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Essex County Council’s superbly maintained roads have once again broken the front spring on my W202.
The last break was on the passenger side, this time it’s the drivers side spring that has gone.
Last time I did this, I got in a pickle with it, and thus didn’t create a blog post documenting the process. This time however, with two sets of hands (thanks Dad), it was a lot easier and took about an hour.
To remove the spring you will need one of these Mercedes spring compressors. Please do not attempt to do this with the normal spring compressors that clamp onto the side of the spring as it will make it difficult, and dangerous, to remove the spring. These kits are fairly inexpensive now on eBay and other such sites.
To use the spring compressor, insert the top and bottom clamp plates between the coil spring like so:
There are two sizes of clamp plate in the compressor kit. Obviously, use the clamp that is the closest in size to the circumference of the spring you are compressing.
The shaft of the compressor goes up through a hole in the lower control arm, through the centre of the spring and then clamps into place on cut grooves in the upper clamp plate. When assembled it will look something like this:
Use a 19mm socket to tighten the compressor and the two plates will squeeze the spring. (the futher apart the clamp plates are on the spring before you compress the spring, the easier it is to remove the spring once compressed. Ideally they want to be a little further apart than as photographed)
As the spring is being compressed, it will lift the lower control arm up. To drop it back to full droop undo the 16mm nut and bolt that holds the shock absorber to the lower control arm.
Once that nut and bolt are released the arm will drop about an inch to an inch and a half. This will give you some wiggle room with the spring, but really you’ll need a second person to lever the arm further down with a bar to allow you to get the spring out of it’s housing.
Installation is pretty much reversal of removal. Compress the spring , then get it back into the housing (again you’ll need a friend to pry the arm down whilst you wiggle the spring in), decompress it and then bolt the control arm back onto the shock absorber.
The only bits worth noting about putting the new are make sure that the big rubber block that lives in the housing is still there when you put the spring back in and put the compressed spring in top first then push it over the hump in the control arm to get it back into place.
It’s in theory a really quick and easy job but I found it impossible without a second pair of hands, so big thanks to my Dad for coming out on a cold January morning to help. I also cannot state enough how important it is to use the proper compressor. Be safe and spend the money. Those springs are under so much tension if it came out of a side mount compressor it would come out really violently!
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By Richard Francis