Funny how quickly time flies, but it has come to that time of year for the Early Bay SO67 Westfalias MOT again! Having had such an extensive renovation, I knew all the major structure and mechanical issues would be fine, so I took it over to Just MOT’s in Bexhill as they provide a good service and offer a free retest within 2 weeks if there are any issues that get pick up during the test. In a way it is like getting a free pre-mot check-up which can be a really useful thing to have.
The tester was very impressed with the overall mechanical condition of the VW camper, but was surprised to find that the ball joint rubbers on the steering drag link arm and one of the steering track rods were split. This unfortunately was apparently a fairly new thing that is now to be tested, and as they were split, they would need to be changed. He was very surprised they had split because the drag link and track rods were both fairly new.
So apart from this small issue, all was well, but I would rather find this out so I can get the rubbers changed so they can continue to protect the ball joints from the ingress of dust or dirt. I’ll have a look into these later as I would have expected the rubbers to have lasted a bit longer than this…
Anyway, to do the repair it was time to buy a small addition to my toolkit as I would need a ball joint splitter to be able to separate the friction fit joints and remove the old rubber boots. I did some research and it came down to three options;
- a club hammer, a bar, plus some physical exertion (seemed a bit crude)
- a fork type of ball joint splitter (still required a hammer and seemed a bit crude)
- a scissor action ball joint splitter (my chosen option)
In the end, based on the recommendation of someone who had just done the job, I opted to get a scissor action Draper Expert ball joint separator, made with a forged carbon steel body, plated finish with steel bolt. Adjustable jaw opening 19-21mm, maximum opening capacity 50mm. It looks a nice bit of kit, so should do the job nicely, and no messing around with a hammer!
I also ordered a set of four German quality track rod end boots and clips from Custom and Commercial to replace the original split items. Hopefully these should last a bit longer than the original ones!
With all the bits ordered and arrived, I just needed a dry day to go out and get the job done now!