Need to do front-end work; '85 W123

The steering is really loose and sloppy on my wife's '85 300D. We knew this when we got it, and the big thing at first was that the steering box/gear was completely and utterly shot. Got a new one, had the shop
put it in and it was like a new car. However, that's not everything that we need to do, and I'd like to get the parts for the rest of the job. I don't intend to do the work myself, but I'd like to get the parts myself so I don't get dinged by the shop for Extra Price Parts, so I'm curious, what are the wear items between the steering box and the wheels that I'd want to replace to tighten up the steering? I've got some guesses but I'll not distract the issue by throwing them out there. :) I (and she)'d like the car to drive like it's rails, at least as much as possible. ...we were kinda letting this slide, but we got some new tires last weekend, trading in these crapo Signet tires for some Michelin Agilities, but wear on the tires suggested an alignment was in order so we might as well renew the front end while we're at it.
thanks, -tom!
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Find an honest front end alignment guy and have him look the front end over and tell you what you need. There are not a lot of parts that can be bad once you have the steering box right. There are two tie rod ends and a drag link. There are upper and lower control arm bushings. You should replace the bushings, steering damper and the shocks and the coil springs if you want it to drive like new. The tie rod ends and drag link ends are either tight and good or sloppy and shot. If they are tight and the grease seals are intact there is no reason to replace them. Replacing the coil springs will make a big difference in getting it to feel like a new car.
If you replace the front coils you should replace the rear ones too. I have replaced all those parts at one time or another in the last few years on my 1982 300 TDT which has 396,000 miles on it. It drives like new and the tires last just like when the car was new. I have had terrible luck, by the way, with front end alignments at the dealer. I have a local guy at an alignment shop who does not use a computer for alignment but uses the old style system that relies on physically measuring the toe in by attaching a steel rod between the rims and using that to measure and it works great for him. He has some tools that attach bubble levels to the wheels to figure camber. I am not sure how he measures caster, but he does it by actually meauring the parts, not depending on a computer readout. He charges $50 for a complete alignment and cares enough to get it right on.
I have my '82 TDT pretty much apart right now. I pick up the engine tomorrow which I have just had completely remanufactured for $5600 at Metric Motors in the LA area and I have the interior all removed for cleaning and replacement of the AC evaporator, which requires removing the dash.
Paul Fretheim

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Both tie rod assembly, center/drag link and idler arm bushing repair kit. Everything you need would cost you under $109 at autohausaz.com.
I would change out the sway bar links too...rear ($14 a pair) and front.
The age of your car and most likely not changed for super long time... I'd just change them all... they all are cheap!
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Of course all worn parts s/b replaced. The other aspect of steering quality is the tires' aspect ratio. A 70 series tire gives quicker steering reaction than a 78 series but the 70 rides a bit harder.
Since the car's steering box was worn you should also check the rear suspension bushings for wear. Worn bushings in the rear allow the rear wheels to steer the car enough so that as the front is improved a point is reached where there's an inexplicable gap between where the steering quality ought to be - given the front end work - and the car's actual performance. That gap can often be found in the rear bushings.
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There's also a bushing in the steering wheel and a rubber flex disc on the steering shaft you should replace if you want that "new car feeling".
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On Jun 22, 2:43 am, snipped-for-privacy@news.vrx.net (Richard Sexton) wrote:

I have read about this disc on the steering shaft from another source also. I am looking at the same issues that the OP has and this seems to be an important fix in the whole process.
Is this disc also present on my 1984 300D? From the sound of it, it has to do with tilt steering (which mine does not have). Am I correct or is this flex disc on all steering columns?
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Has nothing to do with tilt. It is the coupling that joins the base of the steering column to the steering box.
# 56 here: http://www.detali.ru/cat/oem_mb2.asp?TP=1&F 3130&Ma7%2E912&GAr2%2E118405&GMq6%2E005++++++++++++++717%2E400&CT=F&cat"2&SIDF&SGR5&SGN
(Richard Sexton) wrote:

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and that coupling is supposed to break in an event of accident where it would pushes the steering wheel up toward you... This coupling reduce that amount of push.
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I don't have a 300 so I'm not 100% sure, but I"m 99% sure it's there and it's easy to spot, just look under the hood.
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On Jun 25, 12:45 am, snipped-for-privacy@news.vrx.net (Richard Sexton) wrote:

Thanks guys. Is this an easy fix (the flex disc), or does it require removing a large component of the steering column? (either the steering box, or the entire upper column).
Right now I am going to try and tighten up the steering box. My father- in-law has advised me to try this first (based on what moves under the car, and what we think is worn). It seems that the OP opted for a new box, but I would rather not make that investment right now. There isn't that much free play, but enough to turn off the right blinker, so its annoying.
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DougS wrote:

If the steering box on the W123 is the same design as on a W126 (similar vintage), then the play in the steering wheel can be reduced by adjusting the recirculating ball mechanism in the steering box. There is a large nut on the box, and in the centre is a 6 mm Allen screw. Undo the large nut counterclockwise slightly (not too much or hydraulic fluid will leak out), and adjust the 6 mm Allen screw 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn *counterclockwise* to reduce the steering wheel play. According to the MB specification, play should be about 1/2 to 3/4 inch at the circumference of the steering wheel. Do not over tighten the steering box mechanism. The 1/8 to 1/4 turn adjustment is usually enough. If that does not solve the problem then other components in the steering linkage mechanism need to be checked and replaced where needed.
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Thanks, this verifies the information I received previously from another source. Probably do this tonight.
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beats me. I got the part but upon tightening the stteering box was happy with the result. You do understand you can't over tighten it, right?
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