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  #1  
Old 02-20-2019, 05:51 PM
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How best to get this ball joint together

So everything is moving along real nicely and then I get stuck on getting the outer lower ball joint connected to the steering knuckle. Anyone care to lend a poor fellow a secret?

The floor jack doesn't seem to be doing it. What shall I do, what shall I do? Thanks

Dale
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1995 W124 Wagon

Dale

1995 E320 Wagon 185K
1988 260e Sedan 135K
2007 F-150 XLT 188K
2003 Harley Davidson FLTRI Anniversary 26K
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  #2  
Old 02-20-2019, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85 DSEL View Post
So everything is moving along real nicely and then I get stuck on getting the outer lower ball joint connected to the steering knuckle. Anyone care to lend a poor fellow a secret?

The floor jack doesn't seem to be doing it. What shall I do, what shall I do? Thanks

Dale
Did you widen the gap with a large screw driver/chisel before attempting install?

I also coat both ends with anti seize.

Jono

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  #3  
Old 02-20-2019, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jhodg5ck View Post
Did you widen the gap with a large screw driver/chisel before attempting install?

I also coat both ends with anti seize.

Jono

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk


No sir....

Thanks for that tip I should have thought of

Dale
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1995 W124 Wagon

Dale

1995 E320 Wagon 185K
1988 260e Sedan 135K
2007 F-150 XLT 188K
2003 Harley Davidson FLTRI Anniversary 26K
-----------------------------
2006 BMW 330Ci 110K - SOLD
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  #4  
Old 02-20-2019, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 85 DSEL View Post
No sir....

Thanks for that tip I should have thought of

Dale


Jono

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
__________________
Blue Ridge Mercedes
Jonathan Hodgman
http://www.blueridgemb.com/
Enthusiast Service, Restoration & Tuning.
Follow Us on Facebook!
Located in the Atlanta area
Specializing in all pre and post merger AMG's including Hammers and DOHC M117 engines.
Mercedes Repair Atlanta
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  #5  
Old 02-21-2019, 11:18 AM
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it helps to keep the wheel hub pointing forward, and just a smidge of levering it will allow the spindle to drop on the ball joint - making sure the whistle notch on it is aligned with the bolt hole.

those look like new control arms but not lemforder joints, the lemforder joints come with a white plastic boot.

btw when replacing these balljoints I remove the brake, hub and shield to get plain and clean access to the balljoint - that way any levering can be done from any angle.
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  #6  
Old 02-21-2019, 12:33 PM
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Another tip is I usually do these with the spring out then put the spring in with the merc compressor tool. If you do not have one available you can do it by unbolting the strut top to put the spring back in. I find that fighting the spring and working around the jack makes slotting the ball joint into the knuckle a real pain.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2019, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty190 View Post
Another tip is I usually do these with the spring out then put the spring in with the merc compressor tool. If you do not have one available you can do it by unbolting the strut top to put the spring back in. I find that fighting the spring and working around the jack makes slotting the ball joint into the knuckle a real pain.
odd, I have done about a dozen W124/201 ball joints and never had to fight it. I just plop the whole damper/knuckle assembly on the ball joint and it just slides in. Once tight I spray with some homebrew cavity wax made with beeswax to prevent rust.

no spring compressor used, I just let the lower arm rest on a jackstand.
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2019, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulfiqar View Post
odd, I have done about a dozen W124/201 ball joints and never had to fight it. I just plop the whole damper/knuckle assembly on the ball joint and it just slides in. Once tight I spray with some homebrew cavity wax made with beeswax to prevent rust.

no spring compressor used, I just let the lower arm rest on a jackstand.

I wonder if you have less rust there. I've had to fight it on all my 124s.
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Current:
'74 450SLC
'89 190E
'97 E320 (DM for parts)
'95 E420

Previous:
'94 E320
'87 300E
'73 350SL
'75 450SL
'95 C36
'99 C43 55 swap
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  #9  
Old 02-21-2019, 02:17 PM
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Sometimes more is less

Having done more than a couple of these jobs on both 124 and 201 cars, I do it a bit differently precisely because of this issue. The stud has to line up near perfectly to get things together correctly, that can be a real pain sometimes. It sounds like more to do up front but it often works out to be less in the long run.

I free the entire wheel carrier up. Disconnect the ABS sensor where it meets up in the engine compartment, dismount and hang the caliper. Disconnect the brake pad sensor wiring and the ABS wiring from the clips holding them to the shock. Un-bolt the three fasteners that attach the shock to the wheel carrier.

That will allow the shock to swing out of the way and with that done the wheel carrier to swing downward and outward giving good access to the bolt securing the wheel carrier pinch fixture to the ball joint's stud. That way the bolt can removed AND whatever force might need to be applied to get things apart. That mechanical connection is strong, tight and here in the rust belt can be corroded in place. And impact gun can be used to get the bolt loose and removable if needed.

Once that's accomplished the stud can be very solidly stuck in the pinch fixture of the wheel carrier. If so, a pickle fork can then be used to force the stud out of the fixture some times. I have a small tool that mounts to the wheel carrier and forces a wedge into the cut of the pinch fixture and thereby spreads the pinch. (https://www.ebay.com/itm/A-711-Hub-Clamp-Spreader-Tool-Ball-Joint-Shock-Strut-Steering-Knuckle-ASTA-TOOLS/222660647377?epid=1978636676&hash=item33d79bd9d1:g:3hcAAOSwJ41Zzj9g:rk:11:pf:0) I used to use a large cold chisel placed and hammered into the pinch cut to spread the pinch, until I witnessed another wrench doing the same thing probably too energetically and one side of the pinch fixture broke off.

Now I use the wedge tool on the pinch to get things apart and then leave it in place so it's easier to get things back together.

With the wheel carrier off the stud, R&R the ball joint or the LCA. Then you can rotate the stud to line the cut-out and tilt the stud outwards. With the stud in that position it is much easier to see what's going on, if things are lined up and you can much easier manipulate the wheel carrier into position to get it lined up on the stud.

Once the wheel carrier is on the stud I remove the wedge tool from the pinch fixture. Use a tapered punch to move the stud's cut-out into perfect alignment. Install a new MB pinch bolt, pack the pinch cutout with the thickest grease you've got. I live in the rust belt I always replace the pinch fixture bolt with an original MB bolt, small insurance for a very critical fastener in a very critical installation. Permatex Never-Seize on the ball joint stud and inside the pinch fixture.

Now you can sort of fold the wheel carrier into the upright position, compress the shock upwards and get the ears on the shock in position onto the wheel carrier and get the through bolt installed in place. The two threaded holes for the short 19 mm bolts below should be lined up now as well.

Get the fasteners torqued to specs, wiring reconnected, caliper reinstalled and you're good to go.

I usually put a spring compressor in place just tightened enough to take it's tension off the LCA, BUT I have done this task with the LCA blocked underneath assuring that the block you use is tall enough to allow the ball joint removal tool to get in position to allow the removal and installation of a new joint.

In this situation it's probably not worth it to take anything apart you'll just have to wrestle things into alignment in order to get things back together.

That's why and how I decided to do this R&R the way I do, I've been there and done that; but luckily I had the vehicle on a lift along with another pair or two of hands and pry bars that helped get things aligned in order to get things back together.

Oh yeah, KROIL on the fasteners for a couple days usually makes every suspension job a bit easier. You've really got to tug on those large suspension fasteners sometimes, a little lube makes life easier.
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  #10  
Old 02-21-2019, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty190 View Post
I wonder if you have less rust there. I've had to fight it on all my 124s.
Cars that have lived in the rust belt, will make one a believer!!!!
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  #11  
Old 02-21-2019, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mighty190 View Post
I wonder if you have less rust there. I've had to fight it on all my 124s.
not as much as the rust belt, just some light surface rust at most.
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2000 E320 - The evolution (consumed by flood 2017)
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2019, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by if6was9 View Post
Having done more than a couple of these jobs on both 124 and 201 cars, I do it a bit differently precisely because of this issue. The stud has to line up near perfectly to get things together correctly, that can be a real pain sometimes. It sounds like more to do up front but it often works out to be less in the long run.

I free the entire wheel carrier up. Disconnect the ABS sensor where it meets up in the engine compartment, dismount and hang the caliper. Disconnect the brake pad sensor wiring and the ABS wiring from the clips holding them to the shock. Un-bolt the three fasteners that attach the shock to the wheel carrier.

That will allow the shock to swing out of the way and with that done the wheel carrier to swing downward and outward giving good access to the bolt securing the wheel carrier pinch fixture to the ball joint's stud. That way the bolt can removed AND whatever force might need to be applied to get things apart. That mechanical connection is strong, tight and here in the rust belt can be corroded in place. And impact gun can be used to get the bolt loose and removable if needed.

Once that's accomplished the stud can be very solidly stuck in the pinch fixture of the wheel carrier. If so, a pickle fork can then be used to force the stud out of the fixture some times. I have a small tool that mounts to the wheel carrier and forces a wedge into the cut of the pinch fixture and thereby spreads the pinch. (https://www.ebay.com/itm/A-711-Hub-Clamp-Spreader-Tool-Ball-Joint-Shock-Strut-Steering-Knuckle-ASTA-TOOLS/222660647377?epid=1978636676&hash=item33d79bd9d1:g:3hcAAOSwJ41Zzj9g:rk:11:pf:0) I used to use a large cold chisel placed and hammered into the pinch cut to spread the pinch, until I witnessed another wrench doing the same thing probably too energetically and one side of the pinch fixture broke off.

Now I use the wedge tool on the pinch to get things apart and then leave it in place so it's easier to get things back together.

With the wheel carrier off the stud, R&R the ball joint or the LCA. Then you can rotate the stud to line the cut-out and tilt the stud outwards. With the stud in that position it is much easier to see what's going on, if things are lined up and you can much easier manipulate the wheel carrier into position to get it lined up on the stud.

Once the wheel carrier is on the stud I remove the wedge tool from the pinch fixture. Use a tapered punch to move the stud's cut-out into perfect alignment. Install a new MB pinch bolt, pack the pinch cutout with the thickest grease you've got. I live in the rust belt I always replace the pinch fixture bolt with an original MB bolt, small insurance for a very critical fastener in a very critical installation. Permatex Never-Seize on the ball joint stud and inside the pinch fixture.

Now you can sort of fold the wheel carrier into the upright position, compress the shock upwards and get the ears on the shock in position onto the wheel carrier and get the through bolt installed in place. The two threaded holes for the short 19 mm bolts below should be lined up now as well.

Get the fasteners torqued to specs, wiring reconnected, caliper reinstalled and you're good to go.

I usually put a spring compressor in place just tightened enough to take it's tension off the LCA, BUT I have done this task with the LCA blocked underneath assuring that the block you use is tall enough to allow the ball joint removal tool to get in position to allow the removal and installation of a new joint.

In this situation it's probably not worth it to take anything apart you'll just have to wrestle things into alignment in order to get things back together.

That's why and how I decided to do this R&R the way I do, I've been there and done that; but luckily I had the vehicle on a lift along with another pair or two of hands and pry bars that helped get things aligned in order to get things back together.

Oh yeah, KROIL on the fasteners for a couple days usually makes every suspension job a bit easier. You've really got to tug on those large suspension fasteners sometimes, a little lube makes life easier.
On some W124 I replaced the joints I found a small shim in the pinch fixture, it was shaped perfectly too. I just install it back and torque it down.

To seal that pinch cavity, you should try some fluid film or some homebrew cavity wax or actual cavity wax. A generous coating 2 or 3 times makes it really packed.

I do nearly the same job you mention, but with a difference, I remove the brake and hub - then remove the whole strut assembly and spindle. That way I refresh the bearings too, usually the grease is toasted too.
__________________
2012 BMW X5 (Beef + Granite suspension model)

1995 E300D - The original humming machine (consumed by Flood 2017)
2000 E320 - The evolution (consumed by flood 2017)
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  #13  
Old 02-21-2019, 04:08 PM
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Thanks guys for all your help/advice, it has helped.

This wax sealant that is referred to, is there a recipe here on the forum or will one of you share yours? I have some bees wax, but not sure what else it might need. Do I simply melt it and figure out a way to get it poured into the pinch gap? First time doing this job, hence the questions

Dale
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1995 W124 Wagon

Dale

1995 E320 Wagon 185K
1988 260e Sedan 135K
2007 F-150 XLT 188K
2003 Harley Davidson FLTRI Anniversary 26K
-----------------------------
2006 BMW 330Ci 110K - SOLD
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  #14  
Old 02-21-2019, 05:05 PM
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I never got around to making up my own recipe but for other purposes I've seen people melt paraffin and then add to it Vaseline, depending on the ratio you can get the viscosity you need somewhere between the two original substances.

On that principle maybe beeswax melted and a suitable oil added in order to soften the wax to the extent it's sticky and even tacky. I've seen arborist grafting wax that would bee a good consistency. Warming the area would probably help a bit. Hopefully someone who has actually don this will share their family recipe.

Mercedes probably has a spec'd material just for this application somewhere in its database!
Quote:
Originally Posted by 85 DSEL View Post
Thanks guys for all your help/advice, it has helped.

This wax sealant that is referred to, is there a recipe here on the forum or will one of you share yours? I have some bees wax, but not sure what else it might need. Do I simply melt it and figure out a way to get it poured into the pinch gap? First time doing this job, hence the questions

Dale
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  #15  
Old 02-21-2019, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulfiqar View Post
On some W124 I replaced the joints I found a small shim in the pinch fixture, it was shaped perfectly too. I just install it back and torque it down.

To seal that pinch cavity, you should try some fluid film or some homebrew cavity wax or actual cavity wax. A generous coating 2 or 3 times makes it really packed.

I do nearly the same job you mention, but with a difference, I remove the brake and hub - then remove the whole strut assembly and spindle. That way I refresh the bearings too, usually the grease is toasted too.
cavity wax that is a good idea. Yeah the way you do it is a good opportunity to get something often neglected up to snuff most efficiently.
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