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How to Replace Your Rear Shocks - Mercedes Benz
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

How to Replace Your Rear Shocks - Mercedes Benz

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$110

Talent:

*

Tools:

Jack, jack stands 17mm socket and wrenches, adjustable wrench

Applicable Models:

 
Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)
Mercedes-Benz W126 (1981-91)
Mercedes-Benz W201 (1984-93)

Parts Required:

New Shocks

Hot Tip:

Loosen your wheels before lifting the car

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

New front struts

Your shocks are a very important part of your car suspension system and see a lot of wear and tear over the years. If your car is starting to handle poorly, it may be the shocks going bad. I recommend that you replace your shocks every five to seven years - 50,000 miles or so, or when they start to feel weak or worn out. These are gas over hydraulic shocks. The "antique" push down on a corner of the car and watch for bounce/rebound will NOT work. The gas charge IS critical to suspension handling/ride quality, and when it fails the hydraulic component will still pass a bounce/rebound test. Many owners are stunned by the drastic "it's a new car" change in suspension handling/ride quality because the old shocks and struts where driven years beyond failure. Different driving patterns may also affect the life of struts and shock absorbers. Cars that are raced or driven hard on windy roads may need to have their shocks replaced more often than typical street cars. It is important to remember if you install performance springs into your car that raise or lower it from its stock level, you will need to have the car realigned and install shocks and struts that are designed to work with the shorter springs. Changing the height of the suspension changes the values of the suspension settings. Look under the car and see if the shocks are leaking or the bushing are wearing out. Both are signs that the shocks need to, or are going to need to be replaced soon.

If your shocks need to be replaced, 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. Remember to loosen the lug nuts while the car is still on the ground.

Open the trunk and remove the carpet to give you access to the top of the shock mounts. Use your trim removal tool and remove the four plastic tabs on each side. You do not need to remove the whole carpet, just enough so you can get access to the mount. You can remove the top nut by using two 17mm wrenches and holding the bottom one from turning while unscrewing the top. If the bottom nut turns when you try to remove it by itself, place an adjustable wrench on the stud coming out of the shock to hold it. Remove the washer and rubber mount as you are going to replacing them with new.

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.

Remove the 17mm nut and bolt that hold the shock to the rear control arm. All the shock and strut hardware are single use only hardware and should be replaced when installing new shocks or struts. Slide the bolt from the control arm.

You may have to compress the shock to give you clearance to remove it.

Install the new shock by inserting the lower end into the control arm and compressing the shock, by pushing down on it to give you enough room to install it. Remember to place the rubber bushing on the top of the shock between the shock hood and body of the car. Install and torque to spec the new control arm bolt. Go back into the trunk and install the new bushing, washer and hardware. You may have to place a jack under the rear lower control arm and raise the suspension enough to get the new hardware on the shock. Remember that all the suspension hardware is single use only.

Open the trunk and remove the eight plastic clips (four on each side) holding the carpet in place.
Figure 1

Open the trunk and remove the eight plastic clips (four on each side) holding the carpet in place. Use you trim removal tool to pry them off (red arrow)

Use two 17mm wrenches to remove the nuts and an adjustable wrench to hold the top of the shock from turning.
Figure 2

Use two 17mm wrenches to remove the nuts and an adjustable wrench to hold the top of the shock from turning.

Remove the old rubber insulator shown, as your shocks come with new ones.
Figure 3

Remove the old rubber insulator shown, as your shocks come with new ones.

Using a 10mm socket, remove the two screws (red arrows) holding the plastic cover to the control arm and then unclip the rest (yellow arrows).
Figure 4

Using a 10mm socket, remove the two screws (red arrows) holding the plastic cover to the control arm and then unclip the rest (yellow arrows).

You can see the oil leaking (red arrow) from the shock on our project car.
Figure 5

You can see the oil leaking (red arrow) from the shock on our project car. The green arrow shows the mounting point.

Use two 17mm sockets to remove the lower hardware (green arrow).
Figure 6

Use two 17mm sockets to remove the lower hardware (green arrow). Remember all the hardware is single use so make sure you replace it with the new hardware that comes with your shocks.

Compress the shock and remove it from the wheel well top end first.
Figure 7

Compress the shock and remove it from the wheel well top end first.

Install the new rubber isolator on the new shock, compress it and install it into the lower control arm and upper mount.
Figure 8

Install the new rubber isolator on the new shock, compress it and install it into the lower control arm and upper mount. Install the new rubber isolator in the trunk and use all new single use hardware and you are good to go.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Sandy Comments: Another great guide. Thanks guys...
April 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mike Comments: I replaced the rear shocks but I noticed a few days after driving it the top of the has extended into the trunk side about 7 inches allowing the shock to wiggle and the washer /nuts are tightened all the way. 91 Mercedes 190e 2.3
January 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the washer at the top of the shock (or the collar) has failed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jerry Comments: I am replacing the shocks on a mercedes benz 300e 1991. I replaced the holders at the top no problem, but I cannot get the lower bolts to budge. front shocks/struts. suggestions?
November 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bolt may be rusted into the bushing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Grant Comments: Thanks for all your awesome DIY's! Does the control arm need braced with a floor jack like in the front? After taking out the 2 17mm will the control arm be forced down at all? Thanks!
November 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would suggest supporting it from below, yes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lopubenzagain Comments: what's a scan tool? It has nothing to do with the brakes haha I've done all the brakes :
January 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I apologize. I have no idea what you are asking for help with at this point. I thought at first suspension, then the anti-lock brake hydraulic system. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lopubenz Comments: no no I mean LIKE with the brake system, do I undo the bleeder valve on the valve accuator thing attached to the roll bar which controls the SLS. How do I put new oil into the hydraulics
January 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will bleed the hydraulic valve assembly using a scan tool. Fill the reservoir for the brakes, then activate the bleeding procedure, follow the prompts on the scan tool screen. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lopubenz Comments: I actually live in Australia haha, I've replaced the accumulators/spheres but I don't know if I can just put the oil in and drive or if I need to bleed it of air like the brakes. Cheers though!
January 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Oh, in the brake system.

You will have to bleed the brakes. Likely using a scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
lopubenz Comments: I have an e280 with SLS struts and spheres, how do I get air out of the system when putting the new hydraulic oil in?

reply to my emauil if you want
January 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not familiar with that procedure.

We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
MELBOURNE Comments: i replace a front shock but my wheel hitting the fender. why?
April 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the height of the suspension changed. Maybe the wrong parts? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MELBOURNE Comments: I REPLACE A SHOCK BUT MY CAR FENDER TOUCHING THE WHEEL WAT CAI DO
April 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the height of the suspension changed. Maybe the wrong parts? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: Great article with the pictures and explanation. I have a 92 MB 600 SEL with the Air ride. Would the same apply as far as the nuts and bushings removal? Thanks. You can also respond to me email address as well. Thanks
March 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It would be different due to the air line connections. This article applies to:
190E 2.6 (1987-1993)
190E 2.3 (1983-1993)
300E 3.0 (1986-1992)
300E 2.6 (1990-1992)
W124 (1985-1995)
W126 (1979-1991) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
xuy Comments: can the transmission bands of 300e 1991 2.6L 124 chassis be adjusted? Also, how can I tell if my car has ABS or Anti-lock braking system??
December 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure about the band adjustment. But ABS and anti-lock brakes are the same thing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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