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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Driveshaft Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Sockets 12mm, 13mm, T45 Torx bit, 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:

Front driveshaft, blue Loctite

Hot Tip:

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

Performance Gain:

Smooth drivetrain

Complementary Modification:

Replace front driveshaft flex-discs (Giubo)

The front driveshaft connects the transmission transfer case to the front differential on W211 models. It is made of steel tubing welded to steel flanges. The driveshaft is one piece with universal joints at each end.

The problem spot in the driveshaft is the universal joints. These joints are greased at the factory and cannot be serviced during regular maintenance. This leads to dry binding or noisy universal joints. In this tech article, we will cover replacing the front 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 driveshaft, or have the universal joint replaced by a local driveshaft repair shop. I have not any replaced locally. I usually replace the driveshaft. However, that is a good option if on a budget.

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 front of vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

The front driveshaft (green arrow) connects the transfer case (red arrow) to the front differential (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

The front driveshaft (green arrow) connects the transfer case (red arrow) to the front differential (yellow arrow). The front driveshaft can be removed without removing the exhaust or other major components. However, access to the Torx fasteners is tight and they strip easily, due to being installed with Loctite. I prefer to get the exhaust front pipe out of the way. If you want to remove the front exhaust pipe, see our tech article on exhaust system replacing. Follow the steps needed to remove only the right side front exhaust pipe.

Next, working at the center of the vehicle, the center exhaust support has to be removed.
Figure 2

Next, working at the center of the vehicle, the center exhaust support has to be removed. Start by loosening the four 12mm nuts (red arrows). Then remove the two 13mm fasteners (green arrows). Then remove the insulator plate from the vehicle (yellow arrow). If you're replacing the driveshaft with the exhaust installed, remove the entire right side support. Just remove the 12mm nuts, then the support.

If you removed the right side front exhaust pipe, the next step is to remove the heat shield.
Figure 3

If you removed the right side front exhaust pipe, the next step is to remove the heat shield. Start by removing the E12 Torx fastener (green arrows).The inset photo shows a better view. There is only one to remove. Then remove the two 10mm heat shield fasteners (red arrows).

Remove the heat shield from the vehicle.
Figure 4

Remove the heat shield from the vehicle.

The yellow arrow points to marks I made on the driveshaft and differential flange.
Figure 5

The yellow arrow points to marks I made on the driveshaft and differential flange. Before removing, note the position and be sure to install it with the driveshaft and differential flange in the same position. Remove the four T50 Torx fasteners (red arrows). I like to either remove them at the bottom position, then rotate the driveshaft by hand, or at the top corner, shown with the ratchet in place.

Next, mark the driveshaft and differential flange.
Figure 6

Next, mark the driveshaft and differential flange. Before removing, note the position and be sure to install it with the driveshaft and differential flange in the same position. Remove the four T50 Torx fasteners. The red arrow shows one removed. The yellow arrow shows one in place. These have to be removed at the bottom position.

With the driveshaft removed, you can inspect the joints for stiffness (inset).
Figure 7

With the driveshaft removed, you can inspect the joints for stiffness (inset). To install the new driveshaft, align the marks from removal and install the fasteners finger tight. Once aligned and in place, tighten the fasteners in a crisscross pattern. Be sure to use new microencapsulated fasteners or coat the old fastener threads with blue Loctite.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Eddy Comments: E 320 4 matic 2004
Drive shafts
Are they new, reconditioned our used?
October 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it depends, the OE ones are new. The Powertrain is remanufactured.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.



http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi?action=frameset&return-url=/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi%3Faction%3Dframeback%26page%3D2860&catalog-url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pelicanparts.com%2Fcatalog%2FSuperCat%2F3823%2FMBZ_3823_SUSAXL_pg2.htm %3Futm_source%3DSuperTech%23item5 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Eddy Comments: Are these drive shafts new, reconditioned or used?
Thanks
Eddy
October 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Which driveshafts?
For an instant response, give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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