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Scary 109 Steering Incident


Scary 109 Steering Incident

Let me put in a bit of a warning here based upon a rather scarey incident. A worn steering coupler will make the column rattle and add a lot of play to the wheel. When I bought my W109, we found that not only was the coupler worn, but also that one of the retaining bolts was missing. So, we replaced the coupler, rebuilt the front suspension and all was well - for about 9 months. Then, one evening while I was visiting a friend who lived about 100 miles from my house, something happened. I was trying to find my way out of the new subdivision in which he lived and made a wrong turn into a cul-de-sac. So, I started to turn the car around. At one point in the maneuver the steering wheel just spun without affecting any change in the wheels. Fortunately I was not moving. You ever try to park a 4,000 pound car when you cannot move the wheels?

Since my mechanic had replaced the coupling less than a year prior, he was very concerned about the incident. So was I, thank goodness I had made a wrong turn and wasn't actually driving when it failed. We found that the coupling had come off -- but how? We removed the steering column and found that it had collapsed. It collapsed because it was bent, the bend causing a wobble in the end. Apparently at some point in the past, rather than unbolt the steering box while installing a new coupling, they had just pried the steering column into alignment thus bending it. BTW, the price for a new steering column from MBUSA is ten times higher than it is in Germany.

Bill Berks