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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Strut Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$200 to $1,250

Talent:

***

Tools:

18mm open, 21mm socket, E16, E14 socket, large flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz C250 (2012-14)
Mercedes-Benz C300 (2008-14)
Mercedes-Benz C350 (2008-14)

Parts Required:

Strut assembly, spring

Hot Tip:

Don't let the wheel hub hang after removing the strut

Performance Gain:

Restore a tight feeling to the front end of your car

Complementary Modification:

Upgrade suspension

The front struts, or sometimes called front shocks, dampen the ride of your W204 and help keep the wheels in constant contact with the road. When they begin to wear, ride quality and vehicle handling suffers. If you notice that your vehicle is not smooth over bumps or feels soft when cornering, this could be an indicator of worn struts. To check your struts, push down on the front corner of your vehicle (the side you want to inspect the strut on). When you give the front corner one good push down, it should bounce up, then slightly down and stop. If it continues to bounce, the struts are worn out. You have the choice to replace your struts with a factory spec set or install a more performance oriented strut and spring. A performance set of struts can greatly increase the handling of your W204. You can also replace all four springs on your car with performance springs, giving it a slightly lower stance and stiffer handling. If you are planning on installing performance struts or springs make sure you install them in matching pairs. Installing mismatched struts and springs can actually result in worse performance.

Modern struts are built differently than the struts of old. Some require being put into a specific press to compress and remove the springs. We have lots of spring compressors in our shop but could not find a pair to safely remove the springs. If you can compress the spring safely you will need an impact gun to remove the 21mm nut on the top. You can still save yourself a lot of money by removing the strut assembly and reinstalling it yourself, but if you have concerns over safely removing the spring take it to a suspension shop for this stage.

All of the hardware nuts and bolts are single use only. Mercedes microencapsulates their hardware with a binding agent. Even though lots of people clean up the threads and apply some blue Loctite and reuse the bolts, Pelican recommends you purchase all new hardware.

You will need to jack up the car and remove the front wheels to perform this job. Please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your vehicle.

The strut assembly (red arrow) on the W204 connects and controls the up and down movement of the wheel hub.
Figure 1

The strut assembly (red arrow) on the W204 connects and controls the up and down movement of the wheel hub.

The drop link connects the sway bar (red arrow) to the strut (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

The drop link connects the sway bar (red arrow) to the strut (yellow arrow).

Begin by removing the drop link from the strut by inserting a T30 Torx (red arrow) while removing the nut with an 18mm open socket, or use an impact gun.
Figure 3

Begin by removing the drop link from the strut by inserting a T30 Torx (red arrow) while removing the nut with an 18mm open socket, or use an impact gun. You cannot get a wrench on the nut due to the enclosed space around the mount.

Using a 21mm socket remove the nut on the bolt that connects the top of the steering knuckle to the strut (red arrow) but leave the bolt in place.
Figure 4

Using a 21mm socket remove the nut on the bolt that connects the top of the steering knuckle to the strut (red arrow) but leave the bolt in place.

Remove the two E16 Torx bolts from the lower strut to steering knuckle (red arrows).
Figure 5

Remove the two E16 Torx bolts from the lower strut to steering knuckle (red arrows).

Cut the zip tie that holds the cable bracket on the strut (red arrow).
Figure 6

Cut the zip tie that holds the cable bracket on the strut (red arrow).

Remove the ABS wheel speed sensor and brake wear sensor cables from their mounts.
Figure 7

Remove the ABS wheel speed sensor and brake wear sensor cables from their mounts. Slide the mount out from the strut and back down the brake line (red arrow).

Working on the top of the fender remove the three E14 Torx bolts holding the top of the strut to the chassis (red arrows).
Figure 8

Working on the top of the fender remove the three E14 Torx bolts holding the top of the strut to the chassis (red arrows).

Compress inwards the two tabs on the dust cover (red arrows).
Figure 9

Compress inwards the two tabs on the dust cover (red arrows). Push the dust cover and strut downward. The dust cover will be holding the strut in place so once it passes the fender opening the strut will be free. Be careful.

Remove the top bolt from the steering knuckle to strut, and remove the strut from the vehicle.
Figure 10

Remove the top bolt from the steering knuckle to strut, and remove the strut from the vehicle.

Make sure to tie up the wheel hub assembly (red arrow) so that it doesn't hang free.
Figure 11

Make sure to tie up the wheel hub assembly (red arrow) so that it doesn't hang free.

Use two punches or small Allen keys to squeeze in the tabs on the dust cover to remove it (red arrows).
Figure 12

Use two punches or small Allen keys to squeeze in the tabs on the dust cover to remove it (red arrows).

Despite having several spring compressors to choose from we could not get one to safely compress both sides of the spring to remove the hat.
Figure 13

Despite having several spring compressors to choose from we could not get one to safely compress both sides of the spring to remove the hat. Modern struts are designed to fit into a specific tool for compressing the springs and removing the top of the assembly. If you cannot get the spring to safely compress take the assembly to a suspension shop and have them change out the springs for you. NEVER attempt to change the springs without safely compressing the springs; the springs are under tremendous pressure and can cause serious damage to you, your shop or anyone standing around if they are not compressed correctly.

if you have the proper spring compressor you will need an open 21mm socket (red arrow) and T50 Torx (yellow arrow) to release the hat, either that or an impact gun.
Figure 14

if you have the proper spring compressor you will need an open 21mm socket (red arrow) and T50 Torx (yellow arrow) to release the hat, either that or an impact gun. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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