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Steering issue fix difficulty.

Started by Alex, 28 June 2024, 06:24 AM

Alex

Simply put, my 77 280se barely made inspection this year. The steering is pretty loose, and as the first inspector who failed the car put it: "It steers like a boat".
Yes these cars are boats, but mine is particularly boat like.

A good 5-10 degrees of play. :)

Now, I had a local shop look at the car, and he is quite knowledgeable on older mercs. I don't recall if he replaced the control arms or the steering box, but it was one of them.

I haven't ever done any major work on a car such as replacing suspension or steering.

How hard is this job to do, on some jack stands in the driveway?

Or is this best left to the professionals?
77' 280SE Classic White (198,000km)

daantjie

It's perfectly doable on the ground with jacks and jack stands.  Just make sure you work safe and always have some redundancy built in.  Also a good idea not to work isolated and have someone check in on you every now and then just in case.

You'll need some pullers and usually some colourful language is involved  8)
Daniel
1977 450 SEL 6.9 - Astralsilber

Max-NL

What exactly do you want to do? Do you want to replace all the bushings/bearings or just some?

I haven't rebuild the front suspension of a w116, but I did it on my W123. The only real butt clenching moment for me involved removing/installing the springs. The rest is just (rusty) nuts and bolts.
1971 R107 350 SL
1972 W108 280 SEL 3.5
1975 W116 280 S
1975 W116 450 SEL 6.9 #140
1977 W123 230
1992 W124 230 CE
2001 Ducati Monster S4

adamb

Many focus on the play adjustment in the steering box. However I found that replacing the steering centre link reduced play significantly. The ball joints in there might be quite worn.

revilla

Coupler!
I bet you at least 50% of that play is coming from that piece which has probably lost its bushings many moons ago. Very easy to check visually with the help of a friend at the steering wheel and without disassembling anything. Many go straight to adjusting the steering box with marginal results. You'll probably have to do it anyways, but I'd start by inspecting the coupler first.
Needless to say, control arms, central link and its damper are major contributors to that play also. All easy jobs.
Here's a piece that summarizes the coupler fixing quick well and pragmatically.

http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/mercedes-benz-sl-discussion-forum/321475-replaced-steering-coupler-my-r107.html





Randys01

I drove a W116 in 1989 and couldn't believe how vague the steering felt. Every 116 I've ever driven since feels wishy washy.
In 2005 when I bought  my bus, altho relativley low mileage, the steering felt awful.
I have spent the last 20 years working my way thru it replacing everything inc the kitchen sink. That is, I've paid dearly for experts to do the work.
 New bushes..new coupling..new ball joints  .new knuckles..new idler arm ..new drag link...recon steering box  (this cost a forrrrrtune and did not come up all that well despite the credentials of the tech.]  So I bought a low mileage box out of a rhd 6.9 in the UK had that recond and fitted up by the 2nd self proclaimed Mercedes guru in town...and made the biggest difference... This car has not gone to the mugs......both technicians were dealer trained in Germany and were "lifers" on MB.
Basically the car drives as well as it can for a W116 but compared to a clapped 180E I had, the steering is still  only "pretty good".
Steering play has gone from inches to mms' but I am  fussy. Such a big wheel amplitudes what play there is.

ptashek

My suspension components are essentially brand new (under 20k miles post restoration), the coupler is new, the steering box is re-sealed and bench adjusted to factory spec.

Still, the steering is what I can describe as vague. Compared to - for example - any of my W124s, which are sharp and with zero play, it does indeed feel like a boat sometimes.

I've come to accept that it's a loosing battle.

1993 "Pearl Blue" W124 280TE
1988 "Arctic White" W124 200T
1979 "Icon Gold" W116 450SE

Alex

Hmm, I will definitely consider replacing the coupler prior to the entire box. The front suspension components are all good. So it isn't that.

I also have noticed that the car has developed a rattle on the steering, when it is in the dead zone. When it's in the dead zone it rattles like hell. Is that a sign of a bad coupler or box?
77' 280SE Classic White (198,000km)

raueda1

Quote from: Alex on 08 July 2024, 09:06 AMHmm, I will definitely consider replacing the coupler prior to the entire box. The front suspension components are all good. So it isn't that.

I also have noticed that the car has developed a rattle on the steering, when it is in the dead zone. When it's in the dead zone it rattles like hell. Is that a sign of a bad coupler or box?
Coupler.  A blown coupler can also rattle and bang around.  It's not subtle.  You can see easily it with a flashlight.
-Dave
Now:  1976 6.9 Euro, 2015 GL550
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

Alex

Quote from: raueda1 on 09 July 2024, 08:04 AM
Quote from: Alex on 08 July 2024, 09:06 AMHmm, I will definitely consider replacing the coupler prior to the entire box. The front suspension components are all good. So it isn't that.

I also have noticed that the car has developed a rattle on the steering, when it is in the dead zone. When it's in the dead zone it rattles like hell. Is that a sign of a bad coupler or box?
Coupler.  A blown coupler can also rattle and bang around.  It's not subtle.  You can see easily it with a flashlight.

See it with a flashlight?
77' 280SE Classic White (198,000km)

raueda1

I might have been under the car, can't recall now.  The point is, it's a FAR less troublesome job than messing with the steering box. 
-Dave
Now:  1976 6.9 Euro, 2015 GL550
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

Alex

Quote from: raueda1 on 09 July 2024, 02:08 PMI might have been under the car, can't recall now.  The point is, it's a FAR less troublesome job than messing with the steering box. 

Yeah I thought so, and cheaper too.
77' 280SE Classic White (198,000km)