How I changed the steering drag link on C Class


Senior Member
Apr 6, 2008
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Your Mercedes
99 C200 Elegance
I hope this will help someone do this job.

This is how I changed the drag link and steering idler arm bush on my 1999 C200. The Mercedes part numbers I used were: -

Steering drag link – A202 460 04 05
Steering Arm Idler repair kit – A202 460 03 19

Tools used

Axle stands
Trolley Jack
Socket set
Ball joint splitter
Torx female sockets
Three leg gear puller
Circlip pliers
Allen key
Torque wrench
Iron bar

Firstly I chocked the rear wheels and put the hand brake on, I then loosened the front road wheel nuts. Using a trolley jack under the nearside jacking point I raised the car to clear the bottom height of my axles stands. I placed one axle stand under the nearside front suspension member and using a piece of wood in the jaw of the axle stand I positioned it over the U part of the suspension member, where the suspension arm mounting is. I lowered the car slowly on to that stand and repeated the process for the offside.

I then placed the jack in the centre of the front suspension member and raised the car well clear of the both axle stands. I then raised each stand to the next level and put them back in place. After lowering the car back on the stands and giving the car a shake to check its stability, I left the jack in place and just biting the weight of the car but not taking support away from the axles stands. All the work needed can be done form the side of the car so blocking front access with the jack is not an issue. With car now feeling solid I removed both road wheels and placed them under each sill, so even if stands and jacked failed the car would not hit the ground completely.

Firstly I loosened the offside track rod end nut and using a ball joint splitter removed it, I repeated this for the nearside one after. I then turned my attention to the steering idler arm on the nearside of the car. The pivot blot on my car had a Torx head on it, thought the replacement part was a standard nut. Using all the socket extension bars I have I was able to place the socket on the Torx headed nut from above the car, wedging ratchet against the engine to hold it for me. Ideally another pair of hands would have been handy here. Once in place to undo the nut from below was easy as access is plentiful, with the pivot bolt removed the steering idler arm removed easily from its housing. The ball joint for the steering idler arm would be split once the drag link is removed from the car.

I then removed the steering damper nut holding it to the drag link, I didn’t replace the damper as mine is less than a year old. However if it had not been so new I would have changed it as a new one from MB is less than thirty pounds and seconds to fit. Price correct in 2010.

The last part to remove to extract the drag link is the steering box drop arm. I was daunted by this when I first realised I had to remove it as there is no way you can gain access to its ball joint in the car, as it turned out it was easy. I first marked on the pinion the position of the clamp, I took one side of the clamp and made a mark on the pinion that aligned with it. I then measured the distance the clamp was from the steering box housing, I used a small piece of wood and whittled it until it fitted the gap perfectly. I then removed the criclip with my circlip pliers which even then was a bit tricky as it’s a big tough clip. Removing the clamp bolt was easy as it didn’t need to be held at the nut head to undo it. Then using my three legged gear puller I pulled the clamp off the pinion, it wasn’t hard to remove but tricky as the puller kept falling as you are working upside down. Once the clamp is removed the steering drag link will pull easily from the car.

With the drag link out of the car I split the idler and steering box drop arm ball joints. I then changed the bush in the idler arm which is dead easy. Using an Allen key (sorry don’t know what size) I undid the clamp bolt, there is no opposite head to hold so just undo it. The bush fell out as the clamp was loosened. I measured the distance the bush had been sticking out at the bottom, easy to see as there was a distinct clean line where the bush had been covered. I marked on the new bush with a pencil a line all the way round and placed it in position, I retightened the clamp but not so tight I couldn’t move the bush. I positioned the bush to my pencil line and tightened the clamp fully, job done.

I then laid the new and the old drag links together and adjusted the new track rods ends to the same as the old ones and tightened the nuts, well as best as I could anyway. The car will still need a new wheel alignment carried out after to be certain all is well, but I tried to make the new part the same size as the old one so at least the tracking is close.

I then attached the steering box drop arm to the new drag link, I needed to tap the ball joint home first to stop it turning with the nut. It went in like a charm and I torqued the nut to the correct NM which according to my Haynes manual is 50 NM. I also cleaned the splines on the drop arm and applied a little grease to help with refitting. I then fitted the idler arm to the new drag link using the same method and torque setting.

The drag link was now ready to fit to the car. I put it back in place and loosely lined everything up. The first thing I reattached was the idler arm, with a bit of a wiggle the new bush fitted into its housing, With the new pivot bolt in place this time I used a open ended spanner to hold the nut while I tightened it from below, with the arm push away from you there is room to get your hand up and hold a spanner while use a ratchet to tighten the nut. I tightened the pivot bolt nut to 30 NM and job done.

I then reattached the steering damper bolt using a small amount of thread locking compound and tightened it to 40 NM.

Now with the drag link pretty much supported I turned my attention to the steering box drop arm. I cleaned the pinion and applied a small amount of grease to aid refitting, I then placed the clamp over the pinion making sure my marks lined up and gave it a shove. To my surprise it held in place and I then using a piece of wood, in my case a 8” long piece of 2x1 I tapped the clamp home tapping in a circle around the clamp. I checked and double check my marks lined up and then placed my space measuring piece of wood behind the clamp, with a few more taps the clamp was in position. I then refitted the clamp bolt and tightened to 50 Nm and reattached the circlip.

I then attached the offside track rod end ball joint, I needed to use a iron bar to hold down the ball joint while I tightened it. With the car suspension dropped form hanging there I was not able to just tap the joint ion like before but with my weight on it tightened and I torqued it to 50NM. I then tightened the adjusting nut fully before repeating the process for the nearside.

The job was no done, after rechecking I had tightened everything up I refitted the road wheels and removed the car from the jack and axle stands. Then as I always do I torqued the road wheel nuts to 110 NM.

I then road tested the car and all seemed well, all that remained was wheel alignment and job done. The whole job from getting the tools out to putting them away took me two and half hours and I wasn’t rushing. I am no expert mechanic so don’t be put off by tackling this job yourself and saving a lot of money. :grin:

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