PDA

View Full Version : Ball joint, wheel bearings & alignment.


Trick
03-08-2013, 06:14 PM
This is an 04 w/ 207,000 miles.

My alignment as been getting pretty bad in the last yr. It pulls slightly to the right, and the steering wheel is atleast 4" off. It happened pretty quickly.

I took it to Belle Tire and they said both front wheel bearings and the left ball joint (,shocks all around) needed to be replaced.

I read a few of the ball joint threads and I doubt the Belletire guy knew of the 3mm of play. He rated the ball joints a 5 on a scale of 1-10.

What do I do here? Do I test the wheel bearings and ball joints myself? If yes is there a 'how to' thread?

Or do I just replace the wheel bearings and ball joint, because its got over 200k miles and its about time anyways?

I plan on doing the work myself.:cry:

1cylshort
03-08-2013, 07:57 PM
I've got a thread around here from just a few weeks ago about replacing the wheel bearings myself, if you're confident of your own skills (ie- will the wheels stay on if you do it yourself). The bearings and seal is easily available through your local NAPA, and they are quality SKF bearings.

Worst part is replacing the bearing races. Also, if you're used to castle nuts and cotter pins, Mercedes is just a bit different.

Mine has 285000 miles, and really, only the inner left side was junk- but I did replace both on that side. Right side, I just cleaned & lubed. The bearings looked to be original. I wasn't impressed with the amount of grease in there.

Mine was making a rough rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr sound, in sync with speed, but there was no slop in the wheel / steering- just the grindy sound and feel. My ride is much quieter now!

Here's the link:

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24966

1cylshort
03-08-2013, 08:04 PM
Also, If you remove the brake pads / carrier from the rotor (so it turns freely), you can do a bearing test.

Grab onto the bottom of the shock/strut - like a bat- with your left hand, and turn the rotor with your right hand. If you feel grindy, ratchety, non-smoothness in your left hand, the bearing(s) is bad. Ideally, if there was a spring, it would amplify things, but well, there's no spring to grab.

Great time to check condition of pads and measure rotor thickness.

Aqua Puttana
03-08-2013, 08:42 PM
This is an 04 w/ 207,000 miles.

My alignment as been getting pretty bad in the last yr. It pulls slightly to the right, and the steering wheel is atleast 4" off. It happened pretty quickly.
What happened quickly? The steering wheel orientation being off or the pulling to the right?

To me the steering wheel being off indicates an alignment job by someone who didn't pay attention to detail or, if it happened quickly, possibly something going wrong with the steering gear.

Are your tire pressures even? One soft tire can cause pulling pretty quickly. So can bouncing off a curb.

I took it to Belle Tire and they said both front wheel bearings and the left ball joint (,shocks all around) needed to be replaced.
In my experience, front wheel bearings need to be very bad (sound like a rough road grinding all the time) or improperly adjusted to contribute to alignment issues.

Shocks? Again, what's tire wear pattern?

I read a few of the ball joint threads and I doubt the Belletire guy knew of the 3mm of play. He rated the ball joints a 5 on a scale of 1-10.
Find the Mercedes pdf on ball joint testing.

What do I do here? Do I test the wheel bearings and ball joints myself? If yes is there a 'how to' thread?
Search for the ball joint testing thread. Use advanced search. "balljoint" with abittenbinder for member name.

Or do I just replace the wheel bearings and ball joint, because its got over 200k miles and its about time anyways?

I plan on doing the work myself.:cry:
Don't just replace stuff based upon miles. That can be unnecessary and expensive.


vic

Trick
03-08-2013, 10:52 PM
[QUOTE=Aqua Puttana;231861]What happened quickly? The steering wheel orientation being off or the pulling to the right? Both happened quickly. There was not a definite moment I knew it got misaligned, I just remember 6months ago it was ok.

To me the steering wheel being off indicates an alignment job by someone who didn't pay attention to detail or, if it happened quickly, possibly something going wrong with the steering gear. No idea on this but, steering gear doesn't sound good.

Are your tire pressures even? One soft tire can cause pulling pretty quickly. So can bouncing off a curb.


In my experience, front wheel bearings need to be very bad (sound like a rough road grinding all the time) or improperly adjusted to contribute to alignment issues.

Shocks? Again, what's tire wear pattern? Tire wear pattern was "under inflated", as in outer edges had more wear and the wear seemed a bit jumpy. The age of the struts and the 'jumpy' wear makes me think struts are due.


Find the Mercedes pdf on ball joint testing.


Search for the ball joint testing thread. Use advanced search. "balljoint" with abittenbinder for member name. Will do.


Don't just replace stuff based upon miles. That can be unnecessary and expensive.

I'll research a little tonight and give it a thorough inspection tomorrow.

1cylshort. Thanks for the info.


]

Boater
03-08-2013, 11:38 PM
Find the Mercedes pdf on ball joint testing.


Search for the ball joint testing thread. Use advanced search. "balljoint" with abittenbinder for member name.

The pdf is actually by Mercedes parent company Daimler, and their name is in the footer - you wouldn't be the first to fail to spot it!

If you find the tech alert thread Vic mentions, there is a link to the Daimler document in it.

Trick
03-16-2013, 02:41 PM
Ok Guys I started working on this last night. I'm putting new struts on too, woo who!

My question is the wheel bearings, I pulled them out and besides having very little grease they looked great, no markings or visual signs of failure. Can I just clean and repack these bearings?

talkinghorse43
03-16-2013, 02:42 PM
Yes

Trick
03-16-2013, 02:54 PM
Sweet. Wheel bearings are super easy if its just a repack.

OldWest
03-16-2013, 05:23 PM
Also, check the Write-Up section re front axle or cross member alignment or something like that. Interesting post about how the front cross member can be crooked and not perpendicular to line of travel which could cause veering to side. In effect, one front wheel is actually forward of the other front wheel when driving straight.

OldWest
03-16-2013, 05:32 PM
Thread started on Dec 5, 2011. http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18665

Front Cross Member Alignment

EZoilburner
03-17-2013, 03:09 AM
Since We are discussing the topic and mine does pull a little to the right, I read on some threads one can't just go to a alignment shop but instead a dealer with the mercedes scan tool so they can update this on the sprinter ECM, is this correct?
I already pulled the front bearings and they look still OK so they stayed I just cleaned and re-packed them with grease, no play on the BJ yet but it does pull to the right and the steering wheel is off to the point I need to keep it to the left to stay straight some times.

Thanks.

Aqua Puttana
03-17-2013, 01:32 PM
...right, I read on some threads one can't just go to a alignment shop but instead a dealer with the mercedes scan tool so they can update this on the sprinter ECM, is this correct?
...
Thanks.
That is correct if your Sprinter has ESP. It doesn't mean that it is psychic, it is the Electronic Stability Program ESP. Center of page here.

51185


ESP is a standard option for NAFTA Sprinters commencing 2004 model year. I see by your permanent information that you have a 2003 so you may not have the ESP option. Your Data Card would show that information 100%.

Another method might be to look for a ESP icon on your dash during the lamp check sequence just before starting.

51188

Be careful selecting an alignment shop. There are some ugly threads in here about the wrong methods being used. An advanced search with Eric Experience as member name should find some of them.
vic

P.S. - Thanks for adding your information there. For those who have yet to do so, see how nicely that works?? That is a big hint for anyone who has not done so yet.

A Canned Add-on

Please take the time to add your vehicle info to all your posts automatically!!!!! It's easy to do. It will help you to get answers. Thank you.

Here's how to do it.

The most direct method is probably in your "Details".
After you are logged in click on "Private Messages" (or “Quick Links”) in the upper right corner.
On the left side under "Your Profile" click on "Edit your Details".
Scroll down to the "Custom User Title" box.
Click in that box and type the information.
I suggest “Vehicle year – NAFTA or 311, etc.” depending upon your location.
Scroll down to the "Save Changes" box. Click on that and you are done.

Another place is in your "Signature".
Click on "Private Messages" (or “Quick Links”) in the upper right.
On the left look for "Setting and Options".
Click on "Edit Signature".
Scroll down to the text box which looks like what you use to add a post to the forum. Type in the information you want.
I used “NAFTA 2004 OM647 140 2500 Std Roof >246,000 mi. DAD” [/QUOTE]
Scroll down to "Preview Signature". If the preview looks like what you want, scroll down to "Save Signature", click on that and you're done.

[Color="Red"]I don’t know what objection anyone could have to adding their model year and Sprinter detail information permanently. (You don’t need to include your location.) Consider it this way. Members of the forum will try to help you. Do you think that it is fair for one to expect anyone to dig up your vehicle information before they reply? You add the info once and you’re done. Sorry if I'm being too straightforward for some.

Have fun. vic

Trick
03-17-2013, 07:26 PM
Also, check the Write-Up section re front axle or cross member alignment or something like that. Interesting post about how the front cross member can be crooked and not perpendicular to line of travel which could cause veering to side. In effect, one front wheel is actually forward of the other front wheel when driving straight.

Thank you for this. This is totally my problem. I went and took a quick measurement (tape measure) and its over 1" off.

flman
03-17-2013, 08:04 PM
Here is a thread by Dr. A on ball joints.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15656&highlight=ball+joints

tylaus
03-17-2013, 11:26 PM
doing a search on cross member alignment and looking at the pictures can't tell if the front wheels are on the ground or lifted up, I need to adjust my cross member and trying to see exactly if the wheels are to make it easier. It's a 2005 dodge sprinter 3500 2.7. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

EZoilburner
03-18-2013, 12:53 AM
P.S. - Thanks for adding your information there. For those who have yet to do so, see how nicely that works?? That is a big hint for anyone who has not done so yet.



I've read many of Your threads and postings, I figured it only made sence.

Trick
03-28-2013, 06:35 PM
Guys im at Belle Tire for an alignment. They showed me the ball joint go up and down almost 1/2". It looked pretty bad. This is also the side that had a bad strut. They still wont give me an alignment, even after I gave them the service report about how to test (but like i said axial movement looked real bad, i asked them about lateral movement and they gave me a dumb look.)

And with the ESP is sounds like only the dealership can do an alignment?

Ps. In another post i said my crosss member was misaligned, i toook a wrong measurement, its fine.