires around (not pressure changes but actually moving tires) then take the tires from the right and temporarily mount them on the left and vice versa. If it then pulls the other direction, you have a tire with excess conicity (cone shape.)

2. The second thing that came to mind is something I have never seen on an MB but I suppose it's not impossible. On some of the very early integral power steering boxes on other brand cars, they would occasionally have imbalanced pressure. This means that there would not be equal hydraulic pressure in both directions while going straight down the road. On some of the early integral boxes there was even an adjustable spool valve that would let you adjust this.

This is very obscure, but it would behave as you describe. With the boxes that I saw that occur, you could raise both front wheels off the ground, start the engine and by touching the steering wheel and moving it just a touch, the steering wheel would S-L-O-W-L-Y start to turn on their own. I would be shocked if this were the case with your car, but after all you are looking for something that is obscure.

Hope this helps and sorry I can't come up with more.

Good luck,
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  #34  
Old 07-25-2003, 01:11 AM
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ok after driving my dads car, and then my car (the W126 vrs the W124), I noticed on the same road, in the same place, when my dads car is going straight, his steering wheel is dead flat, straight. But mine, in that same place, when my car is going straightish (before it starts to pull), the steering wheel is tilted to the right a little bit. Do you guys think the steering wheel could not be centered?

how can i check to see if its centered? Someone said it should "lock" in the centered position?
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  #35  
Old 07-25-2003, 09:23 AM
LarryBible
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If the steering wheel is not centered when going straight on a level road, the correct adjustment procedure involves adjusting tie rods, NOT removing the wheel and moving it a spline or two.

Any alignment shop that is worth a bucket of cold spit will make this adjustment by moving both tie rod sleeves equal amounts in the same direction.

If your perceived problem is due to the steering wheel not being centered we all need to know what shops did the alignments on the car so that we will know to avoid them.

I hope you are homing in on the problem,
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  #36  
Old 07-25-2003, 10:11 AM
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I hope I'm narrowing in on it, something just isn't right.

How can I check the steering wheel to see if it's centered? Is there any way to check to see if its centered before i go to an alignment shop and ask for it to be centered?

heres the thing though. If the car is aligned right, and the steering wheel is improperly centered, say its leaning to the right. This would not make the car drift right though am i correct? So if my steering wheel is not centered properly, this would not cause my car to pull?
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Last edited by hedpe; 07-25-2003 at 10:20 AM.
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  #37  
Old 07-25-2003, 01:51 PM
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I typed up a message but it never appeared.

As Larry says is it that car your pulls or that your steering wheel isn't straight? IF you let go of the steering wheel on a flat road does the CAR go straight or does it pull right (ignore the existence of the steering wheel for this purpose).

IF the car goes straight and the steering wheel is NOT, then:

(you may/should jack up the front end of the car)

1. Check the steering box for center. There is a 14 mm screw on my early 124 box, yours may differ, to the left of the Pitman arm. There is a "V" cut into the shaft for the purpose of fitting a tapered screw. You may find a suitable replacement if you do not have a tapered screw. With the steering box locked - is your steering wheel level? (If not, then either the shaft or steering wheel is off center. To make the box ON CENTER you WILL need an alignment to adjust the tie rods). LEvel the steering wheel if it is not levelled.

2. Check the steering shaft for center. The turn signals shoudl cancel at the same angle (and the steering lock should engage with the steering wheel level. If it is not, then the shaft is NOT straight and needs to be realigned with the steering box at the coupling.

Its possible that the steering box was removed, and reinstalled with the shaft not straight, and then they moved the steering wheel to compensate.

Now, if the car does NOT go straight on a flat road regardless of steering wheel position, you have other issues (tires, etc).

HTH,
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  #38  
Old 07-25-2003, 02:43 PM
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The car does not steer straight, thats the main problem, I guess the steering wheel looks crooked after it starts pulling.

Heres an instance:

I'm on a flat road, i set the steering wheel in to the most straight position, then it starts to pull to the right, the car starts moving rightward, and the steering wheel starts shifting to the right side so the steering wheels is now a couple degrees to the right more. It usually will not turn any more than that, and the car starts drifting to the right.

so...I take it this cannot be a steering wheel issue then.

lets say for instance that the turn signals are not turning off at the same angle. This would not lead me to the pulling problem correct? That proves an off center steering wheel which has nothing to do with the pulling.

I'm just narrowing down what I can do to try and find the pulling.
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  #39  
Old 07-25-2003, 03:04 PM
LarryBible
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If the steering wheel is not straight, it will be in an other than straight position while you're driving down a straight road. Unless you are in the habit of consciously holding the steering wheel in the centered position while driving on a straight road, then I don't think this has much to do with your problem.

Have you swapped tires from side to side yet to see if that is the problem?

Have a great day,
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  #40  
Old 07-25-2003, 06:33 PM
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I missed most of this and only skimmed the answers.

I don't see where anyone made an attempt to alter this condition through alignment.

Your basic problem is you have too much tire. Alignment specs are designed to place the car in a orientation while sitting that will be appropriate when loaded. When you change the design characteristics you change the need specifications. i have found that front end to loose huge amounts of toe in under the load of those tires.

The point is that an alignment of your car given your expressed situation would mean evaluating what is there and altering it to achieve the results desired. Up to the limits of adjustment that is what is needed to address your condition. I saw no CASTER readings. There should have been at least one degree less CASTER on the side it is not pulling to (right pull - CASTER low on left to correct). It should of had atleast .5deg of cross CAMBER to deal with the condition.

Why set a car straight if it doesn't drive that way. Among the reasons you compensate are the extraneous elements like TIRES. With those tires you probaly have direction tread. Even if you do take the front tires and move them side to side. Do this for diagnostics and replace them after seeing what changed.

I guarantee you 90 % of all cars I align that are pulling are doing so because of the tires. Many times one can compensate. The more aggressive the tire the more they affect this.

In my book,by what you have shown,you have yet to have an alignment that dealt with the problem.
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  #41  
Old 07-25-2003, 08:45 PM
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Steve:

I was curious about the missing caster numbers, as it isn't possible, I don't think, to set the camber independent of the caster by adjusting the lower control arm. I could be wrong, but I'd still expect caster numbers after an accident if only to show the front end isn't bent.

I've had someone suggest a slight difference in caster before to compensate for steeply crowned roads, too, such as we have around here. Saves pulling on the wheel to compensate.

Would wider tires affect the offset enough on the front end to cause trouble, too?

Peter
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  #42  
Old 07-25-2003, 08:52 PM
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Steve's years of experience in the shop are invaluable.

If the owner of the 500E had an alignment performed at the time the larger wheels were installed, it would nice to go back to THAT shop and get them to do it again. Sometimes the specs aren't good enough especially if the design as changed.
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  #43  
Old 07-26-2003, 02:01 AM
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Your basic problem is you have too much tire. i have found that front end to loose huge amounts of toe in under the load of those tires.

I'm slightly confused about that. Aren't there dozens of 500E owners with the exact wheels and tires that are 245/45/17? If not bigger? I understand that every car is a little different, but shouldn't it be able to handle it? Does the toe reading on my car look ok?

I saw no CASTER readings. There should have been at least one degree less CASTER on the side it is not pulling to (right pull - CASTER low on left to correct).

I actually saw that there were no caster readings and found it a litlte odd. So I called up the dealer to ask where they were. They said that they had put the car up on the alignment rack twice. The first time is the readings that i posted. They didn't do the caster because they said that my steering wheel was not centered, so they had to center it, center the steering box, and then put it back on the rack. He's faxing me the second alignment measurements tomorrow.

Do you suggest I get new tires? I dropped $1000 on the 4 tires because I wanted to put good tires on it. It kind of sucks to hear that it could have been worthless.

It should of had atleast .5deg of cross CAMBER to deal with the condition.

Do you suggest that I ask them to increase the cross camber to deal with the pulling? right now its -0.1deg

I don't see where anyone made an attempt to alter this condition through alignment.

i think that's because they want to find the problem. Isn't it better to figure out why its pulling rather than to just overcompensate one side or play with some adjustments to make it right? If somethings not right, I'd rather find whats wrong than "jerry rig" the alignment if you know what I mean.
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  #44  
Old 07-26-2003, 09:56 AM
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Tirerack shows 225/55 R 16 as the stock size for your car. Mercedes designed the car with that tire size in mind. Going to bigger wheels means more wheel weight and more tire weight. This loads the front end differently. Some custom rims and wheels LOOK real nice but don't drive down the road real good. Sometimes spin balancing ON THE CAR can't get the vibes away. The front lower control arm bushings are under more load with those bigger wheels and tires. Custom alignment settings are sometimes needed. Particularly when raising or lowering a vehicle. Talk to shop that sees a lot of customization and you'll see what is meant. They will tell you sometimes the book settings just don't work. They can make it right because their alignment guys knows alignment, not how to read a computer.

But, if this is the first time you're using those newer tires and/or wheels then you should start there first. Swap around and/or try a 4th or 5th tire/wheel of the same type.
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  #45  
Old 07-26-2003, 11:05 AM
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If you look to the parts you will see that the control arms and bushings on a 500E are the same as a 300E with 195/65R15 tires.

I would suggest that the suspension was designed for these tires.

Probably the most important point I would like to make is reguarding the CONCEPT of aligning an automobile. I don't believe that setting a car up to a specific number is aligning a car.
I see it as an art like playing music by ear. The numbers are a guide and the performance the answer. If you can not get performance within the numbers the rest of the job is to take the numbers and find the problem. THAT in total is what I call aligning a vehicle. From that definition you obviously haven't had your car aligned yet.

Back to the tires. Whether MB adds enough structure and stability to their front ends to take the massive change in loading your tires give, is debatable. That they do change the loading and its effect on prformance isn't.

It is an absolute fact that the tire size you have on that car will cause you grief in this area forever. When the tires are new there will be less effect, but as they grow different from use you will wind up with what you are seeing.

And how anone aligning a car could overlook CASTER is beyond me. Especially a car that has questionable angles due to a collision. Aside from the regular angles CAMBER, CASTER, and TOE some others should be used to evaluate a continual pulling condition on a wreck repaired auto. One should look to the set back and wheel base also and the steering axis inclination and included angle. Camber is the sum of the included angle plus steering axis inclination. If Camber is OK on a vigin car the other two are bound to be OK but a sum that is the same from different components will add up to your type of problem.

The point is to be able to read and visualize what is the problem when it all don't work. THAT is an ALIGNMENT!
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