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  #46  
Old 07-26-2003, 11:30 AM
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Alright guys, I got new alignment measurements. These measurements were actually taken 2 days before the measurements I posted before. The new ones that i posted previously were taken after they straightened the steering wheel. I don't think it would make a difference in our main concern though. Take a look at the caster on the readings:

--------
Front
--------
Camber:
...Left: -1.1
...Right: -1.1
Cross Camber: -0.1
Caster:
...Left: 10.0
...Right: 10.3
Cross Caster: -0.3
Toe:
...Left: 0.10
...Right: 0.09
Total Toe: 0.19
Set Back: -0.13

------
Rear
------
Camber:
...Left: -1.6
...Right: -1.6
Toe:
...Left 0.14
...Right: 0.14
Total Toe: 0.28
Thrust Angle: 0.00

The caster is higher on the right side, doesn't a higher caster on one side cause it to pull to that side? I belive md217 pointed that out in a previously reply. Can anyone shed some insight to me on what the caster is? Sorry, I'm really new to alignment measurements and don't understand which each is. Can someone explain the caster to me and what it's reading? How do the other numbers look also? The rear end looks even. The only thing that really changed since the last numbers i posted (which were actually more recent) was the Toe. It changed from .14 on the left to .10 and .18 on the right down to .09

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.

I thought wider tires actually helped the performance of a car by giving better traction and handeling. Are you saying that the new EVO wheels and the new tires are actually hurting my performance and handeling? That kind of sucks. I thought this was a common upgrade on 500E's, and no one else has encountered this problem before? IF that is the problem. I think the higher caster reading on the right side could be telling us there is still something off.
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Last edited by hedpe; 07-26-2003 at 11:38 AM.
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  #47  
Old 07-26-2003, 01:31 PM
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Everyone,

HDPE's tire/wheel setup is definitely fine for this vehicle. In 1994 Mercedes used this exact wheel/tire size on their Limited Edition version of the E500, no changes were made to the suspension or bushings.

Since nearly all of the suspension components have already been replaced wear should not be an issue either. That leaves either an incorrect alignment or tire problems. HDPE if you can find a friend with similar wheel/tire sizes I would suggest swapping them to determine if the tires are the problem. If they are I would discuss this with whoever you purchased them from and either get similar replacements or an entirely different tire. I suggest Bridgestone SO3's, great ride, handling and looks.

By the way I also have the EVOII Wheels with 245/45/17 Tires, I didn't align my car after installing and don't have any tracking issues at all. Note this setup does increase road feel significantly, but IMO the car needed that.

HDPE keep us posted with your findings.
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  #48  
Old 07-26-2003, 03:14 PM
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A wide variety of knowledge is needed here. Performance isn't a single thing. The way tires help performance is by allowing larger loads to be transfered to the chassis. You want to go around a corner fast the tires grip the road to their ability and transfer that force to changing the direction of the chassis.

This ability is improved with big, fat, agressively treaded, tires. The tires ability to do this also improves its ability to do every bad thing it can do to the chassis, including shake, shimmy, track, pull, wobble, etc.

The fact that anyone including MB has installed successfully monster tires is only qualitative. For every thing ones adds in performance one place, one takes away in another. The key for me is to see the way the car was originally designed and look for specific changes. The car was designed for 195/65R15 tires and no where in production did they change the things one would change if one were to change tire adhesion. The bushings are still the same the tierods and sterring shock are the same. The shocks and springs are different.

From the latest specs you show there is almost no compensation. The car should pull to the side with lower CASTER, but .3 deg is negligible. An attempt to deal with your problem has not been made within those readings, unless they are all that can be done within the adjustments. The 124 body has cams for CASTER and CAMBER adjustment and is limited in correction by the lift circle of the cam.

To understand CASTER look at one... the wheel on a caster rolls on an axle that is not underneath the pivot for direction. If one draws a line between the center of the axle to the center of directional pivot, one is scribing the angle of caster. Think of a grocery cart. You push it and all wheels line up. Every once in a while one gets a cart where the wheel is bent up under the chassis such that the axle of rotation is directly below the pivot point (zero CASTER). This wheel wobbles and turns around changing direction at the slightest.
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  #49  
Old 07-26-2003, 04:04 PM
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Alright, I'm getting a bit of conflicting info. As for the caster, md217 stated that it would pull to the side with higher caster, steve is saying that it pulls to the side with lower case. Md217 stated that .25-.5 would make a difference, steve stated other wise. Whats the real answer?
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1989 300SEL
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  #50  
Old 07-26-2003, 04:22 PM
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Here's a website I found that explains the different parts of an alignment.

http://www.familycar.com/alignment.htm

Happy reading
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  #51  
Old 07-26-2003, 04:28 PM
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When in doubt take Steve's advise over mine.

The car should pull the to side with lower caster. I will edit my previous post to correct the error. Caster is frequently used to help a car go straight with less steering effort in the right lane where it wants to drift to the right. For the purposes of correcting road crown 0.25-0.5 degree is commonly used. Florida roads have a lot of crown so 0.5 is commonly used. In states's like GA or TN where there is less crown, 0.25 may work fine. I believe Steve is saying 0.3 is negligable for correcting your problem.

HTH,
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  #52  
Old 07-26-2003, 04:33 PM
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Alright, so my caster seems ok?

Steve: you're posting that the alignment measurements show that there has been no compensation made for the pulling. What should I do? placo has the same model, same wheels, and same size tires and has no problem with a pulling condition. You're suggesting that a compensation should be made with the measurements. Don't you think we should figure out why it's pulling instead of trying to compensate by overloading one side or the other?

Does anyone see any problems with my alignment measurements? Anywhere? Anything?
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  #53  
Old 07-26-2003, 05:01 PM
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My guess is it is your tires, not placos tires, your tires. but, what do I know.

You have either a tire problem, an alignment problem, or deficient strength in critical areas of your suspension.

The fact that you have the size tires that you have, causes the chances of you having tire related problems to be increased by quantum jumps over normal concepts of tire responsibility. I'll say it differently. If you were driving a 300E with 195/65R15 tires you could drive with crappy tires and not notice. With your tire size you need to be perfect or you are screwed.

Because of your tire size suspension deficiencies are highlighted. Based upon your alignment specs, you either have excess deflection on one side while driving, a tire irregularity, or you have a defect in one of the other alignment values I mentioned (wheel base differences or steering axis inclination).

Either that or its something else!
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  #54  
Old 07-26-2003, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
My guess is it is your tires, not placos tires, your tires. but, what do I know.
nono, i completely agree with you. It is definately something wrong with my car, and COULD be my tires. I was just stating the fact that the tire size shouldn't be the problem, though as you are saying it helps cause problems.

I'm going to try and do measurements between wheels and see what I come up with, thanks guys, all this is really helping.
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  #55  
Old 07-26-2003, 06:05 PM
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Steve has been aligning cars for 3 decades. In the past I belvie he's said 90% of the time pulling is caused by tires. Others have said, sometimes rotating a tire from right side to left side will cause the pull to stop, or pull in the opposite direction.

HTH,
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  #56  
Old 07-26-2003, 08:41 PM
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Ok we can officially axe the tire and wheel idea. I went up to the place where i get my tires from. They checked each tire, tried rotating them, and new tires. Nothing worked, it still pulled to the right.

Not to mention we already tried putting stock wheels with 225/55R16's back on the car and it still pulled a while back.

So I think we can safely axe the idea that it could be the tires or the wheels.

Whenever I'm on a flat road, and i put the wheel straight, and let go of the wheel, the wheel will slowly turn to the right, and hence, the car will go right. Now I don't know if it's the other way around, whereas the car starts to go right, forcing the wheel to turn to the right. Either way it's happening.

So exhausting
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  #57  
Old 07-26-2003, 11:22 PM
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Major irritation, for sure.

I suspect you will have to have someone who really knows what they are doing set the car up "off spec" as Steve suggests, to counteract the pull. Something isn't quite right, and it is very likely a minor frame distortion you aren't going to be able to eliminate. If, for instance, the rear subframe sits just slightly off perpendicular, unless someone knows exactly how to handle this, you will end up with some drift. Ditto for a tiny bit of stagger in the front suspension.

If it hasn't been handled this way, you need to find an alignment shop who knows how -- just setting to factory numbers won't help.

I do know that MB, in the W108 manual, warns that you must stay on the positive side of the camber spec for the driver's front, or it will pull to the left with just the driver in the car.

My 300TE now drives with no pull at all, and is almost totally immune to cross winds -- I couldn't figure out what the funny roaring noise was until the cars around me started moving sideways -- big thunderstorm blowing up and I couldn't tell at all! So it can be done, you just have to find the right guy.

Peter
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  #58  
Old 07-27-2003, 01:00 AM
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It just sucks that the whole subframe was replaced and it's hard to know if it was replaced correctly. I guess I'll have to have someone look over it...

I also did some much needed measurements tonight as Brian suggested.

Using two yardsticks, a leveler, a tape measure, a sharpie, and some paper I got these measurements:

Left Side distance between centercap on front wheel to centercap on rear wheel: 110 1/2 inches

Right side distance between centercar on front wheel to centercap on rear wheel: 110 1/2 inches

Distance from center of front left wheel to underside of fender lip: 14 inches

Distance from center of front right wheel to underside of fender lip: 14 inches

Distance from center of rear left wheel to underside of fender lip: 14+3/4 inches

Distance from center of rear right wheel to underside of fender lip: 14+3/4 inches

These measurements were as exact as I could get them. I used a level to make sure I was holding the yardsticks straight. I used two methods and got the exact same results. I marked the ground and measured between the wheels (for the wheelbase), and second I used the tape measure to go exactly from centercap from centercap. Both gave the EXACT same results.

So, it seems like the suspension is even on both sides and there is no wheel stagger.

When i center my steering wheel, turn my car off, then pull it to the left, it locks the wheel. When I let go of the locked wheel, the wheel then turns towards the right side, and is SLIGHTLY off centered and sits slightly tilted right. Is this a sign of anything?
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  #59  
Old 07-27-2003, 02:19 AM
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Find out who does PROBLEM CASE alignments in your area. Or customization. You may find its the same guy. You might find some interesting vehicles at the shop, like low rider's and trucks with lift kits. All of those require special alignment settings.

If you stay with the typical shop, I'd try setting 0.5 degree castor difference between left and right side, right side with more castor. I'd also try adding some camber on the left side.
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  #60  
Old 07-27-2003, 02:38 AM
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I am really trying to avoid getting a custom alignment done though, to me this is giving in to not being able to find the problem. I want to find the problem, not really compensate for it. I want to know whats wrong and it will drive me crazy if I don't figure it out.
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