After market dust covers and grease zerks on Drag Link and Tie Rod ball joints.

rtrask

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The dust covers on my SEE were toast when I got it, and I believe this is a common condition.
rottedDragLinkDustCover.jpg

The cost of the dust covers is nominal, but to replace the ball joint is not cheap. The actual ball joints in my case are in great shape, but will not remain that way without fixing this.

The problem is that the correct dust covers are not available, at least in the US. There is a discussion on the Benz World web site on replacing them using after market dust covers manufactured by Energy Suspension
https://www.benzworld.org/forums/un...t-repair-finally-great-way-2.html#post2301459

The only problem is the Unimog that is discussed in that link is not the 419 (the poster has a 416). The dust covers with the part numbers listed are the wrong size.

If you go to the Energy Suspension web site they give pretty clear instructions on measuring for fit.
https://www.energysuspensionparts.com/universal-dust-boots.asp

dust-boot-dimensions.jpg

I have the pin diameter at 22 mm for the tie rod ends and 24 mm for the drag link.
The diameter of the base is about 40 mm for the tie rod ends and 50 mm for the drag link.

I chose, the 9.13125which has a pin diameter of 18.5 mm the base is 41 mm for the tie rod. (cost $7.50)
For the drag link I chose the 9.13126 with a pin diameter of 23 mm and a base of 54 mm or the drag link. (cost $7.50)

The other thing I decided to do was to install a grease zerk into the ball joints.

So here are the steps I followed:

First pull the tie rod and drag link off (straight forward to do)
Second pull the old dust covers off. I used a pick, screw driver, pliers, hammer and persistence to get them off. There are snap rings top and bottom of the tie rod ends, a and a snap ring on the top and a kind of cup on the bottom of the drag link. I then cleaned the ball joints as best I could.

Adding the grease zerk:

I looked for zerks that had a short threaded section, I chose 1/4" - 28 from the local NAPA. I drilled the hole for the grease zerk on my drill press using a 7/32" drill and a 1/4" - 28 tap. You will need to match the zerk you select. I just used SAE. There is some discussion about needing to use NTP tap, but the thickness of the caps I put the tap into was so thin I don't think it matters.

I have a neodymium magnet, that I put around the hole I was drilling to prevent getting shavings into the ball joint.
greaseZerkHole.jpg

As you are drilling it out have a gentle touch, I did not want to get into the ball joint, and I was able in all cases to stop while the last little bit was still attached to the hole and pull it out with a pick to prevent anything getting into the hole.

On the drag link ball joints there is a lot of margin fro error, but on the tie rod ends there is not. I mic'd the drag link at over 10 mm depth, but the tie rod ends had ~ 3 mm or less. Ideally on the tie rod ends you would want a bottom tap, but I just used a plug tap and it seemed OK. I put grease on the tap, and used my magnet again to try and catch filings from the tapping process.

tapAndMagnet.jpg

One mistake I made was that the zerks I chose were tapered on the end and a little too long to fit the 3 mm for the tie rod ends. so I ground off the ends so it would fit.
shortZerks.jpg

The problem with that was that the part I ground off was what held the spring and bearing that seals the grease into the zerk. So back to NAPA to get a different style of zerk. Longer and tilted at 45° that meant that the spring and retention system were no where near the threaded end of the zerk and so I could grind it down to < 3 mm. After that the only addition was to use some strong thread locker as insurance to keep the zerks in place. The jury is out on if it was worth while to do all of this. When I tried to use the zerk, I could not get grease to flow through around the ball joint to the other side but If I had it to do over again I probably still would.

Installing the dust covers:
On the drag link there was no way that the dust cover I bought would fit into the cup / ring like the original did. I decided to put the cup ring on upside down and use JB Weld to attach to the dust covers.
DraglinkReadyForJBWeld.jpg

I put a little grease on the inside part of the ball joint in the hope that any JB Weld that got on it would not stick. I have read that yo can take JB Weld off with heat, but hopefully I don't need to find out. I added the JB Weld, and just slipped the Energy Suspension dust cover over the top.
withJBweld.jpgDragLinkWithDustcover.jpg

The tie rod ends did not work out as well. I tried to put JB Weld around the base as well. I did not have the same ring / cup, and had a indentation where the proper dust cover would "snap" with the retention ring to hold it in place. I tried to imulae that with JB Weld in the indentation and the retention spring on top after the JB Weld had cured. It did not work out well. I may try to redo it if I have time. Here is a picture of the tie rod end with dust cover with an attempt to attach at the base.
tierodEnd.jpg

There was no way that the original retention springs on the top of the duct covers would provide any value, but I don't think that they are needed as the rubber is thick and the seal seems good.

I hope this has been helpful.
 
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The FLU farm

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I think you could've skipped the JB Weld part. A dust cover that fits can't really go anywhere anyway, being squeezed between the tie rod end and what it ends up installed on.
Well, at least it works well that way in other applications.
 

rtrask

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I think you could've skipped the JB Weld part. A dust cover that fits can't really go anywhere anyway, being squeezed between the tie rod end and what it ends up installed on.
Well, at least it works well that way in other applications.
I would rather not have used the JB Weld. The problem was the fit of the boots. For sure the drag link would not work with out the JB Weld, and it worked well with it. The ideal would have been a base of about 50 mm that would have fit inside the cup ring but I used what I was available. The JB Weld did not work well for the tie rod ends. If there was a boot with a base less than 40 mm and pin size that would stretch to 22 mm I would give it a try. I don't think any of the other options will work any better.

The original boot had spring retainer around the base. I wish I saw what the original looked like before it was in pieces. I need to noodle on it a bit more and try to figure out how to do it right.
 

peakbagger

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FYI, I found the individual seller on Ebay.uk that sells various replacement OEM type replacement boots, "blueman636". This is just an example but if you search his store he has several sizes complete with the snap rings. He only ships small stuff to the US (no freight). I have ordered a set of manuals from him in the past and he was reliable. Another case of a Unimog part that seems to be available in Europe but not in the US. I expect they are non OEM replacement which is why US dealers cannot order them via the Mercedes EPC. Note he doesn't just have boots but lots of other Unimog parts some which may be applicable to a SEE.

I haven't done the replacement yet and thank rtrask for giving it the first attempt.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mercedes...rentrq:4a40d03316a0ab673427f399fffb909b|iid:1
 

rtrask

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Thanks peakbagger, It looks like he has a lot of good parts, which makes it a good resource. The shipping does not look crazy expensive. He does not mention the 419, but like you said several of the parts look compatible.

If anyone orders the dust cover, let me know if it works. The dimensions I gave are the outside diameter of the base the one pictured gives dimensions of the inside diameter. Verify that one pictured is the right size for a 419. Measure the cup when you take it off before you buy it It fits very tightly on the drag link. It is possible that the base of the cup is 5 mm, for a total of 10 mm across the diameter which would make it a perfect fit. The smaller opening for the pin is only 20 mm, compared to the 24 mm I measured. You probably can get it to stretch 4 mm over the pin. The 18.5 mm stretched to 22 mm on my tie rod boot took some convincing to get it on, but I would bet that the 20 mm stretched to 24 would not be as bad.
 
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