Main.TrailIndexPage | Suspension | Shock absorbers

Shock Absorbers

This component is part of Suspension.


Define the component. Include, if known, the german language word for the component, as well as the English or American equivalent. Show a picture, a diagram.

  • Its technical name & common name(s)
  • part # - start year & end year
  • which area it belongs to - engine, transmission, body, injection etc, link back to the relevant section

Bilstein Shock Absorbers:


Bilstein Part Numbers:

Heavy Duty (HD) - B6

Front ALL Models: F4-B36-0529-H0 (MB 113 320 0030)

Rear 250SL and 280SL: F4-B46-0539-H0 (MB 113 320 0031)

Rear 230SL: F4-B46-0537-HO (MB 108 320 0131)

Steering Damper: F4-B22-0246-BM (MB 000 463 5132)

Picture of Bilstein Front Shock Absorber:

The following pictures are of new Bilstein front shock absorbers. Note: the "green vertical bars" are no longer present on the shock. Pictures taken March 2010.


Describe, in general terms the function of this component. Meaning what is it there for and what role it plays. Describe how it works, the inside mechanism. Use diagrams to explain.


Describe common maintenance procedures, and common faults that may occur. Describe how these may be diagnosed and resolved. Again, include diagrams, photographs and explanations. Where possible, include measures, tolerances, weights etc.

  • Symptoms when it faults
  • How to test if it is faulty - what tools to use
  • How to fix / change

Link to related components where appropriate.

Old Yahoo content

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I am considering replacing the existing shock-absorbers but would love views on the following questions:

  1. Are Bilsteins the best for the car? I know from the CD-Rom that they were original to it but are they still the best for it? Are there any other brands that I should consider? I am not trying to restore my car to its original state.
  2. Did the Bilstein part number change for later models? Anything that I should be aware of here? I.e. not use a 280sl part? I found one posting that listed the Bilstein part as 113-320-00-30 for the front and another place listed it as 113-323-00-00 or 113-323-02-00. Numbers change, of course for the rear. Does anyone know any of the specifics?
  3. Replacing the shock absorbers; I looked at the CD-Rom and thought it best to have someone do this for me instead of trying it myself (with a helper.) It seems that replacing them on the early cars (mine is #415) requires removing the battery and air intake silencer for replacing the front shock absorbers. So... what should it cost me to have the work done (replacing front and rear shock absorbers) in the Bay Area if 1) I supply the parts and 2) my mechanic takes care of everything? My quote from him for option 2 (with parts) is $750! Egad! How many hours should it take if someone knows what he or she is doing?

Pete Lesler: $750 is outrageous. Almost any gearhead can do this job. You do not need to remove any ancillaries to replace these shocks. Buy new Bilsteins (they give the best ride and handling for street cars) from one of the aftermarket SL suppliers (sometimes they have sales). I have seen them recently somewhere for aroound $80 per shock. Make certain they are genuine Bilsteins and have four vertical green stipes on the lower part of the shock. This marking makes them unique to the SL's, not to mention the part number should always be preceeded by a 113. The only difficulty in removing and replacing these shocks is you must compress them in order to put them in place. It takes a bit of strength. The new shocks should come with all new hardware. You may need to replace the rubber dust shields on the front.

Find a local mechanic or a friend to help you. This is purely a "grunt" job.

As far as shocks go Bilstein is till one of the best on the market. I am not sure if you will find anything that will compare if anyone has please let us know. As for how long should it take someone that knows what they are doing: about an hour and that should count the time to wipe the finger prints of your new shocks, wash your windshield and throwaway the old ones.

My mechanic (he exclusively works on older Mercedes and BMW) swears by the original Bilsteins for the ride and long-term reliability. After having the non-stock shocks replaced on both my 230SL and my 230 fintail I'd say I agree.

Couldn't agree more. Many years ago, when I did my first shock replacement, I got something other than the standard Bilstein and was very unhappy with them. Since then (a couple of decades or so) I have always had the correct Bilsteins. Any dimunition in riding quality I now charge to (my guess) the need for the rubber bushings in the suspension system to be replaced.

Tom Hanson: BILSTEIN ONLY !! Accept nothing less. Current MB part numbers; front 113-320-00-30, rear 113-320-00-31. Around $80 each.

I installed Koni shocks last year and love them. Not original, but they might be considered a period performance accessory if that matters. Adjustable, 'though I haven't played with adjustments yet, pretty happy with the full soft setting. They are not gas pressurized, so they are easy to install. They were (as I recall) $89 each from TireRack, Bilsteins were $10 less. Main drawback is that they are special order only and take about 2 months to come in. If originality is the goal, then Bilsteins.

Hans Strom: The original type Bilstein shock absorbers for the W113 (as well as W108, W111 etc) are all gas filled. These are readily available on the market today, just make sure you get the correct type for your make and model of Mercedes. The ones for W113 are marked with four green stripes. They come with mounting hardware (rubber and nice yellow chromated nuts and washers). A tip for mounting the front ones: Compress the shock, then pinch around the rubber sleeve to keep the thing compressed. Position on chassis, slowly release. Rear ones are even easier.

Joe Alexander: the Bilsteins were the original shocks on the 113's. I believe that the replacements are sold with a lifetime warranty. The suspensions were tuned for these at the factory. Other gas filled shocks do not have the same feel or durability. Replcing your bad shocks with Bilsteins makes an amazing difference. If you shop around a set can be had for around $300.00, seems like a good investment. They are easy to change with some coaching. I have never had Koni shocks. They have an excellent reputation and seem to be more sport oriented. I am sure they are excellent also.
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