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Pelican Technical Article:

Steering Dampener Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

17mm socket with ratchet or wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R129 (1990-02)

Parts Required:

Steering dampener

Hot Tip:

Have the ignition key in the car so you can reposition the steering linkages

Performance Gain:

Reduce steering wheel shudder and stabilize steering

Complementary Modification:

Change center link if joints are worn

As you turn your steering wheel a steering column shaft rotates in the steering column. This steering shaft is attached to the power steering gearbox. The gearbox changes the twisting motion of the steering column shaft into a back and forth motion of the Pitman Arm. The Pitman Arm is attached to the center link and moves the center link to the left and right therefore changing the angle of the tires. As the suspension moves up and down and the car hits bumps the steering linkages absorb the shock and jolts of the suspension movement. In an effort to suppress the shocks and jolts of the suspension, Mercedes Benz uses a steering dampener between the chassis sub-frame and the center link. It does this by slowing down the movement of the steering center link. The steering dampener is like a shock absorber for the steering center link and this helps add to steering stability particularly while the car corners over a series of bumps. In this tech article I will go over the steps involved in changing your steering dampener.

Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle, after placing those ever so stylish safety glasses over your ears and on the front of your face. You do not need to remove the tires to perform this job but it does make access much easier since you may not have access to an automotive lift. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle and removing the front tires.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts I give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

ThisPicture illustrates the left side wheel well with the lower control arm removed for your viewing clarity and edification.
Figure 1

ThisPicture illustrates the left side wheel well with the lower control arm removed for your viewing clarity and edification. You do not have to remove the lower control arm. Using a 17mm wrench remove the 17mm fastener. Make sure the ignition key is out of the ignition cylinder so the steering wheel is locked. This will prevent the steering linkages from moving as you try to loosen fasteners.

Slide the bolt out of the steering dampener mounting bracket (green arrow).
Figure 2

Slide the bolt out of the steering dampener mounting bracket (green arrow).

Figure 3

Push the steering dampener (green arrow) from the steering dampener mounting bracket (yellow arrow)

ThisPicture illustrates under the car on the right side.
Figure 4

ThisPicture illustrates under the car on the right side. Remove the 17mm fastener (green arrow).

There are 17mm fasteners on both sides of this mount.
Figure 5

There are 17mm fasteners on both sides of this mount. You may need to hold the top fastener with a wrench while loosening the bottom one.

Slide the bolt (green arrow) out of the mounting bracket.
Figure 6

Slide the bolt (green arrow) out of the mounting bracket.

Pull the steering dampener out of the mounting bracket and remove it from the car.
Figure 7

Pull the steering dampener out of the mounting bracket and remove it from the car. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Fit both ends of the steering dampener in the mounts on the center link and body and tighten the fasteners. Turn the ignition key on and turn the steering wheel from side to side and check that you have full travel of the steering wheel.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Jim Comments: I have a 1994 SL500 and I stumbled onto your site while looking for something pretty benign. Wow. Your pictures make it all very clear how to do almost anything... I'll probably start replacing stuff that doesn't need replacing because you made it look so easy! Thanks for the excellent instructions.
June 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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