Hardware in the hand is worth putting in the bush

Today I replaced the passenger-side braking support rod bushing on my 1982 300SD. The job didn't go so well on the driver's side, because I attempted to use all of the specified replacement hardware. Unfortunately, Meyle is currently delivering substandard and improper hardware for remounting the bushing carrier, with the effect that the nut shears off of its captive shim and causes you to live in a world of hurt. Using the original hardware with some red thread locker seems to be a workable solution; I've done it on the other side with good results, and now I've done it on both sides. In the process, I also learned that one can trivially press the new bushing in with the old hardware.

When one buys the replacement braking support rod bushing, one also gets a tidy packet of hardware including everything one will need to install the new bushing, and reinstall the carrier. This includes all the hardware but the bolts which retain the carrier. Most of this hardware is fine and up to spec, although one of the cap head bolts which holds in the bushing in this kit had a scar on the side of the head, which suggests to me that they're buying the hardware from the lowest bidder, who is clearly someone who doesn't care very much. Unfortunately, one of the most frustrating pieces to remove in the case of failure is the piece they failed to correctly specify.

Mahle W126 braking support rod hardware comparison

As you can see in the picture, the sides of the shim are sloppy. What you can't see well from the picture is that the OEM nut is little more than half as thick as the replacement. It's little wonder that you can't get the bolt through Meyle's without it ripping away from the shim. When this happens, you have to drill and split the nut to get it free, which is not as much fun as it sounds like.

The other interesting thing about this job is that people have a hard time installing the new bushing, and there is no need for that because it is as easy as it possibly could be. Unfortunately, even the service manual doesn't explain the best way to do this, but it is so simple it could have been done in a sentence or two. Here's my attempt to do it in one: You can press the new bushing in using the retaining plate, the old hardware, and a small stack of washers.

Installing the W126 braking support rod bushing

The picture, I think, tells the entire story. I believe these are 8mm bolts, but if you don't have an assortment of washers hanging around (I do love yard sales, people sell hardware for a song!) just take one of the bolts to the hardware store with you, and buy about as many washers as I've got in the picture here, maybe a few more. Once you have the thing well started, you can whack the back of the plate with a soft-faced (rubber or plastic) hammer to seat the bushing the rest of the way. Whacking the bushing directly is the official procedure detailed in the service manual. You will probably have to do some of that, too, to finally seat the bushing. You'll find a lot of suggestions on peachparts forums about using water-based lube, or this or that other suggestion, but this is by far the easiest way to press in the bushing. I did clean the socket well with a wire brush in a drill, first. I also scraped a bunch of crud out of it using a right-angle pick, which if not the ideal tool for the job, is at least very close.

If you're wondering how to get the carrier removed or reinstalled, the easiest way is to use a come-along to the front of the vehicle, especially on the passenger side where it's easy to attach. This is often discussed, and seldom pictured. My undercoating looks funky because it is. I attacked it with a pressure washer and blew some of it off, so I've touched it up since from a spray can, which has a very different look but who cares — it's in my wheel well.

Pulling W126 suspension forward for braking rod