Sway bar Ball Joint Replacement cured my front end rumble - Mercedes-Benz Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Sway bar Ball Joint Replacement cured my front end rumble

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!


Bob
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File Type: pdf install spring control arm on front axle.pdf (170.3 KB, 558 views)

Last edited by mercy-me; 11-09-2014 at 04:39 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 05:19 AM
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Bob,

Great post on refreshing the front suspension! I also try to stick with Lemfoerder in replacing suspension parts on our three MB. Slightly more expensive, but great quality parts.

Squeaking and groaning can also be a symptom of a torn control arm bushing. Replacing the entire lower control arm can be pricey ($190), but an added benefit is that both the bushing and the sway bar ball joint are refreshed at the same time. For clarity, a old/new pairing of control arms shown below with the sway bar ball joint shown parallel to the deck.

Tips for undoing and restoring the bushing connection on the control arm.
1) Hard rubber ribs (aka bushing cam lobes) are used to center and align the car. You must check the position of the ribs before removing the control arm if an eccentric bolt has been used. (An inspection mirror helps)
2) Then match mark or photograph the positioning prior to removal to keep alignment of the car during reinstallation.
3) Don't hammer in the eccentric or normal body bolt for the control arm - it will destroy the rubber ribs and your alignment. (An eccentric bolt has slots down the length and means the car has been aligned to the left or right - see photo. A normal bolt is without slots, and means the car has been aligned down the center of the ribs/cam lobes)
4) The final torque of the control arm bushing carrier should be done with the car on ramps. Torquing with the wheels hanging down will result in premature failure of the bushing.

Mike
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Last edited by atmsmshr; 11-10-2014 at 12:17 AM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Mike, thanks for the additional information, greatly appreciated.

Quote:
Squeaking and groaning can also be a symptom of a torn control arm bushing. Replacing the entire lower control arm can be pricey ($190), but an added benefit is that both the bushing and the sway bar ball joint are refreshed at the same time.
Had I have known at the onset that I was going to have to remove the Control Arms, I would have opted for knew ones instead of just doing the sway bar ball joints. It would have been cost effective to have all new replacements.

On my originals, the strut ball joint rubber boot was intact and not torn, the ball joint itself was free with no catches and the frame mount rubber bushings also appeared to be in good shape . If I can get another couple of years service without problems then mission accomplished. Hopefully, my front suspension work is done for now.

Thanks again,

Bob
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercy-me View Post
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:

[IMG]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-hv2FY9AZIm0/VF5xUvGX1YI

/AAAAAAAABf0/yT9UiJFwzPY/w744-h558-no/P1030189.JPG[/IMG]

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!


Bob
Hey
It is the resurrect SChalmers here.
Mine was done on the car. Just which I picked up the sway bar links at the same time. I actually ended up bringing mine to a friends shop to do. Was pretty easy just used a standard ball joint press that was screw operated. It clear my rattle up. I need to replace my sway bar links noticed they did not look great when we did the ball joints. Did not have them when the ball joints were being installed. They were worn I am just getting a very slight rattle now. So when I switch the summer wheels and tires to the winter rims and tires I will do them and brakes at the same time. Also the air filter for the AIRMATIC compressor.

The indie shop did a quick and easy test to see if it was the sway bar ball joints.
He hit the back of the ball joint with a ball pein hammer to tighten it up rattle was gone. Not a fix as the rattle came back in about a month.

I would rather push a Benz then drive anything else.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2014, 11:29 AM
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To the Encyclopedia!!! Thanks, Bob.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 05:46 AM
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To add to this I have just replaced the front sway bar on my 2002 S430, bushes were shot. The previous owner must have had trouble with noise from them as they were both wrapped is inner tube rubber. I had replaced the bushes with some from a 300C as they are a perfect fit (if only the didn't let the bar slide from side to side by about 10mm), but they were only ever to be temp while I waited for my new sway bar to come from Germany. Big difference in price from the Dealer one costs $700, local wreaker for a good one $400 and I got mine from an online retailer $330 new. For reference after replacing the lower control arms, ball joints, torsion arms I was still getting noise from my front end. Not anymore new sway bar and end links and now it rides and sounds like an S-Class.

Dean
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2018, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercy-me View Post
Mike, thanks for the additional information, greatly appreciated.

Had I have known at the onset that I was going to have to remove the Control Arms, I would have opted for knew ones instead of just doing the sway bar ball joints. It would have been cost effective to have all new replacements.

Bob

Replacing bushings and ball joints still cost less than buying new LCA. If you need to have Genuine MB parts.
But if you DIY and only go for OEM (Lemforder) it will cost little less.

My W211 Genuine MB LCA cost $700 for both side. Doing 4 bushings and 2 ball joints cost $105 for Genuine MB parts and $120 for machine shop.

Just had Thrust rod bushings replaced along with new boots after 115K miles. My indy shop also said LCA bushing will need replaced soon.

How is your sway bar ball joints perform so far?
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