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Old 06-19-2000, 11:54 PM
jrd jrd is offline
Registered Luser
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 52
Good evening!

I was poring over my maintenance records for my 87 300d and was

How much
would it cost to just replace ALL the rubber in the front end of my
I'm sick of all the clunking, and my mechanic drove it around and can't
figure out where ANY of the noise is coming from, except now he says my
right front strut is bad, and that I can get new front struts for $650
parts+labor for the pair. I haven't noticed any noise in particular
the struts, but I don't see how I'd be able to tell one noise from

The noise is most noticeable when I go over speed bumps at an angle, or when I'm driving over rough city streets or "washboard" surfaces. One road in particular, for instance, causes the noise (esp. with higher tire pressures) when I drive on a part that is perfectly smooth on one wheel and bumpy under the other. It's a sharp clunk that can be felt under the wheel well.

As of now I have received the following suggestions from various
helpful sources:

Sway bar bushings
Lower control arm bushings
"Thrust arm" bushings (same thing?)
Upper ball joints
Subframe mounts

When turning the wheel back and forth with the engine off today
I realize that I can feel a little thunk under my left foot..

Are there enough dinky rubber bushings in the suspension to make
replacing them all an expensive proposition? (I take it the
suspension pieces have to come out in order to switch the bushings.)

By the way, ALL the clunking is much more pronounced when the
tires are inflated to 35+ PSI. When I leave them at the
recommended 29 PSI the ride is much smoother and subdued. At
the higher pressures it feels like an old pickup truck. In
any event, the noises are disappointing for a car of this caliber.
After reading all the arguments on Usenet and elsewhere about tire
pressure, I'm convinced that the manufacturer suggests a given pressure
for a given size for a REASON--all the jarring and jiggling from
overinflated tires must be hell on the electronics, the A/C fittings,
anything else that must tolerate all that extra vibration.

This is my maintenance list

New motor mounts and transmission mount
New timing chain+sprocket -- dunno if Merc. Recycling replaced
the guides or the tensioner!
New vacuum pump
New vacuum shutoff valve (on injection pump)
Change transmission fluid+filter
4-5 oil changes, most recently with Mobil 1 15w-50 (I plan to put
4 quarts of 15w-50 and 3 quarts of 10w-30 next time to thin the oil to
further help reduce stuck hydraulic lifter noise)
New fuel return lines
New air filter
New headlamp wiper hoses
Rebuilt passenger side power window switch unit (broke a piece)
New driver power window regulator, lube/clean power windows
4-wheel alignment (Santa Cruz Wheel Works--avoid them at all
cost, as they don't know how to align MB's with the steering box lock)
New serpentine belt+tensioner
Restuffed driver seat (cost $0, 4 hours, seat feels great)
Reconnected loose instrument cluster wiring
Lube speedometer
Clean+lube climate control aspirator motor
Reattach loose crank pulley+harmonic balancer (my guess is that Merc
Recycling didn't tighten it down enough when changing the belt)
Resolder face unit in Clarion CD changer stereo system to fix
intermittent button
Reattach loose thermostat on lower passenger side of engine
New paint job (Pestana's in Seaside, CA, near Cardinale dealers)
Shut sun roof (cable jammed, roof shut for good, $90)
New fog light lenses
Frseh fuses ($5)
Front brake shoes+wear sensors, fresh brake fluid
A/C service (evacuate, tighten fittings, leaktest, recharge)
New primary+inline fuel filters
And, later this week, new tires on the front axle (rears are fine,
but LF tire has 1.5" of smooth ZERO tread on outer edge from
previous bad alignment. I want to change these ASAP before
I risk a blowout)

Possible future work (long term):

New (AFTERMARKET) radiator before the old one breaks
The suspension work
New windshield
Quality window tint
Convert the damaged alloy wheels to polished aluminum (what is
involved in doing this I have no idea... I may consider aftermarket
even though they are butt-ugly).
Water pump
200k (210k?) major service

Repairs done so far amount to $3500 in repairs in 10k miles (11
months) of ownership. Add
approximately $580 in fuel and, ignoring the cost of insurance and
purchase price, amounts to $0.41 in maintenance costs alone, and $1.50 a
mile if other costs are figured in. These cars ain't cheap!

Anyone have a feel for how much it could cost to get things quiet again,
or is this a lost cause? Comments on my maintenance list are
welcome, and I look forward to hearing from anyone who has had
noise fixed in their w124 of any year or mileage. Thank you very much
in advance!

Justin Dobbs

[This message has been edited by jrd (edited 06-20-2000).]
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Old 06-20-2000, 06:12 AM
Posts: n/a

It sounds like someone let this car run down quite a bit before you purchased it. These cars are very durable and long lived, however, like any piece of machinery, they have to be maintained as you go along.

As far as your suspension, I'm wondering if this car saw lots and lots of rough roads. My 300E, same chassis, different drivetrain, has almost as many miles and the suspension is as tight as a banjo string. A competent tech should be able to put the car in the air with the wheels off the ground and pry, tug and shake until they find the offending part. I would keep trying to find someone who is capable of doing this.

As for your $650 quote for struts, are you talking about front shocks? If so, these can be had for $150 or $200 and take no more than an hour or two to replace. If you are talking about front shocks, which could by the way be rattling, and they are quoting $650, it's time for you to find a reputable shop. I think the 124 has heavy lower control arms rather than the strut rod like is on the 123 cars. Don't pay $650 for two front shocks.

There are many good, honest, reputable independent Benz techs out there. There are also some that do the more basic work like brakes and shocks that rip people off every hour of every day. I like to think that there are more of the former than the latter.

Best of luck,

Larry Bible
'84 Euro 240D, 523K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in
Mercedes automobiles
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