Rather than resurrect SChalmers “Has anyone ever replaced the ball joint for the sway bar link” thread Posted 12/18/2013, I just want to refer to mrelbe‘s post 4 & 8
which relate to my issue of a rumbling noise coming from the front suspension when driving over bumps or rough road. It was his posts which put me onto the source of my noise. The onset of this low rumble noise nuisance came on gradually but was getting more and more annoying by the day. So armed with the knowledge that mrelbe had solve his clanking noise by changing out the sway bar ball joints on his car that I could get rid of my rumbling as well.
New Lemforder Ball Joints:
I followed the steps in the WIS to get to the point of pressing the new ball joints into the spring control arm while they were still on the car. There is a special puller/press tool that MB has for doing the job without removing the control arm from the car. No matter how hard I tried with my ball joint R&I set, I could not get the old ball joint to even budge. I even hit it with my ½” impact gun and still it would not move. I did the ball joints in the steering knuckle with my tools so I know that they should be adequate for this smaller joint, but no.
(This picture shows my removal of the Lower Ball Joint in the steering knuckle to illustrate that my tools should have been adequate to drive out the smaller sway bar ball joint.)
So, on to plan "B":
Using the instructions in the WIS (attached), I removed the spring control arms from both sides fairly easily without too much difficultly although the tapered joints in the steering knuckle can be a bear to get at and then reassembled. It is all possible, however, with patience.
As you can see, the left side joint boot is split;
and upon further investigation, removing the boot retainer clip……
Bone dry, I have found the source of my rumble!
I took both control arms to my local auto machine shop to have the new joints installed. They have a 30 ton press so with a little grunting and groaning from the press and joints, they got changed out. The shop charged me $20 per side to R&I the joints. The cost of each joint was $23, so $43 per side total and of course, my time, which is priceless!
I reassembled everything, jacked up and set the front wheels on ramps to load the suspension and removed the jack stands. Then with torque wrench in hand, I proceeded to finish tighten and torque the control arm frame rubber bushings and sway bar link arms to spec.
Upon test driving, no more rumbling, what a difference! I am very very pleased with this outcome. The front end to me feels so much tighter. When something gradually fails, you forget how good it used to be! Hopefully, I can now put away my “heavy tools” for the winter, maybe!
Anyway, a fairly easy job if you just simply plan ahead to remove the control arms right away and let the shop do the R&I. I wasted half a day trying to custom make a bushing for my ball joint press then played around with all sorts of sleeve combinations only to run into a brick wall trying to press the joint out. I was determined to not have to remove the arms from the car but in finally having to do so, I learned an easy way to remove the set screws in the struts
so all was not lost!