This will be a short one. Easy job, anyone could do it!
Almost forgot to mention: There is a CATCH, that might get you stuck! Better read on then.
Get some new struts. Prepare your tools. You should have a hammer and a couple of drive punches also in addition to the normal socket tools and a set of spanners. This job is fairly easy and anyone who can change their own wheels are able to do this job if you are prepared.
Start by taking the rear wheels off. I recommend putting the rear on jack stands while you work on the rear end. There will probably be a lot of banging with the hammer, but you will probably no be moving under the rear end. Now you can locate the lower bolts, spray them with rust penetration so it will be easier to loosen the bolts. They are probably a bit crusty from rust. It is also a good time to inspect other suspension components such as the rear sway bar bushings and the brakes. Make note of worn components and order them for a fix later.
While the rust penetration fluid is working, start by locating the upper damper mounts in the rear trunk. The left side is located below the first aid kit area. Open the lid, remove the first aid kit and the warning triangle, then locate the foam and remove it to find the upper strut mount.
Make note of how the bushings and supporting plates are mounted. Support the lower control arm with a jack, because the spring will push out the arm once the damper is loosened. When the strut mount is found. Use a spanner along with an adjustable wrench to keep the shaft from spinning when loosening the upper nut.
Now that the top of the strut is loose. You can move to the lower bolt. This is a bit more tricky if it is stuck. Use two sockets or a socket in combination with spanner. You might need some force to loosen this nut because of rust.
When the nut is removed, the tricky part starts. You will need to drive out the lower strut bolt. Is is probably rusted and needs a good pounding with your hammer. Hammertime!
No pictures of that process here since I got so frustrated I forgot to take any. Anyhow when the strut is out you can mount in the new strut. If you completely break the bolt you will need to get a new one, since most of the dampers do not come with new lower bolt and nut. Be sure it has enough strength and do not simply get one from the hardware store without checking the steel rating. The nut used must have self locking threads, otherwise you will need to use a locking washer with the nut. Tighten the nut until you feel it is tight.
You might need to use the jack down or up in order to move the control arm in the height so you can get the strut in properly.
Now move up and fit the upper strut bushings and nut. Place the bushing first, then the plate. The new strut can either come with 1 self locking nut or two separate nuts. When tightening the nut you have to make sure the shaft is not turning. Turning the shaft excessively can damage the inner seals of the strut and it might start leaking. Start tightening the nut until you reach the bushing. The rest of the tightening must be done while the car is fully weighted on its suspension.
The same procedure is obviously for the right side. It is located behind the right side compartment, and behind the plastic cover which can be removed.
When tightening the upper strut nut, tighten so the ribber bushing is a bit squeezed and you feel a resistance. This is usually enough. If the new strut has two nuts, use the upper one to secure the lower nut. This is not necessary if the damper comes with a self locking nut. Do not reuse the self locking nut front he old strut.
Hope the car will feel a bit more responsive in the rear end!
Having weird clunking sounds while driving or the steering wheels starts to shake when you are driving and getting worse with increased speed? Also the tires get worn excessive at one of the sides? This could be a sign that the CV axles going bad. It is possible to change out just the CV axle ends and not the whole axles, however it is more time consuming and often easier just replacing new complete axles. Changing the entire axles will only be covered in this article. The job can be pretty extensive and complex if you have not much experience in working on cars due to the requirement of time and many tools needed. Although it can be straight forward if you have some knowledge of mechanics. If your car have driven in a rust environment and you don’t have special tools, then maybe skip this job!
This will be a long one so fasten your harness and prepare a big tea pot!
There are some considerations to be done. The original axles will probably fit the car better than after market ones. I find a lot of complaining around forums for poorly fitting after market CV axles for front wheel driven cars. Some cheap brands in reality sometimes use refurbished old axles and pack them with little grease and they might end up making sounds and break after a short time. Therefore be sure not to throw out your original MB axles without really being sure about changing them. Getting new MB axles for the B-class I would not recommend since they are crazy expensive and not offering any benefits other than being original. A good middle way could then be to buy a CV joint end refurbish kit. However this procedure is not covered here.
I wouldn’t buy the cheapest, but not the most expensive you can find either. Choose a brand you trust in the middle range. That will be 95% as good as the best ones. Also make sure the lengths and fitting are correct before ordering, parts stores list all kinds of variations, and manual and Auto/CVT variations are different even if they look similar in images.
There is a high chance you need to change the axle seals from the transmission while changing the axles. This could be because of age or they get damaged when removing/installing the axles. I didn’t think of this and one side started leaking a lot and I needed to take out the axle again. The axle seal for the CVT version I could not find in any online store, and needed to order one from Mercedes dealer and prised as such too!
You can be sure to need changing the lower ball joints and tie rods unless they have been changed in the last few years. This will add the need for a wheel alignment after the job. This needs to be done at a workshop unless you have really advanced equipment and training. A wheel alignment is quite cheap though compared to the changing of the drive shafts, so I would still consider changing the CV axles DIY.
There is a chance you will need to refill some transmission oil if some leaks out during installation. This is a good opportunity to change the filter and gear oil. This however requires you to have a dipstick and more parts on hand. Mercedes does not want their customers to change their oil, so they “sealed” the cap off and there is no dipstick. You can get a disptick for 5 bucks at Ebay, good filter kits also include the little plastic tab. Changing transmission fluid will not ne covered in this article.
You will need some special equipment for this
E-Torx bits (for removing bracket to right side axle and the ball joint bolts might have them)
Large star socket (for the original axle end bolts)
Glide hammer (to remove axle shaft seal)
A good selection of spanners
Large and powerful tie rod and ball joint remover
Large sockets or similar to fit over the axle seal lip
Various lengths of socket extensions
Large soft ended hammer
You will need the following parts, depending on ambition level
Left side CV axle, is shorter than the other
Right side CV axle, is longer than the other
2x Axle seal/ transmission output seal
2x Ball joint
2x Tie rod
CV moly grease
Ball bearing grease/assembly grease
High temp anti-seize alu-paste
1L Transmission fluid – type depending on your transmission
Optional: Dipstick /Auto Filter/gasket
If you decide to go through with this job, be prepared that the tie rod might have rusted completely to the hub/knuckle. Then you will need large amounts of patience, cutting and drilling to get it free. I really hated this part. You are hereby warned.
Plan for not driving the car in a few days. This might take you longer than you expect. If you see an obstacle you cannot fix and you need the car, then quit early before the point of no return. I had not planned it very well and lacked both tools and parts thought the whole process. So the car was jacked up on stands while I waited on new parts to arrive. I guess this is how you learn. Luckily I had a backup car so there was no stress. Although I didn’t plan that the car could not be driven for over 2 months straight…
Before you raise the car, you will need to loosen the huge axle spindle nut. Take off the middle cap from the rim. If there is a dust cover hiding the spindle nut, then just raise the wheel with a jack and take the wheel off. Then remove the dust cover for the wheel hub, put the wheel back on and lower it to the ground again. Then loosen the spindle nut, use a long breaker bar because this one sits really tight!
Do this for the other wheel if you plan to change both CV axles. After you removed the spindle nuts, you will need to raise the entire front of the car so you can get access underneath, so put it on safe on jack stands.
Next is two different ways to loosening the tie rod. The easy way if it’s not stuck. And the hard way if it’s stuck.
The easy way
Since this is the easy way, you don’t even have to take the caliper or brake disc off! Super easy right? If working on the right side, turn the wheel completely over to the right to get better access. Opposite for the left side obviously. Spray the tie rod bolts and the lower ball joint with penetrating fluid and let it work a few minutes before continuing.
Start by loosening the 19mm tie-rod nut on the hub knuckle assembly with a socket. The tie rod will stick to the knuckle arm because of the press fit, so the bolt will loosen by itself. Now you will need the heavy duty tie rod/ball joint puller tool. Place it over the tie rod and pop it.
Hopefully it will snap off and it will look like below:
Now move over to loosening the lower ball joint. Since this is the easy method, you can avoid loosening the ball joint completely from the the lower suspension arm, unless you want to change the lower ball joint which I highly recommend. Use a 22mm spanner, you are not able to fit a socket over it. This bolt can be very tight so you might use a bit of muscle. You will normally not need a hex to stop it from turning when loosening since it is press fitted after tightening. The image below is in fact from tightening, but shows the same.
Hopefully it will look something like this when loosened:
Now get the ball joint puller tool again and snap off the ball joint from the steering knuckle. I don’t have a picture of it here, but you should figure it out since you did the exact same procedure on the tie-rod like 5mins ago.
After it is snapped loose, get a long pry bar, place it in the inner hole of the lower suspension arm and press down as far as you can with the bar leverage. This will enable you to lift the steering knuckle out of the ball joint.
Withe knuckle free from the ball joint you can now easily free the CV axle spindle from the hub. You can normally drive it out with not too much effort.
The right side CV-Axle
The right side is slightly more complicated to remove, since it is longer and has another bracket under the car. Locate the bracket, it is secured with two Torx bolts.
Now you can go ahead of pulling the CV axle out of the transmission. It might take a bit of force. On this side there is no place you can pry off the axle either. Be sure to have a drip pan under the transmission in case fluid runs out.
The left side is a bit easier, it can be pulled out straight away after the tie rod end and the ball joint have been loosened. It’s nearly impossible to pull the drive shaft straight out, due to the locking spring on the inside. Get a pry bar with the flat end and fit it between the inner edge of the drive shaft and the transmission housing. This will loosen the drive shaft from the transmission. Be ready for a drip pan if transmission fluid leaks out.
The Hard Way
Let us imagine that the tie-rod is completely stuck and you cannot remove it with a tie-rod tool, either it breaks or it will not budge. Then what? Let me show you the hard way to fix this. In order to do this, you will need a set with good quality and new sharp drill bits. Also you will need to use an angle grinder. Rub on that patience lube you have in the bottom of your tool kit since you will need it! Let me show you how below.
First you will try to undo the tie-rod like normally, then your tool breaks or bends or worse. So your mind realise it is not budging at all. Fuck! You might be tempted to use a large sledge hammer to knock it free. Do not under any circumstance try this because you might end up bending the knuckle hub assembly. Do not bother to use a blow torch with heat either, it will not work and you will just end up burning the ABS sensor. The tie-rod sleeve will definitively burn up, but it will get ruined now anyway when it is this stuck.
To get better access you will need to remove the brake disk. Unbolt the caliper and hang it up with some wires to reduce the stress on the brake hose. Now bend the brake dust slightly shield out of the way, or unless it is rusted like mine, just tear it off.
Now the long and tedious process start. It is not without risk. If you do not take care you will need to replace the entire knuckle hub assembly. It will need to be replaced if there are scores inside the tie-rod insert after you drill it out.
Start by drilling with a small sized drill to make a pilot hole. Make absolutely sure that is in the middle other wise you will get out of the center line and might end up scoring the hole. You are hereby warned. The more narrow the drill the easier it is to get it started in the beginning. Use low speed and stop to apply oil to the drill bit head often in order to cool the drill bit head. Otherwise you will need to replace the drill often. This metal is super hard and will take a lot of time to get through. If you take it slow and use oil often it will not wear out your drills. Drill at least one centimetre before increasing the drill size. I used between 2-3 hours to get through the tie-rod before it popped out.
After you increase the drill bit size, make sure you don not score the knuckle hole. Go very slow and swap between the narrow and thick drill bits after you have gone a bit deeper.
When you have traversed the entire length of the knuckle arm, about 2 centimetres, do not increase the drill bit further. Now grab your trustworthy punch drive which can fit in the tie-rod hole which you have drilled. Use some force and I’m sure will pop out. Try a few different sizes and continue drilling if it will not pop out.
The ball-joint for some reason is not usually this stuck and can normally be removed by the ball joint remover tool. If this is completely stuck as well, then you might require help from a workshop, since it is very much harder to access. Have no solution for you here.
Changing drive shaft-transmission seals
I highly recommend to do this step since it is a high chance it never was changed prior and might start leaking. It is also easy to damage it when taking out and inserting the new drive shafts. I learned the hard way, it started leaking and the car probably lost 05.-1L of transmission fluid. And I had to take out the left side CV shaft out again. I did not change them initially since I got the wrong seals from the place where I ordered the rest of the parts. They did not have the right ones, especially for the CVT transmission variant I think they are hard to find? Anyway I needed to get them from a Mercedes dealer. And the price was 60$ each… OMG that is excessive! Anyway this is how to change them.
You will need a slide hammer puller to get them out since they will sit incredibly hard in the transmission housing. Put the new ones in your freezer since the outer diameter will shrink slightly and it will be much easier to insert into the housing. Timing here is essential. Get the old ones out before you ready the new ones. If there are any scores or rust marks in the inner edge of the transmission housing, you will need to use a bit of fine sand paper and polish the surface clean. I promise you it will leak if you skip this step. You will only have one shot of getting the new ones in. If they go in crooked and you bend them, you will need to get new ones. Therefore it might be smart to practice getting in the old ones back in first if you never did this kind of job.
Installing requires an equal size socket tool which matches the outer diameter of the seal. Get your favourite grease ready to easy the inserting of the seal. I used ball bearing/ hub grease. Use a long socket extension which you can pound on. Now when everything is ready, run and get the new seal out of the fridge and be as fast as possible, every second here counts! Grease up the new seal while it still freezing and install.
Use the socket and tap it in with a rubber hammer. Make sure to tap it in carefully and checking often that it goes in straight. When the outer edge of the seal is parallel to the outer edge if the transmission housing it is in the right place. If you overshoot, then you have to pull it out again. There is no end edge in the housing which tells you when it is in. So it is very easy to drive it too far in. The inner dust flap of the seal will stick out from the edge and will fit inside the drive shaft dust cover.
Now you should be ready to put in the new drive shaft.
Fitting the CV drive shafts
Try not to pull the CV shafts apart since you might end up in a situation where the balls inside the joints will fall out of their sleeve and the joint will not function properly. First lets do the right side.
Fitting the Right side
Firstly put some grease on the drive shaft end that goes into the transmission. This will aid the locking ring to slide into place.
Use a rubber hammer and knock in the drive shaft into the transmission, make sure it is all the way in. The shaft should now line up with the intermediate bearing bracket holes. Use some thread locker on the bolts and tighten to reasonably tight.
Fitting the left side
Fitting the left side is just as fitting the right one, except the intermediate bracket fastening. Be sure that the drive shaft is far enough in so the dust cap goes over the inner seal rubber flap.
Fitting the end
If you need to change the lower ball-joint and the tie-rod, this is how you do it.
Remove the lower ball joint. Here you will need the E-torx if it is the original one still attached.
Once it is off, use a round wire brush to polish the inside the ball joint hole and the tie-rod insert hole. This is to remove any rust or left over dirt. This is a very important step in order to make them fit snugly.
Then use the same brush to clean the tie-rod hole.
Remember the tie-rod that might get stuck. Now use some anti seize Alu-paste to lubricate the lower ball joint and tie-rod holes before fitting them. So the same situation will not happen again if you need to loosen these again. Prepare for the worst you know.
Ready now the new parts for fitting.
The new ball joints will usually have normal bolts instead of the E-torx ones, except the ones I ordered didn’t come with new bolts so I had to reuse them. This is totally fine. The top bolt always are new, do not reuse these, since they have a locking plastic ring. So here you don not have to use thread locker. Since you have to use a spanner to tighten the ball joint bolt, you can not use a torque wrench normally, so tighten with some force within reason. It will be pressed in the fitting and will not come loose.
Before you insert the CV shaft into the hub, you will need to polish the inner hub surfaces. It is probably a bit rusty. Clean it up with sand paper so it is completely smooth.
Use some CV lithium-moly grease for the interface between the CV shaft and the hub. This is important to keep noises and vibrations from the hub after you fit a new CV shaft. This is a common problem on front wheeled drive cars, the knocking after you replace completely new axles. Especially on Volkswagen and Audis. M ake sure to follow their recommendation with using CV moly grease.
You do not have to grease the spline where it goes into the hub. Since you want to avoid slipping change of the drive gears.
Now mark the spot where the tie-rod was and unscrew it from the steering rack rods. Put the new ones in in the exact same length as the ones you put out. You probably still need a front alignment job after this, but might at least make the car go somewhat straight meanwhile. Put some anti seize alu-paste on it.
After tightening then put on the tie-rod end on the hub knuckle assembly. Use at first a spanner and the hex to keep it from spinning, then tighten snugly. Then move over to the torque tool and tighten it to 60Nm.
If you removed the brake caliper, these bolts needs thread locker and then tightening to 115Nm. The little bolt to the brake disk which goes on the hub needs thread locker and only 15Nm.
After tightening the tie-rod, the only remaining is to tighten the CV drive shaft spline nut. To to this, the wheel have to go on first. And then lower the wheel to the ground so you can tighten the nut. The torque tool has to be set to 100Nm and then then tighten 60 degrees more after your each the torque setting. Prepare marks on a circle so you know roughly how much to torque. There is even apps on your phone to to this, or make circle from paper and put it on yourtool. Or buy a tool which tells you exactly the degrees.
After torquing the drive shaft spline nut, raise the wheel up. Take off the wheel. Put the hub dust cap back on then put the wheel back on.
If any transmission fluid came out it the time to replace this with the exact amount which came out. This might not be needed, depends only if some transmission fluid ran out during the job.
Take the car for a test drive and listen and feel if there are any weird sounds or vibrations. If all good you are done. Consider you a master of mechanics DIY jobs. This job is not easy and you should be very proud!
This is the most modern car which I have written an oil change procedure about. What is the difference here compared to the older cars? To be honest not much! The only difference is the car computer needs to be told that an oil change has happened and the service interval be reset through an OBD2 diagnostics unit. The OBD2 diagnostics unit can be found quite cheap online, but make sure you get one that works for this model with the capability to reset service intervals and fault codes. Since the more basic ones can only read fault codes.
Get the necessary parts and oil. Here you need a filter kit, which contains the oil filter element, two rubber gaskets for the filter housing and a new drain plug with a new copper washer. Make sure to not get the cheapest filter you can find, since in my experience the filter element can start to deteriorate if you have long service intervals. This car is rated at 15.000km between oil changes, but I suggest doing them at 10.000km.
Oil filter kit
Oil: Keep at least 6L on hand- The car needs around 5,4-5,8L
Jack and jack stands
Oil drain pan
I tend to use Castrol’s oil picker to find which oil I need for any car, but if you prefer other brands then I have no objection. Anyway Castrol recommends Edge 0W-30, but this could change if you plan to use the car in more extreme weather conditions. Refer to the owners manual if in doubt.
The engine should be at operating temperature to make the draining more effective. So prepare the oil change after a trip, either back from work or after the store.
I’m always a bit shocked when checking the oil on diesels since it’s usually pure black in color after a relatively short time. This car had some time since the last oil change and the level was quite low. This did worry me a bit since the car is at 250.000km already. It is always a good idea to check the bottom of the oil drip pan for sludge and metal shavings to assess the condition of the engine every time when changing the oil. So with that in mind, hoist up the front of the car on jack stands. This car has a very low ground clearance and it’s impossible to access anything under there.
Start with locating the oil filter element in the engine bay. It is on the right side of the car just behind the turbo. It is a bit cumbersome to reach with a socket, but you don’t need any special filter tool to remove it. The access will be much easier if you have a socket with a joint as shown in the picture below. Take out the old oil filter and then move to beneath the car.
If you haven’t seen under this car, everything is hidden beneath plastic panels. You have to take at least 2 of the panels off to get access to the oil drain plug. The oil drain plug is also a joker to find, since it’s not where you expect it to be traditionally. It’s at the very rear of the engine far behind the front wheels. It is the most left plug on the engine block (see image).
I’m not sure what the plastic panels are for except aesthetics and hiding the under body. Also it can trap moisture and rust. They have some very subtle sound dampening effects and can keep some of the dirt away. Maybe it decreases air drag at high speeds? But I didn’t bother to put them back on. They were quite cracked and had a large hole due to the low ground clearance. I prefer seeing whats going underneath the car and the ability to wash off the salt underneath there especially in the winter.
Now that the drain plug is located. Start drain the oil and try not to loose the plug into the pan when opening it. The oil should drain a while until the dripping stops. Then take the new drain plug with the new copper washer and use that to plug the drain. Do not overtighten! Maximum 30Nm.
After the drain plug is secured. Then it’s time to change the oil filter. The oil filter cap contains two rubber seals, remember to change both of them! Use a rag to clean up inside the oil filter housing for old oil. Mount the new filter onto the oil filter cap and then reinsert the filter cap into the filter housing. Tighten the filter housing to max 25NM. Over tightening will ruin the plastic so be careful.
Recheck that you actually secured the oil drain plug under the engine before you start pouring in the new oil. The car needs 5,4L to 5,8L, but there is probably some residue and the actual amount might be a little less. Start by pouring 4,5L. Level the car in order to make a proper reading of the dip stick. Then pour little by little until max level on the dip stick is achieved.
Check the oil drain pan for assessing the health of the engine and if the service interval have been overdue. Luckily there were no sludge or metal shavings from my oil, but it smelt strongly burnt. Which with the low oil level may indicate an overdue oil service interval. Thankfully I switched this oil in this before doing any driving at all after getting it. The engine is quite strong and starts easy without any smoking indicating a healthy engine still. Phew!
Now the last part is to tell the engine computer that an oil change have been done and reset the service interval. The annoying wrench and reminder every time you start the car will then go away. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of this process, but it’s really a straight forwards procedure.
Connect the OBD2 to the connector underneath the steering wheel.
Select the car and engine type with manufacturing year
Go on the menu which you can reset oil service interval. These can be different depending on the type of reader, but should be pretty obvious
Set that oil service have been done, this will remove warnings on the dashboard
While you’re at it, do a scan of error codes if any
Now you can do an oil measurement while the key is inserted and the engine is off. You can access this through the interactive computer in the dashboard through the buttons on the steering wheel. The car will then tell you if the level is OK or not.
If everything is OK and no service interval warnings. It’s time to start the engine. While the engine is running. Inspect underneath and see that there are no oil leaks form the drain plug and also check the oil filter housing for leaks. If no leaks, go for a small 5min drive. When back, recheck the dip stick level when engine is off. Refill more oil if necessary. Also recheck for leaks underneath and at the oil filter housing.
There are quite a lot of filters on this car. Diesel fuel filter, air filter, oil filter and pollen filter. I will cover all of them but the oil filter in this article (the oil filter will be addressed in a separate oil change guide). You can buy complete filter kits which include all filters. I recommend doing that to save some hard earned rupies and then changing all of them in one go, they probably are all overdue anyway.
Having that dampness and weird smell in the cabin gain? It’s not always a fart. Changing the pollen filter might address the issue. It’s also the most overlooked filter on the car. Many people does not even know it exists. Especially if you have been around older cars which do not have them! There you have the good old fashioned unfiltered atmosphere straight into the cabin.
So where do you find the pollen filter? Start by opening the hood. At the plastic cover above the engine is a narrow plastic lid. Open it and there you will find the filter.
The pollen filter is a flimsy piece of paper which you can easily swap without any tools. Mess this up and you are a clown.
Well done you completed 1/3.
Time to step it up a notch. Now you will require some actual tools. Some torx bits to be specific. The air filter is located at the top of the engine and you can’t miss it. You have to loosen the plastic cover which is held in place by torx screws all around it. Be careful not to loose the screws into the engine bay and you will never find them again.
You don’t have to loosen the air intake tube going to the turbo. And if you do, it’s important to get the seal completely tight again. Not so easy.
Now you have done 2/3, well done. Maybe you’re not a clown after all? Lets step over to the diesel filter.
The final and hardest part. Here you will utilize at least a screwdriver. You should also consider getting new hose clamps if the old ones are rotten. In older mechanical diesels injection systems it was a pain to change the filter, since you had to manually pump and bleed the injection system for air after changing filters. Now the car will do this for you with the electronic injection system. To be honest I did zero pre-studying before doing this job and wasn’t 100% sure if this would happen, but it was no issue starting the car afterwards. So no worries!
Locate the diesel filter on the right side of the engine. It should be easy to spot. It’s a canister with two hoses going into it. Note the location of each hose, take a picture so you don’t cross them when installing the new filter.
Unscrew the hoses and beware of diesel pouring out, prepare some paper to catch the spilling diesel. You should be extra careful of spilled diesel here since the exhaust is just beneath. This can catch fire if a lot of diesel is spilled, and I don’t want you to blame me for you burning up your own car.
The filter canister is clamped tight by a couple of spring clamps which you can loosen by hand.
After installing the new diesel filter. Start the car and inspect closely for diesel leaks. Tighten the clamps if you see seepage. Alternatively the hoses might need replacing if they have started to seep from cracks. Diesel leaks here might cause engine fire and you have now been warned!
If you managed to complete this 3/3 step, you are already at novice DIY level and congratulations! Who said fixing your car was difficult? Hardly need any tools at all.