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GUIDE: Changing your front shocks (W208)

Discussion in 'DIY: Suspension, Steering & Brakes' started by JSeaman, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    When your shocks go you usually have symptoms such as knocking and/or poor handling. The normal reason for replacements is that they leak/degrade over time
    so should be considered a service item (but at long service intervals, several tens of thousands of miles). When replacing the shocks you do not have to do
    the springs as well, I would however recommend you do a bit of an exploration before starting work to determine whether any other work is required, it's
    easier to do it all in one go. You do replace them in pairs! They have almost identical wear and there is rarely a good reason to change a single shock
    absorber.

    This is actually a very easy job on the W208, the shock and spring are separate so you don't need to worry about spring compressors etc. Also, the twin-nut arrangement on the top of the shock makes removal very easy indeed.

    Step 1 - Crack off each of the wheel nuts on the front two wheels (just one turn is enough) while the weight of the car is on the wheels

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    Step 2 - Jack the car up off the floor, it doesn't need to be ridiculously high but give yourself a little room to work

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2013
  2. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 3 - Secure on axle stands and jack up the other side of the car

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    Step 4 - Remove the wheels completely

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  3. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 5 - You will need two 16mm sockets to attack the bottom bold holding the shock in place, small spark plug sockets are perfect. Crack off this nut and
    slacken it a few turns

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    Step 6 - Put a jack under the wishbone at the front and jack it up until the wishbone starts to move up so you have the weight supported fully

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  4. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 7 - Remove the 16mm nut from the bottom of the strut fully

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    Step 8 - You may find you can simply wind the 16mm bolt out with your ratchet but it can stick sometimes. If necessary, tap the bolt out with a screwdriver
    as shown but I recommend you wriggle it out if you can.

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    Step 9 - Now pop up to the top of the car and we will look at the top mount. We will start on the offside (driver's side), remove the rubber boot covering
    the top of the shock

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  5. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 10 - Feed a 17mm spanner under the brake pipes and pop it onto the lower nut

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    Step 11 - Use a 17mm socket to crack off the top nut and then it should undo by hand quite easily

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    Step 12 - Now use the socket to remove the bottom nut also. Thankfully these tend to come off quite easily or you need to start making cranked spanners fit in whilst gripping the flat on the top of the shock

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  6. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 13 - Remove the large washer

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    Step 14 - Now pop back under the car and the shock should simply pull clear and slide out

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    Step 15 - You can now remove the lower rubber bush from the shock if needed

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  7. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 16 - Get yourself a couple of new shocks, they typically retail around £100 each but eBay can be your friend. I bought the item "MERCEDES CLK W208 GAS
    SHOCK ABSORBERS 2x FRONT" from a seller called east-germany-customs on eBay for <£85 delivered for two shocks which came with all new rubbers and nuts/bolts.
    They were shipped from Germany to the UK within 2 days and I would recommend them as a cheap but good quality item. Note I have no link to them whatsoever!

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    Step 17 - Slide your lower top mount in place with the 'skirt' facing downwards

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    Step 18 - Remove the upper mount from the car

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  8. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 19 - Fit your new top mount

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    Step 20 - This is where you get to use your ingenuity a little, you will need some string and some scissors (yes, really!). Feed the string through the
    bottom of the shock (picture 2) and cut it with plenty of free length (picture 3). Stand the shock up and wrap the string around the top (picture 4/5). Find
    a friend to help with the next bit, squash the shock down (place your hands either side of the threaded bit that sticks in the engine bay then just push down
    with the bottom of the shock on the floor), then get someone to tie the string into a double knot. You end up with the same as in picture 6, a fully
    compressed shock which will slide in nicely.

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  9. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 21 - Slide the shock up from underneath so that the threaded top is in the engine bay then place the bottom part of the shock loosely in the bottom
    bracket (you don't need to force it all the way in yet).

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    Step 22 - Fit your nice new top washer

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    Step 23 - My new shocks came with a nyloc bolt (picture 1) which is fine but are generally more difficult to fit/remove than Mercedes twin nut option.
    Because of this I decided to use the 2 nuts I removed, fit the first one and tighten it up fully

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  10. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 24 - Now refit the second nut, you probably won't need a spanner to lock the bottom one in place when tightening as shown in the second picture

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    Step 25 - Now we turn our attention to the bottom of the shock, line up the hole as well as you can with your fingers (picture 1), then use a screwdriver (or
    other suitable lever) to get the hole exactly lined up. While you align the hole, have the bolt loosely pushed in place so as soon as the holes are in the
    right position the bolts will slide through

    Note the washer on the bolt too, there is one on either side

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  11. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 26 - Remove the string, cut it and pull it out - you will probably leave a very small amount at the top but don't worry about this

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    Step 27 - I found it easier to use a spanner and a socket when tightening the bottom bolt up as shown

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    Step 28 - Lower the trolley jack that supported the wishbone and pop the dust cap back in place on the top of the strut

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  12. OP
    JSeaman

    JSeaman Senior Member

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    Step 29 - Pop your wheel back on, drop the car down and torque up the wheel nuts

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    Step 30 - On the nearside (passenger side), there is an added obstacle when removing the top mount because you have the throttle assembly in the way (picture 1). All you need to do is thread a spanner down as shown and you should be able to get a socket with an extension bar on the nut easily (pictures 2 and 3).

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    Step 31 - Once you have lowered the car back down you may find the car sits a little bit higher, bounce the front corners a few times to make sure everything feels OK then pop out for a drive. After you get back everything should be seated and you're back to a clunk-free ride.

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  13. Miffy

    Miffy Senior Member

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