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  #16  
Old 06-30-2006, 02:47 PM
Jeremy5848's Avatar
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Location: Sonoma Wine Country
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Seal installation tool

If I end up replacing the axle seals in the differential, which seems like a good idea, I'll need a tool. Because the seal has a rubber lip that sticks up, I can't just put a block of wood on the seal and pound it in. There are a couple of sizes of ABS pipe that will fit over the seal, either inside or outside of the lip, and I could make a tool out of them. Has anyone had any experience installing this seal? What did you do? I'd rather not buy the factory tool to install two seals.

Jeremy

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"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #17  
Old 06-30-2006, 05:48 PM
Cateaux's Avatar
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I replaced those differential seals yesterday, and am waiting on my indy to rebuild my axles (I tore a boot rebuilding the rear suspension, so it hasn't been driven but for a test drive). There's no way seals would have come out with just a screwdriver. I first tried to remove them with an 18-inch prybar and a 2-pound hammer, but that didn't work. My crowbar did the job pretty easily, though. A couple of firm tugs and they popped right out. Regarding driving in the new seals, I used an adapter from my ball joint press kit, but an appropriately sized piece of PVC pipe should work perfectly. As long as the seal goes in straight and all the way without being damaged all is well. Smearing a little fresh oil around the outside edge has always helped me to drive in seals.
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  #18  
Old 06-30-2006, 09:13 PM
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More progress...

Catteaux, you are absolutely right. The FSM photo of the seal being levered out with a screwdriver is a joke. I ended up using a small crowbar and both feet. If I could have gotten gravity to work sideways, I would have been standing on the crowbar! The photo shows only one foot but I needed the other to take the picture (don't ask). [First picture] Before removing the seals, I cleaned all around them so I didn't get a lot of dirt in the diff.

Now that I have the right tool (the 14mm Allen wrench, I mean), I removed the drain and fill plugs from the differential. The drain plug came out fairly easily but the other one!!! Thanks to all who preached "remove the fill plug first." I had, of course, removed the cover to drain the oil, since I didn't have the Allen key yet (see an earlier post on this thread for that story).

With the cover off and clamped to my work bench, I set about removing the fill plug. It was a real b*tch! Even a two-foot-long steel pipe wouldn't break it free (half-inch pipe has an inside diameter that perfectly fits a 14mm Allen wrench, by the way). I finally got out the Mapp gas torch and warmed up the cover. Then it was easy. [Second picture] The problem here is a steel plug in an aluminum cover; the drain plug is steel in steel so it is less likely to stick. I'll probably put Teflon tape on the plugs before replacing them so it will be easier next time I change the oil.

When I picked up the Allen wrench at my local NAPA store ("SONOMA is for wine, NAPA is for auto parts"), I asked about driving in the seal; they also suggested a piece of pipe. Shopping around, I found that a 2-inch ABS pipe cap fits inside the rubber lip on the seal [Third picture] while a piece of 3-inch ABS (with a cap to pound on) fits outside the lip if you file or sand the inside diameter of the pipe a little [Fourth picture]. I'll use whichever one seems to work better.

Jeremy
Attached Thumbnails
W123 axle R&R job--some questions?-lever_4521.jpg   W123 axle R&R job--some questions?-cover_4518.jpg   W123 axle R&R job--some questions?-inside_4523.jpg   W123 axle R&R job--some questions?-outside_4524.jpg  
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #19  
Old 07-01-2006, 03:16 AM
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Axle won't go in -- need help!

My axle replacement project is almost done, but I hit a snag this evening. The right half went together just fine but the outer splines of the left axle go only a little way into the wheel carrier. The other end is in the differential and the c-clip is in place. I can't see or feel anything wrong with the splines on the new axle or in the wheel mount. The axle telescopes out properly when the end isn't in the carrier. I tried lowering the differential (it's currently loose and sitting on a jack) to put pressure on the splines but all it does is push the wheel carrier out. Both Male (axle) and female (wheel carrier) splines are clean and coated with oil. It's very frustrating to have everything go right until the last part of the reassembly. Murphy strikes again!

I also tried putting the old axle back in the wheel carrier and it, too, is tight and won't go in. Since it came out only yesterday, I assume that it is just a very snug fit. The only thing I can think of is to buy a long 8mm bolt and make a crude version of the factory "assembly tool" that the shop manual shows. That will allow me to draw the axle into the wheel carrier. Anyone ever have this problem?

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970

Last edited by Brian Carlton; 07-03-2006 at 02:18 PM.
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  #20  
Old 07-01-2006, 01:07 PM
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Update

The tool made from 3-inch ABS pipe worked great. I put a film of oil on the I.D. of the pipe as well as the outside of the seal and tapped in the seal with a small hammer. The O.D. of the pipe is slightly larger than that of the seal, so it stopped when it reached the surface of the differential. That's exactly where the factory tool stops, so the seal is in the right place.

Now if I can just figure out why the left axle won't go into the wheel carrier!

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #21  
Old 07-01-2006, 01:09 PM
Jeremy5848's Avatar
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Location: Sonoma Wine Country
Posts: 8,402
THe only thing that came to me overnight was to put ice on the axle and heat the wheel hub with a heat gun. That might change the clearances enough to allow the axle splinse to slide into place.
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #22  
Old 07-01-2006, 02:05 PM
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Location: central Texas
Posts: 17,281
I had the same problem with one side going in... but I did not raise my wagon enough to drop the 3rd member, and I was on the ground...not even concrete ... so I figured the distance with the new axle was just too much... I used a brass rod and had to knock it in .... me holding it and helper hitting on end of rod behind the car... it was SO close... could not believe it could be that close and not go on in... it may just be offset pressure on yours.. that is a tight fit...
Or .. is there a spline that is different from the others ? an alignment spline ?
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  #23  
Old 07-01-2006, 02:25 PM
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Mine was snug, but I just rocked it and spun it a little, if I remember correctly. The little bit of gap that was left disappeared when I tightened the bolt. You are supposed to use new tension washers, so use the old ones and crank on it until it's in. As long as you can get a couple of threads to catch, it will pull together. Then disassemble, put the new washers on, and tighten it up again.
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  #24  
Old 07-01-2006, 02:27 PM
mattdave
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Dang

Somebady just sold a Flexx gun on ebay for less than $100 today on Ebay that is the tool to have for this job I almost bought it because it was such a great deal but. Reuse the old fasteners if there easy to replace if they fail if you have to take the bloddy car apart to get at them buy new. Dont forget blue never red locktight
Dave S
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  #25  
Old 07-01-2006, 04:22 PM
Jeremy5848's Avatar
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Location: Sonoma Wine Country
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That did it, thanks.

I bought some longer 8mm bolts from the local NAPA store and pulled a bunch of large washers from my parts bin. One of the longer bolts was able to reach in and "grab" a couple of threads. I tightened it a bit and the axle pulled in. I removed the bolt and added a couple more washers, then repeated with more washers and shorter bolts, until I could get the factory bolt to catch. Now it's all the way in.

I noticed the FSM says that the tension washer is not to be reused but I don't have new ones. Do you know whether any of the on-line Mercedes parts places carry such a small item? I suppose I could try the local Mercedes dealer but they will require a part number, which I don't have either.

In the meantime, I'll use my press to flatten out the washer a bit and reuse it.

Thanks for your advice.

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #26  
Old 07-01-2006, 04:27 PM
Jeremy5848's Avatar
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Location: Sonoma Wine Country
Posts: 8,402
Flexx gun

That's a great price for a Flexx gun, I believe they sell new for about $250. I couldn't even find a shop here that owned one, unfortunately, as that looked like a good alternative to replacing the axles.

I finally got the sticking splines to mate. Now it's time to button everything up and get back on the road.

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970

Last edited by Brian Carlton; 07-03-2006 at 02:18 PM.
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  #27  
Old 07-01-2006, 05:20 PM
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Location: central Texas
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It may supposed to be a Bell Washer... sort of a lock or constant pressure washer ... that is the usual reason for not reusing something like that... being clamped down for years takes away its ability to press... not sure about this... but if you find the old one is not flat... I would leave it that way to reuse it...
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  #28  
Old 07-01-2006, 05:40 PM
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New washers came with my new axles.

But, I know for a fact that Phil can get you new ones for around $1.50 or so each.
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  #29  
Old 07-02-2006, 01:28 AM
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Location: Sonoma Wine Country
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Question Collapsed boots!

Now that I have everything buttoned up and ready to put fresh oil in the differential, I noticed that both boots on the new left axle have partially collapsed, as if a vacuum had been pulled inside them. The upper boot, not shown in the photo, is similarly collapsed. This is the same axle that wouldn't go into the spline so of course I am scared that I damaged something, although I can't imagine how.

In the picture, shot from underneath the car, just behind the left wheel, the car is still up on the jack stands, so the wheels are hanging lower than they would normally be. I haven't lowered the car or driven it yet. Turning the wheel by hand moves the collapsed part around but it won't go away. The right side is fine.

Has anyone ever had this problem? The boots were normal until I finished the installation. I have emailed the rebuilder, CVJ Axles in Denver, but don't expect to hear back from them until sometime next week.

Jeremy
Attached Thumbnails
W123 axle R&R job--some questions?-boot_4528.jpg  
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-Diesel family
1996 E300D (W210) . .338,000 miles Wife's car
2005 E320 CDI . . 113,000 miles My car
Santa Rosa population 176,762 (2022)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 627,762
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #30  
Old 07-02-2006, 02:30 AM
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Posts: 744
Jeremy,

Don't sweat the collapsed boots. They will expand and straighten out with some centrifugal force and some warm air. Happened when I replaced them on my old 300D. Totaled that car and pulled those CVJ axles for future use. Put them in two weeks ago (after they sat for almost 2 years) in my replacement 300D and there are no collapsed boots. Proceeded to drive 400 miles up to the Kern River 4 days later and no issues.

CVJ does a good job.

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