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Thread: Front Control Arms

  1. #1
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    Front Control Arms

    I'm slowly working my way through my '94 E420 and addressing the items that need or soon will need attention. Visual inspection of the front control arm bushings showed some dry rotting and cracking. According to the maintenance history they're original to the car. I heard a clunking in the front suspension recently and replaced the stabilizer bar bushings, thinking that might be the issue. The clunking remains. I'm guessing it's the ball joints on the control arms.

    The only control arms I've found are Mercedes OE at $417 ($560 list) a side, Febi at $174 a side and Febi Bilstein at $210 a side. Apparently Lemfoerder doesn't make replacement control arms for the 400E/E420. I've also seen TRW, Dorman, Moog and Beck/Arnley but I'm guessing they're all junk.

    $834 for control arms seems a bit much. Are there any other alternatives? What's the difference between Febi and Febi Bilstein or are they one in the same? Are the Febi Bilstein's that bad?

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Make sure it's the ball joints. If they are bad... the only long-term options are new OE, or messing with finding used OE with good BJ's and probably replacing the rubbers.

    Febi/Febi-Bilstein are the same. Data is sketchy but it seems they were good quality until a few years ago. I have a set on my car that were installed 7 years ago, and they are still OK. Conversely, on PeachParts there were reports from several different people who experienced BJ failures within a few thousand miles on recent Febis.

    Dave M.
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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Dave - would replaceable ball joint 500E arms for work him? I have two sets that need rebuilt, I switched to the non-replaceable style for the big brakes so I don't need them anymore.

    Sometimes the steering bushing will clunk but you would notice because the steering would be off...

    Michael
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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver500 View Post
    Dave - would replaceable ball joint 500E arms for work him? I have two sets that need rebuilt, I switched to the non-replaceable style for the big brakes so I don't need them anymore.

    Sometimes the steering bushing will clunk but you would notice because the steering would be off...
    Michael, no, the early style LCA's will interfere with the brake rotors. All 400E/E420 require the late-style only.

    The good news is that the OE late LCA's seem to have very long-lasting ball joints, despite being non-replaceable. All my cars which came with late LCA's from the factory still have the originals, including one past 200kmi. I replaced the bushings and put a new boot on the BJ. I'm curious what the lifespan is on these... Klink may have some data to share.


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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Michael, no, the early style LCA's will interfere with the brake rotors. All 400E/E420 require the late-style only.

    The good news is that the OE late LCA's seem to have very long-lasting ball joints, despite being non-replaceable. All my cars which came with late LCA's from the factory still have the originals, including one past 200kmi. I replaced the bushings and put a new boot on the BJ. I'm curious what the lifespan is on these... Klink may have some data to share.

    The ones I took out of the high miler were toast...bushings still seemed satisfactory though.

  6. #6
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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Michael, no, the early style LCA's will interfere with the brake rotors. All 400E/E420 require the late-style only.

    The good news is that the OE late LCA's seem to have very long-lasting ball joints, despite being non-replaceable. All my cars which came with late LCA's from the factory still have the originals, including one past 200kmi. I replaced the bushings and put a new boot on the BJ. I'm curious what the lifespan is on these... Klink may have some data to share.

    The ball joints can last without meaningful play for several hundred thousand miles. It is the breaking of the boots enabling entry of dirt and water that kill the ball joints.

    And since we're on the subject, it is all the crap people spray all over their wheels and tires, most particularly the heavily acid or alkaline wheel cleaners that crack in the boots. Nasty solvents such as the ones most often used to carry silicones will also destroy the boots. If nothing but water and ordinary road grime are the only things allowed to contact the boots, then the boots also last for a few hundred thousand miles, or a few decades. No, I'm not going to say "which ever comes first"

    Oh, and on yet another related note, it is all of these "maintenance substances" that are mainly responsible for destroying your shock absorber dust boots, all the other ball joint boots, your brake pad wear and wheel speed sensor wiring along with all of their associated little plastic clips, brackets, and strain reliefs, your brake caliper piston boots, etc., ad nauseam. This is why enthusiasts' cars almost always need all of these things, often repeatedly, while the average couldn't care less cardiologist's car almost never does. Very few things destroy a car as quickly as "maintenance", most especially when that maintenance is some kind of "cleaning".

    Talk to you later. I've got to go "clay off" my last micron of clearcoat...
    Last edited by Klink; 01-13-2015 at 08:22 PM.
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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by Klink View Post
    Talk to you later. I've got to go "clay off" my last micron of clearcoat...
    Don't forget to "mirror shine" your tires too !!

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    Don't forget to "mirror shine" your tires too !!
    Oh yes, for sure. I'll be polishing on them 'till Bib looks like a concentration camp survivor...
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    You should get Bob_036 to help you !


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by gerryvz View Post
    You should get Bob_036 to help you !


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    Fat chance getting help from Bob these days. He's off drag racing with 400Eric...
    Putting the fun in dysfunction...

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by Klink View Post
    Fat chance getting help from Bob these days. He's off drag racing with 400Eric...
    It does seem he's become friendly with 400Eric and his racing pal "The Vookster"


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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by Klink View Post

    Talk to you later. I've got to go "clay off" my last micron of clearcoat...
    Ah, see if you had 147, you wouldn't have that "clear coat" issue.

    My paint is............... nice.



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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by clarkz71 View Post
    Ah, see if you had 147, you wouldn't have that "clear coat" issue.

    My paint is............... nice.
    Love 147, especially down there in the sun. I was living in Tampa at the time that I bought the only MB that I had ever ordered a brand-new, that's the color I got. Can't say for sure that it was Number 147, but it was what ever shade of pure white that they were spraying at the time...
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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Arctic White or Polar White, most probably. Those colors from up north in the Idaho area, near the Arctic Circle.

  15. #15
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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Yes. 147 is Arctic up to 1993

    149 is Polar White 1994 and up

    .

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by clarkz71 View Post
    Yes. 147 is Arctic up to 1993

    149 is Polar White 1994 and up.
    100% correct. I have one of each floating around here...

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    What's a better color combination:

    Arctic White over Mushroom?

    Polar White over Parchment?


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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Bornite with black.


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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Beautiful polish job Clark!



    Michael

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Thanks Michael.

    But the credit goes to my detail guy. He has a mobile detail / car wash service.

    He's been doing my vehicles since 1998

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Man he needs to visit my house

  22. #22
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    Re: Front Control Arms

    lol............

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    Quote Originally Posted by samiam44 View Post
    Beautiful polish job Clark! Michael
    Hey, my wife's Polish !!!!

    R

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    I don't see this job in the service manual. Can anyone confirm whether or not the nuts for the bushings and the BJ clamp sleeve need to be replaced, or can they be reused?

    The torque specs were posted in another forum in case they're helpful to anyone: http://mbworld.org/forums/c36-amg-c4...questions.html.

    LCA to frame: 120nm
    BJ to knuckle: 105nm
    These should be torqued under load.
    Last edited by quest1966; 11-22-2016 at 01:10 PM.

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    Re: Front Control Arms

    FSM job:
    http://w124-zone.com/downloads/MB%20...is/33-0510.pdf

    Original torque spec here:
    http://w124-zone.com/downloads/MB%20...is/40-0322.pdf

    LCA to frame eccentric-bolt torque spec was increased from 120Nm to 150Nm:
    http://w124-zone.com/downloads/MB%20...xle.pdf#page=2


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