S210 front lower arm replacement: my trials and tribulations

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by W210Virgin, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. W210Virgin

    W210Virgin Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    255
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Location:
    Norn Iron
    Car:
    2002 S210 Avantgarde 320CDi in silver. Black leather interior
    :thumb:
    I ordered from ECP the replacement S210 lower front wishbones last week and took delivery on Friday with a grand plan to get the car ready on Friday evening and get stuck in Saturday. I ordered Lemforder parts that are EXACTLY the same as the originals with the exception of a stamped number, presumably for the benefit of MB. Using the MBClub30 discount these were £103 each, including delivery to home in NI by UPS. In the grand scheme of things not bad really and a good bit cheaper than MB parts. I initially ordered a bushing repair kit, but, given my limited access to labour to remove and press bushings into arms, travel to and from in wife’s car etc etc I changed my mind and returned them for the complete arms instead. Extra over about £140, which is easily what travel and labour would have cost, never mind the annoyance and logistics.
    Well, when I opened the ECP parcel I immediately noticed that one of the plastic bags was already opened. Further examination quickly revealed that (i) I had two RHS arms and that (ii) one of them (the opened one) was the wrong type anyway even though the ECP part number on the torn bag was correct. It was obviously a Merc fitment arm as it was identical to the correct arm other than the mount for the ARB drop link. I expect some twit in ECP had opened or had returned a few arms and somewhere my LHS arm is sitting with someone in the same predicament as I was! A few calls to ECP HQ and local ECP branch and I’ll have the proper LHS today with the incorrect one returned. A bit annoying as I was planning to complete the two together on Saturday but that’s how it goes. No point in ranting at ECP as I’ve still to wait till this evening to collect.
    Replacement went to plan and for anyone interested it is really quite straightforward. I didn’t use the MB style spring compressors as they weren’t worth buying for a single use and I couldn’t find anyone willing to lend or hire. I did some homework and settled on some Laser 0290 compressors. I shortened these a bit by cutting the threaded bars so they could fit onto the spring within the space available above the arm. By compressing the spring by jacking the arm from below it was reasonably simple to connect the compressors and lower the arm away from the spring and with a bit of manoeuvring the spring came out OK. I say reasonably and whilst it is doable, it is obviously not as handy as the ‘proper’ way. Because the compressors don’t equi-space around the spring it will compress a bit crooked and this will leave it a bit trickier to remove. However with a bit of perseverance and care it worked OK and the same in reverse for reassembly. Now before anyone jumps on their high horse to slate me about the dangers of compressing springs et al, I know all that and consider me slapped on the wrists, but it was my decision after careful consideration.
    I had most of it done by 2200 on Friday so I left it till Saturday morning and some decent daylight to reassemble and double check. Opening the steering arm ball joint was easier than expected too. I elected not to use a fork separator as space is limited for access to get a belt at it with a lump hammer. What I did do was heat the steering arm a bit with a blow torch for a few minutes. A couple of wallops with a lump hammer released to OK and as I was replacing the whole ball joint anyway I wasn't concerned about damaging it. Upon removal it wasn't that bad and certainly wasn't loose to hand pressure. However, worth doing when the whole lot is in bits! A quick drive confirmed that the original rattle was gone so roll on Monday evening till I get the other one done! I did look at the removed arm, obviously, and a quick glance to the uninformed you’d barely tell there was anything wrong with the bushes. However, if you twist the bushes around a bit it’s easy to see the tears in the rubber and general deterioration. The rear of the two ‘seemed’ OK and I expect they wouldn't be as worn as the front and, at a guess, I’d say a front could be replaced about twice as often as the rear but who’s going to faff around with that? With a bit of luck I’ll get the alignment all reset on Saturday.

    Incidentally, mine's an Avantgarde and I'm guessing that the other models might be a more accessible if the ride height is a bit higher.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  2. OP
    OP
    W210Virgin

    W210Virgin Hardcore MB Enthusiast

    Messages:
    255
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Location:
    Norn Iron
    Car:
    2002 S210 Avantgarde 320CDi in silver. Black leather interior
    Correct arm collected from local ECP last evening and fitted it last night. Probably about 2.5 hours total plus a bit of tidy up and test time which is a good hour faster than the first time. For some reason the spring was a bit handier, though I'm not complaining. Strangely, although there was obvious wear in the front bush like the RHS, it was nowhere near as torn. Also, the ball joint was in good nick too although I changed it as well. In the summer I'll tackle the shocks to complete the job.
    Hopefully on Saturday I'll get the geometry reset although by chance it's too bad with the exception of a slightly crooked steering wheel.

    Happy to get it done. :thumb::bannana:

    Fair play to ECP for not messing about with the returns even they messed up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014

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