Author Topic: 450 SEL suspension  (Read 4612 times)

1974450SEL

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450 SEL suspension
« on: 18 March 2009, 09:06 AM »
I've recently taken on the project of overhauling the majority of the front and rear suspension and I wanted to share some suggestions on what I've learned so far. 

  The rear:  ensure you have a jack that will raise the car high enough to allow the old shock to drop out. 
  Removing the rear seat:  Two levers on the bench, push these and it should pop out of place and then pull out.  The back part has Three 8MM sockets at the bottom that you unscrew and then have the joy of muscle (F#$@^ing) the back seat out, I suggest once the bolts are off getting a pal/friend/mate to assist in this adventure.  Lift up the pull out.  Once that's done the two circle plastic pieces by each rear quarter come to reveal the rear shock top post.  Two 18MM nuts are screwed on top, I would loosen these then go under the car (after you've jacked it up the car, you'll need a separate jack for the suspension to adjust it when removing the shock, or if you can get it on a lift I suggest this even more).  The shock is held in place by two 18 MM nuts underneath the car.  Spray some WD-40/liquid on these since they've probably been on the car since new and let it soak for a good while then unscrew. 
 
   Installing the replacements is in the reverse order (make sure you follow the directions and use NEW bushings), just make sure when you are lining up the new one underneath you get it in the hole above, this is where the jack on the suspension comes in handy adjusting so you can line it up and screw in one nut on the bottom, then torque down the top post then go under and finish tourqing down the bottom to 18MM bolts.  I've had to reuse the old bolts cause my new set came with everything but those so becareful not to break these off, hence the spraying with lubricant prior to taking them out. 
 
   Front suspension:  I'll tackle the front shocks today, then comes the fun of replacing both tie rod and center link assemblies, steering dampner, and an idler arm rebuild kit ( I will get this professionally aligned afterwards).  I've got a good repair manual to follow directions on this and will post my experience later.  Hope this helps anyone considering, it is possible and I got the set of shocks for a real good deal from www.rockauto.com.  I purchased the Monroe senatrac monotube shocks designed for European cars at 33.00 (US) a piece.  Anyhow have a fine day.

Big_Richard

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #1 on: 19 March 2009, 02:20 PM »
we need pictures yong fella  8)

I find it interesting, that, in Australia, where Monroe's are made, its more expensive to purchase them, than if we go and buy them from the USA and pay full postage.
I drove past the Monroe factory in south Australia last week by accident, its quite a large establishment, one cant help but wonder how long it will be before this factory closes down and manufacturing is done in china - like everything else that used to be Australian ;)


« Last Edit: 19 March 2009, 03:35 PM by Patrick Bateman »

oscar

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #2 on: 19 March 2009, 03:52 PM »
I'm curious as to whether your car had a conversion from a self levelling rear to conventional spring and shock rear?  A 450sel should have self levelling and if it did but has been converted I'm curious if there's any hint of the springs being changed and if you know what they are?  The SLS springs are a lot weaker since the hydro struts support the car as well whereas non SLS springs are a lot stronger.
1973 350SE, my first & fave

zedster

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #3 on: 19 March 2009, 04:01 PM »
I thought the 6.9's had the cool suspension. I do not see anything like that on my SEL.
1979 450 SEL "Spinne Blaue"

oscar

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #4 on: 19 March 2009, 04:12 PM »
Yeah all 6.9's have full Hydropneumatic Suspension with fluid filled struts on all four corners and no springs at all where as non 6.9s had the option of Self Levelling rear Suspension which differs so far as it has springs and a different kind of fluid filled strut to the 6.9.  The spring in a SLS system is just a helper for the strut where as all four struts of the 6.9 carry the weight unaided.  I thought SLS became standard rather than an option but not sure when or on what models.  It's perceived (according to me ::) ) that long wheel based vehicles had SLS.  If 1974450SEL's 74 450sel had a conversion to standard shocks and spring in the rear I'd be interested to hear what brand of spring was used or part number (but probably wont be visible).   I just need stiffer shorter psprings for my racer is all.  I figure conventional 450 springs on a conventional 280 rear might do the trick (if they're different).
1973 350SE, my first & fave

TJ 450

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #5 on: 19 March 2009, 04:50 PM »
I think the SLS may have been standard on Australian spec 450SELs. In other markets it would still have been an option.
It is a very useful option too, IMHO.

Tim
1976 450SEL 6.9 1432
1969 300SEL 6.3 1394
2003 ML500

WGB

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #6 on: 19 March 2009, 11:05 PM »
I agree with Tim.

I think it was standard on Oz soec cars. My two 1979 ex UK 450's do not have rear self levelling.

Bill

1974450SEL

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #7 on: 20 March 2009, 06:25 AM »
Oscar's question on self leveling change to traditional suspension: The answer is no.  US spec 450 SEL's were only Spring/Shock combination.  You'd have to get a 6.9 for the Hyrdropneumatic suspension.  Now as to weather the springs that are on it now are the original ones, I'd have to say yes, shocks, maybe.  The car has 166,000 US miles/200,000+KM on it.  The paperwork that came with the car (repair receipts) only show alignments and replacement tie rods and such.  Pictures:  I'll take some when the get the car back from Meineke (suspension shop).   The front bolts were to rusted for me to get out even with spray them plus they are not regular hex bolts they are allen head type.  I've learned to know when something is beyond my abilities and to let the "pros" do it and this particular shop has done alot of work for me on other vehicles. 
  Monroe shop is Austrialia:  I did not know that, interesting it costs more there than to buy US and pay posting, not suprising though.  Yep everything is going to be made in China at some point. 

Ordncebob

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #8 on: 25 March 2009, 01:51 PM »
While we're talking shocks and springs, I'd like to ask a question that no one in my circle of 'experts' seems to know....even the local MBZ dealer.
The shocks on U.S. spec vehicles come with rubber shims at the top. I'm replacing all 4 of mine and can't seem to get a straight answer on the size of the shims. So...does the size refer to the thickness of the shim at the top portion that seats against the frame, or does it refer to the overall thickness of the rubber on the entire shim? They are cup-shaped, so if the size refers to the thickness of the rubber all the way around, they may not fit around the top coil of the shocks on my 116. If it only refers to the thickness at the top, then I've got a good solution for slightly raising the rear end. We've all seen the "beater" 116s that sag in the rear and look like a cheap, ghetto version of the gangsta' cars with hydraulics - those guys ride around in older cars with the rear end dropped lower than the front. I'm assuming this is a direct tactical response to potentially taking large amounts of rounds from a 'threat' in front of the vehicle. Either way, it looks awful and I would rather have a slightly lifted rear end than the opposite. Besides, the extra weight of the fuel should compensate a little.

The front shims are 8mm, btw. In case anyone was wondering.

BTW, I also tackled the shocks a while back. The rear are far more difficult than the front precisely for the reason below - the rear seat! Wow, what a PITA. But...I'll vouche for the markedly improved ride and control a set of Bilsteins will provide. I tried KYB HDs for a while and they were crap. The 'Steins (HD of course) make a world of difference. You can find them on sale online for about the same as a set of Monroes or other 'mainstream' shocks.

Anyway, anyone with some insight into the 'shim' mystery?

Thanks,
Bob

1974450SEL

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #9 on: 26 March 2009, 10:31 AM »
I think you are right on tartget with the thickness being the measurement.  Since I installed new ones, mine no longer has the sagging look to it. 

pez

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #10 on: 29 March 2009, 12:36 PM »
Regarding the shims that sit atop the coil sprins, I might be able to offer a couple cents on that....my '76 euro spec 450se came with SLS, which was not working [blown struts] when I bought the car. I switched it over to heavy duty rear springs and all new Bilstien HD shocks all around and have been very happy. That shim's measurement refers to it's total thickness, all though it is molded to fit with the top of the coil spring, too.  The bottom coil spring receptable is also molded to fit the spring [the end of the wind], so the process is to set teh spring in the bottom, then position the shim on the top of the spring, then compress and install.  My experience in swapping from SLS to HD rear springs is that I wish I went with the thickest shims possible...car sits level unloaded, but sags very slightly loaded in the rear.
1976 450se Euro Daily Driver....currently 4 sale, moving to Mexico

Mr AMG

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #11 on: 05 April 2009, 05:15 AM »
Just a word on the suspension,

    The first aussie 116's had no self level, it wasn't till the k-jet models that it started in 1976, and the spring shims you mean on the top of the coils are in different thicknesses as to exactly level the car from factory, they aren't really critical but are of good use if yours are worn out.

   A little trick i have done is to put 450slc amg springs in my 450sel and it lowers it perfectly and gives it a little nose down stance which makes it a lot better at higher speeds.
   As for the shocks, i wouldn't really recommend you use monroe shocks, and from my experience the bilstein's are a lot better for the heavier cars.
    You can readily get heavy duty spring from pedders, they are the same as w126 which pedders keep in stock, and the rear conversion from s/level is a much better option as it takes all the float out of the car and makes it solid on the road, without expsensive parts that could fail at any time. 

1974450SEL

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #12 on: 05 April 2009, 06:41 AM »
The suspension shop that put my front shocks on mentioned that air shocks for the rear would be a good option due to the amount of torque going to the rear end causes the car to "dive" in the rear upon acceleration.  It is better with new shocks but I will consider that along with some of the HD springs you mention. 
  Aussie 116's self leveling suspensions: Were all of the ones prior to 76 the hyrdropneumatic type?  I know only the 6.9's in the US were but the regular 450's continued with non-leveling suspensions thru 80. 
  Thanks for all the information.

oscar

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #13 on: 05 April 2009, 07:38 AM »
  Aussie 116's self leveling suspensions: Were all of the ones prior to 76 the hyrdropneumatic type?
1974450SEL, no offence but keep in mind that hydropneumatic (for 6.9s) and SLS (Rear only Self Levelling Suspension for other w116s) are two different systems and conventional spring and shock was the third type for non 6.9s.  I wasn't sure if you were confusing hydro and SLS sorry.  ;) But to answer your question:

All 6.9s had Hydropneumatic suspension. 
Rear SLS was an option on all other w116s instead of conventional shock and spring but as has been said before it may have been standard on the more expensive w116s like a 4.5L 450SEL.

Which leads me to Mr AMG

    The first aussie 116's had no self level, it wasn't till the k-jet models that it started in 1976, 

I'd hate to correct you cause I know you know your stuff but SLS was an option for early models.  I've got two pre '76 W116s that have SLS, a 73 350SE and a 75 280S, both have Aus delivered York Motors stock plates and both have '480' on the options plate.  I've noticed many early models that pop up on Aus ebay that most seem to have SLS as well.  It must have been a popular option.  Perhaps '76 on SLS became standard rather than an option.

Interesting to hear about the W126 pedder springs.  Don't suppose you know if you can get AMG 450slc springs still??
1973 350SE, my first & fave

john erbe

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Re: 450 SEL suspension
« Reply #14 on: 05 April 2009, 02:32 PM »
If you ever want a stiffer ride, replace the rears with the Eibach 10" rated at 700 lbs. rear spring. I did this when swaping hydro for standard on my 6.9. Also, take advantage of the fact that you have space between the spring and the shock in the front on the 4.5. Replace that shock with a small coil over shock. Now you've got something. Zoom zoom.