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Pelican Technical Article:

Cross Strut Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$35 to $200

Talent:

****

Tools:

21mm, 16mm socket, 21mm, 10mm wrench, E14, E10 Torx, T30 Torx, ball joint splitter, press

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz C250 (2012-14)
Mercedes-Benz C300 (2008-14)
Mercedes-Benz C350 (2008-14)

Parts Required:

Cross strut control arm

Hot Tip:

Pre-soak rusted bolts in penetrant oil

Performance Gain:

Better steering

Complementary Modification:

New tie rods

The control arms on the front suspension of the Mercedes W204 will wear out over time. If you are feeling a loss of tightness in the front suspension the best thing to do is safely get under the vehicle and preform a visual inspection. If the pressed in rubber bearing on the cross strut control arm is starting to go bad you will see that it is not sitting symmetrically in the strut or cross-member and if it has failed you will be able to see missing rubber. If it looks like it is going safely raise and support the vehicle and check for any movement in the bearing

Mercedes makes a special hydraulic bearing press for removing and installing the bearing in the chassis end of the strut but I was not able to remove the bearing using a standard set of bearing removal tools and needed to completely remove the strut and use a press to replace the bearing. This article will show you how to replace the complete arm as well as just the bearing.

Note: Mercedes considers all of the hardware to be single use only and must be replaced with new.

The cross strut control arm (red arrow) connects the steering knuckle (blue arrow) to the rear section of the sub-frame (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

The cross strut control arm (red arrow) connects the steering knuckle (blue arrow) to the rear section of the sub-frame (yellow arrow). If you are just going to replace the rubber bushing end at the cross frame you may not need to remove the entire strut but just loosen it from the cross-member and press it out. Mercedes uses a special hydraulic portable press and I was not able to press it from the strut with the bearing removal tools I had, so I removed the complete cross strut. You will follow these instructions if you are replacing the complete strut or pressing it out in a press.

Use a 16mm socket on the large E-Torx bolt (red arrow) and a 21mm wrench and remove the mounting hardware from the strut to cross member.
Figure 2

Use a 16mm socket on the large E-Torx bolt (red arrow) and a 21mm wrench and remove the mounting hardware from the strut to cross member.

Mercedes uses a special hydraulic portable press to replace the bushing/bearing and I and was not able to press it from the strut with the bearing removal tools I had, so I removed the complete cross strut.
Figure 3

Mercedes uses a special hydraulic portable press to replace the bushing/bearing and I and was not able to press it from the strut with the bearing removal tools I had, so I removed the complete cross strut.

Begin by removing the brake caliper (hang them safely out of the way), caliper mounts, rotors and sensor wiring.
Figure 4

Begin by removing the brake caliper (hang them safely out of the way), caliper mounts, rotors and sensor wiring. Please see our articles on these procedures for additional assistance.

Next you will need to remove the wheel hub and bearings (red arrow) from the spindle on the knuckle (yellow arrow).
Figure 5

Next you will need to remove the wheel hub and bearings (red arrow) from the spindle on the knuckle (yellow arrow). Please see our articles on these procedures for further instruction.

Use an E10 Torx and remove the three screws (red arrows) holding the dust shield in place and remove the shield.
Figure 6

Use an E10 Torx and remove the three screws (red arrows) holding the dust shield in place and remove the shield.

There is an ABS speed sensor in the knuckle that needs to be removed by using a 10mm wrench from behind (yellow arrow) and then pull the sensor (red arrow) out from the back of the knuckle.
Figure 7

There is an ABS speed sensor in the knuckle that needs to be removed by using a 10mm wrench from behind (yellow arrow) and then pull the sensor (red arrow) out from the back of the knuckle.

Remove the tie rod by inserting a T30 Torx in the top of the tie rod stud (yellow arrow) and then use a 21mm wrench to remove the nut (red arrow).
Figure 8

Remove the tie rod by inserting a T30 Torx in the top of the tie rod stud (yellow arrow) and then use a 21mm wrench to remove the nut (red arrow).

Ball joints are held in place with a surprising amount of force and while you can whack away at the top of the joint with a hammer you really run the risk of bending and/or damaging a part of the suspension.
Figure 9

Ball joints are held in place with a surprising amount of force and while you can whack away at the top of the joint with a hammer you really run the risk of bending and/or damaging a part of the suspension. Make sure to use the proper tool; a ball joint separator (red arrow) will make quick and easy work of separating the joint. Note: do not get any part of yourself around the joint when separating as it has a tendency to let go with substantial force.

Even though you have removed the tie rod ball joint, you may want to leave it loosely in the knuckle while you remove the other nuts.
Figure 10

Even though you have removed the tie rod ball joint, you may want to leave it loosely in the knuckle while you remove the other nuts. The cross strut control arm has a ball joint (red arrow) on the end that attaches to the steering knuckle with the nut on top (yellow arrow). I could not break the nut loose as the steering knuckle was in the way of a socket and I could not get enough space to get a 21mm wrench in there, so I loosened the steering knuckle.

Use an E14 and remove the two E14 bolts connecting the rear of the knuckle to the strut (red arrow, one shown).
Figure 11

Use an E14 and remove the two E14 bolts connecting the rear of the knuckle to the strut (red arrow, one shown).

Next use 16mm socket on the large E-Torx bolt (yellow arrow) and a 21mm socket and remove the top nut from the knuckle to strut (red arrow).
Figure 12

Next use 16mm socket on the large E-Torx bolt (yellow arrow) and a 21mm socket and remove the top nut from the knuckle to strut (red arrow).

Finally use a 21mm socket and extension to remove the nut on the top of the ball joint on the cross strut (red arrow).
Figure 13

Finally use a 21mm socket and extension to remove the nut on the top of the ball joint on the cross strut (red arrow). You may have to counter hold the ball joint stud with a T30 Torx.

Use a ball joint separator to separate the cross strut from the steering knuckle (red arrow).
Figure 14

Use a ball joint separator to separate the cross strut from the steering knuckle (red arrow). Support the weight of the steering knuckle with a jack once you have the control arm off and use care not to scratch or damage the spindle (yellow arrow).

If you are replacing the complete control arm, installation is the reverse of removal and do not forget you will need to get the alignment done on the vehicle.
Figure 15

If you are replacing the complete control arm, installation is the reverse of removal and do not forget you will need to get the alignment done on the vehicle.

If you are pressing out the old bearing and a new one in, begin by placing the new bearing in the freezer overnight.
Figure 16

If you are pressing out the old bearing and a new one in, begin by placing the new bearing in the freezer overnight. The same constriction caused by freezing the bearing will help when it comes time to press it in.

Take the arm to your press and press out the old bearing and insert a new one in.
Figure 17

Take the arm to your press and press out the old bearing and insert a new one in. Remember, you must support the underside of the arm with a tool strong enough to support the pressure from the press (red arrow) and you need a socket large enough to sit on the outside of the metal section of the bearing and small enough to be able to pass through the opening in the control arm (yellow arrow). It takes a lot of pressure to remove and install these so make sure you are taking all the safety precautions like safety glasses, keeping your body away from pinch points and make sure everything in the press is level and the forces are even. Installation is the reverse of removal and you will need to get the vehicle's alignment checked after you are finished.

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