Torque strut bushes - W221 S600

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ChrisPDuck

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2022
Messages
168
Location
Nottingham
Car
2006 W221 S600, 1983 VW T25/T3, 1984 Alfasud 1.5ti Green Cloverleaf, 2008 Chrysler 300C SRT Design
My local MB dealer spotted worn/split torque strut bushes during a free visual inspection. I want to put them right before the upcoming MOT. I like to tackle a lot of the maintenance on my cars myself, and this job doesn't look too difficult as far as I can tell, apart from pressing out the old bushes and pressing in the new ones - I would have to take the removed struts to my local garage and have them replace the bushes.

But since the strut also carries a ball joint, it struck me that it might be worthwhile to change the whole strut, to get new bushes and new ball joints and avoid the need to take the parts to the garage.
I can find non-OEM struts complete with fitted bushes for anywhere between about £50 and £150 per side. I want to avoid 'chocolate' ball joints because this is a heavy car, so I'd appreciate any thoughts as to whether any of these aftermarket brands are worth bothering with in this instance.

Genuine MB parts are £156 for the strut and £50 for the bushes, so about £412 to do both sides, and I'd still need to pay someone to press the bushes in.
I suspect I'll go the compromise route - replace the bushes in the existing struts using genuine £50 bushes - subject to a closer look at the existing ball joints.

Another option that I saw in a YouTube video is to replace the bushes in-situ. This makes the job even easier, as there'd be less dismantling.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a Mercedes-compatible bush press that's available in the UK and won't break the bank?

Does anyone have experience with non-OEM torque struts?
 
I'd replace the bushes. Aftermarket struts will need an alignment afterwards, whereas the bush replacement won't if you do it accurately.

Febi is quite good for rubber stuff. Meyle is a bit rubbish but second best.
 
Ah yes, that's a good point about the alignment - thank you. And thanks for the Febi endorsement.
 
I don't suppose you know whether these bushes are the same diameter as the rear subframe bushes by any chance? There's a tool for the subframe bushes that seems reasonable value: Subframe Bushing Installer/Remover Tool Set for Mercedes Benz W220&W211&W203 : Amazon.co.uk: Automotive
Or would I be better off getting a universal tool, such as https://www.amazon.co.uk/DAYUAN-Professional-Sleeve-Bushing-Bearings/dp/B07SQZTR77 ? It lists the cup sizes that are included, but I'm not sure what size the bush is.
 
No, the tools for the rear subframe bush wont work on the front, and that universal kit does not go big enough. I will measure a bush on the shelf at work next week for you.
 
Thank you. Wow - they must be bigger than I was imagining.
 
Thank you. Wow - they must be bigger than I was imagining.
They need to travel through the cylinder part of the tool, and the tool needs to be deep enough to accept the whole bush. I'm sure they are at least 50mm wide. I have the second tool linked, but I'm sure they dont fit with that. We use an assortment of cylinder sizes, but have the spendy KTC tool. It makes it far easier.
 
Ah yes, of course - I should have realised. I did watch that video, honest!
 
Replacing the bushes makes sense for a professional with the right tools. For the diy mechanic, replacing the entire strut seems the better option, even with the cost of alignment.
 
Yeah, I don't think I'm going to find a bush pressing tool within my DIY budget, so I think I'll probably end up removing the struts and getting the local garage to press the bushes in. That would be part of the cost of the job if I just took the car to them, but I'll save a bit by doing the dismantling myself, and it should still be cheaper than replacing the struts. I still haven't been under to inspect the ball joints, so I may yet change my mind, but if they weren't picked up in the original visual inspection they probably have some life left in them.
 
I bought a budget pressing tool very much like the Amazon one you show , mine was for use on the smaller elastomer bushings in the rear hubs of my car, these things have a diameter of about 35mm and are approx. 50mm long = pretty small.

Despite having the skills and the means to heat the hub the tool simply gave up the ghost , first the flat pressure bearings shattered and the pusher deformed and the bushing was stuck half way out of the hub :eek: , all using just hand tools.

Luckily I had access to a lathe to make a new pusher part and bought new bearings for the tool from a local supplier . These are not the bearings just a pic off the web , but the ones supplied with the cheap tool simply shattered under not much load.


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The KTC tool looks the business , but pricy for one time use. Let us know how you get on

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Thanks Pete - sounds like this is an example of where a budget tool isn't the best option for a DIYer. That's not always the case - took me a while to shake the belief that I always had to buy the best tools, but actually my limited use of most tools means that budget tools are often perfect for my needs.

I've just learned that a friend of mine has access to a 20 tonne press for doing bushes, so I think that's the route I'll take: disassembly and reassembly on my drive, OEM bushes fitted to my existing struts by my mate. Now, where did I put my budget ball joint splitter.......
 
New plan. I've tried to check the ball joints. I cheated and only raised the suspension, rather than jacking the car up and removing the wheels, but I couldn't see any movement in the ball joints. I couldn't see anything wrong with the bushes either. Admittedly, I couldn't get a proper look without raising the car a bit higher and apparently removing some under trays, but the rubber bits that I could see looked fine. So I'm going to leave it to my local garage to tell me if there's anything wrong when they do the MOT. I've got a few weeks yet.
 
You have to remove the weight from the suspension and then use a pry bar to load and unload the ball joint. You will struggle to find play otherwise.
 
Ah yes, thank you - I did wonder about that. I don't know whether the local dealership did that during the free visual inspection. If they did, then I'm probably ok, because they weren't mentioned on the report. Presumably they do that during the MOT. I'd get a couple of weeks to fix them and the bushes if there's a problem, so I think I'll just see how it gets on in the MOT. In fact, I'm going to ask them to change my transmission oil, so will ask them to take a look then, prior to the MOT. That way, if there's a problem, I might be able to avoid a 'fail' being added to the MOT record by fixing them first.
 
I had my car at my friendly local garage today, for a transmission fluid and filter change. I asked them, while it was up on the ramps, if they could give an opinion on the bushes. I explained that I wanted to do the right thing for this car, and, as I often do with this very accommodating garage, I said if they were worn I'd take it home to do the work myself prior to the MOT.

Their regular MOT guy took a look at the bushes and said he wouldn't even classify them as an advisory. In fact, when I went to collect the car, he laughed and said there was nothing wrong with them at all. Same goes for the so called 'corroded brake pipes', which he said were in very good shape.

The cynic in me is inclined to wonder about the real motive behind the 'Free Visual Inspection'. Would £258 per side for the bushes cover the cost of the inspection I wonder?
 

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