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Rear Toe Adjustment Link Removal and Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Toe Adjustment Link Removal and Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

12mm, 17mm, 19mm wrenches and/or sockets with ratchet

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R129 (1990-02)

Parts Required:

Rear toe adjustment link

Hot Tip:

Spray the fasteners with penetrating oil before removing

Performance Gain:

Improve handling and uneven tire wear

Complementary Modification:

Replace the shock absorber if necessary

Mercedes Benz uses a multiple link suspension on the rear of their W129 chassis. The purpose of engineering a multiple link suspension is that each corner of the spindle is held at the proper angle relative to the road. The goal is to minimize suspension geometry change as the suspension moves through its travel. As the driver throws the car into a hard corner and compresses the suspension, the spindle maintains the correct angle to give the largest contact patch for the tires, therefore better traction. This is what makes German cars handle so well. A front suspension system needs to use ball joints for steering and suspension flexibility. The rear suspension only needs to flex due to suspension movement. Mercedes Benz uses rubber bushings in the multiple link suspensions with the exception of the toe adjustment link. The toe adjustment link has a bushing on the sub frame mount side and a ball socket for the spindle mount. The inner mount has an off-set washer to allow for pulling the front of the spindle in or out. This is your toe adjustment for the rear wheels. Over time this ball joint or bushing can wear out. This allows the spindle to move around while the car is cornering. The result of a worn toe adjustment link is unusual handling characteristics and uneven tire wear. Usually you feel "scalloped" outer tread as the toe changes while the car is cornering. This means after replacing this link you will need to bring the car to a repair shop to have a four-wheel alignment done on your car. In this tech article I will go over the steps to replace your toe adjustment link.

Lift and support the rear axle of the vehicle, after putting on a good pair of safety glasses. You have to remove the tires to perform this job and 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 rear tires.

The procedure to replace the rear toe adjustment link is the same for both the left and right side. In these pictures I am working on the left side. Keep in mind all the steps apply to both sides. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

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 rear wheel well with the rear wheel off of the car.
Figure 1

ThisPicture illustrates the left side rear wheel well with the rear wheel off of the car. Locate the rear toe adjustment link (green arrow). On the inside of the link, near the drive axle is an eccentric washer for alignment adjustments. Mark this washer with paint, when reinstalling this allows it to be installed close to the same position it was removed.

Using a wrench remove the 17mm fastener (green arrow).
Figure 2

Using a wrench remove the 17mm fastener (green arrow). Clearances are very tight so there is not much room for a ratchet and socket. I used a vise grip (yellow arrow) to hold the fastener still while I removed the other side with a wrench.

Remove the off-set eccentric washer from the fastener.
Figure 3

Remove the off-set eccentric washer from the fastener.

Pull the fastener (green arrow) out of the inner toe adjustment link sub frame mount.
Figure 4

Pull the fastener (green arrow) out of the inner toe adjustment link sub frame mount. Note the yellow markings on the eccentric washer.

Working behind the brake rotor at the wheel bearing carrier, remove the 17mm toe adjustment link fastener.
Figure 5

Working behind the brake rotor at the wheel bearing carrier, remove the 17mm toe adjustment link fastener.

Using a separating fork, remove the toe adjustment link out mount from the spindle.
Figure 6

Using a separating fork, remove the toe adjustment link out mount from the spindle. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Fit the outer toe adjustment link into the mount on the spindle and tighten the fastener. Line up the inner toe rod adjustment link into the mount on the sub frame and install and tighten the fastener. You can use a pry bar to maneuver the spindle to help you line up the toe adjustment link until the link inner mount lines up with the sub frame mount to install the fastener. Install the wheel and you're done.

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