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  #1  
Old 12-09-2004, 08:31 PM
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Front end rattle - 124

Hi Guys

I'm trying to fix a front end rattle and new to me 1992 124 E200 (Euro).

I have replaced the centre link (ball joint shot) and tightened the front bearings and steering box. I pushed and pulled all other components and everything seems tight. I cannot reproduce a rattle from the front by kicking, shaking the wheels but it still feels loose going over those cobble stones like bumps. The work I did above have removed at least 90% of the problem but what am I missing? Could it be
a) Ball joints
b) Roll bar bushings
c) Idler or steering box
d) LCA bushing (rubber looks new)

Thanks
Oreo

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  #2  
Old 12-09-2004, 10:02 PM
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It's the lower control arm bushings. You won't be able to synthesize it by any means other than driving over a bump. The elastomer breaks down inside (where it is captive to the control arm).

Although it will slowly get worse over time, the noise will drive you crazy long before you start to feel it in the steering wheel. I'd get it fixed earlier rather than later, though. Too many things are moving farther than they should when this bushing clunks.
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2004, 10:55 PM
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Could be loose brake rotor. Could be bad/missing sway bar bushing.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2004, 01:26 AM
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Hi Guys

Thanks for the thoughts
czwbkx - It might be a strong possibility but the rubber really looks so new like it was done very recently. What you're suggesting is nothing short of a full front end rebuild - something I was dreading but if its got to done, its got to be done. I checked the archives on the question of the little nibs on the LCA bushes and its purpose but there were no conclusive answers - either indicates the hardness of the rubber or the way the bushes are supposed to be installed. Can anyone shed some light on this?

deanyel - It might be sway bar bushing as these look a little old - it will be changed. I doubt its the rotors as they clamp down with the wheel bolts.

Any thoughts on the shock upper rubber bushes? Are these part of a front end rebuild?

Oreo
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2004, 02:00 AM
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I would take a look at all the rubber bushings in the front suspension, including the sway bar, control arm, and upper strut mounts. Look for cracks, gaps, etc. The sway bar bushings will definitely clunk when worn, as will the upper strut mounts (I've had both replaced).
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2004, 03:15 AM
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Hi anthonyb

Thanks for the tip on the strut mounts. Coming from a former 123 I never even knew they existed. Did some research on that and it does seem very high on the list of possibilities. Its the same complaint - rattle over washboard surface....

The 124 suspension looks easier to do than a 123...right?

Oreo
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2004, 03:44 PM
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I actually didn't mean rotors - I meant loose calipers. It happened to me once when I didn't put loctite on the bolts.
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2004, 04:49 PM
BusyBenz
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I went through the same list you have on my 124 and also couldn't find the fault and just gave up and lived with it, for a while anyway.

Later, my brake light started to flicker periodically so I checked the front pads and found them well beyond the half way mark. Upon replacement, I noticed the outer caliper bracket which extends outward sliding on two greased rods as the pads wear. After squeezing the caliper piston back in, used a C-clamp, and put the new pads in, and put it all back together, those rods that extended, now reset back inward, must have been rattling when they were extended outward from pad wear, because there was no more rattle after pad replacement!

The front sway bar rubber mounts can look fine, but look closely at the very tip of each end, right and left, and see how close they are to touching the wheel axle bases, if less than 1/8 inch, this will cause more of a clunk, metal-to-metel. I inserted within the rubber mounts some rubber cut from an old tire and that sound went away! BB
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2004, 07:57 PM
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Guys

Once again thanks for the heads up on the brake calipers deanyel and BB. Looking at it more closely again today for the last time. If nothing else works, it will be a complete front end job.

Oreo
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2004, 08:17 PM
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Front sway bar mounts. They are shrunken and the sway bar is rattling on the ends. Take a peek, dollar to a donut the rubber isn't tight on the bar. If not, replace. It's not a bad job, you can do it with the car on the ground. You will need to turn the front wheels to get good access to the outer ends.

Use some silicon lube for the frame bushings, you will probably have to drive at least one on. The old ones will fall off.

Check the frame mounts, too -- they have a tendency to break at the base, allowing them to rattle terribly. This will NOT be obvious, you must pry on them to see it.

Ball joints will also rattle, and I would recommend a new control arm since it's likely the bushings are bad, too, and they are a real PITA to replace. Try the sway bar first.

If the rubber in the strut mounts is cracked, replace them. You do not have to remove the strut, but you will get a good workout! Jack car to give you room, but leave the front wheels (or wheels) on the ground -- the spring can fly out otherwise! You can put it up on jackstands and jack on the control arm, but this is difficult on the W124, the jack slides too much. Remove the struck nut (you will need a 7mm allen to counterhold, and this is NOT in the usual assortments...). Remove the three nuts that hold the mount in place, then collapse the strut and pull the mount off, insert the new mount, and re-install the nuts and strut nut. It may take two people to push the strut down and hold it, it is VERY strong! I got pretty much worn out.

An alignment afterwords is in order.

Peter
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  #11  
Old 12-12-2004, 07:50 AM
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Hi Peter et al

It WAS the front sway bar bushings after all! The rubbers did look old compared to the rest but were still tight on the bar but I guess looks are very deceiving. Anyway some silicone lube to slide them on and all is tight again! Very cheap and easy fix.

I also did the pads and rotors at the same time but I now have a low frequency howl (wooooo....) when turning. I'm suspecting that this will go away when the the pads and rotors bed in (??)

Thanks for the great advice once again!
Oreo
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  #12  
Old 12-12-2004, 12:10 PM
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Bet you didn't sandpaper the new rotors to remove the machining marks, eh?

Peter
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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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  #13  
Old 12-12-2004, 04:34 PM
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You are a luckier man than I. I changed all the bits including the sway bar bushings first and saved the most expensive solution for last. Nothing made a difference until I changed the lower control arm bushings.

Last edited by czwbkx; 12-12-2004 at 08:26 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-12-2004, 08:23 PM
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Hi

Psfred - I wasn't expecting to do the brakes but when I was at the supplier I just thought to get it over with too, so I didn't research on the topic. Bilstein Febi rotors and Textar yellow box pads. No, I didn't sand the rotor nor clean them off. They came sealed in individial wrapping for freshness. I read your advice on sanding them off in hindsight. Will leave them on for a while and see what happens, they are starting to bite quite well already.

czwbkx - Guess I was lucky this time. Parts for a complete rebuild are not too expensive but I just didn't want to put in the labour at this point. My 4 bushes were just about $4 .

Oreo
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  #15  
Old 12-12-2004, 09:54 PM
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Oreo,

Glad to see you have solved the problem. I believe for a 400E, the balljoints are not replaceable.
The biggy is having access to a MB spring compressor or renting one.

As for others contemplating LC bushing replacement- it's not difficult. Maybe an extra hour, but worth the savings. I did a writeup a while back.

For the 2 nub 3 nub positioning question from Oreo. The manual says to install them by the flats... THe nubs on the front and rear should not be at the same position. They should be 90 degrees clocked.

Michael

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