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Old 01-09-2013, 02:00 PM
Walkenvol Walkenvol is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ooltewah, TN
Posts: 707
W201 redneck ball joint replacement

Needed to replace the ball joints on my W201 and I didn't have the required spring compressor to remove the arm and use a shop press to r&r nor the special MB BJ press. This method worked without removing the arm from the car so I didn't have to compress the spring. Side one took about 2 hours, side 2 around 30 minutes.

Removal was caveman. Set car on jackstands. Removed wheel. Jacked arm up to compress spring with floor jack against the rotor. Lowered the arm down on a large wooden block where the edge of the BJ just dug out a bit of the wood. Unbolted strut (top end also) and BJ then tied the hub aside. Several hard hits with a sledge hammer knocked it out. Heated the arm end a bit to loosen things up some before hammering. I suspect you don't want to get that metal too hot as it appears to be hardened.

To reinstall, I dug through the collection of pipe fittings and found a galvanized pipe junction that fit the BJ bottom perimeter and was slightly larger than the hole in the arm. Welded about a 3" section of pipe on the top half and a flat piece of metal on both. Cleaned the opening really well with a wire brush attachment on a drill. Lined up the BJ, put the jig on the bottom with the wooden block under it. Used the jig on the top to hammer the arm down onto the BJ. 4 or 5 smacks with a 1 lb hammer seated them. The BJ isn't 90 degrees off the floor so the bottom jig has to be wedged a bit to fit firmly around the hole perimeter. The jig could be cut off at the correct angle before welding on the flat metal.

Caution - make sure the car is securely supported (your hitting it with a sledge hammer) and the wood is at least a 6" x 6", larger if available. If your wood is knocked out from under the arm with the strut unbolted the spring can be dislodged with great force, potentially causing a serious injury. You might consider chaining the spring in there for added safety.

If the rubber bushings are bad on your A-arm (fortunately mine look solid) then I couldn't figure a way around the spring compressor which is a specialty tool to MB's and priced accordingly.

Hope this helps somebody.
You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need.
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