One of the most popular Do-It-Yourself projects to perform is the replacement of the front springs and shocks. I usually recommend that you replace both the front and the rear at the same time, as they take the same abuse over their lifetime. As a rule, the shocks should always be replaced in axle pairs either front or rear (left and right together). In this article, we will focus on the replacement of the front shocks and springs.
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 where driven years beyond failure. Different driving patterns may also affect the life of 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 that are designed to work with the shorter springs. Changing the height of the suspension changes the values of the suspension settings.
Changing the shocks is relatively easy, requiring the use of various sockets and a floor jack. However, changing the springs requires the use of a special Mercedes-Benz tool, a heavy duty internal spring compressor. The first thing to do is jack the car up and support it safely on jackstands. NEVER rely on a floor jack to hold the car up. The first step is to place a floor jack under the front brake disc (Figure 2). This prevents the control arm from flying downward once the upper control arm link and shock are disconnected. Once the car is jacked up, remove both front wheels and open the hood.
Please refer to our article on jacking up your Mercedes E320 (W210 Chassis) for more info. Once secured, remove the front wheel. Once the wheel is removed, you'll see all the components that make up the front suspension.
At the top of the car, inside the engine bay, you'll see the upper shock mounting nuts (Figure 3). The upper connection for the shock absorber uses a rubber grommet, large washer and two lock nuts to hold it in place on the body.
Shown here is a new front shock absorber for the Mercedes-Benz E320. Along with the shock, you'll receive the rubber mounts and new hardware to bolt the shock into the car.
Place a floor jack under the front control arm as shown here. This will support the front suspension as you loosen and remove the mounting nuts at the top and prevent the control arm from flying downward once the top shock absorber nut is removed.
With the brake booster hose moved out of the way, you have access to the two lock nuts holding the top of the shock inside the car. Hold the bottom 17mm nut with an open end wrench while you loosen and remove the top nut with a socket as shown here.
Seat the bottom of the new shock into the bracket on the control arm, take the new 17mm bolt and slide it into the bracket, through the shock (green arrow) and fit the new 16mm nut on the end. Tighten the nut and bolt to 30ft-lbs.
Use a floor jack to jack the top of the shock through the hole at the top. Once through, fit the new rubber grommet over the shock rod, then the flat washer and the new nut at the top. Don’t tighten it down just yet.
Now install the new top nut on the shock until it bottoms out on the shock threads (green arrow). Re-insert the vacuum line into the brake booster and the bracket. At this point, if you are just replacing the shocks, you can put the wheels back on and lower the car down.
This is the heavy duty Mercedes spring compressor that is required to compress the springs on the W210. Don’t try to compress the springs with external type compressors. You risk damage top both yourself and the car.
Feed the compressor strut through the access hole on the bottom of the control arm, the rotate it to lock the tabs into the upper plate. Once secured, use a 19mm socket to turn the strut. As it turns, it will compress the spring.
Comments: i replaced the control arms of my car and now the ride height is super high ive checked it 3 times and had other mechanics look at it and measure the replacement parts and its all the same but the ride height is higher now need help...
January 20, 2014
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you torque the control arm bushings in the loaded position? - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Pictures show nut removal from driver side. How about the passenger side. No room for two tools. How do you manage that please
October 9, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't know if you are talking about the upper or lower mount of the shock. If something is in the way on the passenger side upper or lower mount then you are going to have to remove that part to gain access to the passenger side shock mounts. - Kerry at Pelican Parts
Comments: Does any one know how much a job would cost to replace both forint springs on a Mercedes 320 ,rough idea
September 24, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Assuming you have an e320 and it's not 4matic the labor time is 2.2 hours. I don't know what the going labor rate in your area is. You're probably looking at about $200 labor - Kerry at Pelican Parts
Comments: Nick..... Where would i find the repair kit for the spring perch in a 1998 E320 wagon ?.... What would it be called???..... This is the best news I've had in a while.... I'll let you know how it comes out...DTF
September 5, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: The spring perch that my front spring fits into on my 1998 E320 Wagon broke... Can it be replaced?..... I was going to weld it back on but I'm not sure that is safe.... Can it be replaced with a new part or can it be safely welded on????.. I love the car and it's not bad on maintenance...
September 4, 2013
Followup from the Pelican Staff: if I remember correctly, there is a repair kit that has to be riveted in. This is depending on the overall conditon of your vehicle and if there isn't too much damage. Any body shop should be able to perform the repair. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Comments: Great Stuff
October 24, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: Glad you like it.
Comments: I love the explanations, however in this one, front shock and spring replacement for W210, the text is not matched to the photos. Also, I can't find the second page to finish the job
June 2, 2012
Followup from the Pelican Staff: There seem to be two pictures missing, here is the text.
You tilt the top of the spring out.
Lift the spring assembly out.
Mark the compressor plate orientation with crayon on the old spring.
Relax and remove the compressor.
Swap the compressor and plates to the new spring.
Be sure the plate orientation matches the old spring.
Compress the spring, and reinstall it in the car.
Check out some other sample projects from the book: