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  #1  
Old 04-10-2001, 11:36 AM
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My lower balljoints are shot. The driver's side one has a split boot and she's bone dry and making grinding noises. I looked through the MB shop chassis manuals and it looks like I need some special tools. I was just wondering if anyone here has changed these out on their own and what did it cost them. I have already checked out "Fastlane" for prices, they're about $14 a piece. As usual, it's the labor cost that gets you. The balljoints appear to be pressed in and the whole steering nuckle has to be removed from the car.
If anyone is wondering, the reason I didn't catch this problem early on, was due to the fact that it's been either raining or snowing here in NJ and my car is parked outside. So the weather hasn't been cooperative for me to lay under the car to do a "look-see".
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2001, 02:17 PM
benzat
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your best bet is to take the part out and have it put in at a machine shop..I had mine done that way..the regular tire centers had a problem because there is a curve in the arm and they didnt have the tools to put the new one in..they could get the old one out.(my Benz dealer wanted $100.00 if I took the arm in and $400.00 if I had them do it)

that way it only cost me $30.00 to have it put it..it works fine..

hope that helps

benzat

1982 380 SEC
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2001, 02:48 PM
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Was this an automotive machine shop? Now when you say bring the part to them, you mean the steering knuckle arm and new balljoint? I guess I'll have to call around before I tear the front end apart. I haven't called the independant shopp that I bought the car from, to see what they would charge. The local MB dealer charges $70 a hours for labor. Where as the ind. shop charges $50 a hour. They service and restore MB, Porsche, and BMWs.
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2001, 12:20 AM
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probaly not a very hard job if you have the right tools.you probaly only need a ball joint press tool.taking the spindle off is not that big a deal
good luck
JAMES

P.S know what you mean bout the rain has been no better here in N.Y
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2001, 12:24 AM
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Take off the A frame and have them pressed in at a shop that does pressing out of bushings and ball joints. If you have the arm off have the bushings in the arm replaced also. The ball joints on these lower arms are pressed in at a slight angle and it is very difficult to do without the proper tools.
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2001, 09:33 AM
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I don't have any tools that are specificly made for balljoint jobs. This is starting look like a job for someone else to do. This is one area where I don't want to screw anything up, becuase once you have the whole front end torn apart, then is not the time to find out you can't put it back together.
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1999 MB SL500 (101,000 mi)
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2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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  #7  
Old 04-11-2001, 09:52 AM
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The control arm should not be removed for ball joint replacement, just the spindle.

The ball joint should be pressed into the spindle using the special tool designed to do it. Any machinist will quickly verify this on examination. The head of the tool uses all the area possible to get a straight shot.

I would also only use MB or Lemforder ball joints, as you said they are cheap. They only list for $33.50 from MB.

We press the joints into the spindles for .5 hours a piece or $65 for both sides. We charge 3.3 hours to do the whole job (except alignment) to gauge your savings.
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  #8  
Old 04-11-2001, 02:01 PM
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Thanks Steve. I priced the balljoints at "Fastlane" and they sell for about $20. That was for either TRW or Lemforder. I'll check with my 2 local dealers and see if they would remove and press in new balljoints for me. Though it wouldn't surprise me that they would decline since I am not buying the parts from them.
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2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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  #9  
Old 04-11-2001, 02:24 PM
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Rick,
Keep in mind that Steve is an independant. I don't think the dealers will do a partial job. Also, Steve made it clear in the past, he will not intall parts from other sources than his own (like many other independants). I do not know if this situation is different...
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  #10  
Old 04-11-2001, 03:28 PM
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As an independent I am also able to base each case on its merits.

It isn't likely that I will recieve a car and give it back repaired using customer supplied parts. On the other hand we do many labor only or labor intensive jobs where a rate is established to cover the lack of parts mark-up. These are almost always where warrantee to the actual car is not implied. In other words when we spend 15 minutes to press in the 2 balljoints we have covered the spread and have very little warrantee concerns.
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  #11  
Old 04-12-2001, 10:54 AM
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Well again today is another cold, wet day. So I won't be poking around the car today. In the last 2 weeks we have had really only one day where it was nice,warm and clear. Every other day has been either raining or cold with steady wind.
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1999 MB SL500 (101,000 mi)
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2004 Volvo V70 2.5T (205,000 mi)
2014 Tesla Model S 85 (75,000 mi)
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2001, 05:25 PM
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I wonder if on this model, you can remove the spindle from the car without compressing the coil spring. I am only familiar with the W123.

On the W123, I think you can support the car with a jack stand under the lower control arm right under the coil spring. Then remove the spindle.

If this is possible on your model, it could save some shop costs. The only shop costs would be the ball joint extraction, installation and then the allignment.
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2001, 01:30 AM
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Steve,

Can you comment on the overall rating of Euro aftermarket suspension parts. Lemforder, Febi-Bilstein, Meyle etc. Do you like one over the other or different Manufacturers for different parts? I have to replace the upper and lower control arm bushings on my 123 and would like to put in the best possible without the dealer mark-up.
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  #14  
Old 09-19-2001, 06:57 AM
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The shop I took mine to charged me $40 labor per side plus parts.
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  #15  
Old 09-19-2001, 09:22 AM
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I place the quality of the parts in the order you listed Lemforder, Febi, and................ Meyle. Meyle used to be a good manufacturer, but they were bought out and have become a reboxer.

I only use Lemforder, Febi and TRW-Germany. I use about 50% of all suspension pieces OE from MB direct. Many of the repair parts are relatively cheap from MB, I can't justify trying to save money on materials where labor costs are high.

As example take the motor mount used most commonly in 123/126 chassis cars: 123 241 30 13. It lists for $18. I can buy Lemforder for $9. I can buy from MB for 12.96. I charge 97.50 for labor. There is no percentage in it for me to risk the possibility of a mount with poorer construction or rubber content.
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