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lewise 04-09-2002 09:09 AM

More questions about my "new" E320
Hi guys,

well I've got a couple more question about my new '95 E320 Wagon.

1. The self leveling suspension,, does it need serviced ie. fluid changes every year or so?? If so what fluid, is there a filter in there etc..

2. My dealer told me this morning that ther is NO top teather mounting kit for this model. Just want to check to see if he's right.

Thanks again for all your help.


DTF 04-09-2002 10:47 AM

I have tried to find Thule racks for my '94 wagon and discovered that they don't have them for this car. MB offers the cross members for the roof rack at $230 a piece. Too much for my wallet.

I believe that the white plastic reservoir in the front driver side of the engine compartment contains hydraulic fluid for the self leveling suspension (I might be wrong) and I have found nothing that talks about changing or service to the system.

jcyuhn 04-09-2002 11:04 AM

The general wisdom around here is to change the fluid in the self leveling suspension every three years or so. I personally think that's a bit overkill - there is no contamination source for the fluid, and it is not stressed by heat. The fluid is Bilstein hydraulic fluid. It's available from your dealer at absurd prices, but can be mail ordered for ~$10/liter. About four liters are required to perform a fluid change. Don't use anything else in the system - it may attack rubber seals or o-rings, resulting in an expensive rebuild.

There is a filter in the return at the reservoir under the hood. Remove the top to the reservoir and you'll see it.

I have a Yakima rack for my '87 wagon. They make a very nice system for attaching their cross bars to the wagon's roof rails. Don;t know what you mean by top teather mounting???

lewise 04-09-2002 02:46 PM

top teather clarification
Sorry guys, what I meant by "top teather" is the top strap hook up for a child safety seat. Many of the newer safety seats have a seat belt looking arrangement that comes off the top. Most all newer model cars already have an eye hook type arrangement up on the package shelf for sedans, on the back of the rear seats for SUV's and Wagons. You would clip the top teather to this anchor point and therefore tighten up your child safety seat so that it doesent whip forward in a rear end collision etc. I asked my dealer today if there was such a retrofit for the '95 wagon and he said no, but he didn't seem really sure of himself.

thanks for the info on the self leveling suspension, BTW anyone have an address for where to get the fluid cheaper than dealer?? You all are right, dealer is pretty expensive about $20 a liter (and you said it takes 4 right).


'86 300E Sedan
'95 E320 Wagon

DTF 04-09-2002 03:41 PM

I carry my 2 year old and my four year old in my wagon every day. I set my car seats up so that the rear seat headrests clamp down on the top of the car seats and anchor them in that way. Some seats it won't work like that with but you can really crank down on the seat belt with an 'H' clip on the belt and get virtually no movement.

DTF 04-09-2002 03:44 PM

How many miles on your wagon? I would recommend a tranmission service ~($200). Since MB doesn't want you touching anything to do with the transmission, the service is a trivial one which will help maintain the integrity of it. They are very expensive to fix and replace.

jcyuhn 04-09-2002 04:15 PM

Performance products sells it; I think the price is about $10/liter. I think George Murphy sells it - his company is Performance Analysis Co. I don't have the number, but you can find it in the Mercedes mailing list archives - There's a search function for the message archives, much like this site. Lastly, I bet Rusty carries it - 800-741-5252. I've been a dedicated Rusty client for several years now.

MikeTangas 04-09-2002 04:44 PM

You can also get the suspension fluid right here at FAstLane ~$9/liter last time I saw it. Fluid should be changed every two to three years. The fluid on the 560 was very dark when I got it (instead of the amber boch color it should have) and the filter had crud collected at the bottom.

Change the filter and fluid, dirt and other contaminants can cause other problems in the leveling system. You don't want to buy a suspension pump at $500 or more or a set of rear leveling struts at a couple hundred a pop ( or a set of accumulators), much much cheaper to spring for 4 liters of fluid and $3 for a filter.

The fluid may not be subjected to heat like motor oil, but the pump is mounted dirctly to the block so the fluid is subjected to radiant heat. Any time the engine is running the pump is cycling fluid through the system, absorbing heat and continuously working. I think the system is high pressure/low volume, due to the fact the fluid only flows into the resevoir ar a trickle, but lifts/lowers the car instantly.

jcyuhn 04-09-2002 06:25 PM

Actually, on the 124 cars the self leveling pump is not on the engine block, as it was on the 123 wagons. The 124 uses a so-called 'tandem' power steering pump. It's really two, two pumps in one - one for p/s, a separate pump for leveling. The reservoir for p/s fluid is integral, the reservoir for leveling fluid is remote. The pump is on the intake side of the engine, far from the exhaust system. So I'd guess it doesn't really get all that hot.

FWIW, it's been about 2.5 years since I flushed/changed my system and the fluid still looks like new. I'd bet any blackness is minute particles of degraded rubber from the accumulators. (All the lines are solid, right?)

I didn't realize Fastlane also sold the fluid, otherwise I'd have included them in my plug. Certainly not trying to direct business away from the sponsor of our site!

MikeTangas 04-09-2002 07:37 PM

After an email from lewise, I went on a serach of FastLane. I can find "suspension fluid" under the suspension category for the 560, but not for the 320 Touring(???). Should be the same fluid for all the vehicles though, but I could be wrong - can anyone confirm?

Also, along the lines of degrading accumulators, I just ordered a set for the 560. I didn't think anything wrong with the ride, to me it felt about as firm as the 280, firm but nice. Wifey rode in the back seat the other night and pronounced the ride "harsh". I ordered a set, they should be here tomorrow. It is possible that the crud I had trapped in the filter was the degrading diaphram.

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