SLS Spheres on a W124 - the results of changing them

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by Charles Morgan, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    I went out for a drive with Nick Froome in the W124 estate last week, a few days before a service booked with Olly. The manifestation of a misfiring problem in spades meant that that could be sorted, but it was intriguing to have someone so aware of what a W124 ride should be in the car. I have recently bought a plastic load tray from OneCarefulOwner, and the boot was pretty full with junk from my move.

    I had noticed a bit of creaking from the load tray in the boot as rough surfaces made the car a bit choppy, but really put that down to the tray itself. Nick speculated that a tiny hardness of ride and the continued presence of the creaking may be due to the SLS spheres starting to go, not much, but possibly that.

    As (with my usual powers of prediction I failed to spot the need for a lot of work on the brakes after failing the MOT) I normally budget to do one important thing, I asked Olly to change the spheres - not a nice job apparently. Coming back from Horndean and with some running around the rotten backstreets of Slough (where I am camping out at my sister's) it is absolutely clear that replacing the spheres has made the ride very much better (and it wasn't bad before), no longer any creaking or jiggling, the car is much more composed and it also sits up better at the rear. W124s really ride well, and now with a car with new wishbones and spheres, this just floats along.

    Hopefully with new spark plugs and lambda sensor the fuel economy which was getting poor, will pick up.

    Just a point to note for other W124 estate owners - when it starts getting a little less composed and a bit jiggly, it may be the spheres starting to go.
     
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  2. renault12ts

    renault12ts MB Club Veteran

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    I wonder, and perhaps you may know, if the level of the fluid in the reservoir would have dropped if the spheres had failed.
     
  3. OP
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    Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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  4. jaymanek

    jaymanek Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    It wouldnt have been noticeable really.
     
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  5. balge

    balge Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Would have thought so, if the diaphragm is punctured, oil will fill the void, not sure how much of the sphere is gas, but probably about half of its volume would be gas and that would lower the reservoir by that volume, no idea what that would do to the level, but I'm sure the oil level went down when my spheres gave out.

    cheers!
     
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  6. GP801

    GP801 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    We had a similar experience with our 124. It was sitting low at the rear despite the previous owner replacing the spheres. Olly replaced the SLS valve along with various suspension bushes front and rear, steering bushes and I think prop shaft bushes. the transformation was amazing. Rides beautifully and the handling is much improved. Not quite to modern car standards but almost certainly as good as when it was new 17 years ago.
    The service from Olly was second to none. He also replaced the head gasket and did major service including ATF etc.
    So impressed that after xmas I shall be bringing it back from Italy to see Olly for its next service/MOT.
     
  7. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    To test spheres load the boot with a body then bounce the rear of the car. You should feel the suspension is stiffer and less supple.

    Pleaides at Sawtry can re-gas spheres cheaply.
     
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    Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    Do you have to kill one or will a stiff from the undertaker do?
     
  9. OP
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    Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    The handling is certainly not to contemporary standards, although I would argue that for 99% of the time it is an irrelevance, but the ride quality is considerably better. I had a lift in my brother in laws W211 320 cdi Avantgarde and that was noticeably harsher.

    The contemporary obsession with sporting driving has lead to far too many cars being harsh riders. It seems rather perverse as a trend, given that any chance of a sporting drive in the populated parts of the UK gets ever less likely...
     
  10. GP801

    GP801 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Totally in agreement with you on this. Given a choice of which to take on a long journey the 124 wins every time. The ride is so smooth. Its 20 hours door to door when I drive to/from Italy. Always arrive feeling fresh with no aching joints or back.
     

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