R129 Drag Link Balljoint dust cover split

Page may contain affiliate links. Please see terms for details.


New Member
Jul 20, 2015
Lechlade, Cotswolds
Mercedes sl320 R129 1998
I have just been told by MB that the dust cover (gaiter) on my R129 SL320 steering drop link balljoint is split. It was OK in June when I had the car MOT'd. MB want £419.80 plus VAT because they insist on fitting a new drop link assembly !

I only want a dust cover. Does anyone know where I can obtain one ?
If you are referring to the steering centre link then its prudent to just change the centre link with the two ball joints at either end. Although not spotted at the MOT that gaiter may have been split for some time allowing water and grit into the ball joint. Most cars with that steering arrangement benefit from a renewal of all the ball joints in the steering linkage at some point . Wear is best tested by cupping them in your hand while an assistant wiggles the steering while you feel for movement in the joint- you will feel it before you see it! The ones that tend to wear first are the 2 associated with the steering box 1 inner track rod end and 2 the one on that centre link nearest the steering box. The centre link should not be that expensive and is a relatively easy DIY and about as involved as splitting a ball joint to renew a gaiter x2? £419 from MB is expensive and probably reflects the labour rates they charge. An MB specialist could use OEM parts and charge half that.
Last edited:
I had a similar issue a few years ago with split boots/gaiters on front suspension arms. Merc insisted a new arm was necessary, but since the joints seemed tight and well packed with grease I took the car to a local garage who is known for working on older modern classics. He replaced both sides for £45. Universal gaiters only cost a few pounds. It apparently depends on how they attach. Mine used a circlip which made the job easier.

No doubt many will tell you to replace the damaged joint because of all the dirt and water damage, but two years later mine is still fine.

Ball Joint Boots, Track Rod End Boots, Tie Rod End Boots and Track Control Arm Ball Joint Boots, Replacement Rubber Boots for cars and light commercial vehicles.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom