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Steering problem on second hand R170 SLK....

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering & Brakes' started by tom1981, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. tom1981

    tom1981 Active Member

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    london, uk
    Your Mercedes:
    SLK/2002/200k
    I apologise. This is a lengthy one:

    I bought a 2001 R170 from a dealer in Esssex almost a month ago and have run into problems, I have as yet been unable to sort. A few stone chips and beginning of rust spots on the arches but nowhere near as bad as others I had seen. It has only done 55k and has a black leather interior and the SE alloys. A new MOT, came up HPI clear and service log book added up. Got a decent price. I tested on the A road the garage was on and drove okay up and down in the straight line (I was poorly with spine surgery probs for two years so not driving and maybe not as vigilant as I used to be) I noticed recent respraying in the engine bay over the welding joins. I don't know cars and as the paperwork checked out and I was more clued into looking for rust and I didn't ask any questions.

    Upon getting home I realised the steering wheel wasn't straightening up well and driving at urban speeds the car would drift left significantly if not corrected constantly. Over 45-50mph this improves although remains inaccurate and a little sensitive.

    I had the tracking done by a local garage I have used since 2007. They were alarmed at the steering too, how inaccurate it was and pointed out the respraying as accident damage repair.

    The trader is an hour away and so not trusting them to fix what they had already looked I informed the trader of what had been found and my problems and said I would attempt to have fixed on the 12 month optional warranty I bought which was valid for use at most garages.

    I had the ball joints replaced and the bearings done and my mechanic was hopeful four wheel alignment would sort the cars wandering. The trader informed me they didn't have four wheel alignment. The warranty ended up not covering the work done. Worse still, the alignment done at a specialist place checked out. This suggested that the geometry of the car is intact following the repair meaning whatever small problem persists it's buried deep and mechanical.

    The trader has been elusive at best following sending of the mechanics diagnostics and my desire to secure a reduction to reflect damage/repair costs. My mechanic doesn't want me excessively out of pocket (he's a good guy tbh) and is trying to get information on the nature of the accident from the trader. He is guessing damaged wheel hub. Oh and alignment boys switched left and right front wheels so I could check that it wasn't the tyres. The new ball joints, bearings, tracking has helped a little but it's still erratic and sometimes pulling away or pulling up to a junction or going over a speed bump the steering can get away from you. It still veers left. Sometimes the wheel can take some real effort. That said I drove it back from Brighton on m23 this weekend and whilst it's not as glued to the road as you would hope (I am also conscious of not trusting the cars steering) it is okay at speed on motorway. The trader says the last owner had it for five years and doesn't know about any accident. My mechanic says engine bay respraying looks v recent.

    My initial 30 days are up on sat. I have spent £700 or so on restoring the leather, the vinyl paint, stereo and above repairs and preparing to waste time going to small claims court to get refund plus costs but now as then, I would rather repair and pursue him for the costs. I could even (whisper it) live without damages if I could sort the car out. The mechanic is hesitant to guess at price of repairs because they can't guess yet what might be bent. It's a small but significant problem but otherwise a good little car.

    I was wondering whether you all had any thoughts and at a push knew anyone in London area good for a second opinion?

    Cheers guys
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  2. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    The best people are Wheels in Motion in Chesham Bucks, the have a very good name in sorting out any steering problems.
     
  3. onefortheroad

    onefortheroad Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    c207 e350 cdi 2017 . ford kuga 65 plate awd powershift .
    Check the gas rod linkage is all well on the steering rack, only £ 35 for a new one .
     
  4. antijam

    antijam Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
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    What size wheels and tyres do you have? My R170 was fitted with wide staggered 18" wheels when I bought it and 'tramlined' horribly. Reverting to standard staggered 16's transformed the car, curing the tramlining, improving the ride and made it a pleasure to drive.
     
  5. OP
    tom1981

    tom1981 Active Member

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    Staggered 17, supposedly the type ordered with the car as alloys are original l
     
  6. OP
    tom1981

    tom1981 Active Member

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    SLK/2002/200k
    Thanks. My mechanic recommended them. My worry is it's something bent from an impact. The alignment guys I drove out to were the best but he's looking it over again today and scratching his head.... If he gets nowhere I'm gonna do a road trip out to Bucks and see the guys you recommended next week
     
  7. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
    I cannot recall a post on here where they have not managed to sort out steering problems, good luck.
     
  8. malcolm210

    malcolm210 Senior Member

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    Have the front tyres been changed for secondhand ones prior to you buying the car either by the selling garage or the last owner? All tyres wear differently due to car set/geometry and swapping part worn tyres from one vehicle to another can produce the symptoms you are experiencing. It's not unusual for some Mercedes to pull to the left at slower speeds and I think some brands of tyre can be more prone to this behaviour.

    I don't know the state of wear of your current tyres but I'd seriously consider trying a different set of tyres on the front before you spend any more time and money on it, if that doesn't work wheels in motion are your best bet.
     
  9. OP
    tom1981

    tom1981 Active Member

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    I just went back and looked at everyones kind answers. The latest is that it's marginally better but still pretty hairy when diving down country roads, the car just doesn't feel "planted" and the steering wheel can suddenly be pulled. It's simply not right.

    I didn't make the 3hr round journey to the place in Bucks as I had to take the car back to the two hilarious blokes in Essex who sold it to me, they sent me onto an outfit called "the tyre shop" in chingford. A seriously impressive operation. This time they found that the alignment was definitely out unlike the place before. It definitely was improved after and no longer drifting with the wheel returning to centre. It didn't last long before it was playing up again, on small country roads it feels unpredictable and with a tiny delay on steering. Whilst at fast motorway speeds the wheels feel a little wobbly.

    I've spent too much money and too many days but it's frustrating because it's a good little car. I have wanted an R170 and if I sell (I may well do) I will lose money after repairing so much stuff and restoring interior etc. It's only done 56k! I am going to try replacing all four tyres, the 17 inch ones on the front and wider 17 inch ones on the back. They are 2008 and the tread is really good but as you say, I don't know if they've been taken from another car. It's a process of elimination. Several mechanics left scratching their head have tentatively suggested the tyres despite them being in good nick.

    I would change them down to 16 but from research it seems the 17 inch wheels were a factory option. Plus I would have to change the alloys too which seems excessive (and they're really nice)

    Thanks for advice and wish me luck!
     

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