Lock bolts and Ball joints - A short story!

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pete vee rod

Jan 28, 2009
2000 e320 cdi
Chapter 1

Heard the usual clonking noise, did the search and bought a couple of ball joints, so far so good.

Saturday morning, leisurely start, wheel brace out, loosen nuts.
Holy cow! or words to that effect, appears someone had torqued the buggers up [I actually broke out into a sweat just getting them to crack off their seat] when I got to the lock bolt I was fearing the worst, but it gave with a similar crack.

Well, thats what I thought, however it really did give way, a 2mm section of the outer part of the chrome ring had broke off and and when I looked at the lock nut that was damaged as well.
This is something I had pushed to the back of my mind, what if I lost the lock nut or damaged it, what if I`m up in the highlands with a puncture and no way of getting the spare on, it was 20 miles since the last town and you can`t get a signal on the mobile.

Back to reality, I`m in the garage, I phone the dealer, "sorry mate we are closing down and running the stock down but it will cost you about £26 when you find out which nut you need, try Liverpool"
Phoned Liverpool, "you need the number of the nut, its on a sticker in the service book" No, its not there I say. "Bring the car over and we will check it against the master set" great I think! "we shut at 12:30 by the way."

Time is 10:30, no problem, retighten the wheel and off I set. Get to Liverpool, first time in Mercedes dealership, can`t find the parts dept, ask the receptionist, "go to that desk, there is a button, press it and somebody will come" Must be Aladins lamp I think!!

So, after what seem to be an eternity and several rubs of the button a man duly appeared, "I`m after a lock nut" I say, it transpires its the same fellow I spoke to and I thrust my service book towards him to which he duly looks through it and also declares the sticker isn`t in there.
He tells me they are getting quite a few books without the sticker in, it appears the point of preparation guys are not putting them in.

The parts man calls for the assistant, amazingly enough, bypassing the rubbing of the button and opening the door and calling him. The assistant appears with a black box, and we go to the car and he takes out the first master nut and it fits, "It`s a number one you need" having just trimmed my hair two days previous I guessed it was the lock nut he was talking about.
On hearing which lock nut I need, the parts man tells me it will probably be £60, I tell him, I was told it was £26, he goes and checks, apparently it is £26 but they don`t have one in stock an it would be Tuesday before they get one in, they do have one in stock in Warrington.

Right off to Warrington I go after taking instructions, it is now 11:15 cutting it a bit fine I think. Up the M62 and south bound on the M6 and its by the Thellwall viaduct, you can see it from the motorway.
Great, there it is, oh, that would be the turn off I just missed!

12:20, straight into reception, and look for Aladins lamp, the puzzled receptionist directs me to a parts counter two doors down the building.
I wait fidgiting and clock watching in a empty parts dept with no magic button to rub, then,as if by magic a man appears, "you`ve come for the lock nut" he says, brilliant I say, "thats £26" he says!

It transpires that Liverpool phoned to say I was on the way, so the part was located and ready waiting for me, bonus! I enquired about a standard wheel bolt, as I would have to replace the broken one when I get it out and was given a new one, no charge, bonus 2!

Now here is a bit of learning, he tells me that the long bolts I have with a shoulder are no longer supplied as there is a possibility of shearing and the one he gave me was the shorter type as put on the 211 which has a uniform shank.

When I told Liverpool of my predicament they said they had a tyre and wheel contractor that could remove my broken wheel bolt, but he wouldn`t be in for a couple of days, Warrington had their own inhouse chap who was off, so it can`t be that differcult me thinks, I`ll pop down to my usual tyre guy.

Chapter 2

Feeling fairly pleased with myself, I motored back home and to my local tyre guy and explained the situation. I gave him the old damaged lock nut and he proceeded to get some sort of purchase on the bolt and try to use the impact gun to drive it off, having watched him battle with it using different sockets squeezed on to no avail, I left him to his lunch and went to Halfords.
In Halfords I spied in one of the glass cases just what I thought I needed, Lock nut/bolt extractors, I asked to test it for size [2 sizes in pack] as luck would have it the smaller fitted and also into the bolt housing, I duly handed over just over a tenner, the world was seemed just a little brighter, indeed the sun was shining and I put on my shades and tootled off home.

Ok now I`m all set up and this should be a breeze, takes a look at the extractor, ok it`s got a left hand thread so it gets a grip and turns it off.
Crap!! several turns I can feel it biting but its reached the end of its travel, that is to say there is a shoulder on the extractor and it wont screw any further.
I commit my tenners worth to the grinder[no taking it back now!] and commence making it uniform, right then job done, back to the wheel, yahoo its really getting there, what the... unbelievable whats left of the lock on the bolt has pushed the drive out of the extractor.

I felt a journey back to halfords coming, most motor factors and specialist tools merchants are shut after lunch on Saturdays and this was now about 4:30, meanwhile back at Halfords looking for a deep socket extractor, I get taking to a chap who wants a stud extractor, just wants a 10mm, ends up buying a set about £27! He suggests why dont I weld the extractor to the drive, good point if you have a welding set, he also suggests trying a tyre fitting place again, I thank him, its now 5pm and they are all shut, I went passed a couple on the way home.

Times moving on although I`m still mobile I`m not any closer, the next plan is to drill the extractor and drive and drive a pin through the two to stop the drive being pushed out, right thats done, only I cant get the pin through [ Victor Meldrew moment] the hole I drilled, allowed the spring holding the ball bearing on the drive to fall in, I perservere, extract the spring and force the b/bearing into a position where I grind it small enough to get it out.
Ok, thats done I get my Heath Robinson on to the wheel, the first pin breaks, I take a breath count to ten, drill out the pin. Three pins later its turned 7pm and I sit down and decide whether to cry or go to the pub, the pub wins and I feel a lot better.

Chapter 3

A beautiful Sunday morning, the sun is out and its warming up nicely, I decide to give the tyre fitting guys another go, 2 are closed 3 say they can`t do it and the last one has an extractor set and I`m intrigued to see these look like - internally they are slightly conical and have a number vanes/raised profiles that spiral in -after choosing one that fits and a quick tap with a hammer, fits a 1/2 inch drive with long handle and the whole thing is done in less than 2 minutes.
I part with a fiver, drive home remove the wheels,change both the bottom ball joints in less than hour and all is well in my world.

The End.:bannana:
Ive got a set of them extractors they are brilliant, snap on ones so dear, but sealey and the like also do them in a set for not much more than £40 very handy tools.
Make a pain in the **** job simple:D.

You the bloke who used to like agricultural vehicles? The ex-tractor fan?:rolleyes:
Ha ha. Good story. Enjoyed that I did. :bannana::bannana:
Just regaled the story to a friend, and he said in a way he was made up that I went through all that, because it was the sort of nightmare that happens to him and was begining to think he was the only one on the DIY merry-go-round.:)
You the bloke who used to like agricultural vehicles? The ex-tractor fan?

Cheeky bugger:D

just ordered Irwins bolt/nut remover set plus expansion set from Amazon for the princely sum of £40 delivered. I was quite impressed with the spiral flute grip and it seems a worth while investment to my toolbox.
Oldies but goldies eh, you guys crack me up!!:)

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