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  #1  
Old 02-13-2021, 02:26 AM
Admiral Ahani's Avatar
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Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126

First of all, removal is done with a hammer and drift. I tried using my 20 ton press which did nothing (also it was very difficult to set up in the press for removal). Maybe a powerful air hammer would work but mine was too weak.

Installation requires a special tool. I've seen 3: the c-clamp, the special Mercedes clamp, and the 2 foot long pipe with the slot. I made my own long pipe tool using steel pipe from home depot, and tried it in the press. The pipe bent. Obviously the actual tool is hardened. Then I found this thread and did it this way with the clamp and removing the boot...
Ball Joint Nightmare - chapter 2

... but with a small change. I took the clamp apart and used it in my press with a straight rod instead of the threaded rod. I couldn't turn the threaded rod with a wrench, and I didn't like the idea of using an impact gun on it. It was very tricky setting it up, but once done, it went smoothly. I have a spacer (old bearing race) on the "bottom" of the spindle, to allow the ball joint to protrude once it seats fully. Then the spacer is topped by a flat piece (from the c-clamp kit), then above that is the re-bar which replaced the threaded rod.

Underneath, the ball joint boot has been removed and the clamp is put directly onto the ball joint (like in the link). The top of the clamp is put onto the large steel plates. So what's happening is the ball joint is staying stationary while the spindle is being pressed downwards until they seat together. This method worked great, but it took a lot of fiddling to keep everything square (i.e. coaxial) until it went in about 4-5mm, then it stayed aligned and I just pressed it in the rest of the way.

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Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126-w116-bj-01.jpg   Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126-w116-bj-02.jpg   Sharing my method for front ball joints - w116, w123, w126-w116-bj-03.jpg  
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Old 02-13-2021, 05:17 AM
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I really hate the idea of pounding them out. I haven't had to do any though and it's probably coming soon for my wagon build. I guess I'll have to see what I come up with. I do like the install setup. Looks good, repeatable. Luckily I have a small lathe so I can turn a rod to replace the rebar to help with alignment. I'll probably have to make a new cross bar for my press as well, it's not that wide.

I was so confused for a minute because my brain was seeing the press kit piece and the bearing race as a ball joint. At a glance it looks like a rubber boot with the rebar sticking in it.

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Old 02-14-2021, 12:59 PM
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Putting the new ball joint in the freezer over night helps along with heating the receiver (control arm). I use a heat gun but a propane torch, used with caution, works.
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Old 02-16-2021, 03:58 AM
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Ah, I've read that a hundred times but I always forget to do it! Maybe in 5 years when I need to do ball joints on some other stray Benz that I've "saved", and I've forgotten all about this thread and how to install BJs, I'll do a search and find this thread and read about freezing/heating and have a smoother time of it.


rwd4evr, yeah I really hesitated to hammer out the old joints, and tried everything else that I could think of first. But then I saw that the method in the factory manual is with a hammer. Once you've tried other things, and then use a hammer, you will see that that way is best.
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  #5  
Old 02-16-2021, 11:51 AM
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Ive used the same method as you admiral, removed boot used race to space then pressed in with ball joint c clamp press tool, but my neighbor modified
a press tool socket and now only need the big c lamp press and my tool to do the job , taking it out just use a big hammer like shop instructions say, pound it out , or I bought the round tubular tool and press it out with the c clamp

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