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  #1  
Old 12-22-2003, 05:10 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 12
'89 560 SL... how should it handle?

My '89 560 SL does not seem to handle anywhere as near as well as my '86 300E did.

Steering was all over the place when I first bought it, so my mechanic replaced the idler arms and bushings...(as well as getting the car 4-wheel aligned) made it better, but not great. At highway speeds you really have to hold onto the wheel to keep the car going straight.

He did say the steering box was "weeping" and needed to be rebuilt, and said that there was some sort of adjustment that could be made to "tighten up" the steering.

Also, the whole car itself just does not seem to ride very smoothly or solidly.

The shocks and springs tested out ok when I had the car checked before purchase. I am wondering if I need to start replacing all sorts of bushings and mounts etc.

Sure, I know it is not a new car... but... I am expecting a solid ride. Going over bumps and ruts are hell.... car seems to really shake and rattle excessively.

Any thoughts or ideas?

Thanks,

Steve
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2003, 05:29 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 33
I have a 1988 560SL that is fun to drive, however it does not handle like a family sedan. The ride is harder and you know when you hit a pothole. My
guess your problem lies in the steering box, if the other work was preformed correctly.

Frank
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2003, 09:29 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tucker, Ga USA
Posts: 12,153
The suspension design is from the 1968 220D! You can't expect much from a rubber mounted front end with only 3.5deg of caster on a 3500lb + car.
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MERCEDES Benz Master Guild Technician (6 TIMES)
ASE Master Technician
Mercedes Benz Star Technician (2 times)
44 years foreign automotive repair
27 Years M.B. Shop foreman (dealer)
MB technical information Specialist (15 years)
190E 2.3 16V ITS SCCA race car (sold)
1986 190E 2.3 16V 2.5 (sold)
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  #4  
Old 12-23-2003, 01:44 PM
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Location: Wilmington, NC
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Quote:
The suspension design is from the 1968 220D! You can't expect much from a rubber mounted front end with only 3.5deg of caster on a 3500lb + car.
I thought the 560sl's had a different fron suspension than the previous 107s?

Mike
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'90 300SE 298k
-300K and it gets put into retirement.
'80 300D 255k Purchased new by family in 1980.

Had a:
1973 220 (gas)
1980 300SD
1992 400E
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  #5  
Old 12-23-2003, 05:06 PM
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Suspension "DESIGN" suggests that the suspension is designed the same as original! Yes all of the part numbers are different BUT designed just like a 1968 220D! AND they still handle that way as well!
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MERCEDES Benz Master Guild Technician (6 TIMES)
ASE Master Technician
Mercedes Benz Star Technician (2 times)
44 years foreign automotive repair
27 Years M.B. Shop foreman (dealer)
MB technical information Specialist (15 years)
190E 2.3 16V ITS SCCA race car (sold)
1986 190E 2.3 16V 2.5 (sold)
Retired Moderator
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2003, 06:22 PM
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Yikes,

Someone would pay $65K for this thing new with such poor handling!
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  #7  
Old 12-23-2003, 08:57 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 766
Just happened to have read the following post from SL Digest right before checking here tonight. Quote:

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 05:33:40 -0600
From: Bob Smith
Subject: [SL] My *New* 380SL

I posted questions here a few weeks ago about replacing control arm bushings. I decided to hand the car over to someone that knew what they were doing and had all right tools... and just have them go through everything on the front and rear suspension. The front got new sway bar and lower control arm bushings. The car had been in a minor front end collision before I bought it. One of the places where the sway bar bolts to the body had been broken and never repaired during the subsequent body work and painting. That was repaired. The steering box has had a minor leak ever since I've owned the car... just enough to keep those control arm bushings constantly soaked in fluid.
I'm sure that's why they had deteriorated so badly.

The verdict was to go for a rebuilt unit rather than try to reseal this well worn unit. The rear got new shocks and springs to correct a hefty amount of sag and overly soft ride. I had put new shocks on the front earlier this year. Subframe mounts, ball joints, other bushings were all deemed to be in good condition.

Whoa Mamma... what a difference all that made. I really feel like I'm driving a new car. Dead quiet again... no creaks, groans and rattles. Steering is tight and true. The swaying and severe understeer is gone. The rear end doesn't squat several inches just because I move from neutral to drive. Slight braking doesn't cause a nose dive. I no longer feel like the slightest bump or dip is going to cause me to bottom out.

The front end work cured various steering ills but it seems that
springs and shocks on the rear made the greatest difference in the overall character of the car. If you've been putting off doing this type of work to your car (as I have for a couple of years), don't.

Merry Christmas to me!

Bob Smith
'81 380SL
Waco, TX

End quote. FWIW--I've also seen a number of posts on similar issues improving markedly following replacement of worn bushings; a search of the site under "bushings" might shed further light. My own car drives well with tight, precise steering and very stable, predictable handling; it's a bit harsh over bumps but I think that's a combination of bushings that haven't been done yet and the Bilstein HD shocks (rather than Bilstein Comforts) that went on it last spring. Overall, it helps to remember that MB got over $60K for a new one of these and sold plenty of them, which would suggest both ride and handling ought to be pretty decent for a touring-oriented two-seater.

Good luck with it!
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'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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