tracking rod and ball joints

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by dss, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. dss

    dss Member

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    berkshire
    Car:
    w204 2010 c180 cgi, w203 c180 kompressor 2003, 1988 190e classic
    Hi friends,

    just failed the MOT on my '03 w203 due to excessive play on the offside tracking rod and ball joint.

    Decided to get both sides replaced: MB stealership estimate £385 excl geometry and Indy says £175 inc basic tracking.

    should i go with the indy or shop around?

    by the way only done 36,600 miles.. dont think my next car will be a merc!!

    any advice please.

    cheers

    d
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  2. Dichtung

    Dichtung Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Had exactly same problem with my `03 C180K, but at 70kmiles. Assembled in S Africa with certain locally made c**p parts I think. Changing a trackrod end however is a doddle of a job, even if you are only half into spannering. Did mine in 45 mins., and if you`re careful about checking measurments, you don`t even need it re-tracking.

    One new trackrod end from Europarts, total cost about 12 quid.

    Don`t know where the Stealerships get their prices from, even with genuine MB parts.

    Next Benz I buy will have had to have come from either Stutt or Bremen.

    and; Don`t forget to give the car a 10min 80mph blast every so often, because that engine is prone to carbon build up under the exhaust valves, which is a head off job to fix. :thumb:
     
  3. mbenz1977

    mbenz1977 Active Member

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    just had mine done at 91,000. : (
     
  4. OP
    OP
    dss

    dss Member

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    yeah cheers guys,

    damn dont get what they use to make these rides..

    i mean only done 36k and most of it motorway miles and it was brought from a dealership!!
     
  5. jimbob35

    jimbob35 Active Member

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    Get the work done at the indy, and geometry at the main dealer. Far superior system.
     
  6. andy clark

    andy clark Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    the main dealers use the same 4 wheel tracking set up as any tyre fitting place with a good tracking set up all depends who you get to do the tracking which dosent mean it we be better done at merc as these days most are just bit fitters lol
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. andy clark

    andy clark Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    so you are confident that the ball joint you fitted is exactly the same (millimeter to millimeter) as the one that came off? even the smallest diference in machining can lead to tyre wear you should alway have the tracking checked after changing steering ball joints!
     
  8. Dichtung

    Dichtung Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Absolutely; I did say that measurement has to be done carefully and accurately.
    I measure the distance between a fixed point on the trackrod (something I have clamped on) and the end of the Pitman arm with a vernier caliper.
    This distance is replicated when the new track rod end is installed.

    This method (a) is accurate to 0.001mm and
    (b) discounts machining tolerences between trackrod end
    batches.

    Tyre wear is perfect on the 180K, but my 300td is going to have full tracking done as I have renewed the lower suspension bushes and all reference points have gone. :thumb:
     
  9. Dichtung

    Dichtung Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Location:
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    W203 2.2Cdi
    Absolutely; I did say that measurement has to be done carefully and accurately.
    I measure the distance between a fixed point on the trackrod (something I have clamped on) and the end of the Pitman arm with a vernier caliper.
    This distance is replicated when the new track rod end is installed.

    This method (a) is accurate to 0.001mm and
    (b) discounts machining tolerences between trackrod end
    batches.

    Tyre wear is perfect on the 180K, but my 300td is going to have full tracking done as I have renewed the lower suspension bushes and all reference points have gone. :thumb:
     
  10. OP
    OP
    dss

    dss Member

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    w204 2010 c180 cgi, w203 c180 kompressor 2003, 1988 190e classic
    cool

    so you think the £175 for the job is a reasonable price?

    cheers

    d
     
  11. Dichtung

    Dichtung Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Like Andy Clark says, depends on the man who does the job. Members here like Olli or 124 Works have all the tools, Star etc., but other so called ex MB mechanics I have used have proved to be poor. Hard to replace bolts left out ; pipes and wiring left unclipped etc.

    Only one way to find out.
     
  12. modzi

    modzi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    W164 ML 320 cdi & W220 S320
    I do my traking every 15 - 20k to keep it all straight, living in London with 20" wheels doesn't help.

    I use a Hunter alignment system which is a computerised laser system. Plenty of garages across the UK use this system.

    It hasn't failed me yet and gives you a clear picture of the readings.

    www.alignmycar.co.uk
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  13. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    When you change a track rod end the only thing that really needs checking is the toe in toe out. A full geometry check caster camber etc should not be necessary. If care is taken with measurement as Dichtung suggests- and yes it does need that degree of precision then DIY is feasible. However you may need to invest in a ball joint splitter such as this-- Sealey
    to make life easier.
     
  14. modzi

    modzi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Location:
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    Hunter alignment starts from £30 for the front and £50 for both front and rear.

    Some garages do try and charge upwards of £100 for the same alignment so try to ring round a few.
     

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