Mercedes-Benz Parts Catalog Mercedes-Benz Accessories Catalog Mercedes-Benz Technical Articles Mercedes-Benz Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
Front Upper Ball Joint Replacement
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

Front Upper Ball Joint Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$250

Talent:

***

Tools:

13mm socket with ratchet, 16mm (2), 19mm wrenches, ball joint removal tool or separating fork

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W211 (2003-09)

Parts Required:

Front upper control arm

Hot Tip:

Put a magnet on the wrench you are using to hold the fasteners while removing

Performance Gain:

Longer tire life and eliminate suspension noise

Complementary Modification:

Change lower ball joint at the same time

As you drive your car your front suspension needs to do two jobs. It needs to pivot left and right in the direction you want to turn. It also needs to move up and down with suspension movement. Bushings are not capable of this kind of flexibility. In rear suspensions you can use more bushings because there is no left to right steering movement. Ball joints are used to allow the steering angle to change with any up and down movement of the suspension. Mercedes-Benz uses two control arms, an upper and a lower to allow the spindle to move up and down with suspension movement and still allow the steering input to pivot the spindle. The lower ball joint is serviceable separately. The upper ball joint is built into the upper control arm. This means to service this component you need to replace the whole upper control arm. With all this left and right movement and up and down suspension movements these ball joints can wear out. When a ball joint wears out the spindle is allowed to move around while driving causing noises during suspension movement and also uneven tire wear. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to remove the upper control arm with built in upper ball joint.

These fasteners are going to be tight and there may not be a lot of room to swing the wrench. You are going to have to be patient and use some force to remove fasteners and components to rebuild your front end. Corrosion may hold a component in even after you have loosened a fastener. Keep in mind the joint may pop out when you use a removal tool so keep your hands clear and wear protective gloves.

Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle. You have to remove the tires to perform this job and it does make access much easier since you may not have access to an automotive lift. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle and removing the front tires.

The procedure to replace the front upper ball joint is the same for both the left and right side. In these pictures we are working on the left side. Keep in mind all the steps apply to both sides. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches

This picture illustrates the top of the left side wheel well.
Figure 1

This picture illustrates the top of the left side wheel well. Remove the 19mm fastener that attaches the upper ball joint to the spindle.

Using a ball joint removal tool separate the ball joint from the upper spindle.
Figure 2

Using a ball joint removal tool separate the ball joint from the upper spindle. You can also use a separating fork if you do not have a ball joint removal tool.

To remove the upper control arm, we have to remove the two 16mm fasteners (green arrows) that mount it to the body.
Figure 3

To remove the upper control arm, we have to remove the two 16mm fasteners (green arrows) that mount it to the body. The one on the left is hidden behind the spring. Even if you loosened the fasteners all the way you could not pull them out because they would hit the spring of the coil-over shock. We will have to lower the shock to remove them, see the following steps.

Use a jack and support the lower control arm.
Figure 4

Use a jack and support the lower control arm. Remove the three 13mm fasteners (green arrows) that mount the strut to the body.

This picture illustrates the left side of the engine compartment looking at the strut housing.
Figure 5

This picture illustrates the left side of the engine compartment looking at the strut housing. Locate the front upper control arm fastener (green arrow)

Using a 16mm wrench (green arrow) hold the front upper control arm fasteners still while loosening the front fastener pointed out inPicture 3.
Figure 6

Using a 16mm wrench (green arrow) hold the front upper control arm fasteners still while loosening the front fastener pointed out inPicture 3.

This picture illustrates the left side of the engine compartment by the rear.
Figure 7

This picture illustrates the left side of the engine compartment by the rear. We have removed the brake master cylinder reservoir for photographic purposes. You may want to do it to gain access to the rear upper control arm fastener (green arrow) pictured here. However, I can usually sneak it out without removing the reservoir.

Lower the jack a small amount.
Figure 8

Lower the jack a small amount. The sway bar will support most of the weight of the front suspensions anyway. Drop the strut out of the mount in the body until you can pull the upper control arm fasteners (green arrows) all the way. The rear fastener is hidden behind the spring.

Pull the lower control arm out of the car.
Figure 9

Pull the lower control arm out of the car. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Fit the upper control arm in the body of the car and install and tighten the front and rear fasteners. Then position the coil-over shock absorber in the body and tighten the mounting fasteners. Finally use the jack to jack up the lower control arm while you align the upper ball joint with its mounting point at the top of the spindle and tighten that fastener. After you install the wheel and drop the car have a front end wheel alignment.

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Anand Comments: Does the same procedures apply to 2006 E350 4matic as well?
March 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Article applies to:



Mercedes-Benz W211 (2003-09) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
sensor555 Comments: the strut would not lower out of the body even with 3 ft lever, perhaps the other side will move down and out easier when I try.
Many thanx

Harry
December 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you can't get it low enough, unbolt the bottom and remove it from the vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sensor555 Comments: have changed nearside upper control are W211 E320. the bolt behind the spring was very difficult to remove as the strut would not lower out of the body to allow it to come forward.
any suggestions as I am about to replace opposite side.
December 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to lower the strut a little to get the bolts out. Remove the upper fasteners and drop it down to clear the fastener. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chat Comments: On later models the upper ball joints can be replaced separately to the upper control arm Sometimes known as "Wishbones" in the UK The control arms are split horizontally and the ball joint is fixed with 3 bolts. Much more sensible.
October 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Project/Wish List]
  [Privacy Statement]  [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc. -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page

Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 02:29:24 AM