W126 Self-leveling suspension adjustment

On a recent drive with a few friends I noticed my 560SEC was sitting a bit low at the rear. I had it parked next to a 380SEC, which I am pretty confident is at the correct height, and my car was lower. Based on that, I started reading through the section on W126 self-leveling suspension adjustment to work out why.

The length of the control rod that links the height corrector to the sway bar impacts the ride height. However, the manual is quite clear that this adjustment is not there to compensate for the standard ride height (without […]

Reinstalling W126 self-leveling rear suspension

The previous owner of my 560SEL had the self-leveling rear suspension removed. He told me that he was having problems with it, and the suspension shop he took that car to (Pedders) advised him to remove it. This was pretty bad advice, but he wasn’t to know that. A 560SEL should have a supple ride, but my car rode like an old pickup truck. The Pedders springs and shocks were overly firm and caused the rear to bounce around. It may have been better with three heavy adults in the back but my children are six, four and four, so […]

W126 low pressure hydraulic hoses

My 560SEC has been leaking from the power steering and self leveling suspension. In both cases, it is obvious that (at least some) of the leakage is coming from the low pressure hydraulic hoses. It is possible there are additional leaks in the steering, but fixing this obvious one is a good place to start.

I had looked at doing this job a couple of months ago. I quickly saw it was quite fiddly and as I was planning to use the car the next day, I decided to put it off. Once I realized I would be removing the […]

560SEL further maintenance

Before I begin regular usage of the 560SEL there is further maintenance required. Per a receipt I have, a new timing chain and tensioner was fitted around 20,000km ago. This is obviously a good thing, but it was a shame that while this was done, the M117 timing chain guides were not replaced.

The guides (and ideally the sprockets) should always be replaced at the same time as the chain. It is actually the guides that are the cause of most of the problems in the M116 and M117 engines. A stretched chain just exacerbates the problem.

In the picture […]

Planning to reinstate the W126 Self-leveling suspension

After driving the 560SEL more I have decided to reinstate the W126 self-leveling suspension. I am probably one of a very small group of people who is putting this system back after it is removed. A 560SEL should drive really nicely, but the current springs and shocks make the ride like an unladen ute over rough surfaces. As a contrast my 560SEC has an excellent ride.

The current system was put in by Pedders, a local suspension chain. On speaking to a few people, I have discovered that the spring/shocks they put in are not really suited to the car […]

560SEL further evaluation

After owning the 560SEL for a couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to spent a bit more time looking over the car. I’ve also had a few more opportunities to drive the car – covering about 150 km over the time. This is a lot less than I would normally want to do, but with COVID19 lockdowns, I can only drive the car for specific purposes such as driving to the shops to buy food.

First thing to do was to put the car up on the hoist and have a look underneath. The car was ordered with a […]

Mercedes self-leveling rear suspension flush

A common feature of Mercedes cars from the mid 70s through the mid 2000s is the self-leveling rear suspension. This system is standard on the wagons, but was commonly specified on the higher end sedans too. Mercedes-Benz Australia was particularly keen on the system fitting it to coupes and even mid size saloons.

The system ensures that even with a heavy load in the rear of the car, the suspension remains level. Keeping the car level improves handling and safety. It is actually quite a simple system, derived from the more complex system on the 6.9. This system, in turn […]