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  #1  
Old 09-12-2008, 10:55 PM
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Lower Ball Joints

I've read a bunch of threads on this subject and will be attempting mine soon as the boots are completley gone on both sides. My local mechanic is loaning me the proper mercedes ball joint press for free and I think I have a handle on what is involved in removing the old joints and pressing the new ones in. What I don't see readily posted is what are the steps to involved to remove the spindle. I understand that I must remove the caliper, rotor, then the hub and then finally the spindle, but to be perfectly honest I don't know how to do this. I wan't to make sure I will do a correct and good job. So am I correct in that I have to remove these parts....are there any others or anything esle involved?

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  #2  
Old 09-13-2008, 01:42 AM
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Not sure where you need help from.
It's involved. Yet getting to the spindle is straight forward.
The hub has a lock nut that is understood once you see it. The trick is reinstalling it properly.
Another thing is removing the upper ball joint if you you want to re-use it.
I recently had a lower ball joint installed at an indy shop, they did not remove the spindle.
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  #3  
Old 09-13-2008, 01:51 AM
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When I removed my Spindle/Steering Knuckle I left the rotor and wheel hub on so I did not disturb the Wheel Bearing adjustment. However, it is a heavier item to handle with those parts on.
Jack the car up and put it on some stands safely.
I think it is necessary to compress the spring (which to me is the hard part of the job).
Remove 2 bolts holding down the Brake Caliper (Hang the Brake Caliper on a wire not from the brake hose) is also 2 bolts holding on the Tie rod arm. If you remove them so that you do not have to press off the Tie Rod.
[I removed my Shock Absorber but I was changing the Lower Control Arms.]
Remove the Upper Control arm nut and Use a Ball Joint Separator to press off the upper Ball Joint first; this will allow you to swing the Spindle/Steering Knuckle out for easier access to the Lower Ball Joint Nut and to put the Press on. You may want to put something under the Lower Control Arm to support it.
Remove the Lower Ball Joint nut and use the Ball Joint Separator to press off the Lower Ball Joint from the Lower Control Arm. After which the whole Spindle should come off.

You did not say you had a Coil Spring Compressor or a Ball Joint Separator only a Ball Joint press.
There are several alternative ways that might work the most popular being to use a "Pickle Fork". However that tool will damage any good rubber boots on the ball joints.
Here are some recent threads where some alternative methods are talked about:
http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/showthread.php?t=231358

http://www.peachparts.com/shopforum/showthread.php?t=232592
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Last edited by Diesel911; 09-13-2008 at 01:57 AM.
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  #4  
Old 09-13-2008, 03:32 AM
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You do not need to remove the spring, to remove the spindle (steering knuckle).
Remove the lower (supporting) joint after you have taken the hub off.
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  #5  
Old 09-16-2008, 11:49 AM
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Wow...this was a major PITA job. But I got it done and the ride is amazingly better. Very satisfying

First removed the wheel, then the caliper (hung it with a bungee from the sway bar). Then removed the lower tie rod link. I then popped out the bearings and removed the rotor and backplate. All of this was pretty straight forward.

Where I had the most trouble was definetley in trying to seperate the spindle from the lower and upper control arms. I didn't have a seperating tool and I didnt want to use a pickle fork because the boot on the UCA was perfect and it would undoubtedly ruin it. I tried the two sledge hammer technique (using one as a dolly) which worked fine on one side, but on the left side it would not budge. I must have been banging on that damn spindle for 3 hours. I finally took the advice of one forum member and unbolted the inner bolt on the UCA. With that free I could tilt the spindle back and pound directly on the ball joint stud. It popped right out!

With that out I put the spindle in a vise and with a 19mm socket and a 5 lb sledge I popped out the old ball joint in no time. I then set up the MB press and put the new Ball joint in in less than 3 minutes. I HIGHLY reccomend this tool, but it does require OE parts (lemforder, moog ...).

From there it was just reassembly. My only concern is that I didnt torque anything. I just tried to make everything tight, but not too tight. Comments on this would be apppreciated.

Areas of difficulty and things to be careful with:
-of course...seperating the spindle. I do reccomend removing the inner UCA bolt and leaving UCA attached to the spindle. It made things a lot easier. Make sure you have the LCA supported and try not to pinch the upper ball joint boot. If you do go with this method, accessing, removing and reinserting the inner UCA bolt is tricky...but I believe there are other threads on this.
-Be careful with the bearings....place them on a clean dry towel and put something over them so no dust or anything gets on them. You might as well repack the bearing doing this job.
-Using any press...make sure that when you seat the ball joint that it is seated level and evenly. It shouldn't take an abnormal amount of pressure to seat the ball joint. If you dont use the MB press it would be wise to remove the boot.

Thanks for all the help guys!
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Last edited by JMan300sd; 09-16-2008 at 11:59 AM.
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2008, 02:39 PM
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You did all that work and you didn't replace your sway bar bushings?
tsk...tsk...

Congratulations anyway. it is a lot of work.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMan300sd View Post
I tried the two sledge hammer technique (using one as a dolly) which worked fine on one side, but on the left side it would not budge. I must have been banging on that damn spindle for 3 hours. I finally took the advice of one forum member and unbolted the inner bolt on the UCA. With that free I could tilt the spindle back and pound directly on the ball joint stud. It popped right out!
Thanks for all the help guys!
Thanks for the above feed back. You have answered my curiosity if the 2 hammer method will work at all. So It looks like it will work sometimes.

If you did not need to save the Boot I am wondering if a little applied heat before the hammers are applied would help things.

Hope someone else will try and Post the results.
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Last edited by Diesel911; 09-16-2008 at 05:35 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2008, 02:53 PM
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I done balljoints on quite a few w123 and w126s and its pretty straight forward and easy job.
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2008, 03:29 PM
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I did replace the sway bar bushings actually ; ). Ordered 4 from Phil last week in anticipation of the job
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMan300sd View Post
I do reccomend removing the inner UCA bolt and leaving UCA attached to the spindle.
With the proper tool, separating the UCA from the steering knuckle is a two minute job. And there will be no damage to the grease boot.
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2008, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMan300sd View Post
I did replace the sway bar bushings actually ; ). Ordered 4 from Phil last week in anticipation of the job
Good man!

Yes, the right tool will seperate that UCA real fast!

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=99849

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