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link 05-04-2016 11:07 AM

Where to take a differential for rebuild?
Where is a good kind of place to have the rear differential of my ML320 rebuilt? Is this something to take to an indy, a machine shop, or is it best done by a dealer? Or are there some businesses which sell fully rebuilt units?

I donít have the tools.


BWhitmore 05-04-2016 11:21 AM

I would check first with a transmission shop that has a good reputation. They may not do the work them selves but can probably refer you to a shop that they have used with good experience. If you are in a big city, they usually have shops that specialize in rebuilding differentials. They may not work on Mercedes but can refer you to a shop that does. I doubt that the dealer will rebuild - they like to replace at a very high cost.

link 05-04-2016 11:40 AM

^Thank you. I read, but can’t confirm that MB differentials require factory tools which are not widely available.

duxthe1 05-04-2016 01:18 PM

The diff on those very rarely fails. I'd replace it with a used one before ever thinking about a rebuild.

nulu 05-04-2016 04:22 PM

Why does it need rebuild? is it noisy ? or leaks? just get a used one

w123fanman 05-04-2016 04:24 PM

ML320 diff should be fairly easy to find used. The MLs pop up in the yards around here once in a while so I assume they would be abundant on Ebay.

link 05-04-2016 06:59 PM

The rear of the ML has become very whiny. I use my ML to pull a fairly large trailer and am guessing that may have accelerated the wear.

I read that MB rear differentials are very well built but there are a lot of miles on the one in my ML (185K) and about 15K recently miles pulling a trailer.

Don't know how to troubleshoot it but recently replaced the drive shaft bearing and a bad axle but those did not solve the whine, which occurs most pronounced at modest acceleration and can be heard at 20 MPH or over.

link 05-04-2016 07:00 PM


I figure that a used rear diff will have roughly the same miles and so there is a good chance it will be in similar condition.

nulu 05-04-2016 09:18 PM

I just did my neighbors f 150 for the same reason, he towed long distance up the rocky mountains , and when he came home he had a whine, ended up removind differential and replace all bearings, problem solved needed a press and tools like pullers etc, his pinion small bearing came apart peeling metal.any auto shop can do it

97 SL320 05-05-2016 09:07 PM

First check the rear drive shaft center bearing, these can wear and make a fast noise. There is also a possibility that you have a bad wheel bearing, this makes a somewhat slower noise.

If the noise changes when you are on and off the throttle, this generally indicates the ring and pinion mesh is not correct. Severely worn bearings or worn out gears will cause this.

For a used diff check , this is a nation wide salvage yard search where you then call the yard directly. Don't even bother with the e mail contact in any yard, few read their e mail.

link 05-07-2016 01:50 PM

^Already replaced the drive shaft bearing and a faulty rear axle. I donít think there are a lot of options remaining for the source.

My choices boil down toÖ

Ö Buying a new one. While I havenít priced it, Iím guessing this would be about 3K installed.

Ö Buying a rebuilt one. I did find a place that says they specialize and have a flat fee of 1.7K, which includes shipping of the new one and sending mine back to them for the core exchange. That is through this place: Mercedes Benz differential for all GL-ML-R classes.

i have not spoken with the group above yet.

Ö Buying a used one. This is not really a consideration for me as it could easily have the same issue which makes it not worth the work.

Ö Paying someone to rebuild. Some reading I did noted that MB differentials require a specialized set of tools to do the job right. That lead to my question here. I donít know if I can take the differential to the average machine shop and reasonably expect that they would do the job properly.

BWhitmore 05-07-2016 02:22 PM

Have you checked around in your local community? While the company you mentioned looks great on their website, I would see if they will provide you with some references of individuals/dealerships/independent repair shops that have used their products.

The reason I recommend someone local is that it is a lot easier to get warranty work, adjustments, etc. from someone local. Unfortunately I have been burned before from companies located across the country etc.

97 SL320 05-07-2016 06:20 PM

Post 4 is from a guy that works in an auto repair garage and sees a decent amount of MB cars. " The diff on those very rarely fails. I'd replace it with a used one before ever thinking about a rebuild. "

Looking on car part, Search Results userSide=&userDate=2000&userDate2=2000&dbModel= .1&userPart=Carrier%20%28see%20also%20Differential%29&sessionID=820000000000000000004088503&userPref erence=price&userIntSelect=1223935&userUID=0&userBroker=&iKey=&userPage=1

They are showing 1998 to 2004 ML 320 / 430 / 500 to use the same rear diff. They are showing 49 pages of diffs, this is a sure sign that there isn't a market for used diffs. ( RE they rarely go bad. )

A few misguided yards show the used diff for over $ 700 one shows a rebuilt unit for $ 1,300. There are 4 pages of diffs for under $ 100 from reliable sources I've bought from before.

Why would you want to spend more than the car is worth by buying a MB reman at youir estimated $ 3K

duxthe1 05-07-2016 09:38 PM


Originally Posted by 97 SL320 (Post 3596562)
Post 4 is from a guy that works in an auto repair garage and sees a decent amount of MB cars. " The diff on those very rarely fails. I'd replace it with a used one before ever thinking about a rebuild. "

Actually shop foreman at the largest MB only independent in the state.:cool:

Stretch 05-07-2016 09:45 PM

Has the simple been tried?


Change of differential oil for good quality

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