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  #1  
Old 05-18-2004, 07:07 PM
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1994 E420 Help

Need info. / help on the coil spring shims / spacers. My car is lowered and handles like crap so I am trying to get some of the camber adjustments back.

What I wanted to know is what is the stock or factory spacer / shim for this car? I have noticed that the spacer has a little nipple on it and they seems to range from one to four. I bought the car lowered so I do not know exactly what was done to it. The shim I have on the car now is a one which should be the smallest one.

Would replacing the shim to say a three or a four raise it enough to get some alignment adjustability back?

My second question is about aftermarket springs. Say if I bought the Eibach pro sport springs which lower the car 1.3", would this be installed below the factory shims?

Any help would be appreciated as I would like to get my car on the road.

Right now the car sits pretty low, but I don't know if it has aftermarket springs or not. The shocks appear to be the factory ones and so do the springs but I am not for sure.

Would it be possible to lower the car that much just by replacing the smallest or thinnest shim?

Thanks for any help,

Andy
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2004, 01:10 AM
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Location: Outside Indianapolis, IN
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Factory has either 2 bump or 3 bump pads, depending on the spring and equipment level. Seems to me that each step in the spring pad adjusts the height of the car about 1/2 inch.
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2004, 05:04 AM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
"handles like crap"?

Rear camber is not adjustable from the factory, but changing the ride height does affect camber. The camber gets more negative as you drop the car and less negative when you raise the car. You can make the rear camber adjustable by installing K-MAC eccentric rear bushings or adjustable camber arms.

The spring pads can be 1-bump, 2-bump, 3-bump, or 4-bump which are 8mm, 13mm, 18mm, and 23mm, respectively. The spring pads sit on top of the springs in a cup-shaped spring perch. I was told that, because of the geometry of the suspension, a 5mm difference in spring pad translates to about a 7mm difference in the gap between the fender and the tires.

As for the Eibach Pro Kit springs, I have them and I think they are great. My car is lower than stock, but not slammed. It handles better than stock and the ride is still comfortable. I did have to play with the spring pads to get a symmetrical drop. On my car, the rear dropped more than the front, so I went with 1-bump front pads and 3-bump rear pads to get a symmetrical drop. Now my car is about 1 inch lower at all four corners. My 1995 E320 had 3-bump pads all around when stock.

You said your car "handles like crap", but you did not say exactly what you mean by that. If your car was lowered with stiffer aftermarket springs and they used the OEM shocks, it is possible that the increased spring rates have ruined the shocks. Maybe you just need new shocks. If they cut costs by cutting the OEM springs and using the OEM shocks, then I could imagine that the handling might be all messed up. If all they did was reduce the spring pad thickness, then your car should handle just like stock, but sit just a little lower. It would help if you defined what you mean by "handles like crap".
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I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
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  #4  
Old 05-19-2004, 06:04 AM
Mattman
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Negative camber shouldn't affect the ride quality at all, it will affect tire life though.

Do you have factory rims and tires? What are your driving conditions like? If the conditions are bad then a lowered stiff suspension combined with larger rims will definitely result in a rough ride.

Matt.
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  #5  
Old 05-19-2004, 08:48 AM
ksing44's Avatar
1995 E320 SE
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Downingtown, PA
Posts: 658
Thumbs up Nice

Wow Mattman, that is a beautiful car.
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I just couldn't give up on my 1995 E320.

I think it might be like always going back to that same bad relationship with an ex girlfriend.
You feel you love them too much, or you are just too stupid to know any better.



Flickr slideshow of my 1995 E320
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24145497@N06/sets/72157616572140057/
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  #6  
Old 05-19-2004, 10:28 AM
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Well, by "handles like crap" I meant that when ever I accelerate or completely let go the car will sway pretty bad in the rear. Also when I hit bumps or the road bumps that mark the lanes it sways too. I do notice that along with the / \ camber issue the wheels also appear to toe in. Maybe by adjusting the toe to where the tires are straight would help?

The delima is that I just don't know what was done to the car to lower it. I need to start at the beginning and work out. If I can figure out what shims / spacers are facotry then I can work out from there. I can replace the shims with the factory setting and see how the car behaves then move on to the springs and shocks. I like the way the car sits and would like to keep it at that stance but not with the current handling. I would rather raise it back to stock then drive it with the handling it has now.

How can I find out what the factory spacers / shims are?

Thanks for everones input. I need to solve this, as I cannot even enjoy the car the way it drives.

Andy
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  #7  
Old 05-19-2004, 10:58 AM
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Andy how many miles does your car have? It is very possible that the bushings in your suspension are worn causing the instability.

Toe-In will definitely affect the stability of the car but negative camber, as already mentioned, will only add to the stability. Some Toe-In as necessary but I'm not sure how much and what the factory specs are on the E420.

I would do the following before you start changing out parts.
1. Have the rear suspension inspected for worn bushings
2. Have an alignment done on the car

A good MB Tech will know if something doesn't look right in the suspension.
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  #8  
Old 05-19-2004, 11:11 AM
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Thanks. I have had four different shops tell me the bushings all look ok. The car only has 57,000 miles on it. Maybe there is too much toe in?

I guess I may have to take it to the MD Dealer to find out what is wrong. Maybe they can also tell me what the factory coil spring shim / spacer should be?

Thank you,

Andy
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2004, 11:16 AM
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With 57K your bushing as you've stated should be fine. Have you had an alignment done?

As far as the spring pad spacers I'm not sure but I believe the W124's (excluding the 500's) had 4 bump front pads and 3 bump rear pads as standard. As someone mentioned each bump does adjust the suspension up or down about 1/2". I changed mine from 3 bump front / 2 bump rear to 2 Bump Front / 1 Bump rear and lowered the car between 3/8" to 1/2". It did not affect my handling at all and I would say it actually improved the stability of the car.

Check the aligment.........
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2004, 11:34 AM
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How do the sport springs install? For example:

If my car was all stock, would I just buy the Eibach pro sport spring, which I believe is a 1.25" drop all around, and just install them on the factory shims / spacers? Or is there something else that must go along with the installation?

Andy
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2004, 11:44 AM
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Typically if someone replaces the stock springs with lowering springs they also install shocks designed to work at the lowered ride height. Bilstein makes a set of shocks/struts designed for lowered W124's. If the installation was done properly the person should have tightened the suspension with the car sitting at the new lowered ride height to insure the bushings are not preloaded. The only other requirement when lowering the car significantly is an alignment.
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2004, 12:16 PM
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Does anyone on this forum have a stock E420 94-95 that would mind looking at their coil spring shims / spacers and letting me know what number they are? (indicated by the nipple on the shim, either 1,2,3,4)

Thank you,

Andy
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2004, 03:46 PM
Mattman
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The spring shims will have no noticable affect on ride quality at all, they merely set the static ride height and as mentioned this can only vary by about 15mm from the highest to the lowest shims.

The shim's aren't your problem, I would start with a 4 wheel alignment and get the specs from that then you will know what the problem is. This should also uncover any worn bushing etc.

If the negative camber is wearing the inside edge of your tires then you can either fit a camber kit on the rear or increase the ride height by fitting the largest shim, as this will only provide a small increase it probably won't change the amount of camber adjustment much.

What tires and rims are you running? The sway you refer to could be a number of things but a wheel alignment should uncover most of it then followed perhaps by a wheel rotation.

Thanks for the comment Ksing44, your car is awesome as well. I am going to monotone next, it looks great on your car.

Cheers
Matt.
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2004, 04:17 PM
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Location: Houston, Texas
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I am running 225 50(or 55??) 16 on the amg monoblocks.

I guess I will start with the alignment at the dealership and report back with my findings. Thanks for the help guys. Is there a relativley inexpensive good quality camber kit I should look at?

Thanks,

Andy
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  #15  
Old 05-19-2004, 05:23 PM
Mattman
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If you do a search in the performance or hot rod forums you should find a member who makes adjustable rod arms for the rear to provide the camber adjustment.

Kmac also make a kit but it's bushings I believe rather than an adjustable rod arm.

I have the Kmac kit on my W126, it's the only one available, and it's good. Plenty of adjustment.

Matt.
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