Wheel alignment and wobbly

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Recently (within the past two weeks) I've noticed that my 91 300ce seems to be riding more "wobbly." I also noticed that the steering alignment is very much off, as I have to hold
the wheel about 30-40 degrees to the left just to keep it straight on the road. If I let go of the wheel, it will immediately jerk to the right (this poses a potentially deadly problem on the interstate). Other than alignment, what sort of things do I need to check out? What causes this problem anyway? Thanks!
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DO NOT DRIVE THIS CAR.
If this issue appeared suddenly, that means something has come loose, and it might just be hanging by a thread. This is a problem that could kill you and innocent bystanders as well.
Find a reputable front end shop (not the MB dealer) and have the car towed (or if it's close drive real slow.)
Good luck, marty
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Martin Joseph wrote:

DITTO! I had a car once where the bolts on the rack and pinion unit became loose and it did exactly the same thing. I was able to get it to a garage, and the mechanic said I was about two threads away form not having any steering control at all.
--

- RODNEY


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You've been driving it this way for TWO WEEKS????
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I had a problem like that years ago. The tread separated from the steel belt on the tyre. Very easy to check and cheap to fix.
To view the day to day life of a loser go here. http://members.iinet.net.au/~farmerjim/log/log.html
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Thanks for the replies. "Wobbly" is not the best term. It just seems to be riding a little more rough than normal.. but it's so slight that I'm not sure if it's just my imagination. I've inspected the tires and they look fine with no bulges or anything unusual. I thought the problem might just be wheel alignment but I hadn't thought of something about to fall apart. The only reputable MB repair shop I know of is closed on weekends. Other than not driving the car, is there anything I can do?
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Check all the tires' pressure.
Jack up the front - each side - to see if its wheel rotates freely or drags due to a stuck brake. With one wheel off the ground shake the elevated wheel in all directions to test for looseness - do this carefully, not so hard that car falls off jack, sending jack flying.
You may find nothing, in that case you should include the rear suspension in the possibilities; if a rear wheel isn't square to the body it will "steer" the car and so make the car "crab" down the road, and it may be that crabbing is what you're steering against. You will probably not see anything in the rear but may see a rear wheel move vs. the body when, with brakes off and front wheels blocked, the transmission is shifted from D to R and R to D with engine at idle.
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Tire pressure is good. I jacked up the front end on both sides and they both spin fine, but I noticed the right wheel has a little bit of give when shaking it left-to-right. Bolts on all the wheels are tight. The only funny thing I noticed is that the shock springs are not exactly symmetrical on both sides. Looking from the side of the car, one spring is slightly convex, the other concave. I've never paid that close attention to them before, so I don't know whether that's normal.
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Have a M-B shop look it over.
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    I have apparently a similar problem. My front starts shaking around 85kph until about 90 kph - severly sometimes depending on the road surface (washboard). Took tires off and everything appears tight, the torsion bar is a little lose in the rubber bushing but that's normal... I've changed tires to see if it's the wheel balance and the start of the shimmying now starts at about 80 kph. If the road is very smooth, there is no shimmying at all..... I'm confused as well.
cheers
ps could it simply be the steering damper I wonder?
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On 2005-04-13 05:12:33 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@sciborg.uwaterloo.ca (Guenter Scholz) said:

That doesn't sound like the same problem at all.
Pay attention here guys...
For the previous poster with the loose wheel. THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING ISSUE.
Is that clear :~)
Marty
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I agree. He should look at the Tie Rod's. Mine started with a little pull. On further inspection, I noticedboth seals on the Left and Right tie rods were rotted and almost gone (238,000 miles). I bought the left and right from Rusty for less than 100.00 total. Set them to 333mm + or - 2mm, tightened them down, and swapped them out. Easy to do, the alignment was'n hurt, and pulling stopped. I would hate to see one of those snap. major damage to the front suspension would be the least of the problems, death to car occupants or pedestrians (or both) would be the worst.
Either way, no reason to risk death for less than a Ben Franklin in parts, and less than two hours of work.
Thom
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I've looked at the tie rods and nothing is rusted or loose. Everything seems very well intact. Could one of the problems be the steering damper? Obviously the loose right wheel is a problem too, but I can't figure out exactly why it's loose. Is it going to fall off if I drive the car? I'm going to take it to the shop when I get a chance, but I would like to at least have an idea of what it could be just to satisfy my curiosity.
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Keep driving with a loose wheel and you won't have to worry about taking the car to the shop: when it falls off, and if you haven't hurt yourself or anyone else, just call the tow truck.
Canoli
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YOU SHOULDN"T DRIVE THE CAR (sorry for yelling).
DO NOT DRIVE IT UNTIL YOU FIND/FIX THE PROBLEM.
Sheesh.
The loose right wheel is the problem, I'll bet. Could be ball joint or tie rods, or wheel bearings, or ....
Don't drive the car until it's fixed, seriously. I am not joking.
Imagine that right front wheel randomly steering the car around and not paying any attention to the steering wheel.
Marty
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On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 21:31:56 -0700, Martin Joseph wrote:

I have had the experience of losing a front wheel (on a LeCar - anyone remember that US market gem from Renault?) and of having a tie-rod fail. I didn't enjoy either experience, but I have to say, losing the whole wheel was vastly preferable. At least then, I was only grinding along on the metal, with three good pieces of rubber still pointing more or less in the same direction.
Losing the tie-rod end was ugly - and it failed without notice. One second I'm driving and the next I'm headed towards my neighbor's yard. The thought of this type of failure on the highway, or a main road still gives me chills.
It's VERY hard to tell what the problem is in a newsgroup, just because there are a bunch of parts in a front-end, and some of the failure modes of the various parts can give similar symptoms - but you can forget about the steering damper - it will not cause your car to pull to one side. The pull to one side, coupled with the "shakiness" adds up to the failure of a critical piece of the front suspension.
I don't know how "loose" the front wheel is (the bearings would have to be on the verge of self-destruct to cause a 30-degree cock in the steering wheel), but this amount of offset in the steering indicates something is severely out of kilter, and that something is by all means best diagnosed at a _reputable_ (Yes, there are sleazebags in the front end/alignment business) front end shop.
I don't think it's anyone's intent in this group to insult you - it's just that no one here wants to pick up the newspaper and read about a Benz that veered across the center median and crashed head-on into a school bus.
Conrad
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this post started on the 8 th and it is now the 15 th
you could have had it fixed by now.
the case, minus a few cans!
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I was very surprised when I got all these responses saying that the car is a deathtrap. I never thought of it being something that would result in a loss of steering altogether. Anyway, I have been driving another car and am going to take the Merc into the shop as soon as I get a chance. One more question: Is there any way to tell by looking whether a critical component is breaking down or about to fall off?
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" was very surprised when I got all these responses saying that the car is a deathtrap. I never thought of it being something that would result in a loss of steering altogether. Anyway, I have been driving another car and am going to take the Merc into the shop as soon as I get a chance. One more question: Is there any way to tell by looking whether a critical component is breaking down or about to fall off? "
By now it's quite obvious that you're either a troll or incredibly stupid.
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On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:24:44 -0400, Ben wrote:

In the case of my tie-rod incident - no - but I think that was just a defective part - the tie-rod end actually sheared (fractured?) on the threaded portion allowing the tie-rod to fall out of the steering knuckle. But most front-end problems manifest themselves by their symptoms. Which is what you have. Periodically inspecting your tires can reveal some problems - the tread wear should be laterally symetric, and not exhibit any variation in thickness around the circumference.
As to some of the other posts. Really folks. A Troll or Stupid? It costs nothing to be civil to a troll - that is absolutely the response that most trolls _don't_ want. Trolls who get boring replies soon migrate elsewhere for their entertainment.
As far as "stupid" - I don't know about the rest of you, but I was born stupid. Everything I know, someone had to share with me. While the idea of 2+tons of steel moving at 70 mph with no steering control being a bit unsafe seems blatantly obvious to some, it's a testament to the manufacturing quality of the automotive industry these days that catastrophic mechanical failure is just not on the radar of a lot of folks.
The news-bits about Pintos and Crown Vics exploding, and certain SUV's turning cartwheels mostly serve to give us a false sense of security ("Thankgawdidonthaveoneofthemcars") I'm absolutely blown away when my significant other says something like, "The oil light in my car has been on for a week and it's really bugging me. Can you make it turn off? (Thank goodness replacing the pressure sender fixed that one). But instead of replying with my first reaction - "ARE YOU F#@CKING INSANE!!!" I had to gently say, "Honey, when that light comes on that means that there's a very good chance your engine is going to turn into a smoking piece of useless junk within three seconds, and you will get run over on the highway by the big truck behind you when that happens and it will cost thousands of dollars to bury whatever pieces of you they find in the charred wreckage.". Message received.
Education beats castigation ;-)
Cheers,
Conrad
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