I'm wondering if I should attempt to fix/replace the steering gearbox
on my 1987 300d.
First a bit of history:
I'm leaking power steering fluid at the rate of about a pint a month.
Noticed the problem when terrible groaning sounds began and I popped
the p/s pump cover, and behold -- ZERO fluid in the reservoir! Since
then I've topped it off a couple of times and it no longer makes noise.
However, there's a pretty noticible play in the steering wheel, on the
order of 25 or 30 degrees, or about 4 - 5 inches. I thought it was the
alignment at first but that's been checked (just put on 4 new
Bridgestone Turanza EL400 tires today). The guys at Firestone said that
the steering gearbox was probably going out and that they couldn't do
that repair at their shop. When I bought the car in October the
steering was pretty tight, so this has been a progressing problem in
the last few months.
So I guess my question is -- on these 124 models, how much of a pain is
it to replace a steering box yourself? I've done a lot of work on 123s
-- replaced alternators, a/c condensors, water pumps, glow plugs, brake
master cylinder and calipers, and the like. So I'm no stranger to
spending a lot of time and elbow grease to repair something on my own.
But with a rebuilt pump running $475 alone, I just wonder if I should
leave it to a mechanic, or if I could just get away with topping off
the fluid and seeing how things go?
Anyone swapped out a gearbox on a W124 before?