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  #1  
Old 11-09-2003, 12:18 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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W201 Shock/Strut replacement

I have a 1991 190E 2.3 with 61K miles. Although the mileage is relatively low, I feel it is time to replace the suspension. The rear is saging a bit, and the car creaks/bounces a fair amount on bumps. The front is a soft and has a "vague" feel.

I think I will be going with the Bilsteins. As I have been pricing them, I am wondering what other parts I may need to be replacing in addition to the strut/shock? I have noticed a variety of related items from boots to shims to mounts available. I am wondering what have most folks typically replaced in doing the suspension replacement?

Thanks- Jonathan
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2003, 12:53 AM
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Welcome to the forum!

I have posted (as everyone knows) quite a bit about replacing sway bar bushings (front and rear) on these cars.

Here are several discussions on the topic: Replace FT & R sway bar bushings

The creaking and sagging is probably not the shocks. Typically it is jounce and rebound issues that describe failing shocks.

I would suggest carefully inspecting all the links, bushings etc in both the front but especially the rear suspension. Some series of springs, typically rears, do loose their stoutness over the years, less common on the 201 series cars.

Haasman
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Last edited by haasman; 11-09-2003 at 12:59 AM.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2003, 01:34 PM
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I agree with haasman and offer these additional observations. The high pressure "deCarbon" shocks on Mercs typically maintain their design damping characteristics until end of life when they fail completely, but they usually go well over 100K miles. Failure is usually evidenced by a sudden loss of oil, which will be quite noticeable. The RF on my 190E failed at about 60K miles, and I replaced it with a Bilstein OE replacement that appeared identical to the OE shock, which was made by Bilstein. The only difference was that the top of the strut rod was torx rather than a metric hex.

Shocks are transient control devices. They offer a resisting force proportional to the velocity at which they are stroked. They normally do not have any affect on ride height, but deCarbon type shocks do have a small spring rate due to the high pressure gas charge. You should inspect the struts/shocks carefully for signs of leakage - not just a slight film, but a real leak. If they are not leaking, they are probably okay.

You should also find a road with a good mixture of bumps and dips and take it at a brisk speed. If the body does not pitch and wallow around the shocks are probably okay, and your issues are due to something other than the struts/shocks.

Duke
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Old 11-09-2003, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for the advice. It sounds like the next step is to get the car up on stands and have a good look around at the bushings as well as any oil leakage from the shocks. I live in Minnesota and I think the cold and salt takes a toll on the rubber components.

I did take the car out a couple times on a rather bumpy road today with some deep manholes. It does pitch a bit, but I don't think it is anything more than expected with this suspension. The rear does not rebound well, but again, I think I will start with a better inspection of the bushings.

Thanks- Jonathan
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2003, 09:09 PM
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I would be surprised if much other than a rubber bush or two is worn. We were out on a club run yesterday that took in some nice "drivers" roads. Whilst my 190E is a Sportline, it still feels well tied down and beautifully damped. Receipts that came with the car when I purchased it show all sorts of work, but no suspension work. All this despite the fact that on yesterdays run it rolled over to 220,000km. I recently had to fit new top mounts for the front struts due to cracks in the rubber of the old ones. This had no influence on the ride or handling though.
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2003, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 2300com
It sounds like the next step is to get the car up on stands and have a good look around at the bushings as well as any oil leakage from the shocks.

Thanks- Jonathan
That's the ticket! Nothing beats spending "quality time" under your car, looking, poking, prodding, and twisting to see how everything is.

While you're under there check driveshaft front flex coupling. They're usually cracked by 60K miles and make the drivetrain feel like it's made out of rubber bands - probably more noticeable with a shifter than with an automatic.

Duke
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  #7  
Old 11-10-2003, 07:36 PM
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I just replaced the front roll bar (sway bar?) bushings and it made a noticable difference to the handling. Very cheap and quite easy once you have the rusty nuts loose!
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  #8  
Old 11-10-2003, 08:15 PM
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Alright!

Now do the rears. Nice complementary feeling once done. Car just feels flatter in corners. Also, be sure and check the rear sway bar links.

It is amazing how easy (most cars) it is to do and how great the results are.

Enjoy your drive

Haasman
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'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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  #9  
Old 11-10-2003, 08:59 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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My thanks, I had been dreading the cost of new shocks!
With all of your advice, I have been reading about bushings for the past couple days. I have the day off tomorrow for poking around on my mini benz. The sway bar bushings sound like a smart replacement regardless.

Now I just wish I lived in CA like you guys so I had some warmer weather for laying on the cement and looking at my car. MN is cold these days.

Cheers- Jonathan
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