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  #1  
Old 04-12-2016, 08:03 PM
Precision Somethingist.
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 276
W123 Lower Ball Joint Seals...

So, what is the easy way to put these back on? I have tried many of the wrong ways, resulting in vituperation.
I would like to thank Diesel911 for his 100% correct tip for the OTC 1849 Pitman Arm Puller that popped the lower ball joint out with amazing ease! When he posted, these were being sold by Tradervar through Amazon for 19.95 + 6.85 shipping. Last week mine came from Tradervar through Ebay for $19.99, FREE SHIPPING. I don't think these will get any cheaper. This tool was solid, it had no give, so the tapered ball joint shaft popped out quickly!
Thanks, Diesel911!!!
The ball joints are Lemforder. I used a ball joint service tool that has waited for this occasion since 2008- you know, the one from Harbor Freight with the 5-letter word on it.
The tool didn't even distort.
I used LiquiMoly grease on the threads before I started, and applied dome disc brake grease just to the very top edge of the hole in the wheel carrier. I started it straight, then cranked it in. Biggest problem was my "soft jaws"-aluminum angle- moving in the vise. I used a cheater on a long HF breaker bar. It took some BTU's to get it in, but it's in and seated.
The old one was removed with a 16-lb sledge at 1ft, about 15 swings, once it started moving I eased up, then finished with a 2-lb deadblow to keep the 27mm impact socket from launching.
After all this, the fiddly little boot retaining ring is evading my efforts.

Anyone got any ideas? I am so ready for a "Duh" moment on this one.

Thanks for any help!


snapped_bolt
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'81 240D For now, a good place to borrow new parts
'80 300TD Probably will be put back into service!
'79 240D BACK IN SERVICE SINCE 09/16; limited use, oil leak. Guide pin r/sealed/replaced. Still a leak. Front crank seal....

Last edited by snapped_bolt; 04-12-2016 at 08:05 PM. Reason: i misspelt
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2016, 09:58 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 674
Try spinning the ring once you get it started. I used some plastic pry bars for stereo installation to hold pressure down on the ring while spinning it to increase the amount of ring in the groove. (You need to start at one end and work one piece of wire in at a time)
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2016, 10:36 AM
vstech's Avatar
DD MOD, HVAC,MCP,Mac,GMAC
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mount Holly, NC
Posts: 25,825
"Patience!" "Do, or Do NOT, there is no TRY"

you have to TOTALLY clean the boot first. any grease on the spring, or your fingers, and it's like pushing string...
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2016, 10:40 AM
vstech's Avatar
DD MOD, HVAC,MCP,Mac,GMAC
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mount Holly, NC
Posts: 25,825
I have removed the spring, put the boot on, and slid the spring over the boot... carefully! the boot can tear!
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2016, 01:31 PM
Precision Somethingist.
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 276
Got it done last night

The boot install, that is. I slipped the boot on, then worked the lower ring on with small needle nosed pliers. I was worn out by the time I got that on.
For the upper ring, I used a tiny screwdriver to work the seal around the ring like it was a window glass.
Most frustrating part of the job! I knew that driving out the LBJ would be difficult, and pressing the new one in would be a challenge, but these stupid @#%@!! clips caught me off guard.
Tips? Soft jaws in the vise should be actual soft jaws- I used a piece of aluminum angle on one side, and a piece of aluminum "C" channel on the other. That one was TOO soft, I had to keep re-adjusting the vise as the C-channel crushed. A "crush-vise"?
I tried a small air hammer with a moll point, that only drove a 3/16" hole into the center of the ball joint. That changed the appearance of the ball joint, but nothing more.
I then went to the BFH, a 16-lb sledge. No need for a big swing here. I held the 27mm impact socket on the ball joint and took 1 foot swings with a little extra added OOMPH; after about 15 hits the ball joint had moved far enough to go to a 2lb ball pein. After it was about halfway out I switched to a plastic dead blow. The ball joint literally popped out.
I used the nearly infamous Harbor Freight "C" frame ball joint press to install the new ball joint. This calls for some patience.
The wheel carrier must be FIRMLY in place before attempting to use the press, and the press needs to be rotated in the direction the shaft will be turned, or it can slip off the ball joint and mar some surfaces on it. Carefully line this up when you begin. Once you begin tightening the screw, it should stay where you put it.
I wiped a tiny bit of wheel bearing grease on the beginning of the taper before I inserted the ball joint. For good luck?
I then used the Harbor Freight 1/2" breaker bar with a 4 foot cheater to turn the screw, but I kind of cheated as the cheater as only tubing, but it didn't collapse even at 3' extension. This bugger was TIGHT! I used even motion the entire time, hoping that the C press would stay in place and not slip off. It didn't.
The seat for this joint is recessed, you can't actually see when you are making contact, but the cheater will refuse to cooperate once the ball joint seats.
Once I got that far, it was time to remove the C press.
Overall, I rate this job as 12 out of 5. It is a relatively small part that doesn't want to be removed or installed. But it can be done. Since this car is the only driver at this time, it is frustrating to have it apart so I couldn't even push it if I wanted to. In the course of this I found that the upper ball joint is swinging in the breeze, and it will have to come out as well. I didn't budget this, so I have to "borrow" from the '81 out in the driveway. I installed new Lemforder ball joints on it, but didn't use full torque on the the ball joint. I wasn't moved to tighten it at the time, maybe this is why. So the sun is shining after the good rain yesterday and last night. Out to the '81 next to remove the UCA's and install BOTH on the DD. Yep, another ball joint to install on the driver's side.
It will be weeks before I can set aside more money for the other rubber bushings on the lower control arms AND an internal spring compressor so I can get this car in for an alignment that will last more than 2 minutes off the service rack. Once these parts are replaced, I won't be wearing 15% of the tire tread off every 500 miles.
The car will run like it is on rails after this, and I'll be able to move on to other items. There is no shortage of things to do on this car.

This would have been impossible without the help form this forum!

Thanks!

-snapped_bolt
__________________
'81 240D For now, a good place to borrow new parts
'80 300TD Probably will be put back into service!
'79 240D BACK IN SERVICE SINCE 09/16; limited use, oil leak. Guide pin r/sealed/replaced. Still a leak. Front crank seal....
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2016, 01:43 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: TX
Posts: 3,245
how about using a yogurt cup as a sleeve to ease the ring on - I have used it the technique on a Honda, The ring easily slid in place.
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2000 E320 - The evolution (consumed by flood 2017)
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2016, 01:52 PM
Precision Somethingist.
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 276
I was thinking about a yogurt cup

But it may be a problem trying to get it to fit in such a tight location. I decided not to go that route as I wanted to see that the boot hadn't moved out of place. When I use a yogurt cup, I slide it past where the ring needs to be installed, slide the ring on, then pull the cup out as I put on the ring. If the boot would have moved, the ring would seat with the boot out of position. Surprise!
I didn't damage the boot, but it sure was frustrating. Maybe I can find a CLEAR yogurt cup for the other side...

Cheers,

snapped_bolt
__________________
'81 240D For now, a good place to borrow new parts
'80 300TD Probably will be put back into service!
'79 240D BACK IN SERVICE SINCE 09/16; limited use, oil leak. Guide pin r/sealed/replaced. Still a leak. Front crank seal....
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  #8  
Old 04-13-2016, 05:18 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,126
I didn't even fool with the boots that came on my new lower ball joints (forgot brand), because the thin rubber seems to fail long before the ball joint does. I used Energy Suspension polyurethane boots (normally tie rod ends), leftover from my Mopar stash. I posted the PN, but GM ones might be easier to find. Autozone carries at least one PN (bought recently).

Rollguy posted the best trick for using the monster C-clamp ball joint press. Tighten, tap the end of the loading bolt w/ a hammer, repeat. That seems to encourage it to slide in. I used the Autozone rental press, and was alarmed to see the massive C-clamp deflect as I resorted to a cheater bar (didn't think of the tap trick). After halfway, seemed it wouldn't make it flush so resorted to a torch around the spindle hole which seemed to make pressing easier. When/if I repeat, I will heat the hole first. Didn't help that I measured the new ball joint end slightly bigger than the old one. Since then, I bought the HF press on sale.
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2016, 10:27 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Out in the Boonies of Hot, Dry, Dusty, Windy Nevada
Posts: 9,585
Here is Roll Guy`s famous HF BJ adapter press.

Ball joint replacement using HF kit and home made adapter


Here is a good write up Bodyart27 did several years ago.

Write up - Ball Joints & Lower Control Arm Bushings & Tool Review (PICS!)

Here is Funola`s famous red neck BJ removal technique.

Red neck lower ball joint removal



Charlie
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there were three HP ratings on the OM616...

1) Not much power
2) Even less power
3) Not nearly enough power!! 240D w/auto

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ilys/boobs.gif


Anyone that thinks a 240D is slow drives too fast.

80 240D Naturally Exasperated, 4-Spd 388k DD 150mph spedo 3:58 Diff

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  #10  
Old 04-14-2016, 08:14 PM
funola's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 7,870
+1 for the Energy Suspension dust boot, thicker and tougher than the Lemforder boot, requires no retainer spring.

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85 300D turbo pristine w 157k when purchased 161K now
83 300 D turbo 297K runs great. SOLD!
83 240D 4 spd manual- parted out then junked
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