Changing the centre steering link in your C240 (or other V configuration W202) is one of those jobs that is a horrendous pain in the backside the first time you do, then once you’ve figured it out, it’s easy.
I’m going to talk you through it so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Please note, this won’t be too picture heavy as, it was a pain, and I was more focused on getting the job done rather than documenting it.
Firstly, you need to make sure you are ordering the right part. There weren’t any spares suppliers local to me that stocked the centre link, so I had to order online.
On the inline engined cars, the two middle ball joints face upwards so you can access them from the top of the car. The V6 is quite a big engine to put into the platform though, and you can’t really access anything from the engine bay as the block takes up so much room. Therefore, they inverted the ball joints so you can access them from the bottom.
This is the example of the wrong one that I ordered. On the correct one, the two ball joints would literally be sitting upside down, so the threads would be facing the carpet.
So when you order, make sure you get the specific C240 one.
To replace the part, you’ll need a 19mm socket and spanner, a 17mm socket and spanner, a ball joint separator (have both a large and small one) and you’ll possibly need a hammer.
The outer track rod ends are really easy to take off. Simply follow the steering arm to the back of the hub and you will find the ball joint.
Take the 19mm nut on the bottom right the way off, then wind it back on a couple of threads. You don’t want it to be tight in anyway, especially if it has a nyloc on the end of it, it’s just so the ball joint doesn’t jump out when you separate it.
Now for the fun part! The small ball joint separator is the easiest to use on the outer joints. Slip the fork between the hub and the rubber boot of the joint and the arm over the top of the bolt. Now tighten it up until the ball joint pops out!
Repeat on the other side.
These ones are really easy! The middle ones however, can be a pain.
My car is right hand driven, the layout may be inverted on left hand drive cars, but the principle should be the same.
We’ll start on the driver’s side. Here you can see the ball joint, which mates up to an arm coming off of the steering box, and the bolt (17mm head) which holds the steering damper to the centre link.
Pop that bolt out first and allow the steering damper to dangle from it’s bracket. on the passenger side.
The other inner joint is mounted to an arm that swings down from the chassis.
Start by taking off the passenger side joint. There’s no way to put the little ball joint remover onto this joint, so feed the fork style ball joint remover through the side of the car and onto the joint.
This joint can be incredibly stiff, but with a few whacks on the end of the fork with a hammer it should pop up and out.
When you do the same on the drivers side you’ll notice that it has no way of coming up and out with the steering in the centre position. Release your steering lock and turn the wheel full to the left to allow the joint to be pulled out. (It took a while for us to figure that out haha!)
Installation is the reversal of removal. Start on the inner drivers side, then move the steering back to center and the replace the inner passenger side. Finally, replace the outer joints.
Make sure the first place you take your car after doing this is the alignment shop. I’m sure there are ways of doing an alignment on the cheap, but nothing beats the proper shop’s systems.
Thanks for reading!
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By Richard Francis