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Old 09-07-2007, 03:09 AM
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front end mess!

I've been told it's a mess Ball joints shot need tie rods control arms etc. Is this somthing I can handle? Or best left to a experienced mechanic? 300 td '82 wagon.

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Old 09-07-2007, 05:48 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 36,372
Lots of folks have done all of the parts mentioned, but if you have to ask, maybe that is an indication that you should have it done.

None of it is complicated but everything beyond the tie rod ends is a little physcially demanding and very dirty work.

And after all that it will need an alignment.

I probably would do the tie rods myself and see what it looks like after that. They are pretty easy. An assessment of so many things needed would make me skeptical about the necessity of them all at once.

Tom W
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:37 AM
toomany MBZ's Avatar
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Upper Control Arms and tie rod a DIY. Yet listen to t wal... you'll need an align afterward. Not that dirty, but physical, yes.
83 SD

84 CD
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland, and Larkspur, Colorado
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For whatever reason I sometimes take a more cynical view of Stealership mechanics which have led me into giving it a shot. My backup is a very good indy who fled the Stealership circuit specifically because of high prices and poor workmanship.

Classic (older) car front end work -- aside from alignment and jigging the chassis post-accident -- is certainly DIY. As in all things, do your homework and find out the steps involved (Haynes, other DIY manuals, this and other forums), ID any special tools you might need to rent or make, and get quality parts. Be certain of torque specs and which bolts get ThreadLock. While you will lack initially the "tricks" of the trade to speed the job and will certainly get filthy, at the end of the journey there will be the double satisfaction of knowing YOU did the work and that all steps in the protocol were followed.

Please follow strict safety procedures; flat hard surface, solid jack stands, get a buddy to assist, etc.

You can do it. Good luck.

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Old 09-07-2007, 09:29 AM
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some background on ball joints

This is a pictorial I did on ball joints - it will give you an idea of what you are getting into:

Write up - Ball Joints & Lower Control Arm Bushings & Tool Review (PICS!) <---one of my little contributions back to the forum for all the help it has provided me

I will admit that most of my hands-on knowledge that I have on rebuilding the front end of my car came from the website - worth the subscription!!!
As of 2/2010:
2001 CLK55 0o\=*=/o0
13.6 @ 106mph
10K mi
1984 300SD
260K mi and going and going...
97 S600
46K miles
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:33 AM
JimFreeh's Avatar
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Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
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Special tools....

You'll need the proper spring compressor to pull the coil spring to work on the lower control arm. Not a cheap item.....

This is a dirty, physical job. Lot's of grunt work.

I'd expect it to cost around $1500.00 to have a fairly complete front end rebuild done at an indy.

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Old 09-07-2007, 10:10 AM
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Location: Sonoma County, California
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I just did my upper and lower ball joints on the steering knuckles. I did not have to replace the bushing on the lower control arm so there was no need to remove the springs. The first side took a while to get apart, probably because I was learning as I was working on it. The second side came apart in about 1.5 hrs. I took the knuckles and new joints to a local indi shop and had them press in the lower ball joint because they have the factory press for this, cost $30 per side. Upper and lower on both sides including pressing in new lowers cost less than $200 total. Best advice is take your time and always keep the lower arm supported besause if the spring pops out it can kill you. Before I did this I had a quote of $1200 to $1400 to do the job at a local tire and front end shop.
1983 300SD
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:02 PM
patbob's Avatar
Its a Whatsit
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by mati View Post
I've been told it's a mess Ball joints shot need tie rods control arms etc. Is this somthing I can handle? Or best left to a experienced mechanic? 300 td '82 wagon.
Upper ball joints (upper control arms), shocks, tie rods, idler arm bushing, steering damper are all fairly easy DIY projects, although you do need an alignment after the upper ball or tie rods. Lower ball joints, LCA bushings are more advanced DIY -- need (and need to know how to use) a spring compressor for those.

I did my lower ball & LCA bushings over the summer. Its doable, but a lot of work -- took me 3 hours just to get the LCA out and steering knuckle off only one side.

'83 300DTurbo

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