W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

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dreadnought
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W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Tue 04 Jun, 2019 9:48 pm

I have been looking at the front end of my 1988 W126 300SE, Due to age and obvious wear, I have decided to replace the Front Guide Rod Track Strut Mounts and various other rubber bushes, is there a step by step guide for the correct procedure to perform this task, I am fairly competent on the tools and confident I can do the job but I haven't worked on Mercedes vehicles before. Also, a supplier for bushes, they do not have to be OEM but at least the close to the same standard of manufacture, I am not likely to wear anything out in a hurry as in this vehicle, I only travel about 2000 km per year. Maurie.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Beefa » Sun 09 Jun, 2019 3:59 pm

Hi Dreadnought

Can only assist with suggestion about parts. I often use the Pelican Parts site in the US to identify which parts were original equipment. The site also gives a quality rating for the various parts available from manufacturers. Once I have that I track down the suppliers who handle them. Happy hunting.
Regards
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 3:43 pm

Thanks Beefa.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Beefa » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 2:59 pm

Hi Dreadnought

I see you are not being overwhelmed with responses.

I refrained from giving advice on the grounds I am not as well versed on mechanical repairs to front ends.

In light of the poor response I will proffer some more info.

I have found the company HSY to be a good source of parts at a reasonable price, the other is ASV.
Both of these I believe have outlets in Melbourne. Whether or not they have OEM supplier parts you would have to ask.
When the exchange rate is good I buy from an American company called FCPEuro who I have had good experiences with.

As to performing the work I can say the W126 is well designed and not a complex vehicle to work on.
I have found info on the internet for all the work I have done on mine.

If you need some direction Craig Baulderstone a forum member her in Adelaide is extremely knowledgeable on W126.
To be honest I am surprised he hasn't responded to you as yet.

Regards
Paul @ Beefa
Regards
Beefa

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 10:09 pm

yep - a more difficult answer and didn't get back - step by step guide is in factory manual that you can get on cd, but sometimes you find bits of it reprinted online. I would suggest googling and look for youtube etc. Its not something i know off the top off my head and that's what i would be doing. But any work i have done, its all pretty straight forward and although it might look a bit different, I don't think there are any 'tricks'. And agree with Beefa on sources, price the local sources and then just google - US look at fcp \euro, pelican and autohaus.az. - the latter being good I find to get part numbers etc to then use in searches.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 10:12 pm

and i forgot - the only tricky bit is you need an internal spring compressor. Aftermarket can be bought relatively cheaply but they don't wear out and you might find a friendly local to lend you and/or offer a nominal contribution to their purchase costs.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Thu 27 Jun, 2019 2:52 pm

Hi Maurie,

If it's not too late, there are two sets of genuine Mercedes guide rod mounts available at the following link for just over AU$172 each, including postage, and the seller is open to offers. Obviously, you're going to have to add another 10% to whatever price you agree to, for GST, but that's still a good deal.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Genuine-Mer ... SwEB5c4~Ei

The information at the following links should help:

https://www.startekinfo.com/StarTek/out ... 33-600.pdf
https://www.startekinfo.com/StarTek/out ... 33-615.pdf

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Fri 28 Jun, 2019 2:15 pm

Hi Maurie,

Further to my previous post, obviously it’s best to use Mercedes parts if you can afford them, but, when it comes to suspension parts, Lemforder is the next best option.

Although they’re usually a lot cheaper than genuine parts, as you can see at the following link, Lemforder guide rod mounts are more expensive to buy locally than the genuine parts I linked to in my previous post:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Suit-to-Mer ... ctupt=true

Prestige Auto Parts mainly sell Lemforder suspension/steering parts, and they’re usually reasonably priced, but in their listing for guide rod mounts they’re described as Unbranded/Generic. They are, however, listed as OEM so it’s worth asking them what brand they are:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Mercedes-Be ... ctupt=true

Prestige Auto Parts also have FEBI guide rod mounts and they’re listed for less than $120 including postage:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/FEBI-Guide- ... ctupt=true

Below are links to some other videos that you may find helpful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuUvEdjbl24

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6To8ymriN8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgykGUUmy6c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5pZ81qbw6c

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Wed 03 Jul, 2019 3:14 pm

Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate the help and positive responses, after some research on the net, I think I have my head around the front suspension and steering now. I have only one question left regarding coil spring compressor. I have seen the internal Mercedes one, how does that compare to the external spring compressors that hooks on the coil from the outside, I have an old pair of that style and wondered if they could be used. Regards Maurie

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Wed 03 Jul, 2019 3:35 pm

No, there's not enough room to grab enough of the spring to compress it enough to get it out. Its a fairly long spring.... and partly why they have such a great ride! They are a funny tool - make the job so easy but you pay the money and then only use them once every 10 yrs or so. Great when there is a local with a set you can borrow. From memory they can be had for less than $200, which in terms of the time it saves you or how much a workshop charges for time, its not so bad.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by merc-304 » Wed 03 Jul, 2019 6:55 pm

Are you replacing the springs with new ones .. Is that the reason for there removal ?
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Thu 04 Jul, 2019 3:05 pm

I'm not replacing springs but I have to remove bottom plate for suspension repair, to remove front guide rod.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by tomatoes4all » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 7:21 pm

The only spring compressor which works is the internal one; they are available for about $150-$200 on-line locally and work well. Find a local fellow OZBenzer who will lend you theirs or you can borrow mine. I'm in the Northern Grampians, VIC. Don't use the standard outside/clamp-on spring compressors, they will either let go or more likely you won't be able to extract the spring.
Cheers, Erik.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by merc-304 » Sat 06 Jul, 2019 8:48 pm

:lurk:
Last edited by merc-304 on Sun 07 Jul, 2019 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Sun 07 Jul, 2019 1:13 pm

I know its been done.... but makes me really nervous - mainly knowing the brackets wont bend or slip, but also I don't know how much force some Bunnings threaded bar will take, but that's possibly ok. But i get the suggestion is to leave in place so you can work on the basis if it does let go, that it will be contained. The way my brain works though, I would add up the time to go hunting for the bits and making them, consider the risk too, and then go for the right tool. Its a shame Ozbenz doesn't have a bigger active community like it used to.... would be more likely you would get locals offering to lend theirs. You could try the question on Ozbenz facebook..... you never know.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by merc-304 » Sun 07 Jul, 2019 1:28 pm

:error:
Last edited by merc-304 on Sun 07 Jul, 2019 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Dean 560 SEC » Sun 07 Jul, 2019 9:54 pm

Buy the proper internal spring compressors, even the cheap ones on eBay are much safer that screwing around trying to use some dangerous makeshift alternative.

I bought a set like these https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Coil-Spring ... Sw2gxY1hh4 and have removed and replaced numerous sets of springs on W126's.

Also, if you havent bought the guide rod bushes yet, buy one of these complete sets https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Mercedes-W1 ... 1c1e672d27 I purchased one of these for my 560 SEC and for the $800 or so inc shipping was able to rebuild pretty much the entire front end. Great quality, I installed it all over 3 years ago and its still perfect.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Mon 08 Jul, 2019 11:35 am

I opened your link Dean - that looks like mine and I've lost count of how many times i have used it and lent it out. But at the bottom of your link is this one https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-5pc-Coi ... 0008.m2219
Still looks the same, is in Australia and at $84 is the cheapest I've ever seen.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Dean 560 SEC » Mon 08 Jul, 2019 4:31 pm

There you go! The best $90 you could spend
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 11:57 am

Thanks to all for the replies, CraigB I have ordered the coil spring from the link, thanks for that, and Dean 560 C that front end kit link, the kit it looks good. Regards Maurie

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by merc-304 » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 1:22 pm

Hope all goes well spring comp seller has a dodgy feedback last 12mths or so and is China based and not Aust
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 5:34 pm

According to our cousins at BW, Hamburg-Tech parts and the ebay seller, Deutsche Parts, may be dodgy too:

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w126-s ... plier.html

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w126-s ... prise.html

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w126-s ... chnic.html
Last edited by Omar on Tue 09 Jul, 2019 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Tue 09 Jul, 2019 5:39 pm

Yeah I saw that about .9% negative if you work it out, not particularly worried. Don't forget about Ebay protection, it's worked well for me in the past.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Dean 560 SEC » Wed 10 Jul, 2019 2:05 pm

Omar wrote:
Tue 09 Jul, 2019 5:34 pm
According to our cousins at BW, Hamburg-Tech parts and the ebay seller, Deutsche Parts, may be dodgy too:

According to me...who have purchased and installed Hamburg Technics parts from Deutsche Parts on Ebay, they are exceptionally good quality and excellent value for money.

It's easy for anyone to sit there and sh*t on suppliers and parts that they personally haven't dealt with, and rely on internet commentary from others that may also not have first hand experience with the supplier or the parts.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Wed 10 Jul, 2019 4:34 pm

Its good getting info because there is crap out there, but then the hard part is sifting through the armchair experts and those with real experience. We've known Dean for a long time and seen the quality of his resto so I value those judgements. I guess we don't know the 10 yr test for which is best, but just because something has a benz part number, doesn't guarantee its better quality - Benz don't have a rubber factory and make their own parts.

And you will be able to report back on the spring compressor - mine is chinese but its not rocket science - good strong bases and a thread and it works and just thinking of the cars I have replaced 4 springs into, it must have done about 50 compressions, not counting all the times I have leant it out . Also some people don't have sympathy in using tools and understanding how a tool works and exercising a bit of care can help and being a 'bull at the gate' can break things and produce bad reports. Once again its hard to know unless you know the person making the remark.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Wed 10 Jul, 2019 5:34 pm

Dean 560 SEC wrote:
Wed 10 Jul, 2019 2:05 pm
Omar wrote:
Tue 09 Jul, 2019 5:34 pm
According to our cousins at BW, Hamburg-Tech parts and the ebay seller, Deutsche Parts, may be dodgy too:

According to me...who have purchased and installed Hamburg Technics parts from Deutsche Parts on Ebay, they are exceptionally good quality and excellent value for money.

It's easy for anyone to sit there and sh*t on suppliers and parts that they personally haven't dealt with, and rely on internet commentary from others that may also not have first hand experience with the supplier or the parts.
Glad to hear you had a good experience with the parts and the seller Dean. Obviously, others haven’t been as fortunate as you, hence the numerous negative reviews out there.

Yes, it is easy to convey opinions, whether our own or others’. I think most will agree that doing so, in the interest of balance, and to encourage others to do some research before they buy, is a good thing, especially when dangerous failures have been reported. To that end, I just said the parts ‘may’ be dodgy, because I haven’t had personal experience with them. I did, however, make an inquiry with the seller about those very parts, ten years ago, and I found his responses to my questions evasive, so I didn’t buy from him.

No doubt we would all be delighted if we could buy quality parts at a fraction of the price that OE parts are selling for, especially those of us who use their cars on a daily basis, so please let us how many kilometres you get out of them. That may not matter as much to those who don’t travel long distances every year, but, safety issues aside, that’s what those who clock up a lot of mileage look at when trying to determine value.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 9:08 pm

I received the Mercedes style internal spring compressor, 2 days from order to my door, not bad service. The compressor is designed for 2 coils spring widths, it comes in a sturdy plastic blow mold case, with separate parts sections. I tried the compressor out today, I must say it works perfectly. It appears well made, the threads are even and uniform over the whole length of the shaft, the spring plates are substantial. Well worth the money. Regards Maurie.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by merc-304 » Sun 28 Jul, 2019 11:38 am

Maurie did you end up buying a front end kit ?
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Tue 06 Aug, 2019 3:54 pm

I haven't purchased the front end kit yet as I am presently overseas, will probably do so when I return., regards Maurie

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Tue 06 Aug, 2019 10:09 pm

Hi Maurie,

I hope you’re having a safe and pleasant trip.

Given you’re only going to be doing about 2,000 kms per year, which equates to only 40,000 kms in 20 years, the kit Dean recommended might be the best way to go.

Cars travel, on average, 20,000 kms per years and, I would think, Hamburg-Tech parts should last at least two years on cars used daily, i.e. 40,000 kms.

Even genuine Mercedes rubber parts start breaking down in less than 20 years, according to Ken Bergsma in one of the videos I linked to in a previous post.

And, speaking of Ken Bergsma, he endorses the Chinese made spring compressing tools, even at around US$200, so you got yourself a bargain there Maurie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq0KyuNkvy4

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by dreadnought » Fri 09 Aug, 2019 9:24 pm

Well, I think I did get a bargain with the spring compressor as it works a treat, regarding rubber bushes breaking down and not lasting the distance - so to speak, I have been researching products that will prolong the life of rubber bushes, as we all know after a certain period of time it appears the small and very small "cracks appear" due to the rubber breaking down which may cause the bushes to be classed as not serviceable or not roadworthy (other than wear and tear). From what I can gather from research into the aero industry, but unable to find specifics to date, there are apparently products available to stop/delay the breakdown of the rubber if applied when the rubber is new. I will be doing a bit more research regarding these products to see what I can come up with. I restored a couple of late 40's and early 50's Wolseley cars a few years ago and as a very basic example, hot petroleum jelly applied to dried out and hardened windscreen rubbers worked extremely well. I know windscreen rubber and suspension rubber are totally different in composition but it is an indication that old rubber can be made serviceable again. So if a product is available at the starting life of rubber bush - the bush may well outlive the life of the user (wishful thinking) Regards Maurie.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 6:39 pm

Thanks for that - I think that's really interesting. A lot of cars being restored are never going to clock up the miles to wear out rubber bushes, so if I could wipe something on to stop them drying out, that would be great. Worth a try anyway. Hadn't heard about hot vaseline either. If that softens rubber that is hard, not something you want to do to a suspension bush but very interesting for other bits. I just restored an very early morris minor for someone and quarter vent rubbers are unavailable. Someone in the UK got a quote to so a short run of them in china - I think the quote was 5000 pounds!! I solved the problem by fitting later door tops but would have been nice to keep it totally original.
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 7:17 pm

Yes, that is very interesting.

I don’t know much about chemistry but I would think that if there were a product on the market that made rubber suspension parts last longer, the manufacturer of it would be making a fortune and everyone would know about it. Although creating a barrier between the surface of a part and the surrounding environment may cause it to look fresher longer, I don’t know if the integrity of a part can be determined by its appearance.

The point I was trying to make, in my previous post, is that if you’re only going to drive the car about 2,000 kms per year, the cheap parts may last as long as genuine Mercedes parts, at a fraction of the cost, given that rubber starts breaking down after 18 years or so. And, if you can get 18-20 years out of cheap suspension/steering parts, before having to replace them, that’s great.

Personally, I would be cautious about applying anything to rubber unless I know for a fact that it won’t weaken or affect it badly. A few years ago I searched Google to see if there was some way to rejuvenate the rubber seal on my pressure paint pot, which had dried out and shrunk. A few people were saying that putting it in metho for a while was the way to go so I tried it, and, sure enough, it softened and expanded the seal. But, when I tried it under pressure it kept blowing it out the side, so I concluded that it had lost its integrity, in the process, and bought another one.

More recently, I tried rejuvenating the rubber hose that connects the air slide valve to the manifold, on my 420SEL, which had hardened. The process certainly softened it but it expanded to the point of becoming useless. If it were just a matter of whether it will work or not, I would be inclined to try it but when applying something may compromise its integrity, especially when it comes to suspension parts on these heavy W126 cars, I personally wouldn’t risk it, but, as I said, I don’t know much.

All the best with your project Maurie.

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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by CraigB » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 8:16 pm

Agree with earlier comments about use etc and life of part. I really don't know and I am sure Dean will let us know if suddenly at any stage the aftermarket ones collapse etc. My gut feeling is I really doubt it. I guess the real risk is how much effort and if you are diy or paying somone to put labour into changing them. I reckon Dean has done his own so the risk is his time. I'm more about learning from peoples experiences ie. facts than speculation. Often we are reading speculation.

I pictured the preservation stuff as just a barrier to air. But I don't know what breaks down rubber. I reckon i have seen exposed windscreen rubbers dried but once you pull the glass out the inner unexposed parts look much better. So my thinking is it is exposure to air that degrades. I have an old clubman with silent block bushes in the rear, that given the power and forces I would have expected to take a hammering, but they look all intact but very old. My thinking is that there is little surface to air exposure and most of the bush adhered to the outer and inner metal bushes.

The key to any such barrier though would be that it doesn't affect the rubber itself - eg. not vaseline or metho! Maybe just a wipe of exposed bits with rubber grease?
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Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Sat 10 Aug, 2019 11:41 pm

If exposure to air is what makes rubber break down then rubber grease may be the safest and best barrier to use.

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300 SLR
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Joined: Fri 10 Oct, 2008 12:10 am
Model you own: w111
Location: Perth WA

Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Bartman4800 » Tue 13 Aug, 2019 1:47 pm

I think you will find that it is mainly UV exposure that degrades rubber, and any polymer. Heat cycles have an effect on degrading as well.

My experience in Northern Europe is that rubbers last a lot longer, for the simple reason that the UV exposure is significantly less. It is also a lot cooler (mostly) in summer.

Silicone grease does not attack rubber, most seal places sell it.


Bart
1963 220 Sb Sedan "Kermit" (Australian Assembly)
1960 220 Sb Sedan "Zum Schlachten" (Early German Assembly, with a torsion bar spring for the bonnet) - Stored in Country WA
1981 Subaru Brumby 1.8 with Weber and 5-speed box "little utie" - Sold to another enthusiast!
2006 Ford Focus "daily driver"
2002 VW Passat V6 30V Station Wagon (SOLD - This car into a money pit)
2011 Kia Sportage "Missus commuter Bus"
2002 Mitsubishi Rosa Bus (converting it to a motor home)

Omar
Gelandewagen
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed 12 Nov, 2014 10:19 pm
Model you own: w126

Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Tue 13 Aug, 2019 6:29 pm

So, if we use a high UV rated silicone grease and climate control our ball-joints we should be right.

Omar
Gelandewagen
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed 12 Nov, 2014 10:19 pm
Model you own: w126

Re: W126 300SE front suspension and steering repair.

Post by Omar » Sat 17 Aug, 2019 6:07 pm

The stuff at the link below seems to tick the UV box but I don't know if anything can be done to address the heat cycles issue:

https://www.303products.com.au/product- ... protectant

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