lower ball joints on W124 (1987 300E)

I recently had a mechanic give me the dire warning that my lower ball joints in front were worn out, and that I should replace them at a cost of approximately 350 dollars. the consequences he said were that the wheel
could fold itself under the car, causing catastrophic damage if I were travelling at high speed. I got this same prediction from another mechanic, but both shops were chain shops (midas and brake stop, respectively) that were trying to sell me expensive brake jobs (which I eventually did myself. howto with photos to be posted soon). how concerned should I be about this problem, considering I'm looking to be out of the car within 6 months? After I get a new car (probably an ES300) I'm going to hold on to my mercedes and probably use it as a project car. Also, is this a repair I can do myself?
TIA
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Hi! YES! I changed the lower ball joints on my 190E myself. Material cost at MB here was about 15 $ per side. Easy to do, when you have some mechanical experience. taking of rotors, breaks, calipers, front bearings...and so on...making room for accessing the joint
But, you will need good tools and some kind of press...or strong vice...cause these joints have to be pressed in and out respectively One of my joints did not come off...and I had to heat up the housing with a blow torch...in order to have enough play to press the joint out of its surroundings... new ones went in fairly well. be sure NOT to apply pressure directly onto the joint, but rather to its housing, when installing good luck...350 dollars for about 30 dollars parts is a lot of money. not much you can do wrong here, except, when mounting the joints...be aware of this little notch on the bottom...this indicates how the roint has to be lined up with the lower arm...otherwise, if inserted wrong, the joint will not be able to move freetly with movement of front suspension! just insert new joint lined-up, like old one was notch in direct lined-up with lower arm
if you dont feel this beeing a DIY for you, I would take everything apart by myself, and take everything to a mechanic to just have them do the joints. this saves money for work you can do yourselfs, like breaks and bearing
alex
on mine, it was only the left side, that went bad...similar to wearing of rear bearings... oh, I had wheel symmertry checked afterwards

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Very straightforward. I just rebuilt the front end on one of our W124s. I went a different route and removed the lower arms. Then took 'em to the local machine shop to have old joints pressed out and new joints pressed in. At the same time you can have the rubber pivot bushings replaced if they need it too. You'll need a spring compressor.
Get it aligned when you are done.
Scott D

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