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Pelican Technical Article:

Axle Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$20 to $1,900

Talent:

***

Tools:

32mm 12 point socket, 21mm, 18mm, 13mm wrench, 5mm Allen, M12 12 point, 15mm socket, large breaker bar or impact wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz C350 (2008-14)
Mercedes-Benz GLK350 (2010-14)

Parts Required:

Axles, axle nut, mounting hardware, retaining ring, seals as needed

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 thrown 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. Unfortunately you can no longer purchase separate CV joints or boots for many Mercedes including the W204 models and must replace the complete axle.

Mercedes considers all suspension hardware to be single use only and must be replaced.

If you do not have an impact gun make sure you break loose the axle nut while the car is on the ground. The nut is under a tremendous amount of torque and 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 the 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.

When removing the axle you will need loosen the 32mm 12 point nut on the axle (yellow arrow), if you do not have an impact gun the best way to do this is pop off the center cap on the wheel and with the wheel on and the vehicle on the ground use a very large breaker bar and loosen the nut before raising the vehicle.
Figure 1

When removing the axle you will need loosen the 32mm 12 point nut on the axle (yellow arrow), if you do not have an impact gun the best way to do this is pop off the center cap on the wheel and with the wheel on and the vehicle on the ground use a very large breaker bar and loosen the nut before raising the vehicle. You are going to have to disconnect some of the suspension components from the wheel carrier and while you do not need to remove the brake caliper, pads and rotor (red arrow) I like to. This gives you much easier access to the control struts when you can move the dust shield around.

The axle collar nut will have a section of it that is folded into a gap in the axle, use a punch and tap the metal out (red arrow).
Figure 2

The axle collar nut will have a section of it that is folded into a gap in the axle, use a punch and tap the metal out (red arrow). This will allow you to remove the 32mm 12 collar nut.

There are no nuts and bolts holding the inner CV joint to the differential.
Figure 3

There are no nuts and bolts holding the inner CV joint to the differential. The axle shaft sits in a flange inside the differential and is helped held in place by a retaining ring. If there is oil dripping from the seal between the axle and differential you will need to replace the seal.

While you do not need to remove the brake system you DO need to remove the sensors from the brakes.
Figure 4

While you do not need to remove the brake system you DO need to remove the sensors from the brakes. I like to take the brakes off and hang the caliper out of the way (red arrow). With everything off you can remove the two 5mm Allen bolts and the two 13mm bolts holding the dust shield in place. The ability to turn the dust shield makes removing the suspension struts much easier and removing the brakes also reduces the weight of the hub when it comes time to muscle it around.

With the dust shield free to move, you can spin it around and remove the camber strut (red arrow), torque strut (yellow arrow), tie rod (blue arrow) and the control arm (not shown) where they connect to the wheel carrier.
Figure 5

With the dust shield free to move, you can spin it around and remove the camber strut (red arrow), torque strut (yellow arrow), tie rod (blue arrow) and the control arm (not shown) where they connect to the wheel carrier.

Lower the jack and pull the wheel carrier forward.
Figure 6

Lower the jack and pull the wheel carrier forward. If your axle is stuck in the bearing in the wheel carrier you can use a three arm puller (red arrow) to gently walk the axle out the back of the bearing, otherwise the wheel carrier should be pulled outward and down freeing the axle from the carrier.

This photo illustrates the struts disconnected from the wheel carrier and the carrier pulled forward and off the axle.
Figure 7

This photo illustrates the struts disconnected from the wheel carrier and the carrier pulled forward and off the axle.

Next simply pull the axle straight out from the differential, you may need to give it a couple of good tugs but it will come straight out, just be careful it is heavy.
Figure 8

Next simply pull the axle straight out from the differential, you may need to give it a couple of good tugs but it will come straight out, just be careful it is heavy.

Inspect the flange at the end of the axle and if you are reinserting the same axle make sure to replace the retaining clip that sits in the small groove in the differential end (yellow arrow).
Figure 9

Inspect the flange at the end of the axle and if you are reinserting the same axle make sure to replace the retaining clip that sits in the small groove in the differential end (yellow arrow).

If the differential has been leaking, replace the seal by prying out the old one and installing a new one.
Figure 10

If the differential has been leaking, replace the seal by prying out the old one and installing a new one. Make sure to check the level of the oil in the differential. Installation is the reverse of removal.


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