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Todays' Job: Radiator Replacement, Control Arm Bushings

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For the last few months, I've had a coolant leak where I've had to add some every other drive. It was coming from where the top hose is connected to the radiator. I tried replacing the o-ring, but that did not help. It was hard to see, but I figured it was a tiny crack in the plastic in that area. I bought a Nissens radiator for $120 and swapped it in today and all is well. It was a fairly easy job, except for blind access to bolts holding brackets for unrelated hoses to the sides of the radiator.

My other job was going to be replacing all four control arm frame bushings. I got ONE done - the left side front one that is fluid-filled and leaked oil all over the garage floor. I've done these before on other cars without a hydraulic press or the "special tools". I generally cut or beat the old bushing out, then with the new bushing overnight in the freezer, it slips right in. Well, not this one! I had to beat the new one in place - it took several hours. I think I'm going to buy a press for the others.

Ohm and I noticed it's also time for new front brakes. Good grief!
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2005 SL 500 R230
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From what I can see, the lower control arm bushings are hydraulic but the castor arm bushes are not. I've just done my castor arms, but replaced the whole arm as one of the ball joint boots was shot.

I bought this to do the LCA bushings but haven't done them yet:


I am concerned that I won't be able to separate the strut ball joint from the lower control arm without damaging the strut ball joint boot. How did you get your struts off without damaging the boot? I have a ball joint removal tool.
 

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2009 SL550
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I just ordered all the parts to do mine. All lower control arms and Upper control arms bushings. Upper and lower ball joints. Along with inner and outer tie rod ends. I also was looking into replacing the strut ball joints but have not found a replacement part. damaging the boot is a concern. This tool might be the answer. even if I have to grind it down a little. Or maybe the old school of threading on the nut and pounding it out.
New Universal Auto 19mm Ball Joint Separator Remover Removal Tool | eBay
 

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I had the same problem, a teeney tiny crack just above the connector. I spent days with the connector and the o-ring. Finally saw the crack when doing a pressure test. Bought a new Nissens radiator and it leaked where the black plastic meets the aluminum body. Just sprung for a Behr after that and no problems.
 

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2005 SL 500 R230
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352 Posts
I just ordered all the parts to do mine. All lower control arms and Upper control arms bushings. Upper and lower ball joints. Along with inner and outer tie rod ends. I also was looking into replacing the strut ball joints but have not found a replacement part. damaging the boot is a concern. This tool might be the answer. even if I have to grind it down a little. Or maybe the old school of threading on the nut and pounding it out.
New Universal Auto 19mm Ball Joint Separator Remover Removal Tool | eBay


I have that and will try it first. One of my castor arms was stuck really tight - the other one just popped off, so I'm of course worried one or both of my struts is going to be on really tight. Are the ball joint boots available and replaceable? It would be good to have some on hand in advance if anyone knows if replacements exist.
 

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2009 SL550
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I just ordered all the parts to do mine. All lower control arms and Upper control arms bushings. Upper and lower ball joints. Along with inner and outer tie rod ends. I also was looking into replacing the strut ball joints but have not found a replacement part. damaging the boot is a concern. This tool might be the answer. even if I have to grind it down a little. Or maybe the old school of threading on the nut and pounding it out.
New Universal Auto 19mm Ball Joint Separator Remover Removal Tool | eBay


I have that and will try it first. One of my castor arms was stuck really tight - the other one just popped off, so I'm of course worried one or both of my struts is going to be on really tight. Are the ball joint boots available and replaceable? It would be good to have some on hand in advance if anyone knows if replacements exist.
I have found the strut ball joints for non amg and amg up to 2006 no good for me with a 2007 Sl65. Boots should be easy. Just have to measure and research. None listed as mercedes replacements.still looking.
 

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I will get under, measure them and order spare boots to have on hand before I do the job.

The Car Wizard replaced his strut ball joints at

***

Possibly the V12s wear the strut ball joints more quickly due to the extra mass loading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a tool like this for the ball joints. The boot will slide up on the shaft to give plenty of clearance for the fork not to damage it.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had the same problem, a teeney tiny crack just above the connector. I spent days with the connector and the o-ring. Finally saw the crack when doing a pressure test. Bought a new Nissens radiator and it leaked where the black plastic meets the aluminum body. Just sprung for a Behr after that and no problems.
I have only driven a few miles on the Nissens radiator and no leaks, but I'll keep an eye on it. The Behr was not much more expensive, I just chose the Nssens because I could get it quickly.
 

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I'm sure the Nissens is a great quality radiator and should last ten years probably! When I first bought my 2004 SL600, I feared that a radiator might become impossible to obtain, so I bought a new one to have "just in case", which, of course, is still in my garage. It is a Spectra Premium, and that thing cost over $400!!! I'm afraid to look and find that it is probably less expensive to buy one now. I always did buy parts way before I needed them, I even had brake rotors and pads for cars that never needed new brakes, and those cars have been traded in on newer replacements although I still have their brakes! It's an obsession maybe? For my S-Class that I bought three and a half years ago, I've had new front brake discs and pads for that car in my garage for two years now, and there's no sign of needing them replaced, yet! But I think this radiator will fit ANY R230. And I have quit buying parts until they are actually needed, my new rule is if it ain't going on the car within ten days after receipt, don't buy it.
 

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I'll get down there soon and give it a go. I have the same tool but the issue I found with the castor arms is that it's a very awkward angle in there to hit it with a hammer.

As I found out the way to use the ball joint splitter is to screw it up pretty tight then give it a bang with a hammer, right above where the tool arm presses on the ball joint thread. If the ball joint is stuck pretty tight then just compressing the tool won't dislodge it - you have to combine the tension of the tool with the old 'gentle persuader' to free it. I don't want to put any heat on the LCA for fear of burning up the boot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I just put a socket on that ball join tool and start wrenching. Of course it's always a bit scary because when it finally releases, it's with a big bang and the tool and wrench drop to the floor. One time in my life I shattered one of these tools, so it's always a "nail biter" for me.
 

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I have a tool like this for the ball joints. The boot will slide up on the shaft to give plenty of clearance for the fork not to damage it.

View attachment 2767214
There is no way to get that tool in there at least on my 07 sl65 without some major grinding.
I noticed the pic you posted of the tool is much thinner fork than the one i have. might have to look for a thinner one or grind the one I have.
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That was my original concern.

Grinding down the fork may well weaken it to the point where it cracks or bends before the ball joint cracks loose. I'll look around for a thinner one like Rodney's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@NHSL550 The SL65 is a different system. The SL550 uses traditional ball joints with convoluted rubber boots that can easily be slid up the shaft 1/4 of an inch to clear the tool.
 

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I'll get in there again soon and have a poke around. Maybe the cheap tool I bought will work OK...

It's too cold here to work on my car at the moment.
 
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