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Old 05-18-2005, 09:29 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: the great northwest
Posts: 257
self-levelling suspension: the easy part

okay, so since my '80 300 TD sags a couple inches all the time, i've been reading posts about the self-levelling suspension for an hour now.

she's been constantly saggy ever since the turnbuckle linkage thingy popped off when i hit a bump flyin' down the highway. she started bucking like a bronco, and i pulled off an exit, barely crawled myself under her low rear, and pushed the linkage back on with a pair of pliers. she raised up immediately, but seems to never have gone back to full height. i wonder if the turnbuckle just screwed or unscrewed a bit, and just needs to be adjusted to get her back up to right.

while i'm at it, i wanna change fluid + filter, b/c i have no knowledge of it being done in her past...

reading all these posts is interesting, BUT i still don't know the answer to a simpler question:

1. what is the fluid capacity of the system when you want to change the fluid and filter?
2. how do you drain the fluid and flush the system?

'83 300CDT (286k)

former proud owner of:
'85 mercedes euro 300TD
'80 mercedes 300TD
'77 mercedes 280e
'80 mercedes euro 250
'82 mercedes euro 250
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Old 05-16-2007, 12:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 218
Anyone know the capacity?

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Old 05-16-2007, 03:44 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 1,004
The easy part (ok, not necessarily that easy,but the first thing) is to make sure the subframe bushings and differential mount are up to snuff. Bad subframe bushes in particular can make any W123 sag and allow the subframe to shift under strain, making for weird handling. Since the sway bar is attached to the subframe (via the trailing arms), a shifting subframe could conceivably make the SLS control valve linkage pop loose if the car hits a big bump and the bushings are really mushy. I don't know why else it would do that, unless you ran over some road debris that struck the linkage dead on.

That's a wild scenario, diagnosing a car I've never laid eyes on, but I think it's based on a sound principle: make sure your subframe is anchored the way Daimler-Benz intended.

If you search the archives you can find a thread that will give you a total on the number of liters on fluid replacement. I'm thinking it's 2, but bad fluid is generally not an issue. The hydraulic fluid in my old man's 1952 Farmall MD tractor hasn't been changed in 40 years and works fine.

But some fresh fluid will come in handy to replace the accumulators, which go bad on about the same frequency as shock absorbers. I'd think about changing those after ensuring the subframe rubber is sound.

Good that you're reading the archives. Search there first, so you know enough to ask the right questions.

If you want to flush the system, there's a bleeder on the control valve. I'd prefer to crack the fitting at the strut and have someone jump up and down on the rearr bumper -- or even remove the strut altogether, drain the fluid and replace the strut bushngs at the chassis while you have everything apart. That takes care of a little more 25-year-old rubber.

But first of all, rear subframe bushings. It can be an ugly job if the bolts are seized to the bushings. Good luck.

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