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  #1  
Old 08-24-2003, 07:02 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 280
Unhappy bottoming suspension??

1994 Euro C180 with 194,000kms. Was on the road just today with total of 4 people who weighed approx. 330kg . We had to negotiate a very winding and uphill/downhill road to a golf course. The road appeared to be extraordinarily rough and the rattles really annoyed me. Noises in the driver's door, under the dash and in the engine bay. It felt like the car was riding on the pads and not on the springs and the shocks didn't seem to be cushioning much of the rough road surface. How would I know its time to change shocks and/or springs or both. The rear shocks do appear to have some wetness/leak stains near the overlapping tubes. The wetness does not look bad, just damp and could have been there a long time. If I changed the shocks, do I have to also change the springs? Do I have to do all four corners? Alignments too? Would new shocks feel harder? I want something softer and more comfortable. Can someone give me the part nos. so I can ask for the price? Driving alone feels best in this low powered and overweight car. If I had 1 passenger, thats also ok, but more than 1 it begins to feel like really hard work. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2003, 10:25 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,303
Virtually anything you could do to the car will make the 'ride' worse. The exception would be replacing the springs with a lower rate, longer length, and slightly stiffer shocks. This you are unlikely to find.

However, you can keep from bottoming out, and that might improve your golf-course approach shot. If your ride height is lower than spec, replace the springs. Replace the worn shocks with standard Bilsteins, and that should help as well. Check all suspension bushes and subframe mounts for wear, and replace as necessary.

As a side - if your shocks are completely shot AND you are riding on the suspension stops, replacing the shocks won't help to speak of. If you can feel SOME compliance in the suspension, then just new shocks may help.

Steve
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2003, 10:05 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 280
Unhappy suspension hardness

Thanks Steve for your assistance. Do you test the shocks by pressing down at the 4 corners of the car? If it bounces uncontrollably on release then the shocks are shot? If it comes back slowly or quickly at first then slows down then its still ok??? If this is not done, which other sure ways are there??? I haven't taken the car to a shock tester, but may do this soon. They are called Pedders and make their own brand of shocks and will test your car's shocks cheaply and produce a printed graph of the tyre going over rough road surfaces on a tester machine with rollers. My tyre brand is Simes which may be made in Malaysia. The side walls are particularly hard compared with Bstones. The thread have very deep channels and the rubber extra hard. Maybe my road feel is due to this more than the shocks.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2003, 10:38 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 375
Hi Hocky,

did the weight include the golf bags or was the trunk also full with 4 golf bags weighing another 100 kg? You really might have overloaded the car. But seriously, you check the shocks by pressing down on the corners as hard as you can and then watch the bounce. It should just come up, as the shock stops the spring from overshooting and then going down again. You can also have somebody drive the car on a bad road and watch from the side how the tires bounce. Compare it to a new car. I often see at stop signs with bad roads the cross-traffic go by and point out to my wife if a car has particularly bad shocks.
The fact that yours are oily also indicates they are bad.
And with 194,000 kms over Aussie roads some rubber parts of the suspension are probably shot, too.
As Steve said, have ride height checked and look what is all in need of replacement. And yes, softer tires and tire pressure also play a part, however more at the beginning of the suspension travel, not the bottoming end, which you seem to experience.

Good luck

Reinhard Kreutzer
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2003, 11:07 AM
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"But seriously, you check the shocks by pressing down on the corners as hard as you can and then watch the bounce. It should just come up, as the shock stops the spring from overshooting and then going down again"

It doesn't behave this way with our 190E - and the rears are new Bilsteins. Goes back up, comes back down, then settles out. I would say about 1.5 cycles. With the Honda or my old Acura, you're lucky to be able to push down at all. On our m'home, you couldn't hope to push down on the front corners, and driving seemed fairly normal on most roads. But the shocks on that were completely history.

If you want to do a push-down test, better is to have a known good same model to compare with. Best is to evaluate them off the car, or on a severe road test.

Steve
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2003, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 375
Hi Steve,

you are right, I pressed down at the back of my W126 and I can prob. press it down 2 inches and it might go up by 2.5 inches and then go down that half inch and come to a rest. Don't hold me to the inches, but as a rough idea of it's movement. It is probably easier to see when somebody else does the pressing and you see it from the side.

Regards

Reinhard Kreutzer
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2003, 09:25 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 280
Unhappy suspension woes

From my own tests by pressing down the 4 corners, the body also goes up and settles without any prolonged springing up and down. Hence I think for the time being they are fine, but not necessarily at their best. This aside, my next worry is the rotors which appear too thin last 2 months during some checks with the wheels off. Was told by my indie the fronts will cost all up A$515 includes 2 rotors, 4 pads, labour and tax. The backs will cost A$407 including the rotors and so on. I might just do the fronts first as they are more important in stopping the car than the backs. Will do the backs later. Just trying to ration my spending. Any ideas? Was also told I could change to ventilated rotors from the C200 and above series and pay only a few hundred more and they will still fit.
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  #8  
Old 08-28-2003, 10:39 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Epsom Downs, England
Posts: 152
Hocky,

The problems you're describing are due to the extra weight in the car causing the suspension to sit too close to the bump-stops.
This restricts the available travel in the suspension and will make the ride over rough roads very harsh. The shock absorbers will play no part in this, although they will allow more body movement if knackered.

Sounds like the springs are sagging............as said elsewhere, check the ride height and replace with standard spec ones if they are sitting too low. Anything "uprated" or sporty will decrease ride comfort significantly.

In England, a leaking shock absorber will fail the MOT test.
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