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Pelican Technical Article:

Axle Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$25 to $2,000

Talent:

***

Tools:

30mm 12 point socket, E10 socket, large breaker bar or impact wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)

Parts Required:

New axles or CV boots, axle nut, mounting hardware

Hot Tip:

Loosen the 30mm bolt first

Performance Gain:

Eliminate slop in the drive train

Complementary Modification:

Replace ball joints

Your drive axles or drive shafts can wear out over time or get damaged during use. The most common problem for drive axles is the tearing of the CV boot. This will cause the CV grease to be throw out from the CV joint and allow contaminants in. Lack of grease or contaminants in the CV will quickly lead to failure of the joint. This article will not cover replacing or repacking the CV boot (please see one of our articles on repacking your CV joint and replacing the CV boot) but will cover the removal of the axles. Whether you are working on the boots or replacing the axles the drive axles will need to come out of the car.

The most difficult part of the job is breaking loose the 30mm axle nut that holds the drive shaft to the hub. The nut is on under a tremendous amount of torque. The simplest way to do this is to use an impact wrench or gun to break the nut loose. Electric impact guns can be purchased inexpensively now and make a great addition to your tools kit. If you do not have an impact gun, depending on your rims, you can remove the center cap on the wheel, leave the car on the ground and insert the 30mm 12 point socket through the center. Next, place the largest breaker bar you have on the socket and break the bolt loose. I ended up having to put a three foot pipe on the end of the breaker bar to get enough leverage.

Raise and support rear of vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove front wheel from side of vehicle you are replacing the drive axle on.

You are going to end up removing the brakes and rotor, but before you do you want to get the 30 mm 12 point nut (red arrow) off the axles.
Figure 1

You are going to end up removing the brakes and rotor, but before you do you want to get the 30 mm 12 point nut (red arrow) off the axles. If you do not have an impact gun and you have the right type of rims, you can remove the center cap on the wheel, leave the car on the ground and insert the 30mm socket through the center (red arrow). Next, place the largest breaker bar you have on the socket and break the bolt loose. I ended up having to put a three foot pipe on the end of the breaker bar to get enough leverage. If you don't have rims that will allow you to do this you will need to put the car in park, put the parking brake on and have a friend apply pressure to the brake pedal. If you do have an impact gun remove the wheel before using the impact gun on the bolt.

The end of the axle shaft that has two cut outs in it (red arrows).
Figure 2

The end of the axle shaft that has two cut outs in it (red arrows). The 30mm nut should be crimped into one of the cut outs on the shaft. You will need to bend the crimp on the nut out from the shaft before you can loosen the bolt.

There are six E10 bolts (red arrow) that hold the CV to the differential.
Figure 3

There are six E10 bolts (red arrow) that hold the CV to the differential. Use an E10 and have someone hold the axle from turning and remove the bolts. Make sure the socket is well seated in the bolt before attempting to remove them. You do NOT want to strip out one of these bolts! Mercedes-Benz considers all of this hardware to be single use only and must be replaced after every use.

Three of the bolts share a half moon washer (red arrow).
Figure 4

Three of the bolts share a half moon washer (red arrow).

Remove the two washers and give them a good cleaning.
Figure 5

Remove the two washers and give them a good cleaning. Make sure you reinstall this piece when bolting everything back together.

Wiggle and pry the CV end of the drive shaft out from the mount in the differential.
Figure 6

Wiggle and pry the CV end of the drive shaft out from the mount in the differential. This photo illustrates the blue material left over from the factory micro encapsulated bolts (red arrow).

You may be able to push/ pull the axle from the wheel hub.
Figure 7

You may be able to push/ pull the axle from the wheel hub. If the axle is rusted or frozen in place use a three arm puller. Place the center of the puller in the axle shaft (red arrow). Rather than pull the hub off this will walk the axle back out from the hub.

This photo illustrates the rust that was keeping the axle from easily being removed from the hub (red arrow).
Figure 8

This photo illustrates the rust that was keeping the axle from easily being removed from the hub (red arrow).

On the right side the shaft will come right out; on the left side you will need to squeeze the axle (red arrow) between the exhaust and the differential.
Figure 9

On the right side the shaft will come right out; on the left side you will need to squeeze the axle (red arrow) between the exhaust and the differential. You do not need to remove the exhaust to get the shaft out but you may want to remove one of the rubber hangers.

This photo illustrates the axle removed from the vehicle.
Figure 10

This photo illustrates the axle removed from the vehicle. You can now easily inspect both rubber CV boots (red arrows).


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Comments and Suggestions:
Mertop7 Comments: On the passenger rear axle on a 92 Mercedes 300te base model Im having difficulty removing axle after all 6 bolts are removed from differential and the hub axle nut due to limited space. Any suggestions?Thanks,Dario
December 3, 2016

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