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Old 09-17-2003, 05:46 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Schenectady, new york
Posts: 229
hydropneumatic shocks '87 560SEL

Rear niotrogen cells are gone after 125,000 miles, both rear shocks are leaking. Must I replace the rear shocks with the hydropneumatic replacements and replace the nitrogen cells or can I just put in a set of traditional shocks?

'87 560SEL 126,000
'86 30SDL 188,00
'94 SL5000 60,000
'91 350SDL 545,000
'91 350SD 197,000
'00 E55 AMG 77,000
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Old 09-17-2003, 08:00 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Venice, FL - "sharktooth capital of the world"
Posts: 712
Someone has posted about doing this before.

If my memory serves me right, it can be done.

Do a search on Hydropneumatic suspension and you will probably find the thread.
85 300D 310K (sold)
90 350SDL 184K sold
83 300D 118K (sold)
88 300E 153k (sold)
93 400E 105K (sold)
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 8,150
You will have to change the springs if you go to plain shocks. The nitrogen cells provide considerable spring, too.

I'd look around for a set of used struts -- they usually only go bad if the accumlators go "flat" and the car is driven too long with the rear suspension locked up from no strut travel. I lucked out, the ones on my TE weren't bad when I got it.

1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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Old 09-18-2003, 09:56 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 248

I do believe that the conversion can be done as prevoiusly described but I'd suggest just replacing the original equipment. The nitrogen cells are very easy to replace and not very expensive (probably around $150 for the pair on any of the decent online sites). I replaced mine at the beginning of the summer.

The shocks are also not too hard from what I've read here but that's not something that I've needed to do yet. Do a search and you should find several very good and detailed descriptions. If you come across one by thomspin (SP?) it will be excellent - he does a great job of documenting MB repairs.

So why stick with the original? The hydropneumatic system is designed to maintain the proper suspension height and attitude under almost all driving and load conditions. Given the performance that is possible with the 560, this can be important especially if you frequently travel on windy or less than ideal roads with several passengers or stuff in the trunk. I noticed a marked improvement on my car after replacing the cells - the car handled the same at speed through curves regardless of how many people were with me.


'87 560SEL 267K (177K on motor) Blue/Blue
'98 Buick LeSebre 60K (wife's car)
'56 Imperial Sedan 124K
Past Cars:
'67 Dodge Monaco 130K (Sold)
'87 Chrysler 5th Ave 245K and going strong (sold)
'73 Plymouth Satillite 175K (sold)
'96 Chrysler LHS 80K (totaled)
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 321
the stock w126 420sel did not have the hydraulic compensated rear suspension.

so, you can replace the 560sel hyraulic stuff with what was stock original equipment for the 420sel.

some people report that they prefer the 560sel without the hydraulic nonsense.

i consider making the change, but i would want to drive a converted 560sel before doing so.

on another benz board, do a search, because it has been written about. or check out my past posts. there you will find the link to the msgs that discussed this issue.

if you make the switch, let us know what you think after some miles of driving it that way.
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