symptoms of bad tracking

I just got my beloved 190e back from the garage. I had new lower arms fitted to the front due to steering creaks. The car handled brilliantly before I took it in, it was just the noise that
was the problem.
After getting it back the steering feels light, any bump in the road, no matter how small, pulls the car over to left or right. And if I steer a little bit to go round a corner the wheels pull themselves over further and further until the are at full lock.
Obviously its going back to the garage but I have lost faith in them, they really shouldn't have let me drive off in it, its totally unsafe.
I think its the wheel alignment but its so severe that I am unsure. So, can anyone confirm the last point about steering round the corner, is that a symptom of bad alignment ?
And wouldn't you expect any garage worth using should do at least a rough check before handing the car back to me ?
trumpsy
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Sounds like the alignment to me. Sometimes, shops will change out the bad parts, and if they do not change anything on th etie rods, then the alignment should be ok, right?
I thought the same thing on my wifes Escort. We lost a tie rod end one day, so I replaced both sides in the driveway, setting BOTH to ther exact positions the old ones were in before the swap (I marked the threads. Well, I noticed no problem around the neighborhood when testing, but my wife freaked out on the highway, where the high speeds showed the alignment (toe-in) was off. I jacked it up, and gave each side 1.25 turns to bring the front of the tires out, and fixed the problem (I have since had it checked prefessionally, and the alignment is fine).
You can try changing the alignment yourself just to see if there is a change in handling, but might want to take it to another Mercedes shop for an alignment. They may have aligned it with the wrong specs, or just eyeballed it.
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thanks for your info,
I think your probably correct, its just that its so extreme I am scared to even test drive it. It felt so bad I thought they had left a tie rod not connected. Although I am used to smaller cars (golf and lots of minis) so perhaps everything is a lot more severe coz of the weight and steering geometry.
As an example If I drive it in a straight line, it seems ok (although deviates very easily). Going at 5mph if I turn the wheel a quarter turn, in less than 10 meters the car will have pulled itself over to full lock.
Even a drain which appears flush will yank me over about 1/4 of a steering wheel turn.
Unfortunately taking it to a mb shop would cost more than I paid for the car (400) so I reckon a visual check to see if its toe-in or toe-out and a couple of turns to see if it alters the handling is the best bet.
What do people think about the garages responsibility to check the car before they give it back ?
There is no way they even drove it, they would have immediately known something was wrong. It is slightly complicated by the fact that I gave them all the parts to fit.
I didnt say 'here is my car, please fix it'. I said 'Here is my car, here are 2 lower arms, please fit them for me'
I am not really that worried about legal responsibility just whether I should be annoyed they let me drive away in a dangerous car.
cheers all.
trumpsy

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I would be annoyed, it is common sense to verify the car is sofe, or at least to point out that the alignment WAS NOT checked. They probably figured the steering wheel was straight, so all is good.
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thanks again,
I am pretty sure that if the tyre tread was low they would have said 'Mate I shouldnt let you drive out like that, you must buy a tyre from us'
They should have at least let me now the job it hadnt been checked. I will ring them and get them to sort it out tomorrow. cheers
trumpsy

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The symptoms described are those of excessive toe-in or toe-out. An alignment by an alignment shop will cure this.
Changing steering component parts often needs to be followed by an alignment.
The repair shop should have told you that, perhaps the did.
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no they certainly didnt. I hate xxxxxxx uk mechanics.
I have changed various bits on cars before but always done by measuring and marking before hand. I have moved up slightly to the mb and thought its time to stop getting oil on my hands. I think this is a case of them wanting me to ring them so they can charge me more to do my tracking.
Thanks for your advice, I will take it for a quick 2 wheel alignment checkup in the morning.
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Additional thought:
After the alignment the car's steering may feel bland and numb.
You may not like the result, not because the adjustment was poorly done, it could be perfect, but because you're so used to the way the car previously handled and felt ..... like an old comfortable shoe. No shop can replicate "how it used to feel" so think of this car as a new car that YOU need to get used to. And after a month you'll again like it.
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I have to agree. Every time I get my (poor, long suffering) car aligned it seems to be floating dangerously lightly up there in front wheel land. Normal.
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to remove the lower wishbones on the 201 series you have to remove the castor and camber steering angle adjuster bolts .The vehicle will require a full supension /steering alignment to reset both the castor / camber and tow angles. Adjusting the towing angle only will not restore the vehicles handling characteristics.
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