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Replacing Your Rear Multi-Link Suspension - Mercedes Benz
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your Rear Multi-Link Suspension - Mercedes Benz

Steve Vernon

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$140

Talent:

***

Tools:

Torque wrench, 10, 15, 17, 19mm socket and wrenches, 12mm triple square

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)
Mercedes-Benz W201 (1984-93)

Parts Required:

Suspension control arm kit

Hot Tip:

Check the bushing on the control arm

Performance Gain:

Tighter suspension and longer life for your tires

Complementary Modification:

Replace lower control arm bushings

If your Mercedes-Benz W201 is starting to wander all over the road, or the suspension is beginning to feel "sloppy," there is a good chance you have worn out suspension bushings. The 190e uses a 5 link suspension system. It includes a series of control arms and a tie rod to keep the tires in proper geometry to the road. It is very unusual for one of the arms or "links" in the suspension to actually wear out, but the bushings on the ends of the arms do, and need to be replaced. While you may be able to find separate bushings for the arms it is wiser, and in the long run, cheaper to replace the whole arm that includes new bushings, while performing this job. The arms are sold individually or in a kit. If you can afford it, I would recommend installing all new links from the kit, and then get a good alignment done on the car.

Begin by safely raising and supporting your car off the ground. Please see our article on jacking up and supporting your Mercedes-Benz.

Next remove the rear wheels. On a side note here, lately I have been using a wheel hanger tool whenever I remove the wheels from the car. It simply screws into one of the stud holes and holds the tire in place while you remove the remaining studs, it also makes re installing the tire a snap as all you do is place the tire over the tool and it slides right into place. Pelican Parts sells them and I wish I had bought one years ago. There is nothing worse than finishing up a job on your car and the struggling to get the tire back on, especially if you are working in the weather.

Remove the plastic cover on the lower control arm. Unscrew the two 10mm nuts holding the cover on and then unclip the cover from the arm. The lower control arm has a bushing connecting it to the lower wheel carrier or hub. You should inspect this for wear and excessive movement. If this bushing needs replacement please see our article on replacing your control arm bushing, we will not be covering that in this article.

With the exception of the lower control arm there are four links in the Multi-Link rear suspension: the Camber link, the Pulling link, the Pushing link and the Tie link or Tie Rod. Each of these links connects to both the wheel carrier or hub and the chassis. Older cars have an eccentric bolt in the camber link, but it was eliminated in the later models. The tie rod link does have an eccentric blot that will need to be marked before removal if you hope to get the alignment close on reinstallation. The rest of the links you just remove the old one and replace with a new link and torque to specs. Remember when torquing the suspension, the rear axle must be level to the ground. If you are doing all the links it is a good idea to leave them loose until they are all replaced, this gives you some wiggle room for fitting the new links. The exception to this is the camber link, which needs to be torque before you install the pull link to hub.

Let's start with the camber link. It connects the top of the suspension frame to the top of the wheel carrier. As a rule there is very, very little room to work around the suspension components and it can be especially difficult to get the right combination of wrenches and sockets so you can "get in there and break things loose." Like a lot of jobs working in tight spaces, watch out for scrapping your knuckles!

If your suspension is original, the camber link should be attached to the frame by a 19mm nut and bolt. Mercedes-Benz has upgraded the design and hardware several times and you may find a 12mm triple square bolt with an 18mm nut - either way, they need to come off, and there is very little room and lots of things around them. Take your time and make sure you DO NOT round off the heads. With the frame connection removed you will need to remove the connection at the hub. While there is a little more room to work, it is very difficult to see as the dust shield is in the way. Once the bolt is removed you will need to press out the old tensioning sleeve and insert a new one that comes with the kit. Our old sleeves came out with the old hardware and I could push the new sleeves in with just finger pressure. Install the new arm and hardware. The bolt and large washer go in from the front and the self locking nut and washer go on from rear. Install the link into the frame, and attach the new triple square nut and 18mm bolt. If this is the only link you are replacing, raise the hub until the axle shaft is horizontal and torque to specs.

Next remove the pull link. Begin by removing the hardware that connects the link to the frame assembly and then the hardware that connects the link to the wheel carrier. Install the new link, tensioner sleeve and new hardware by installing the wheel carrier end first and then the chassis. The Pull link presented a unique problem for us. While I could get the old hardware off because it was a regular head, I could not get access to the 12mm triple square in behind the dust shield to torque the connection down. Removing the dust shield involves a lot of work, including removing the parking brake and the axle shaft flange. I found a much easier and simpler solution was to cut an access hole in the dust shield using my Dremel. Warning: In high corrosion areas the brake backing plate-heat shield must be inspected before attempting brake shoe replacement or adjustment. If it is in bad shape you will need to replace them. Note: The hub must be removed to replace the backing plate, destroying the wheel bearing.

Move to the push link and follow the same procedures as the pull link with the exception that you do not need to cut a hole in the dust shield to install the new hardware.

Last is the tie rod or tie link. You need to disconnect this from the frame and then the hub or carrier. Before you loosen anything on the tie rod make sure you mark the eccentric bolt. Take a scribe and scratch a mark showing where the bolt and washer are located in relation to the mount. This will help you get the "toe in" reasonably correct when installing the new tie rod. You may need a tie rod separator to remove the end from the tie rod: it will all depend on the age and condition of the old part. On our project car I had to use a pickle fork to separate them which damaged the old part. If you are reusing the tie rod make sure you use a separator so you don't damage the end.

Once everything is back together you need to get the axle perpendicular to the ground, or level, before you torque things down. It is impossible to do this with the wheel on the car; you need to raise the hub while the car is in the air. I used a floor jack to lift the wheel hub and then torque everything down. NOTE: Make sure you do not lift the car off the jack stands when leveling the suspension.

With the car safely supported remove the lower control arm cover by unscrewing the two 10mm screws on the cover (red arrows) and unclipping the cover from the arm (yellow arrows).
Figure 1

With the car safely supported remove the lower control arm cover by unscrewing the two 10mm screws on the cover (red arrows) and unclipping the cover from the arm (yellow arrows).

Here are the parts of the Multi-Link suspension you will be working on and where they attach to the frame: Camber link (blue arrow), Pull link (yellow arrow), Push link (green arrow) and Tie link or Tie Rod (red arrow).
Figure 2

Here are the parts of the Multi-Link suspension you will be working on and where they attach to the frame: Camber link (blue arrow), Pull link (yellow arrow), Push link (green arrow) and Tie link or Tie Rod (red arrow).

This illustrates where the multi links attach to the hub or carrier: Camber link (green arrow), Pull link (red arrow), Tie link (blue arrow) and the Push link (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

This illustrates where the multi links attach to the hub or carrier: Camber link (green arrow), Pull link (red arrow), Tie link (blue arrow) and the Push link (yellow arrow).

Remove the old hardware from where the Camber link joins the frame.
Figure 4

Remove the old hardware from where the Camber link joins the frame. The original hardware will be 19mm but it may be a 12mm triple square with an 18mm nut. Make sure you use the right tool, because if you round this head off you will almost certainly need to drop the entire assembly to cut the old bolt off.

Remove the old nut, bolt, washers and compression sleeve from the hub.
Figure 5

Remove the old nut, bolt, washers and compression sleeve from the hub.

Remove the old hardware from where the Pull link joins the chassis and then from where it joins the hub.
Figure 6

Remove the old hardware from where the Pull link joins the chassis and then from where it joins the hub.

Don't forget to remove the old compression sleeves and install new ones (green arrow).
Figure 7

Don't forget to remove the old compression sleeves and install new ones (green arrow).

When installing the new hardware it was impossible to get the 12mm triple square into the new bolt.
Figure 8

When installing the new hardware it was impossible to get the 12mm triple square into the new bolt.

A simpler solution than removing the dust shield is to cut an access hole in the shield with your Dremel.
Figure 9

A simpler solution than removing the dust shield is to cut an access hole in the shield with your Dremel. Warning: In high corrosion areas the brake backing plate-heat shield must be inspected before attempting brake shoe replacement or adjustment. If it is in bad shape you will need to replace them. Note: The hub must be removed to replace the backing plate, destroying the wheel bearing.

Once you have cut an access hole (yellow arrow) you can easily get the 12mm triple square tool in (insert lower right).
Figure 10

Once you have cut an access hole (yellow arrow) you can easily get the 12mm triple square tool in (insert lower right).

Remove the Push link from the frame.
Figure 11

Remove the Push link from the frame.

Remove the Push link from the hub.
Figure 12

Remove the Push link from the hub.

Before you loosen the tie link or rod, make sure you mark the eccentric nut and washer (insert lower left, yellow arrows).
Figure 13

Before you loosen the tie link or rod, make sure you mark the eccentric nut and washer (insert lower left, yellow arrows). After you have scribed these you can loosen and remove the tie link from the chassis (red arrow), and then the hub (green arrow). You may need a tie rod separator to remove the end from the hub. When installing the new Tie link or rod make sure you line up the marks as well as you can. If you are taking the car for an alignment immediately after the job and it is only a few miles away you do not have to worry as much about getting the tie rod exact. Once all the new links are installed, raise the wheel hub up so that the axle is level (taking care not to lift the car off its supports) and torque everything down to spec. If you have gone to all this trouble and now have a new suspension, I highly recommend getting the car properly aligned.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Zeikgeiz Comments: Would these instructions apply slightly to my '03 c320 4matic?
Thank you.
August 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No.

Applicable Models:



Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)
Mercedes-Benz W201 (1984-93) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
gere Comments: torque specs are 70nm for the inboard bolts and 40nm for the wheel carrier bolts.
December 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Braulio Comments: thank you so very much, I'll not be able to do the jobs I do in my car without your education. Braulio from Calif.
November 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
murphus Comments: These How-Tos are fantastic and a huge help and service to do-it-yourselfers. Thanks for posting them and keep it up!
March 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
murphus Comments: You don't need to cut the access shown in photo 10; remove the brake caliper, the brake rotor and then the three Allen head bolts holding the backing plate and spin the backing plate till you can access the bolt. Look at the How-To for replacing the lower bushing, it shows how to do it.
March 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
brett Comments: what are the torque specs?
May 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sorry, I can't recall, and they are not much use.
The space is severely limited, and difficult or impossible for torque wrench access (short of removing the rear sub frame).
If you desire: Most MB service departments will supply the (single operation) torque specification free.
- whunter
 

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