The front struts, or sometimes called front shocks, dampen the ride of your Mercedes W203 and keep it rolling smoothly down 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 W203. You can also replace all four springs on your car with performance springs, giving it a slightly lower stance and stiffer handling.
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 Mercedes.
All of the hardware (nuts and bolts) are single use only. Mercedes micro encapsulates their hardware with a binding agent and even though lots of people clean up the threads, apply some blue Loctite and reuse the bolts, Pelican recommends you purchase all new hardware.
There is a plastic mount that clips into the strut and is secured with two zip ties, this mount holds the brake line, ABS sensor and wear sensor. Cut the zip ties, unclip the mount from the strut, unclip the sensor wires from the mount and slide it up the brake line and out of the way.
There is a drop link that attaches the sway bar to the strut. You will need to remove the link from where it attaches to the strut by holding the large nut with a 16mm wrench and turning the smaller inner bolt with a 7mm and push the link out of the strut and set it aside.
Remove the single large nut and bolt from the steering knuckle to strut with a 22mm socket and a 12mm Allen to hold the bolt.
There are two 21mm bolts holding the strut to the lower part of the steering knuckle. Remove these taking care that the steering knuckle does not swing out and hit something once free of the strut.
Move to the engine compartment where the strut mounts to the tower. You will need to remove the 22mm nut securing the strut to the tower. Use a 22mm wrench to hold the nut and insert an 8mm Allen into the top of the strut bolt and turn. Do not worry; the nut just secures the strut to the tower it is NOT under pressure from the spring.
Slide the strut away from the steering knuckle and pull it down out of the vehicle.
Unless you have the special tool to safely compress the spring to change out the strut you should take the unit to a shop and have the springs swapped over. Modern struts and springs are under a tremendous amount of pressure and are very dangerous to work on without the proper tool, do not attempt to swap out the strut without the proper professional spring compressor.
With the springs installed on the new struts installation is the reverse of removal.
Read the Full Article:
Time: 3 hours
Tab: $350 to $800
Tools: Jack: jack stands: 21mm, 22mm Socket: 8mm, 12mm Allen key: 7mm, 16mm wrench:
Applicable Models: Mercedes-Benz W203 (2001-07):
Parts Required: New struts, zip ties
Hot Tip: Check your bushings
Performance Gain: Better handling
Complementary Modification: Install performance struts and springs
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