steering gearbox adjustment 83 240D

Can anyone describe to me how to adjust the tension on the steering gearbox? I have narrowed down the 15-20 degrees of play (which is interesting in muddy weather or even water filled ruts on the highways) to being inside the
box. From what I've read, the best case scenario is to pull it and re-build/adjust at the workbench. Not really wanting to risk breaking anything to that degree, or really having the time to do the pull/rebuild, is there an adjustment like on a rack/pinion setup to adjust the tension between gears from the outside of the box whilst it remains in place in the car??
Thanks in advance for anyone who can respond w/ helpful hints. :)
-jason
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If you have clear and easy access to the steering gearbox, then you just have to loosen the locknut and then crank in the adjuster to tighten up.
The only problem with this is if you tighten too much, then your steering wheel will not return to center after you make a turn... which is dangerous.
In most cases of freeplays, we simply have to have it rebuilt or buy a rebuilt unit... which cost a fortune.. like $300 to $500 rebuilt...
Or you can join the rest of us... live with it.
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Thank you both for your comments..
I seem to have fairly clear and easy access.. but even though I consider myself a fairly adept DIYer, am someone skeptical that I've identified which is the locknet, and how the unit is adjusted. The only pictures/diagrams I've found make mention of several different gearboxes for this chassis, which left me a bit more confused than when I started looking. :P
And of course, I am still considering just livin' with it as I have been. I also agree that for some reason, maybe the box or just the old big steering wheel itself, makes it a more pleasurable vehicle to drive.
Thanks again,
-Jason

dangerous.
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On Wed, 26 May 2004 19:15:50 GMT, "Jason R. Butterfield"

Have you looked at: http://skinnerbox.steaky.org /
300 Essie
--
1994 Mercedes E280 [W124] 99,000 miles (R.I.P)
1992 Mercedes 300 SE [W126] 230,000 miles
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The steering wheel's "play" for this box should be about 3/4 inch. Your description makes it sound like your car's "play" is significantly greater and, if so, probably beyond an adjustment.
That's so because adjustments can only be made in small increments or there's a significant risk that the box will lock up while you're driving.
A suggestion is to investigate the cost of a used box from a salvage yard that could be rebuilt at your leisure (or not) and then installed in the car.
But remember, these old recirculating ball boxes were never as "tight" as contemporary rack and pinion systems that rely upon the car's self steering tracking ability to hold the lane. I own both, the older is casual, less precise and a bit easier to drive, IMHO.
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The last sentence should read:
But remember, these old recirculating ball boxes were never as "tight" as contemporary rack and pinion systems and (the recirculating ball boxes) rely upon the car's self steering tracking ability to hold the lane. I own both, the older is casual, less precise and a bit easier to drive, IMHO.
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I have made this adjustment on my 1982 240D under recommendation of a friend who is a (long distance) mercedes mechanic.
Mark the screw so you know where it started in case you screw up.
Loosen the lock nut and don't let the screw turn. Turn CCW (that's right, loosen) the screw no more than 1/4 turn and tighten the nut making sure it doesn't turn the screw.
Drive the car and see how it behaves. Adjust another time if you want, but the warnings given are correct - too much will affect centering or even destroy the unit.
My 1/4 turn adjustment took out 75% of my slack. I may try another 1/4 turn to see if it gets the rest.
My car has 225k and since I bought it from the original owner, I know the adjustment had never been done.
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Hey, sounds like my case exactly... bought from the 2nd owner, who only had it for maybe 1000 miles and went back to his newer SD... original owner only put 150k mi on it and while the R12 was all gone, I just did a vaccuum check on the AC and it held a negative atmosphere quite well.. now blowing cold w/ 134a. :)
300 Essie, yes, I have tried the skinnerbox site... even made a local copy- seemed more confusing than helpful w/ all the diff. versions I wasn't quite sure which to follow.
I do realize the risk of over adjusting- so the marking sounds like a good idea. So, to clarify... the lock nut is regular thread and the adjustment screw is reverse thread?
Thanks again!!
-Jason

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" So, to clarify... the lock nut is regular thread and the adjustment screw is reverse thread? "
No. The adjustment screw is regular thread also. When you turn it to the left, CCW, you are drawing it up into the gear. Making it tighter. If you screw it down, CW, it makes the joint looser, wider apart. Just make sure you only go 1/4 turn at a time.
Larry In the back yard, under the oak.
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Excellent, thanks Larry!
-Jason

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