Job #924 - Retighten Steering Box Bolts

Job #924 - Retighten Steering Box Bolts

I don't know all the models that this maintenance is required of, but certainly it applies to a number of earlier cars.

I've seen this maintenance described as "Job #924" in Technical Reprints #2 from The Star magazine. It is prescribed for many cars at 12,500 - 15,000 mile intervals. There are three bolts that attach the steering box to the frame. Failure to properly maintain these bolts could allow the steering box to loosen. As the box loosens, it twists, the bolts become canted, and steering quality deteriorates. Finally, the twisting forces can crack the frame.

If you're purchasing a used car, check for this problem. If the bolts have become loosened, and the bolt holes have become enlarged, MBZ has a kit to make the needed repairs.

Now, learning of this potential problem, I checked the bolts on my 27 year old 108, and they were tight and secure, and the frame looked great, with no signs of fatigue or rust. I was happy. I then mentioned this to my tech, and he suggested replacing the bolts even though everything seemed fine. When I asked why, he just smiled and said that, if there was a reason to change them I'd soon know.

So we put the car on the hoist yesterday, replaced the tie rod ends, drag link, and steering stabilizer. Then we went at the bolts. To my surprise one was rusted, and while showing no obvious signs of severe degradation, it became clear to me what Steve meant. Now, this is a rust-free California car, always garaged throughout its life, and reasonably well-cared for. If a car such as this can have a rusted steering box fastener bolt, others can as well, and quite possibly much worse than in this instance.

So, consider this a heads up, especially if you've an older car that has spent some time in a hostile climate. Even if all looks well, you might want to replace those bolts. They're cheap (about $2.00 each from MBZ) insurance.
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Shel Belinkoff