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  #1  
Old 08-20-2001, 02:55 PM
SW SW is offline
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Location: Houston, TX. USA
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Angry Replaced Axle Shafts w/ Rebuilts But The Noise Persists

I replaced both axle shafts (boots torn) on my car over the past week with rebuilt units. Yesterday, as I finished the job, I filled the diff. with Mobil1 synthetic gear lube and took it for a spin. Almost 1 mile down the road, I hear the dreaded clunking/rattling sound coming from the drivers side axle. When I take a long turn to the right, the noise goes away. The noise does not go away when I turn to the left. The noise is present when decelerating and coasting at any speed but not during acceleration. The drivers side axle was a bit difficult to install. I had to jack the differential up a lot before having enough clearance to force it in the splines. The right side did not take more than 5 minutes. There is a 1 year warranty on the axles, so I can always take it back for a replacement. I just hate to have to take it out again after all that effort. Could the rebuilt unit be suspect or is the rear wheel bearing the culprit? I have read that not all axles are rebuilt with the same quaility/workmanship. Maybe they gave me the wrong axle. It does have different boots than the right side axle but the length was the same as the old one. I am going to run the car as is for now. Maybe once the weather cools down, I'll replace the axle again. Any thoughts or advice?
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2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel - 4x4, auto, 3.54 gears, long bed
-------------------------------------
'92 300D 2.5 Turbodiesel - sold
'83 300D Turbodiesel - 4 speed manual/2.88 diff - sold
'87 300D Turbodiesel - sold
'82 300D Turbodiesel - sold
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2001, 02:55 PM
SW SW is offline
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Thumbs down Just An Update

Well, I had to replace my brake master cylinder yesterday and got a chance to inspect the axles. The left axle seems to be locked up. I cannot move the shaft at all. Now I'm certain that the left axle is the source of the noise. The right axle is leaking grease out of the outer "can" but the shaft can be moved and for now, I don't hear any noise from that end. It looks like I'll be taking both axles out instead of one.
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2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel - 4x4, auto, 3.54 gears, long bed
-------------------------------------
'92 300D 2.5 Turbodiesel - sold
'83 300D Turbodiesel - 4 speed manual/2.88 diff - sold
'87 300D Turbodiesel - sold
'82 300D Turbodiesel - sold
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2001, 07:10 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
Axle Shaft Replacement

I've got to go through the same thing next month as I have noticed the outer boot leaking oil on the passenger side, and the driver's side outer boot looks pretty age-cracked. My plan is to go with the new Mercedes parts. Hopefully it will be a once in 20 years job.

Please keep us informed on how this works out for you.

I assume you had the body on jackstands with the wheels dangling to fully extend them. If that were the case, did you still have to jack up the differential to disengage the axle shafts?

Also, were there any special tools involved?

Good luck,

Ken
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2001, 12:18 AM
SW SW is offline
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Ken,

Your assumption is correct except that I did one axle at a time as I only have 1 hydraulic jack, the factory mechanical jack in the trunk, and a jackstand. I followed the procedure in the Haynes manual. You really don't need to move the brake calipers aside. I jacked up the diff to the point that the body was lifting. Then, I lowered the mechanical jack so that the body was almost touching the diff and adjusted the jackstand accordingly. I did not use any special tools except for the retaining ring pliers/pullers. A seal pick or a simple hook fashioned from a coat hanger will work just as well. Having a buddy around makes the job go easier. Although it seems intimidating, this really is a DIY job. I think I spent more time trying to loosen the fill and drain plugs than working the axles. Good luck with your axle replacement, I hope you have better results than me.

SW
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2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel - 4x4, auto, 3.54 gears, long bed
-------------------------------------
'92 300D 2.5 Turbodiesel - sold
'83 300D Turbodiesel - 4 speed manual/2.88 diff - sold
'87 300D Turbodiesel - sold
'82 300D Turbodiesel - sold
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  #5  
Old 08-23-2001, 08:22 AM
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Thanks for the Additional Info

It does sound like a reasonable DIY job, although my first impression of the axle design was not happy when I found out that just the boots on an otherwise good axle shaft can't be replaced without extremely expensive special tools. I even thought about buying the tools and then starting a garage business replacing boots for other people - but then I thought about the liability of fixing someone else's drive train components!

Well, I also have a 1982 300D which you can see below if I get the picture loaded correctly. 307,000 miles so far - heading for 1,000,000 miles I hope. Also have the Haynes manual and have read through the procedure a few times.

How hard was it to push the axle shaft back into the wheel hub? The differential side should be easy because of no corrosion, but I was wondering if you have to drive the axle out of the hub as shown in Haynes, how hard might it be to get back in?

Also, did you consider a replacement of the differential grease/oil seals at each axle? I have no leaks there but was thinking about doing this while the axles were out.

Thanks for the help, always good to hear from someone who just did the job you're about to try.

Ken
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Replaced Axle Shafts w/ Rebuilts But The Noise Persists-apr18_01.jpg  
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2001, 09:55 AM
SW SW is offline
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Ken,

That is one good looking w123 turbodiesel. To answer your question, I used a rubber mallet to drive the axle into the splines and once the splines engaged, I relased the pressure on the hydraulic jack so that the weight of the diff forced the axle to straighten out. Put lots of grease or gear oil on the splines to help them slide in the hub. I did replace the seals on each side. The old ones were very difficult to get out. I had to use a crow bar to pry them out. If I knew they would be so stubborn, I would not have replaced them because mine were not leaking. The ID of the seals have a groove for a metal spring energizer instead of an o-ring, so the seal is always good. The old seals were not even worn. Trying to install the new seals was also a task. Small slivers of the rubber did tear off when I installed them. However, I have not noticed any leaks yet. If your seals are not leaking, I would not mess with them.

SW
__________________
2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel - 4x4, auto, 3.54 gears, long bed
-------------------------------------
'92 300D 2.5 Turbodiesel - sold
'83 300D Turbodiesel - 4 speed manual/2.88 diff - sold
'87 300D Turbodiesel - sold
'82 300D Turbodiesel - sold
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2001, 02:17 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 2,911
I Might be Cheap and Lazy

Well, the car continues to run without any hint of trouble even though the outer axle boot on the passenger side has lost its oil. I did a "West Virginia" repair - duct tape wrapped directly over the cracked region of the boot. This was done with Mil-Spec (Olive Drab) ultra-sticky cloth tape, cut to the right width - so far it has held well. Of course it won't keep oil in the boot.

Now I'm toying with the idea of drilling a tiny hole (1/16th inch) in the metal can over the CV joint. This will allow me to use a needle fitting on a grease gun to periodically inject high-temp wheel bearing grease. Then the hole can be closed with a tiny screw. The intent is to keep the outer CV joint lubricated so it will last considerably longer......

I keep going back to the thought of spending $600 to replace both half-axles (I'm not getting under there to do one now and then have to go back and do the other in 3-6 months) and then considering possible alternatives.

So, I'm looking for comments on whether this is the right grease to use in a CV situation.

Ken
'82 300D
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2001, 08:43 AM
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Location: Northern Virginia
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Unhappy Well, Cheap and Lazy Didn't Work

Unfortunately, once the rubber axle boots have deteriorated to the point that they won't hold oil, its only a short time before they will tear all the way open. So, I'll be doing axle shaft replacement for both sides now with new assemblies. While getting dirty I'll get the rubber sub-frame mounts replaced too since I notice more wear on the inner half of each rear tire than the outer side.

The final symptoms I got from the failing rear axle CV joint was a noise from that side (at low speed) that sounded similar to the noise you get with bad rear sway-bar links - a clunking. However, it wasn't correlated to bumps, it happened with every wheel revolution. Next, the failing rear axle CV joint actually had an impact on the vehicle's ride. I thought either the rear tire was flat or someone had loosened the lug bolts on me. It was like driving with a lumpy tire.

Apparently the CV joint was so unlubricated that it was sticking to the extent it was shaking the wheel hub a bit.

So, from the time you notice the gear oil on the garage floor from the leaking boot, you might have about one month to get prepared to replace the axles.

Ken
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2001, 12:04 AM
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Location: Northern Virginia
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Smile Axles Arrived Today

Two nice new axles showed up today and I got them installed with only minor problems. Nothing related to any trouble getting them to slide into the differential or hubs, though - it was easy with the body supported by jackstand, a jack under the differential and another under the hub (control arm).

A slight rust issue on one side required penetrating oil to get the axle spline to release from the hub. Special tool required here - a small stick of firewood. (I thought about carving a MB emblem on it and selling it on EBay for $50.) The other thing I had difficulty with on one side was getting the C-clip back on inside the differential. Because of the tolerances, it was a tight fit inside its groove on the axle shaft. I saw an appropriate Dilbert cartoon related to my efforts, where someone described themselves as "learning to swear from a one-eyed carpenter". It takes a fair amount of straight-on force to get them on the axle. My solution was to grab the "ear" with vice grips and push it in.

Actually, it was a repetitive routine:
1) Carefully grab C-clip ear with vice grips in the same plane as the clip.
2) Get the clip positioned in the differential.
3) Push clip.
4) Retrieve clip from inside differential or on dirty floor.
5) Curse and swear a minimum of 30 seconds while cleaning clip.
6) Repeat above until success.

Another note of interest is that the replacement axles are redesigned to allow boot replacement without special tools (what a concept!) The "can" on one side is a bolt-together design rather than a crimped assembly, and can be disassembled without special tools. This allows easy access to both boots. The brand I got is "GKN Automotive" "Glaenzer Spicer" Made in Germany. (Hope this is a brand with a good reputation!) So although under normal circumstances I would now expect the axle boots to outlast the car, it is comforting to know that if they get torn by road debris the repair will be $20 rather than $300 or so. I'll try to get a picture posted later that shows the design change.

Everything is buttoned up, waiting for the sealant to cure overnight. I sure appreciate the detailed account and comments from you on this job.

Ken300D
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2001, 02:50 PM
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Cool New Axle Picture

Here's a picture of the redesigned CV joint can on the GKN axle shaft:
Attached Thumbnails
Replaced Axle Shafts w/ Rebuilts But The Noise Persists-sep22_03.jpg  
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  #11  
Old 09-22-2001, 03:37 PM
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Where did you get em Ken?
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2001, 10:32 PM
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Performance Products had a 15%-off sale recently - $552 for the pair of them shipped to my door. Quite lucky to at least get them on sale. And it turned out to be a good idea to get both sides, because the non-leaking side looked like it was about to leak.

Rather a strange feeling to have the axles represent a significant portion of the car's cost - but it's good to go in this department....

If/when I change cars (should the garage-kept granny-driven 300D with 50,000 miles show itself) I'd seriously consider swapping the axles before getting rid of this one.

Ken
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