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Driveshaft and Driveshaft Center Bearing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Driveshaft and Driveshaft Center Bearing Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets 8mm, 13mm, 15mm, wrenches 17mm, 18mm, T60 Torx bit, E12 external Torx socket, punch, hammer, pry bar, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz E320 (2003-09)
Mercedes-Benz E500 (2003-06)
Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG (2003-06)

Parts Required:

Driveshaft, driveshaft center bearing, exhaust hangers

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine and allow exhaust to cool before beginning

Performance Gain:

Smooth drivetrain

Complementary Modification:

Replace flex-disc (Giubo)

The driveshaft connects the transmission to the rear differential on W211 models. It is made of steel tubing welded to steel flanges. The driveshaft is two pieces, a front shaft section and a rear shaft section with a universal joint. The driveshaft connects to the transmission and differential with Giubos, also known as flex-discs.

Both Giubos (flex-discs) can be replaced separately and are covered in our tech article rear flex-disc replacing and front flex-disc replacing. In this tech article, we will cover replacing the driveshaft center bearing and the driveshaft. When servicing the driveshaft, it is important to mark the orientation of the connection points before removing. Also replace any self-locking fasteners. I am going to illustrate how to replace the driveshaft as a complete unit. Then show some steps involved with replacing the center bearing. The center bearing can be replaced with the driveshaft installed. However, you would have to remove the exhaust and heat shields. It is much easier to do with the driveshaft removed.

In order to repair a faulty universal joint, you can either replace the rear section of the driveshaft, or have the universal joint replaced by a local driveshaft repair shop.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

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

The driveshaft (red arrow) runs above the exhaust and is covered by heat shields from the transmission to the rear differential (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

The driveshaft (red arrow) runs above the exhaust and is covered by heat shields from the transmission to the rear differential (yellow arrow).

Place a screw jack or hydraulic jack under the transmission with a wood block (red arrow).
Figure 2

Place a screw jack or hydraulic jack under the transmission with a wood block (red arrow).

Working at the transmission-mounting bracket, remove the 16mm fastener (red arrow).
Figure 3

Working at the transmission-mounting bracket, remove the 16mm fastener (red arrow). Then remove the two 16mm transmission mount nuts (green arrow). While supporting the mounting bracket from below, remove the six 16mm bracket fasteners (yellow arrows). Be sure to support the bracket or it will fall, as the final fastener is removed.

Remove the transmission-mounting bracket from the vehicle.
Figure 4

Remove the transmission-mounting bracket from the vehicle.

Next, you have to remove a heat shield to gain access to the Giubo.
Figure 5

Next, you have to remove a heat shield to gain access to the Giubo. Working near the catalytic converters, loosen the two 13mm fasteners (red arrows). Do not remove them. Just loosen the fasteners until the heat shield drops down a little. I like to use a long extension with a 13mm swivel socket to access these (inset).

Slide the heat shield down and remove it.
Figure 6

Slide the heat shield down and remove it. Note the slots (red arrow), these allow the shield to be removed without removing the bracket (green arrow). Once I get the heat shield down, I prefer to remove the two 13mm fasteners and remove the bracket. This gives me a little more room.

The yellow and red arrows point to marks I made on the driveshaft and differential flange.
Figure 7

The yellow and red arrows point to marks I made on the driveshaft and differential flange. Before removing, note the position and be sure to install the replacement flex-disc with the driveshaft and differential flange in the same position. I mark the driveshaft (red arrow) and the flange (green arrow) to be sure to get the alignment correct later. The flange is hard to see in this photo.

Working at the Giubo, remove the three driveshaft bolts (red arrows).
Figure 8

Working at the Giubo, remove the three driveshaft bolts (red arrows). Use a 15mm socket and a 17mm wrench. Hold the bolt head still as you loosen the 17mm nut (yellow arrow). This will prevent accidental stripping of the bolt head. Note the transmission mount is installed (green arrow). You can remove it for a little more room. However, I do not find it necessary to do so.

With the driveshaft fasteners removed, use a pry bar to lever the driveshaft (red arrow) out of the flex-disc aligning tab (red arrow).
Figure 9

With the driveshaft fasteners removed, use a pry bar to lever the driveshaft (red arrow) out of the flex-disc aligning tab (red arrow). The alignment tabs are round and sit in a recess in the flange and driveshaft. The tabs tend to get a bit rusty in my area, so I leave the transmission flange bolts in place (yellow arrows), until I detach the driveshaft from the Giubo.

Next, you have to detach the driveshaft from the rear differential.
Figure 10

Next, you have to detach the driveshaft from the rear differential. The flex-disc (red arrow) connects the driveshaft to the rear differential (yellow arrow). You will leave the flex-disc attached to the differential, only removing it from the driveshaft.

The yellow arrows point to marks I made on the driveshaft and differential flange.
Figure 11

The yellow arrows point to marks I made on the driveshaft and differential flange. Before removing, note the position and be sure to install the replacement flex-disc with the driveshaft and differential flange in the same position.

Working at the Giubo, remove the three driveshaft bolts (red arrows).
Figure 12

Working at the Giubo, remove the three driveshaft bolts (red arrows). Use a T60 Torx bit and an 18mm wrench. Hold the Torx head still as you loosen the 18mm nut (green arrow). This will prevent accidental stripping of the Torx head.

When removing the fasteners, note the washer positions.
Figure 13

When removing the fasteners, note the washer positions. The driveshaft side washers go on the nut or side (yellow arrow). The differential flange washers go on the bolt side (red arrow).

With the driveshaft fasteners removed, use a pry bar to lever the driveshaft (red arrow) out of the flex-disc aligning tab (yellow arrow).
Figure 14

With the driveshaft fasteners removed, use a pry bar to lever the driveshaft (red arrow) out of the flex-disc aligning tab (yellow arrow). The alignment tabs are round and sit in a recess in the flange and driveshaft.

Working at the center of the vehicle, just behind the catalytic converters, remove the T45 Torx (yellow arrows) support (red arrow) fasteners.
Figure 15

Working at the center of the vehicle, just behind the catalytic converters, remove the T45 Torx (yellow arrows) support (red arrow) fasteners. Hold the support so it doesn't fall as you remove the final fastener. This support is removed to allow the heat shields above it to come out (green arrow).

Remove the support.
Figure 16

Remove the support.

Working at the heat shields, remove the three 8mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 17

Working at the heat shields, remove the three 8mm fasteners (red arrows). Then loosen the center 8mm fastener (green arrow) just enough to slide the heat shield to the removal slot (yellow arrow).

Remove the right side heat shield (red arrow).
Figure 18

Remove the right side heat shield (red arrow). fFrst, slide the shield out of the center fastener. Then remove to the right side of the vehicle.

Remove the left side heat shield (red arrow) toward the left side of the vehicle.
Figure 19

Remove the left side heat shield (red arrow) toward the left side of the vehicle.

Working at the center support bearing (red arrow), mark the bearing mounting points (yellow arrow) to help when reinstalling.
Figure 20

Working at the center support bearing (red arrow), mark the bearing mounting points (yellow arrow) to help when reinstalling. Then, remove the two E12 external Torx fasteners (green arrows).

Place a screw jack or hydraulic jack under the right side muffler (green arrow).
Figure 21

Place a screw jack or hydraulic jack under the right side muffler (green arrow).

Next, the exhaust has to be lowered about six inches to make room for the driveshaft to slide out.
Figure 22

Next, the exhaust has to be lowered about six inches to make room for the driveshaft to slide out. You can remove it completely. However, using this method saves gaskets and fasteners, plus the pain of dealing with rusty exhaust components. Working at the four rear exhaust hangers (red arrows), use a pry bar (yellow arrow) to lever the rubber insulator (green arrow) off the support. Use soapy water to lubricate the insulators if necessary. Once the insulators have been detached, lower the jack with the exhaust about six inches.

Remove the exhaust from the vehicle by sliding it out under the differential (red arrow).
Figure 23

Remove the exhaust from the vehicle by sliding it out under the differential (red arrow). Guide the center support bearing out, as it may snag on heat shields.

With the driveshaft removed, you can separate it at the splined joint (yellow arrow) and service the support bearing (green arrow) or the rear section with the universal joint (red arrow).
Figure 24

With the driveshaft removed, you can separate it at the splined joint (yellow arrow) and service the support bearing (green arrow) or the rear section with the universal joint (red arrow). Before separating the driveshaft, mark the splined joint orientation (inset).

Pull the driveshaft apart (red arrow) to separate the splined joint.
Figure 25

Pull the driveshaft apart (red arrow) to separate the splined joint.

To replace the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise.
Figure 26

To replace the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise. Then using a punch (red arrow), drive the center bearing off the driveshaft. Tap it around the entire bearing, working your way around to hammer it off evenly. Note the orientation of the center-bearing bracket (green arrow).

To install the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise.
Figure 27

To install the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise. Then using a punch, drive the center bearing onto the driveshaft. Tap it around the entire bearing, working your way around to hammer it off evenly. Be sure to only tap on the inside steel race (red arrow). If the punch (green arrow) hits the seal, it can be damaged. Work carefully.

Before installing, apply a small amount of NLGI Grade 2 longlife grease to the driveshaft ends (red arrow).
Figure 28

Before installing, apply a small amount of NLGI Grade 2 longlife grease to the driveshaft ends (red arrow). Then lubricate the splined ends with NLGI Grade 2 longlife grease. Then align the marks from the removal and assemble the splined end. Raise the driveshaft into the vehicle. Then reverse the removal steps to install. Mercedes-Benz does not mention a preload for the center support bearing. I like to bolt up the Giubos. Then raise the driveshaft and get it in the same area I removed it from. Mercedes-Benz does have inclination angles for the driveshaft, if off, shimming of the center bearing is required. The angle is measured using a Mercedes-Benz special tool, reading the angle electronically in degrees. If you feel you require this service, a Mercedes-Benz workshop may be a safe bet.







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Comments and Suggestions:
killejano Comments: I just replaced my bearing by removing only the rear part of the shaft. Worked just fine like this also.
October 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
NICK Comments: THANK YOU! YOU GUYS ROCK! SIMPLY THE BEST!
September 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ozzie Comments: IN the event that anyone mistakenly separates/pulls out the splipned shaft without marking its position, Note that there is a dent/indentation on the female shaft that coincides with the two lines on the the splined shaft collar. In other words the landing where the ujoint fits the splined collar has a mark on it like a roman numeral II. That landing has to align with the notch/indentation on the bar.
May 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Eliza Cranston Comments: Thank you for this tutorial for replacing pump bearings! The step-by-step guide and pictures are really helpful for me.
November 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
zack Comments: Is there a separate bushing that can be purchased without the whole purchase of the housing for the e500 drive shaft support?
September 27, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure.

I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Nick Mallory Comments: I appreciate your detailed tips and pictures here. It doesn't seem like it would be to difficult, but I think that I'm going to take it in. I don't have a lot of time, but mostly I worry that I'll forget to put on something important and the whole thing will fall apart while I'm on the highway. Is this something that most places should handle, or should I go to someone who specializes in it?
August 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It depends on your ability. You will have to make that call. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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