Date registered: Jan 2012
Vehicle: 1991 560sl / 1987 300TDT / 1995 E300D / 1994 S350D / 1993 300SD /Cummins Diesel PU /2 airplanes
Location: Bay area
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Sorry some people here have been rude to you for just asking a question. There are some very knowledgeable people here that can help you and are very generous with their time but there are a few others that seem to have "issues". Try to ignore the rude posts as these people usually can't help you anyway.
Of course, it's impossible to exactly diagnose a sound like your hearing, over the internet but from what you said I would check it myself or take the car to a reputable shop and have the ball joints and entire front end examined for wear. There are a lot of moving parts under there but this could very well be a warning sign that the boots around the ball joints are torn and have allowed water into the joint. If the ball joints are the cause of this noise you need to replace them ASAP!
These are maintenance free ball joints, no grease fitting, when they are bad they must be replaced.
Check out the W-124 forum as this problem, procedure, cause etc... has been discussed ad nauseam. Not to cause you undue alarm but your front wheel axle could literally become disconnected if the ball joint separates. This has happened to several members here including myself.
Don't ignore this as it could be life threatening. If this were my car I would guess 90+ % that it's the ball joints. I ONLY use OEM ball joints when replacing these. I think it's Mercedes part #124-333-0327 . The job is not that difficult IF you have the correct press tools and some experience, most are easy some are a PITA!. Depending on the age and wear, you might find that you also need control arm bushings, tie rod ends etc...water could have gotten into the wheel bearings if the seals are bad. If you have no experience in this at all, take the car to a good shop you trust, that knows these cars. IMO, absolutely insist on Original Equipment Mercedes replacement ball joints. They are fairly inexpensive online.
Use the search function to look for W-124 ball joint replacement and you should find more than enough information to cause you to have this addressed very quickly.
Last edited by Rudolf Diesel; 03-12-2012 at 03:06 AM.