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2000 E320 4Matic, 2000 BMW 328i, 2011 Subaru Forester
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I'm stuck!

Well it was all going so well. I was following Kajteck1's process to install new boot on the outer CV joint on front left. Everything was going as expected until i hit this: So i took out the CV joint and disassembled it. Before cleaning i took a picture (pic 1) to make sure i know how everything goes back and their placements. The 2nd picture is the disassembled joint on my work bench. The grease you see is from the new boot kit. I just wanted some light lubrication on the parts during reassembly. I'm now having a lot difficulty figuring out how to put the outer basket into the joint shell. The 3rd picture is the only way it can be put back in (i.e by aligning the basket openings with protrusions in the cv joint shell . Problem is once i put it in i cannot turn the basket inside the joint shell to align the ball bearing groves in the CV joint shell with the opening in the basket. It also seems like the basket is not all the way seated like the 1st picture. The last picture is how i want it to be once the basket is in. I'm sure there is clever way to get it in but i'm all out of ideas. Help me fellows :dunno:
 

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2000 E320 4Matic, 2000 BMW 328i, 2011 Subaru Forester
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60 Posts
Thanks Kajteck1

Yeah the video is for ATV CV joints but it does give a good idea how things go back together. I didn't have to use any hammers or punches during disassembly or reassembly. There are 20 different ways you can try but only 1 correct way it goes back together. Like you stated earlier it is puzzle of a kind. Btw, for any one trying this take lots of pictures before taking everything apart. Also, the basket goes into the shell in a certain orientation. One side is few millimeters smaller than the other. The smaller diameter side goes into the cv shell first.
Kajteck1, thanks again for the pictorial DIY.
 

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1999 Mercedez Benz E320 4-Matic Sedan
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49 Posts
dont panic

I feel you - I had a moment of panic doing my CV's awhile back. It was my second time doing them in 4 years and I always seem to find a new way to create problems. Like you I removed the bearings (as I had before) cleaned and when I went to replace them I had troubles. It took a good half hour of trying and taking a break or two till I figured out the sequence. As I recall the key was putting them back in with a little grease and I believe I loaded them as you would a revolver slowly tipping the socket just enough to get the next ball in then lowering the ring to seat the bearing and moving to the next empty slot.

DO NOT FORCE anything - these will all go back in without tools or banging or torches or presses or 'Hulk-get-MAD!' force. Just take it slow and dont over-rotate the ring, just enough to get the ball in. I believe at one point I managed to lock the ring half full of bearings and was afraid I had totally screwed it. End of the day, you can buy the Chinese axle including the CV for pretty cheap so keep a calm head and if all else fails order a new part.

PS be very careful with the splined axle - its soft and if you bugger the spline end its time for the bastard file and prayers :)
 

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1999 E320 4Matic Wagon
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I was just informed 11-15-19 that the front left outer CV boot on my 1999 E320 4Matic is "torn and slinging grease" after the front end was aligned.

Is it necessary to have the car realigned after either replacing just the CV boot or the entire axle? I really don't want to have to pay that $130 again for alignment, if I don't have to.

I just got off the phone with the one-man-shop mechanic that I was planning to have replace the CV boot only, but he seemed pretty reluctant to replace only the boot - he was encouraging the replacement of the whole axle. He obviously hadn't ever replaced just the boot and didn't know what was involved. He thought replacing the entire axle was the wiser long term option. I would be supplying the parts. He said he would do whichever approach I asked him to do, whether boot only or entire axle. It appears that entire axles can be purchased for under $100.

I don't have a garage or air tools to do this job, so I'll very likely not do it myself.

I may end up just doing a split boot myself, for the near term, if I can't find someone else to replace only the boot. Although that procedure doesn't seem like it would be easily done in below 40 F temperatures in my driveway.

If I understood correctly from above posts, changing the entire axle can take up to 4 hours labor and just changing the boot can be done in as little as an hour by someone who knows what they're doing. Is this a correct understanding?

In the meantime, I'm letting the car sit and driving my truck, but we've already had snow in my area and the car handles slick conditions much better than my truck, so I do want to get the car operational as soon as reasonable for as low of a cost as reasonable.

Thanks.
 

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2002 e320 4matic Wagon
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I've done it a number of times myself. No need to do an alignment. If your not too late, the OEM CV is way better than the aftermarket ones. But if sand has gotten in there, it might've done it in. But the main problem with aftermarket ones is the boot. I've used the rein cv boots and they seem to hold up well. If you want aftermarket ones to last, put the better boots on them and use more grease than what they come with. Otherwise, scrape any existing grease off, and more grease and a split boot, if you can find one, and take care of it when the weather gets warm.
 

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1999 E320 4Matic Wagon
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Thanks.

I hadn't driven it much since a front end inspection about 45 days ago showed that the front upper right control arm / ball joint was very loose and I didn't get that changed until last week and then got it aligned two days later and was told about the outer CV boot on the other side, so I doubt much could have gotten into it, though I did drive it a few days last week after snow and freezing rain slicked up the roads and I didn't want to drive the truck on the slick roads, so something could have gotten into it then. I haven't actually opened up the tear in the boot to inspect it for foreign material. The boot apparently wasn't torn during that front end inspection.

Also, does anyone ever replace the boot without removing the removing, disassembling and cleaning the joint, if no obvious grit is visible? Does any ever leave the joint on and just wipe off the old grease as well as they can before adding more grease and mounting the new boot? I would have to get someone else to remove the wheel and hub for this, but wouldn't require removing the joint. This seems like it would be better than using a split boot, but would be using a better boot and take less time than waiting a couple times for an hour for the split boot solvent to set up.
 

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1999 Mercedez Benz E320 4-Matic Sedan
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I was just informed 11-15-19 that the front left outer CV boot on my 1999 E320 4Matic is "torn and slinging grease" after the front end was aligned.

Is it necessary to have the car realigned after either replacing just the CV boot or the entire axle? I really don't want to have to pay that $130 again for alignment, if I don't have to.

I just got off the phone with the one-man-shop mechanic that I was planning to have replace the CV boot only, but he seemed pretty reluctant to replace only the boot - he was encouraging the replacement of the whole axle. He obviously hadn't ever replaced just the boot and didn't know what was involved. He thought replacing the entire axle was the wiser long term option. I would be supplying the parts. He said he would do whichever approach I asked him to do, whether boot only or entire axle. It appears that entire axles can be purchased for under $100.

I don't have a garage or air tools to do this job, so I'll very likely not do it myself.

I may end up just doing a split boot myself, for the near term, if I can't find someone else to replace only the boot. Although that procedure doesn't seem like it would be easily done in below 40 F temperatures in my driveway.

If I understood correctly from above posts, changing the entire axle can take up to 4 hours labor and just changing the boot can be done in as little as an hour by someone who knows what they're doing. Is this a correct understanding?

In the meantime, I'm letting the car sit and driving my truck, but we've already had snow in my area and the car handles slick conditions much better than my truck, so I do want to get the car operational as soon as reasonable for as low of a cost as reasonable.

Thanks.
Im a shade tree self-trained mechanic so please take that into account here. I have done the CV boots on my 1999 w210 e320 a couple times (222k miles) so at this point I think I have discovered almost every mistake that can be made :)

-I have never needed to re align after doing the boots.

-You dont need air tools just a cheater bar for that axle nut (its on very very tight)

-This is an older thread, years ago the dealer was the place to find an axle and they were prohibitively expensive. Nowadays Chinese axles are almost as cheap as the boot kits.

-labor on changing the whole axle is probably half that of taking the joints apart, cleaning, re-packing and replacing boots. Cheap axles have made simply replacing the axle the standard approach these days. I have changed the outer boots, cleaned and re-packed a couple times and its pretty messy. Pulling the whole axle out and slapping a new axle in would be a very easy alternative (though I am loath to throw away a perfectly good original Mercedes axle).

-there are posts showing dudes changing out the boot in like 20 minutes, so yea, maybe they start with the car jacked up and wheel off and end before putting the tire back on. Maybe they have done it already a dozen times. It takes me a min of an hour per axle to jack the car, block the wheels, remove the wheel, detach the hub, remove the outer joint, cut the boot off, clean the old grease, re-pack the grease and get it all back on and put the car on the ground again. That is without any screw-ups or having to find the right size socket or tool. In my case I had a solid axle so you can add in a few hours of research finding the procedure for my oddball w210.

- If you have an original axle and its still in good condition (no clicking or play) you might consider having your mechanic change the boots. If its already making noise (or you have decided to replace the axle) just drive it till it gets really bad then replace the whole axle.

-I've had mixed results with the rein boots, the last set lasted only 35 months with under 20k miles driven (originals lasted at least 7 years). I was unable to find split boots that would fit. Reviews of the split boots are not good.


Couple of videos touchin on topics you asked about from Eric The Carguy:

Price of axles has come down to where it makes no sense to replace boots/replace only when clicking driving straight here:

Replace the axle without air tools
 

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1999 Mercedez Benz E320 4-Matic Sedan
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So how many miles you made on Chinese axles? Few reports say they don't last, while MB joint with new boot every 10 years is lifetime item.
My axles are both original with 222k miles on them - I have no idea about the Chinese axles except that they are widely considered acceptable replacements on most vehicles. My 1999 e320 will have much bigger problems than the axles in 10 years :) If it werent for the free replacement parts at FCP Euro I might have already opted for the cheap axles rather than replacing the rein boots every 3 years...
 

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1999 E320 4Matic Wagon
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Thanks for the additional info and videos. I'll do some more investigating and video watching this evening and likely decide whether to order boots only or an axle.

Tough decision, since my E320 only has 120,000 miles and I'm not aware of any clicking coming from the CV joints.

It does appear that there's less labor involved in replacing the entire axle than in replacing the boot, which means that the labor should cost me less to replace the entire axle.

On the other hand, AFAIK, the joint with the torn boot is still in good condition, so it would seem a waste to replace it.

Maybe I'll get both an axle and a boot kit, have the mechanic install the new axle without damaging the old axle and then replace the torn boot on the original axle on my leisure and have it ready to go as a spare or to sell.
 

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E320/E250 Bluetec Ford F350 6.7l
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Discussion Starter #74
My axles are both original with 222k miles on them - I have no idea about the Chinese axles except that they are widely considered acceptable replacements on most vehicles. My 1999 e320 will replacing the rein boots every 3 years...
How much you saved buying Rein?
MB boot usually last for 10 years.
 

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1999 Mercedez Benz E320 4-Matic Sedan
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How much you saved buying Rein?
MB boot usually last for 10 years.
Very good point - I actually dont even think I priced the Genuine Mercedes boot kit. Looks like it something like $95 per axle for MB vs $20 for Rein. If I were doing it again for the first time Id definitely get the MB boot kit. FCP gives me free replacement parts so I just reordered a new set or the Reins last time.

Still if you look at Pelican Parts (they had the quirky long axle I need) you can get a complete Chineeseium axle for $10.00-40.00 less than the boot kit from MB. Replacing the axle is so much easier than dis-assembling re-assembling the joints cleaning and repacking. Still, throwing out a Mercedes axle that sells for over $1000 new, yea, I dont think I could bring myself to do that. I like Elrod's idea of throwing the cheap axle on and making a project of restoring the old MB axle over the winter.

If I was paying someone to do it and the labor charge was close to the same Id put new MB boots on the original MB axles assuming they were in good shape.
 

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1999 E320 4Matic Wagon
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How do I pick the correct left front axle for my 1999 E320 4Matic wagon?

My online search shows two versions - one has a flange on the inner end of the shaft and one doesn't. Both say that they're correct for this car. How do I decide which to get?

I drove the car to work today on dry, clean roads and there's no hint of any clicking sounds, but I think I'll go ahead and replace the axle with an after market unit.

Thanks.
 

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I didn't know that sellers would match to the VIN. I'll give that a try. Thanks.

Edited to add that Mike at autohausAZ said that 2103300401, cross reference 9012N, is the correct part for my VIN. This part has the flange at the inner end of the shaft. He responded to my email in less than an hour.
 

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Green '02 E320 Wagon
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I have both replaced an axle and replaced just a boot on my 2002 E320 4Matic wagon. I feel that the Chinese axle I got was of much lower quality than the original, as detailed in this post. Therefore, I recommend replacing your boot with an OEM Benz one or buying a rebuilt Benz axle.

I recommend disassembling the CV joint, cleaning and inspecting every component (balls, basket, bell housing, etc. Start a new thread to post pictures of any questionable wear and the pros here will tell you if the axle must be replaced. This post shows my CV joint components. I could feel it clicking when I drove under 5 mph.

Recently, I replaced the CV boot on my original axle. I disassembled and cleaned the CV joint and found no wear. I reapplied grease and reassembled it. It is driving just fine.
 
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