W212 Lower Control Arm Replacement DIY questions

W1ghty

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So uh... call me crazy but uh... I might be about to order this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B002PMJ2LE/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=AS627NMCZ743&psc=1

o_O

I now realise I was trying to do it with a relatively small socket wrench and a wheel nut breaker bar with a weird bend in it, which are literally the wrong tools for the job. I do really feel a bit nervous about putting the car on stands as the MB jack stand blocks are really weird to me. It works well for the spare wheel suicide jack, but for actual jack stands... it's the most stressful bit for me.

Once you buy all the front control arms and ball joints, it's looking like another £400/4 hours just for the labour to get them replaced at an indie, plus £100 all wheel tracking. I'll have already spent that on all the arms, so I simply can't afford to spend £850-1000 in total just to partially refresh the front suspension (still doesn't include new shocks, top mounts, tie rod ends/track rods, and nothing at all to the rear suspension).

Just in the next few weeks I need to get the car MOT'd, brake fluid flush and a gearbox service. All around xmas/new year!

I'm going to order the remaining front control arms and ball joints from AUTODOC on a Black Friday deal, but the problem is the weather... far too cold until March probably. Thought my 17" winter wheels on at the moment so hoping the extra rubber (vs the 18") will ease things a bit, but I don't really notice much difference to be honest!

Anyway, simply due to the economics of it, I'm going to have another go at this. When exactly, I'm not sure! Would be so much easier with a lift...
I’ve got the same breaker bar , absolutely invaluable to help with the Hi torque stuff .
I also treated myself the other weeks to a Makita impact driver with…..wait for it ….1600nm of nut breaking torque , what could go wrong :rolleyes:
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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Ha! I don't think the impact driver would be that helpful in this scenario... not enough room (to swing a... Makita 1600nm impact driver)

What job did you buy it for?
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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Funnily enough after putting my 17” winter wheels on I’m getting a pronounced knocking from what sounds like the front right. Sounds to me almost like an undertray or the bonnet itself is loose and moving around or something. I was wondering if I’d left something loose in the boot!

Just noticed it in the last couple of days. No real idea what it could be or why it would show when putting on softer, more pliable tyres. I’ve checked the bolts on the wheels a few times as I was worried I hadn’t torqued them up right!!!

Never a dull day.
 

W1ghty

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Ha! I don't think the impact driver would be that helpful in this scenario... not enough room (to swing a... Makita 1600nm impact driver)

What job did you buy it for?
Well , that’s a good question buddy , I bought it whilst I’m doing the patio so I could hide the cost :banana:.
I tend to buy tools for each job I do , so over 35 years of doing nearly all DIY for everything I’ve ever done I had to tidy the garage (seperate thread ) .
In the spring I’m doing the lower suspension arms , because I’m on axle stands on a sloping drive I don’t always have room for the breaker bar , so that’s where the impact driver may fit in ? Although if I didn’t have it I can’t use it :) .
 

W1ghty

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Funnily enough after putting my 17” winter wheels on I’m getting a pronounced knocking from what sounds like the front right. Sounds to me almost like an undertray or the bonnet itself is loose and moving around or something. I was wondering if I’d left something loose in the boot!

Just noticed it in the last couple of days. No real idea what it could be or why it would show when putting on softer, more pliable tyres. I’ve checked the bolts on the wheels a few times as I was worried I hadn’t torqued them up right!!!

Never a dull day.
Probably the front lower ball joints ?
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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Why would it suddenly start happening on new winter wheels? Could be complete coincidence but… would be really odd timing

I’m gonna take the front wheels off and on again and re torque!
 
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W1ghty

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Why would it suddenly start happening on new winter wheels? Could be complete coincidence but… would be really odd timing

I’m gonna take the front wheels off and in again and re torque!
It wouldn’t start with winter wheels , maybe you are listening more ?
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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No, it’s a really obvious and new clunking unfortunately. It almost sounds like something is knocking about, I wondered if the under tray had come loose or there was something under the bonnet knocking about but can’t see anything obvious on first glance
 
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Nicebutdim

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Last year i replaced the front suspension struts on my w211. The bolts that hold the struts to the lower control arm were incredibly tight. Like you i was working on my drive on axle stands. This means that there is very little height available to get a decent swing on the breaker bar. I managed it but it took hours of tiny amounts of movement and using all my strength to get the bolts out. The near side are always worse.

Earlier this year i replaced the bottom ball joints. Getting those out required some serious brutality. It was made easier by removing the whole steering knuckle. At the same time i replaced the front lower thrust arms. The bolts for these came out without a fight no problem.

A couple of weeks ago i replaced the inner front-lower-control-arm bolts (Camber bolts) The nearside put up a hell of a fight. I nearly gave up. In the end a combination of a small map gas torch for heat and a herculean effort got the bugger out. The offside bolt came out easily with my small impact wrench (350Nm)

You need to be careful applying heat with a bare flame as there are a number of items which could easily catch fire. I had a bucket of water within hand reach.

The point I'm making is expect a bit of a fight with some of those bolts.
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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Thanks for that. I don't mind trying breaker bars and the link, but yes, there's very little room to move under the car. For a while I was trying to find a 'rent a lift' place but to no avail. Heat/flames is definitely one step too far for me, for sure. I've ordered the control arms and ball joints and was hoping this job would wait a while until things warm up, or perhaps I get a job in that could pay for someone to fit all the arms, but there's no way around the fact that it's probably 4h labour for the job at an indie.

But right now I have a pressing issue of the new and obvious clunking - I'm wondering if the driver's side drop link (yes, the ones I fit.........) is coming loose and creating the knocking, but don't have the right tools with me to check it over as I'm in Cardiff currently, and I can only really do engine stuff here. Don't have a proper jack or stands. In a few minutes I'm going to jack the car up with the spare tyre jack and just see if the drop link bolts are loose or not. I won't attempt to do any major work on just the 'suicide jack'. A storm is not helpful, however!

Annoyingly I need to get an MOT in just a few days and I really don't want it to fail on that and break my clean sheet/streak of no advisories!!!

I'm not great when it comes to suspension bits (as you can all see!) and I'm learning as I go, but I guess there's no choice but to gain more experience and keep trying. Grateful for the kind help and patience of the folk on this forum - thank you!
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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I've tightened the top of the drop link on the sound with the noises and I believe I've resolved the issue. An interesting note is that if you can get the wheel locked pointing in the opposite direction, there's just enough space for you to squeeze in there and tighten things up. Might help other novices/amateurs out in a pinch.

I did take the wheel off too but as only one wheel is up in the air, that throws things off with the tension of the drop links/ARB anyway.

It's an 18mm spanner for the nut and a 6mm allen for the lemforder drop link FYI.
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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What went wrong that that had to be retightened?

The ARB drop link! The nut at the top on the driver's side. Luckily it's the one that's vaguely accessible with the wheel on. I tightened it pretty hard. No clunks,.

As I type, I'm currently waiting for the car to get an MOT, hoping all goes OK... supposed to drive to Germany and back in a day or two...
 
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TeddyRuxpin

TeddyRuxpin

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Make sure you have voltarol , paracetamol, ibruprofen available for after the job and whisky for the evening

Too cold at the moment. Gonna get some quotes for the work but if it's too expensive, hoping it all remains OK for 3 months until it all warms up a bit. Might even buy the tie rod ends in that time...
 

OneForTheRoad

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Id get a garage to fit those arms , but good luck if your doing them. I once did a cls ,every arm ,every ball joint . Both top hats and drop links . Never again !!
 

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