Restoring “Factory Original” Ride Height

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by ray_hennig, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. ray_hennig

    ray_hennig Active Member

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    Hello All,
    My car is a 1991 300CE-24 Sportline. It is an original Sportline supplied by MB.
    Some years ago, we fitted a Bilstein B12 kit (springs and dampers). We did this because the old dampers were a little tired. It’s been fine although harsher that the Sportline setup. The only down side is the uneven tyre wear at the rear due to camber.
    I now intend to restore the original Sportline setup with a complete set of Continental tyres. I shall supply the garage with a complete set of spring shims to that they can select and install.
    So, my question is: “What is the original ride height?”
    I assume it is measured, on a flat surface, to the lip on the bodywork just above each wheel. Is this true?
    If so, does anyone know the correct height, front and rear, of that lip above the ground?
    Once again, the car is a 1991 300CE-24 Sportline.
    My thanks in advance and best to all.
    RayH
     
  2. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    The spec ride height is determined off a chart [40-0001] depending on chassis 124.XXX number.

    http://w124-zone.com/downloads/MB CD/W124/w124CD2/Program/Chassis/40-0001.pdf

    Actual ride height is measured with two tools, one for the front and one for the rear. The front tool number is 201 589 00 21 the rear tool number is 201 589 01 21 and measures off the axle! You read your ride height off these tools that measure off the suspension control arms otherwise. Compare the values to the chart and adjust with the spring pads.

    http://w124-zone.com/downloads/MB CD/W124/w124CD2/Program/Chassis/40-0300.pdf
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  3. OP
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    ray_hennig

    ray_hennig Active Member

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    Thank you for that.

    RayH
     
  4. carat 3.6

    carat 3.6 MB Enthusiast

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    Ray, are you raising the ride height purely to eliminate rear tire wear? If so, you could correct the camber issue with eccentric bolts and keep the ride height you have now.
     
  5. OP
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    ray_hennig

    ray_hennig Active Member

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    Hello.

    No, not just the tyre wear issue. Down in the Dordogne the roads are not exactly billiard table flat. Also, entrances to various houses causes tension due to the lowering. And there's the fact that we do far less motorway driving than before. All this adds up to a desire to raise the thing a little.

    Then there's age! At 64 I'm happy to go back to Sportline. My son (30) is more of a Bilstein B12 man.

    RayH
     
  6. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    If you find it hard to find the tools then you may be able to measure from the lip of the fender to the center of the wheel. If someone posts a picture of a car you like the height of ask them to take this measurement. A 5 mm pad change will change your ride height measured this way by 9 mm.

    I have Cabs otherwise you could take the measurements off one of mine.

    Using 65 series tires instead of 60 series helps a little bit with ground clearance too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  7. OP
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    ray_hennig

    ray_hennig Active Member

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    That might be a good plan for an interim solution. The people who installed the B12 kit also aligned things pretty well, despite being a remote country garage. Afterwards they fitted the thickest shims all round but that didn't reach Sportline height.

    Yours looks a pretty good level to me, if slightly low. Is it original? Is the cab lower than the coupe? If so, is this by design or because it's heavier?

    So CE Sportline owners, what are your measurements: wheel centres to lip?

    Thanks all.

    RayH
     
  8. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    It has red Sportline springs in the rear on standard No1 pads and the standard No 2 pads up front with a 1/4 turn cold cut. Standard shocks.

    If you look at the chart the 320 Sportline Cabriolet is the lowest spec 124 except for the E500E series cars.

    I have my exact ride heights measured with the tools filed away somewhere if it's of any use it's about 15 mm lower than standard at the fender. I don't think it is a good idea to go much lower unless you start changing shocks, bumpstops and things. It has never bottomed out & it gets a fair workout so it works for me. Having the 65 series tires helps fill the wheel arch as well as giving ground clearance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  9. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    Actually it looks like the 320 Cabriolet is the lowest spec 124 out there by a nose in the rear...:)

    If you do go ahead and restore it to original height using MB parts I think there are two basic Sportline spring lengths to choose from and the rest is done with the pads. You will need to determine the correct length spring you need by adding up the points in the spring points system. Your MB dealer should be able to go over this with you. MB springs can be surprisingly cheap too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  10. OP
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    ray_hennig

    ray_hennig Active Member

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    Yes, I've done the calculations from the EPC. Mine needs the longest. I have the originals that look in very good condition with surface rust at the ends; in the interim I might use those. New ones are around €100 each from German discount suppliers.

    The plan was to replace the originals and use the B8 Bilsteins until I justify a new set of Sachs originals when the entire underneath is done.

    RayH
     
  11. WDB124066

    WDB124066 MB Enthusiast

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    You need to make sure the shocks are matched to the springs from a length and operating stroke range point of view too. I am not sure how a B8 compares to a standard shock in terms of operating range with standard springs, have you looked into that at all?
     
  12. OP
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    ray_hennig

    ray_hennig Active Member

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    Good thinking. Yes, I have considered this in the light of other members of various forums. Consensus seems to be that the B8s, being shorter stroke, are suitable for lowered cars. This as compared to standard 124. Sportline is lowered but not to the same extent as Bilstein B12.

    My goal is to replace the B8s with the standard, Sportline Sachs dampers. However, the few hundred Euro needed to do this is destined for other priorities.

    I'm in no rush as the car is at home and I'm in Paris for work so it is not even a weekender; more of an every monther!

    R
     
  13. Flyinspanner

    Flyinspanner MB Enthusiast

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    Bilstein can refurb your dampers and you could specify that they are softened/stiffened to suit your needs. I'll look up the link and add it later.
     
  14. OP
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    ray_hennig

    ray_hennig Active Member

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    In fact, I'm more likely to remove the B12 springs and dampers in the medium term and, perhaps sell the kit on to some enthusiast. I'll then have Sportline original springs and (Sachs) dampers.

    RayH
     
  15. Flyinspanner

    Flyinspanner MB Enthusiast

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