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C180 (94) lower arm wear?

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering & Brakes' started by daveseavista, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. daveseavista

    daveseavista Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1999 C200
    Hi I am pretty sure a drivers side lower arm bush is worn but would like it confirmed if possible. I have tyre wear on the insides of both front tyres and a grinding noise and sliding effect on slow, tight right hand turns. I have jacked up the front of the car and levered all the suspension components. The front lower arm bush (near to the rad) does not move at all but the rear does move about 3 or 4 mm when forced with a pry bar. I know they are rubber but this looks to be a problem. Do you think I am right?

    Many thanks in advance. Dave
     
  2. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    Very hard to check the inner bushes, there is a kit for them
    [​IMG]

    The bottom swivels can fill with rust,and this also make testing hard, and these 8 in the picture can make the noise and fail when the collapse
    [​IMG]
     
  3. OP
    daveseavista

    daveseavista Senior Member

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    Hi Malcolm
    Thanks for the information. I have checked the passenger side for comparison and it is similar. I have only recently replaced the bottom swivels. I can get a new lower arm for £105.00 so I will replace the drivers side to see if the symptoms go away and if they do replace the passenger one as well,
     
  4. Alasker

    Alasker Senior Member

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    190E 2.6 (x2)
    If you are replacing one wishbone (lower arm), you will need to have the car's tracking re-set (camber & castor angles will be out) - so it's better to replace both complete wishbones at the same time - then have the tracking done just the once.
     
  5. bigasotonuk

    bigasotonuk Senior Member

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    C43/55 AMG 1999 / C230K 1997
    I agree regarding you are better off to replace both lower arms, but the W202 will only require the geometry settin ie, front camber/castor adjusted if the car has had the specific adjusting bolts fitted, from the factory the camber/castor wasn,t adjustable, and just had normal straight bolts and washers fitted.
     
  6. OP
    daveseavista

    daveseavista Senior Member

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    I had a disastrous day with this yesterday. Having had the day off specially to do he work, I bought spring compressors from Machine Mart and set to in the pouring rain following the Haynes manual. I had several attempts to fit an use the compressors and found them almost impossible to fit. I fitted them loose and then jacked up the suspension tightened the clamps as the spring was compressed until there was no more suspension movement, but when I lowered the suspension the spring was still tight as the lower last coil could not be included in the clamping. I have since read that you need a special clamp for MB! Looking at the price it would be more than the car is worth. To add insult to injury it took ages getting the clamps off . So after 5 hours of soaking wet effort I have had to contact a garage for a quote.

    Having now calmed down I though of another approach in case the quotes are too steep. Has any body tried this?

    Remove lower swivel joint
    Support lower arm on a jack
    Remove shock.
    Compress spring with clamps as I did above.
    Lower arm via jack until the spring can be removed.
    Replace lower arm.
    Refit the spring into the mounts.
    jack up the suspension until the swivel joint can be re fitted.
    remove clamps.
    refit shock.

    It is difficult to judge how much more spring expansion there is to go. My concern is that I could be left with a car that I am not able to drive.

    All the best Dave.
     
  7. kth286

    kth286 Senior Member

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    It is dangerous, as the spring compressors tend to slide around the downward slope of the coil.

    Some people do these sorts of things, but you would not want to be in the line of fire if/when that compressed spring breaks loose.

    The lower arm front bush tends to seize and all the work of the suspension is then done by the rear bush which wears. Push down on front of car and see if there is any suspension travel - it will usually be cr*p and the difference (when replaced both sides) will amaze you.

    The front arm will usually have to be sawn off at the bolt.
     
  8. spock500

    spock500 Senior Member

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    Agree on the dangerous bit - I used four and had to cut two off with an angle grinder, never again, just not worth it.

    After all of that the spring that I fitted wouldn't slide around to sit in the recess, ended up buying the Klann type compressor as used by MB - its a doddle and well worth the investment, hopefully this weekend I should fix my 'knock' so out comes the spring again :D
     
  9. Alasker

    Alasker Senior Member

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    I needed to replace badly worn wishbone bushes on my W201 2.6 Sportline. On the advice of my indie, I purchased complete (febi) wishbones, which had balljoints & bushes already installed. With the correct Mercedes spring compressor, air gun and a ramp, it took him less than an hour to remove the old wishbones and fit the new ones. Had to fit (four) new wishbone nuts, bolts & eccentric washers, then have the tracking done, but when I saw how easy it was to do have it done properly and with the right equipment, I'm glad I didn't even attempt it. There are times when it's better to just bite the bullet and let the experts do what they were trained to do and do all day long.
     
  10. OP
    daveseavista

    daveseavista Senior Member

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  11. 47p2

    47p2 Senior Member

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    I decided a number of years ago that if I had to compress springs again they would be done by my garage after almost losing my hand. It is a dangerous task unless you have the correct gear for this job and in my opinion not worth the risk
     
  12. Alex Crow

    Alex Crow Senior Member

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    why are you even changing the arms?? the rear bushes are designed to have loads of play, and the noise must be from elswhere.

    how are the roll bar links, top arms, bottom swivels, track rods, steering idler etc etc? i applaud people having a go at DIY, but i think that a 20 mins inspection on a lift in an experienced garage could have saved you £££s here.
     
  13. kth286

    kth286 Senior Member

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    ???????????????????????????


    We are talking about the rear bushes of the low wishbones (front suspension)
     
  14. OP
    daveseavista

    daveseavista Senior Member

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    Hi Alexander.

    I agree with you that it would make sense to take the car to a garage straight away. The reason I did not was the years of bad experiences with garages both independent and main dealer and cost. I loved working on cars in my youth including customising, engine swaps etc. But as the pressures of work and family increased a car became something that I needed to be available and reliable so I handed my cars (a series a Granada's and big Vauxhalls) to garages and repeatability got over charged and the work not done correctly.

    In once case I had smoke coming from the rear of my car, I booked it into be looked at and they said that the head gasket had gone and charged me £800. But the problem was still there. I looked at it myself and found the auto box vacuum modulator had failed sucking auto fluid into the engine. I also had an oil leak that was not there before. This was down to a seal having been sheared by the garage. I had to remove the cylinder head to fix it and found that the head gasket had not been replaced the head not skimmed etc.

    My previous car was a MV6 24 valve Omega that was a nice car but a nightmare to do even the simplest jobs on. I have always liked MB as I like big rear wheel drive saloons but the worry was also the cost of repairs. The mechanic who re-covered my Omega when it expired (genuine head gasket this time) recommended MB and in particular the C220 and said that most of the spares can be obtained from GSF car parts. The reason I bought the old C180 was partially to own a car that was not too complex to work on and that it had LPG already fitted (I commute 100 miles a day). I am very pleased with the car and so far with the help of this forum been able to do all of the needed work myself.

    When it comes to the problem with the front arms I have an issue with the Haynes manual as they do not say you have to use a special tool and actually show a normal spring compressor in the example photo. If I had known I had to buy a tool for £250 I would have not have bothered to do it myself. I am hoping the garage I am using will do a good job for a fair price but I was quoted £380 to replace both lower swivel joints by them; where I bought the parts for for £40.00 and did it myself. As with many people money is a big issue (hence why I am driving a 1994 C180 and not a newer V8 MB which would be my choice).

    All the best Dave
     
  15. OP
    daveseavista

    daveseavista Senior Member

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    I took the car into the garage today and they could not find anything wrong with it! They did not think it was worth fitting the lower arms. I then took the car to a tyre specialist to get new tyres and have the tracking checked and they said the tracking was spot on. The tyre fitter said (and I am not convinced he is right) that MB have dynamic suspension and this causes the inside edges to wear more. I pointed out that this is the 3rd set of tyres I have had and the last two sets wore out evenly whereas these had almost new tread apart from the inside edges. He said to keep an eye on things.

    My worry is that as I do 100 miles a day if there is a problem with the suspension I will have knocked out a set of front tyres in one journey.

    I am going to measure the tread depth carefully and see if I can pick anything up early. The tyre guy did say that budget tyres (I paid £65.00 each) could wear faster than higher spec ones as the steel belting covered more of the tyre on the dearer ones. But I had the same make (Hankook) last time and they were fine.

    I don't think this is the end of this.

    All the best Dave
     
  16. spock500

    spock500 Senior Member

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  17. OP
    daveseavista

    daveseavista Senior Member

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    Thanks David.

    I visited a specialist tyre centre in Plymouth (Protyre http://www.protyre.co.uk/) and they found that the left toe was -0 deg 44' right toe 0 deg 35' (spec min 0deg 07' , max 0deg 17' ). This was after the other tyre company said it was spot on! They also noticed that the balance weights had been fitted all around the rim and not in one place, he asked me if I had any vibration and I said I had felt some since having the new tyres fitted. They sorted both issues out and the car feels and handles much better. The total cost was £40.00.

    I can recommend them based on what I saw they were very knowledgeable and took a lot of care. To have the 4 wheel laser alignment check is free you only pay if adjustment is needed.

    All the best Dave
     

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