SLK 230 R170 Poor Handling? - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum
SLK R170 General Discussion SLK 200, SLK 230K, SLK 320, SLK32 AMG

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#1 Old 4 Days Ago
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SLK 230 R170 Poor Handling?

I posted in the "What did you do to your SLK today?" thread that I took my 1997 230 for its annual MOT and it passed. This is of course great news but...

...part of me was hoping they might pick up something with the steering/suspension that's causing poor handling on some road conditions. At times its almost like driving cars from back in the 60s and 70s when cross ply tyres were common. There is a real tendency to tramline and follow any ruts in the road. At the moment it has Pirelli 6000 tyres on stock 16" wheels (205x55s on the front and 225x50s on the rear). The car has always done this since I got it back in February 2013 and each year it passes the MOT with no advisories. In the time I have owned the car and as part of general maintenance I have:

1) Changed the steering damper (that helped a bit)
2) Replaced all the bushes and suspension links at the rear
3) Replaced wheel bearings all around
4) Replaced the anti roll bar bushes
5) Had a full four wheel alignment done on a Hunter alignment system

Given that neither I or the MOT man can find anything wrong I'm wondering if it's purely a tyre problem. Has anybody experienced this behaviour from the tyres alone or indeed any other cause that wouldn't necessarily show up on an MOT?

I am probably going to need new front tyres as a minimum this year so are there any tyre recommendations for good handling.

Any of your thoughts welcome.
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Can't remember what was on our '04 230 when we got it but it trammed badly.

Played with pressures and that helped.

Switched to Michelins all round and 'Presto!' nor more tramming.

Could be that simple. Especially given the work you have already done.

I used 'tyres on the drive', who discount multiple tyres and will do the switch at home or work.

Hope you solve it, cos' a sweeter handling 230 is a joy.
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#3 Old 4 Days Ago
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Thanks for that quick response. My experience over the years with Michelins has always been brilliant and they seems to last for ever too! Time for some googling for the best deal on Michelins - it always used to be Costco.
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One thing I notice you haven't mentioned in your list are the steering idler arm bushes, which can contribute to vague steering and tramlining. Perhaps worth a try and cheaper than a new set of tyres.
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#5 Old 4 Days Ago
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Originally Posted by nigelb001 View Post
One thing I notice you haven't mentioned in your list are the steering idler arm bushes, which can contribute to vague steering and tramlining. Perhaps worth a try and cheaper than a new set of tyres.
That sounds like a top notch suggestion - why don't I have ideas like that!

I am going to need new front tyres anyway but I think looking at the idler arm bush first is a sound idea. It could also explain why the front left (idler side) tyre has worn much more on the outer edge than the front right even though the tracking was pretty much spot on. Clearly makes sense to check this out and fix any problem before splashing out on new rubber.

I'll look into this over the few weeks ("Senior Managements" birthday is coming up so tinkering time is a tad limited right now). I'll feedback on the outcome.

Thanks again.

Bob
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When the front wheel bearings were replaced, did they set the clearance to the correct value? Mercedes has a unique way of specifying the bearing clearance, and it may have not been followed.
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Thanks for the suggestion. Yes when I changed the front wheel bearings I used a dial gauge to set the end float in accordance with WIS. The issue predates the wheel bearing changes and didn't improve or deteriorate after the change. I changed them because the front left was shot and droning badly at around 40mph.

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I had the same issue and assumed it was due to tired suspension components as my car had 150K on it at the time. It had a set of Kumhos and the rears were getting worn. Swithced to a set of Uniroyals and it was a noticable difference. Tracked like a train.
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