Author Topic: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2  (Read 13949 times)

Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #195 on: 12 June 2019, 12:38 AM »
I got the rear of the car back together and took it on a short test drive. The work I did checks out. But, the car is not currently safe to drive as the front end was clunking, the steering wheel is off-center, and the right tie rod keeps popping out of joint. So now to start on the front end rebuild. The nice thing about ceramic brake pads is they don't leave brake dust all over.


There doesn't seem to be anywhere good to support the front of the vehicle other than with jack stands underneath the cross yoke. But, it has to come out to have the bushings replaced. So, I decided I would remove it first, replace the bushings, install it, and then support the car on jack stands under it while I take the rest of the front end apart. It's held on with 24mm bolts and nuts. But, I don't have a 24mm socket or wrench. I have a 15/16" socket which fits on the bolt heads, but the nuts are obscured in a way that a socket won't fit on them, so a wrench must be used. I don't have $7 to buy a 24mm wrench, so I used an adjustable wrench and ended up rounding the nuts. Sigh. I got them off, at least. Then the yoke drops down.


The bushings have open spaces at the sides.


I'm broke, so I tried to find creative ways of getting the bushings out. This way worked to get one halfway out, then I used a hammer and a socket to drive it out the rest of the way.


Then when I went to remove the second bushing, the head of the bolt came off so I couldn't use it anymore. I then tried using a 3-jaw puller, and it actually worked better than the bolt and socket method. But if I had the money I would have just bought the proper tool.
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TJ 450

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #196 on: 12 June 2019, 03:50 AM »
Just behind the cross yoke is a solid section you can support it with, this is what I have done in the past.

With the bushings, I removed them in a similar way, with a bit of trial and error. Re installation isn’t too bad but a press helps.

Are you doing the lower ball joints as well? The special tool is required here, and would be worth getting when financial as I’ve had a couple of sets ruined by reputable shops.

Being broke is all part of the fun, I’m approaching that stage now.

Tim
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #197 on: 12 June 2019, 10:41 AM »
Just behind the cross yoke is a solid section you can support it with, this is what I have done in the past.

With the bushings, I removed them in a similar way, with a bit of trial and error. Re installation isn’t too bad but a press helps.

Are you doing the lower ball joints as well? The special tool is required here, and would be worth getting when financial as I’ve had a couple of sets ruined by reputable shops.

Being broke is all part of the fun, I’m approaching that stage now.

Tim

I'll have to inspect that area. Good to know. All I could find were box tubing sections which looked like they would dent or crush holding the weight of the vehicle.

I'm doing the lower ball joints. I know a W116 owner who works at the Mercedes dealership here who knows how to do it. So, I can take them there, but will have to come up with some money for that (and the alignment, and fuel to go to an alignment shop). But, it will cost less than buying the tool.
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ptashek

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #198 on: 12 June 2019, 11:38 AM »
This should help visually. That's the factory prescribed lifting area for the front of the car. There's two holes in it, which were used to position and lock special MB workshop jacks (essentially a flat plate with centering bolts).
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #199 on: 12 June 2019, 12:33 PM »
This should help visually. That's the factory prescribed lifting area for the front of the car. There's two holes in it, which were used to position and lock special MB workshop jacks (essentially a flat plate with centering bolts).

Thanks! It looks pretty sturdy. I was considering supporting it there if I could find something stable enough so it wouldn't rock or slide out from under it. Very clean car in the picture, too!
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1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+

ptashek

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #200 on: 12 June 2019, 04:21 PM »
This should help visually. That's the factory prescribed lifting area for the front of the car. There's two holes in it, which were used to position and lock special MB workshop jacks (essentially a flat plate with centering bolts).

Thanks! It looks pretty sturdy. I was considering supporting it there if I could find something stable enough so it wouldn't rock or slide out from under it. Very clean car in the picture, too!

I wish it were this clean still...

As for the jacking point for the front axle - I remember there was a post here, a few years back now, with the exact measurements of that support plate. I think it's also included in the official workshop manuals.

Shouldn't be too hard to measure it off of the car either.

I've used in the past, with good results, a standard workshop jack with a piece of rough timber slightly larger than the support plate. But I wouldn't recommend it for working under the car for long periods - probably not the safest thing to do.
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #201 on: 13 June 2019, 09:21 PM »
Yeah, supporting the front end of the car by just that center part of the body for days or weeks on end sounds scary.

The edge of one of the mounting eyes for the lower control arm was flattened out, so I hammered it back into shape.


New cross yoke bushings (116-333-56-15) are no longer available from Mercedes, so I was forced to buy aftermarket. Meyle was the only brand I could find. Even though the rubber reads "Meyle Germany", they are made in Thailand. But, they were cheap. I got them on eBay for $6.95 a pair plus $6.95 shipping.


I got some money from my roommate and bought a long bolt and a nut and washers (and also a 24mm wrench) so I could press in the new bushings. I used dish soap as a lubricant.


There are supposed to be open spaces on the sides.


I put Corroseal rust converter on the cross yoke to make it look nice and protect it from rust.
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raueda1

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #202 on: 19 June 2019, 08:58 AM »
I hadn't checked this thread for a while.  Amazing work, Scott. It inspires me to be a lot more visionary about what I've been afraid to do.  Keep at it!  ;D ;D
-Dave
Now:  '76 6.9 Euro
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #203 on: 26 June 2019, 06:28 PM »
I finally got my side of the garage back, so after cleaning under the front of my car, I put it in the garage and set it up on jack stands. The front wheels and brake calipers came off, as did the rotors. Then I removed the cotter pins from the original tie rods, which used castle nuts.


After the nuts were off, I removed the parts with a press.


The steering idler metal bushings come out by prying up the rubber lip and then wedging in a flat blade screwdriver and tapping them out. The inner rubber bushings were very stuck in place, and I had to use a seal puller and a sledge hammer to get them out.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2019, 08:51 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #204 on: 26 June 2019, 06:58 PM »
Next it was time for the scary part--removing springs. The proper tool made by Klann costs about $900 and those forum members who loan them out often don't have them in their possession at the moment. I bought a cheap $50 spring compressor on eBay. But, as usual, being cheap comes at a price; in this case it's that the spring compressor's shaft is too large to fit into the hole of the spring perch, even though the compressor is advertised as compatible with my vehicle.


The shaft fits down into the opening of the first layer of sheet metal, but not the opening in the second layer.


So, I had to enlarge the hole in the second layer. I cringed at doing this, but I'm doing it neatly, will go back and clean up and paint the hole, and my car will no longer require the expensive Klann spring compressor.


I inserted the plates of the correct size, seven coils apart, and then inserted the shaft and locked the teeth at the bottom into the lower plate. Then I put a jack under the lower control arm and lifted it as I tightened up the spring compressor. Then when the spring was sufficiently compressed, I lowered down the control arm. Disconnecting the spindle from the upper control arm will allow the lower control arm to lower even further, facilitating removal of the spring. Removing the shock absorbers is a must.


Here is the spring out of the vehicle. It is under an extreme amount of tension, and if something goes wrong during removal or installation, it can easily kill you. I was very careful handling the spring and making sure to point it away from my body. I got it outside, pointed it away from where it could cause damage if it broke loose, and loosened and removed the spring compressor.
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #205 on: 26 June 2019, 07:12 PM »
The lower control arms come off with a 24mm socket and wrench.


The new custom air conditioning compressor installation was in the way of removing the eccentric bolt! Fortunately, I was able to pry to engine over enough on its rubber mounts to get the bolt out.


I tried using my tie rod press to separate the spindles from the lower control arms, but it didn't fit very well. So then I tried hammering down on the top of the ball joint nut, but it didn't budge. So then I tried a pickle fork and sledge hammer on the left side and it worked with little effort.


But, now the nut was mashed up on the threads and the stud was spinning around with the nut. So, I clamped it with needle nose vice grips.


The right side was extremely stubborn. I bent the pickle fork in the process and it wasn't budging. So then I tried hammering my ball joint press in there, and after some tightening, the press broke. So then I tried a puller and it still wouldn't budge. I used a MAPP gas torch on it and even heating it up didn't seem to do anything. So, I left it overnight, hoping the next day I'd find the parts had separated, but it wasn't so. Finally, I tried smacking the side of the knuckle with a hammer in an attempt to shock out the ball joint. It worked, but like I feared, it dented the knuckle, so I'm going to have to try to smooth it out by hammering it back into shape.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2019, 08:17 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #206 on: 26 June 2019, 07:56 PM »
There is a trick to removing the bolt that holds the upper control arm to the torsion bar; the hex key bolt must be loosened first because it clamps the large bolt connecting the two parts. If the small bolt isn't loosened first, the large bolt won't be able to rotate and you'll just end up bending the torsion bar. I don't know if I'll replace the torsion bar bushings at the firewall, as the factory service manual states the brake booster and master cylinder must be removed. I might still be able to get in there to loosen the clamps enough to slide out the bushings. We'll see.


Replacing the ball joints on a vintage Mercedes is a job best suited for the dealership and isn't something that most repair shops can handle. If you take them to a machine shop, the machine shop will return them saying they can't replace the ball joints because of the way they are recessed into the spindles. But, my local Mercedes-Benz dealership refused to do the job, even though it would be very easy money for them, citing that they "are not a machine shop". I told them that machine shops can't do them because they need the Mercedes press, and I had the spindles surgically clean, out of the vehicle, and had new genuine Mercedes ball joints, so they wouldn't even get their white gloves or sweater vests dirty. I said that I'd be willing to buy their press since they apparently don't use it anymore, and then I was transferred to Parts. No, I don't want to buy a NEW $900 press, even if it's on sale for $500.

I know the dealership has the ball joint press because I know a W116 owner who used to work there. Even though he left, he said he made his own press and offered to do the job for a reasonable price, but it would be a long drive in hot weather in one of my roommate's cars with no air conditioning, and I'm trying to be very frugal with my spending. So, I decided I'd attempt to find a way to do it myself and save some money.

I first had to remove the old ball joints from the spindles. The factory service manual says to clamp them in a vise with aluminum jaws and then beat out the ball joint with a cylinder and hammer. But, I don't have any vices. Instead I supported the spindle with a jack stand so all the forces won't be going straight to the other end and possibly distorting it, and had wood underneath to protect the concrete. A dresser also helped prop it up. Then I selected a heavy-duty socket that was just narrower than the ball joint, placed it on top, and smacked it hard with a sledge hammer. It took several hard blows and having to set the spindle back up before the ball joint started to move, but once it was moving it only took a few hard hits to pop it out.


I felt proud of myself that I got the old ball joints out of the spindles. But, the hard part was yet to come. AutoZone loans out tools for free, and they have a 23-piece ball joint press available for rental. Of course, it's not intended for vintage Mercedes ball joints, but I thought I'd just get it to see if I could somehow make it work. I figured out that if I used it upside-down from the way it was intended, and selected the pieces shown in the picture, it should work. I also cut a short piece of 7/8" ID heater hose to use as a bushing, but it ended up not being necessary.


I set the ball joint in place, but on the first attempt it started to go in crooked, so I had to hammer on the adapter in a way that it leveled it out.


This is the arrangement I used. The threads of the ball joint went through the opening of the C-clamp, and an adapter fit between it and the ball joint. However, the ball joint boot had to be removed. The adapter is angled at the bottom, but it didn't matter as it was actually resting up by the ball socket, acting as a thick washer and helping center the clamp. There was also an adapter at the other side of the spindle, which had a pocket to allow the end of the ball joint to stick out past the bottom of the spindle. I greased the threaded rod of the press.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2019, 08:43 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+

Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #207 on: 26 June 2019, 08:16 PM »
A LOT of force was required to press in the ball joints. I used a breaker bar with a pipe on the end, and that was barely enough to rotate the threaded rod a little at a time. I stood on the spindle and press to keep them from moving. Lowering the tire of a car down on top of them probably would have also worked. The ball joints have splines which flatten out as they are pressed in. Once the ball joint is past the point where the splines have flattened, it goes in a bit easier. I didn't grease the ball joint or hole, but I did use a little WD-40, which may or may not have helped. I actually had the ball joints in the freezer and the spindles in the sun in over 100 degree weather, but by the time I started pressing in the ball joints, both parts were nearly at room temperature.


One of the ball joints fully seated into place.


The ball joint from the bottom. Just a little sticks out past the spindle.


I carefully picked out dog hair and contaminants from the grease and installed the boots. TRW is the company that's making the suspension and steering components for Mercedes these days. Wow, I actually installed the ball joints all by myself, without the proper tools, and at no cost. Good.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2019, 08:46 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+

Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #208 on: 17 July 2019, 04:34 PM »
The bushings in the lower control arm were aged and needed replacing. This is the rear bushing.


To remove them, you insert a bar that just fits and rock them back in forth until each side works itself out of the eyelet.


The outer metal shells will likely stay attached, so they will need to be pried and forced out of there.


There is an upper and lower steel shell half on each side.
« Last Edit: 17 July 2019, 04:49 PM by Squiggle Dog »
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+

Squiggle Dog

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Re: My Custom 1980 300SD Project Part 2
« Reply #209 on: 17 July 2019, 04:59 PM »
Here is the front bushing. The lip of the rubber can be peeled off so the end cap comes off easier.


The bushing has a cap on each end, which is pressed on with much force, so they have to be cut off. I put a slice through them.


Then I used a chisel to bust them open.


After getting the cap off of one side, I used a sledgehammer and punch to knock out the bushing.


Once the bushings were out, I honed out the eyelets to leave a clean and smooth surface.
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1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Heated Seats, 350,000+