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A Simple Guide to Replacing Your Front Wishbone on your Mercedes Benz
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

A Simple Guide to Replacing Your Front Wishbone on your Mercedes Benz

Steve Vernon

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$230

Talent:

**

Tools:

Jack, jack stands, 22mm, 19mm, 17mm socket and wrenches, Mercedes-Benz Spring Compressor BM-924-0231

Applicable Models:

 
Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)
Mercedes-Benz W126 (1981-91)
Mercedes-Benz W201 (1984-93)

Parts Required:

New Wishbones

Hot Tip:

Loosen your wheels before lifting the car

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

New struts

There are several components on the W201 front wishbone that will wear out over time. These include the ball joint and the two bushings that attach the wishbone to the chassis. While there is a chance that one will go before the others, we have found that if you need to replace one of the front wishbone components it is easier to just replace the entire wishbone itself. The new wishbone comes with both new bushings and ball joints. While this may seem overkill if you just want to replace the one part, by the time you remove the wishbone and either purchase the special tools needed or send it out to have the work done, it is easier and cheaper in the long run to just replace the whole unit.

You are going to have to remove the spring to remove the wishbone and removing the springs requires the use of a special Mercedes-Benz tool; a heavy duty internal spring compressor. I highly recommend that you use the spring compressor tool as the springs are under a tremendous amount of pressure and can cause serious damage to both you and the car if not compressed correctly. I have yet to be able to find a spring compressor tool at a local parts store that can properly and safely compress the springs on a Mercedes-Benz to my satisfaction.

The first step is to raise the vehicle and secure it properly on jack stands. Please refer to our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Jacking Up Your Benz for more information. Once secured, remove the under engine tray and the front wheel. . On a side note here, lately I have been using a wheel hanger tool whenever I remove the wheels from the car. It simply screws into one of the stud holes and holds the tire in place while you remove the remaining studs, it also makes re installing the tire a snap as all you do is place the tire over the tool and it slides right into place. Pelican Parts sells them and I wish I had bought one years ago. There is nothing worse than finishing up a job on your car and the struggling to get the tire back on, especially if you are working in the weather.

After the wheel is removed, you'll see all the components that make up the front suspension; which include the sway or torsion bar, the spring, the two wishbone bushings and the ball joint. The next step is to place a floor jack under the front control arm. Raise the floor jack to support the control arm while making sure you do not lift the car off the jack stands or make it unstable.

Remove the sway bar from its mount on the front of the wishbone.

Next you will need to remove the spring. Place the spring compressor plate as high up as possible into the springs. Place the lower plate as far down on the spring as possible. There should be a minimum of 7 1/2 coils between the plates. Feed the compressor strut through the access hole on the bottom of the control arm, rotate it to lock into the upper plate. Once secured, use a 19mm socket and turn the tool. It will compress the springs as it turns. With the spring safely compressed, slightly lower the front control arm on the jack and remove the front spring along with the rubber mount in a forward direction.

Move to the two bushings that connect the wishbone to the chassis. There are eccentric pins on both bushings. You should mark these where they sit in relation to the frame. This will help you get the suspension close to alignment when you install the new wishbone. Note: You can only torque the bearings down when the car is back down on the wheels on the ground. If you tighten them while the car is in the air the alignment will be off.

With the eccentric pins marked, loosen then remove the nuts, bolt and washer, and lower the wishbone away from the chassis.

Next, remove the nut and bolt that holds the ball joint in the steering knuckle. One side of the ball joint stud will have a cut out that the retaining bolt passes through. Because of the location of the ball joint there may be a bit of corrosion. You can widen the slot in the steering knuckle that the ball joint sits in and spray some lubricant in there, also there is a good chance you will need to use a ball joint separator or pickle fork to separate them.

Our project car's suspension was not in healthy shape, yet the ball joint slipped right out of the steering knuckle without any effort. Clean the clamping joint well before installing the new ball joint. When installing the joint make sure the cut out section lines up with the bolt. The upper ball joint is made out of hardened steel and if you try and force the bolt through when it is not lined up you can damage the ball joint, bolt, sleeve and yourself.

With the ball joint installed, swing the wishbone up into the frame and reinstall the eccentric bolt, washer and nut, making sure to line them up as best you can, remember the car needs to be back on the ground before you do torque anything to specs.

The rest of the installation is the reverse of removal.

Here is a new wishbone.
Figure 1

Here is a new wishbone. It comes with new bushings where it mounts to the chassis (green arrows), clean threads on the sway/torsion bar mount (red arrow), and a new ball joint (yellow arrow).

With the car safely supported off the ground, place a floor jack under the control arm.
Figure 2

With the car safely supported off the ground, place a floor jack under the control arm.

Undo the two nuts holding the sway/torsion bar to the front of the wishbone and remove the bracket.
Figure 3

Undo the two nuts holding the sway/torsion bar to the front of the wishbone and remove the bracket.

This is a picture of the special Mercedes-Benz Spring compressor tool.
Figure 4

This is a picture of the special Mercedes-Benz Spring compressor tool. Use extreme care when compressing and removing the springs.

Place the Mercedes-Benz spring compressor plate as high up as possible into the springs (red arrow).
Figure 5

Place the Mercedes-Benz spring compressor plate as high up as possible into the springs (red arrow). Place the lower plate as far down on the spring as possible (red arrow). There should be a minimum of 7 1/2 coils between the plates. Feed the compressor strut through the access hole on the bottom of the control arm (yellow arrow); rotate it to lock into the upper plate. Once secured, use a 19mm socket and turn the tool. It will compress the springs as it turns. With the springs safely compressed, slightly lower the front control arm on the jack and remove the front spring along with the rubber mount in a forward direction (insert lower right).

There are two eccentric bolts and nuts (red arrows) that you need to remove connecting the wishbone to the chassis.
Figure 6

There are two eccentric bolts and nuts (red arrows) that you need to remove connecting the wishbone to the chassis. Scribe the eccentric first so you can get the alignment close when reinstalling

With the eccentrics scribed or marked (green arrow) use two 22mm sockets to loosen and remove the hardware.
Figure 7

With the eccentrics scribed or marked (green arrow) use two 22mm sockets to loosen and remove the hardware.

With the eccentrics removed the wishbone will swing down and out of the chassis.
Figure 8

With the eccentrics removed the wishbone will swing down and out of the chassis.

Remove the 19mm nut and bolt on the clamping sleeve to the ball joint (red arrow).
Figure 9

Remove the 19mm nut and bolt on the clamping sleeve to the ball joint (red arrow). You need to slide the bolt out of the sleeve as there is a groove cut in the spindle of the ball joint that the bolt sits in. You may need a pickle fork or ball joint separator to remove it from the steering knuckle (green arrow).

This photo illustrates the groove cut in the spindle on the ball joint (red arrow).
Figure 10

This photo illustrates the groove cut in the spindle on the ball joint (red arrow). You must make sure this is lined up when installing the ball joint or the bolt will not go through the clamping sleeve. Installation is the reverse of removal. Remember the car must be back on its wheels on the ground before torquing the bushings to their final specs.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Steve Comments: Hi, can the eccentric bolts be reused or should they be renewed?
Thanks
Steve
August 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They can be reused. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mike Comments: I would like to replace the ball joint and bushing on my W201 190D. As a whole new wishbone for both sides seems pricey. Apart from the ball joint itself, the two other bushings, are they identical to each other or both are different? Id like to purchase a set for both front left and right side wishbones.
August 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think they are the same. Not 100% sure though. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Vasily Comments: I cannot seem to find the part number for the entire wishbone...would you be able to help please?
August 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Grey Fox Comments: I'm looking at this and I'm wondering why I can't just replace the ball joint. Parts houses can't find the ball joint by itself and internet is asking 500-600 for the whole wishbone. I'm really likeing the idea of a forty dollar fix. Any advice to get me on the road cheaper?
May 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't believe the ball joint is available separately. We may have more affordable options. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
mb200D1980 Comments: Thanks for quick response.
Yes, I suppose if I cut of the arms at the bushing housing I will get good access to use an angle grider. Or is that too drastic?
May 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What I meant was, cut the bushing and the bolt out together. Not the arms.Once you cut the bushing and bolt, you can remove the arm, then replace with new. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MB200D1980 Comments: Since the balljoint was worn out on my W124, I was planning to replace the comple whishbone as recomended in the article. However both of the eccentric bolts seems to be stuck in the bushings. As the steel bushings inside the rubber parts are somewhat like 2 inches it seems very hard to get some penetrating oil to do the trick here.
Any sugestions?
May 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If they won't come loose with elbow grease and penetrating oil, I usually cut the bushing and bolt, then remove the arm. Replace the bolts with new when reinstalling. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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