Rear wheel alignment

Have an '81 240D with only 117K actual miles. Problem is the rear of the car "dog walks" down the road to the tune of about 5 or 6 inches to the right. I
've check to make certain everything is tight but when I place a straight edge on each rear wheel it always points to the right. I've been told the only remedy is to replace the rear wheel carriers. Does anyone know of an easier fix? I can get the parts from a wrecking yard but it's really a job pulling those things out. The rest of the car is great and, although it drives fine, I don't like the idea of going down the road partially sideways.
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Most likely your suspension bushing may be bad... also check your subframe bushing.
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Check both of those areas and everything is in good condition. Everything seems to be very tight, just off line. The subframe was the initial suspect. I have a complete set of manuals and have looked that section over several times and can find no adjustments so it would seem that the arms supporting the bearings are just out of alignment. The only thing that is puzzling is that both seem to be out of alignment the same way...both to the right and both between 5-6 inches. I'm told you're the MB guru so any suggestions will be seriously considered. Ernie

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If you are not the original owner of the car and don't know the history, it may be a good possibility that the car has been in accident and the body shop did not straightened out the frame.
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That was my first suspect since the car did rear end a large truck. However, it was not enough to even break the headlights although the grille got creamed and the hood buckled. The first thing I did was take some measurements to check the rear subframe alignment. Everything checked out within 1/16th inch, not nearly enough to cause the existing misalignment. I keep coming back to the rear hubs, both of which are aimed to the right. I can find no stress cracks in the paint on either rear bearing carrier although this would seem to be the most likely place of suspect. Again, every single bolt and bushing appears to be in good shape. No buckling observed anywhere. When measurements are taken from each mounting bolt on the rear subframe to the center of the front lower cross member everything is nearly perfect. I feel any accident serious enough to cause this degree of misalignment should be observable and should certainly show up by taking required measurements. The center-to-center measurement from the front/rear hubs is also nearly identical. It's as if someone put a huge pry bar on each rear axle hub and twisted it to the right. Any other suggestions?

it
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There is one thing you can do to see if your frame is straight... at each jack points... drop a plumb line and make a mark on the floor... move the car away from that marks and measure the diagonal direction... front right to left rear... front left to right rear.
If the frame is square as it is supposed to be, then the two measurements would be equal. If not, then your frame is bent.
Now here is the problem... not every car after accident can be straightened all the way. That's okay because the wheel alignment will compensate for the rest... as long as the front wheel is aligned to the direction of the rear wheel, the car will track straight. It is a long explaination but you should be able to find some info on internet regarding alignment.
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Thanks Tiger. Good advice. I'll try that and let you know. Too bad it's not as easy as with a solid rear axle vehicle where you can simply shift one side forward or backward to obtain straight tracking. Had one "expert" try to tell me it was simply a matter of front end alignment. Couldn't explain to him the physics involved but essentially told him that if you took an equal sided yoke from the two rear wheels forward that the forward point of the yoke should be dead center. If that point is off to either side the vehicle will "dog walk" down the road. Anyway your advice is well taken. I'll let you know the results.

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