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2000 ML320
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Discussion Starter #1
So we bought a 2000 ML320 about six months ago and we're having some issues with it. The wheels badly needed alignment, so we drove it to the dealership 150 miles away.

considering the parts the dealership wanted to replace were not worn out, not counting the ball joints, we felt the $2000 was entirely unreasonable.


We've received a different quote from each mechanic we've brought it to since, regarding different parts.

We had the U-Joints torn apart and verified that they were not the problem.

Our latest mechanic finally got to the bottom of the original reason we brought it in, which was a clunking, rattling noise that would occasionally occur when driving over bumps. It would continue, even over flat road, until we stopped the car, after which it would 'reset'.

They determine that the Center Bearing has over an inch of play in it, something the dealership totally missed when doing their shakedown. I obviously can't drive the truck until it's fixed.


So we've got a leaking PS pump (which I'm 90% sure is just the reservoir seal), leaking rack & pinion (which I'm hoping is the bleed plugs being loose....) bad lower ball joints, and rear bearings which I think have a bit of life left in them and aren't so critical (yet).

I'm pretty sure I can do most of this (leaving the rack and pinion, if shot, and the balljoints to a mechanic), for far less than the $3,000 quote the last mechanic gave us.

I'm hopefully going to start all this on Monday, to get ready for when the parts get here later in the week.

So I'd like to post a few pictures of things while I'm tearing down, and I'd also like to thank everyone who has posted R&I manuals and instructions in the hundred previous threads devoted to these issues.


If anyone has any tips that would make the process a little more painless, I'm all ears. I've been very impressed with the level of knowledge and help given in this forum; we love this car so we'd like to do everything reasonable to keep it running for another 100k miles.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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17,105 Posts
With regards to the Driveshaft, mark everything before removal and mark everything before dis-assembly. Some have found trouble removing the the two bolts (7d) holding the bearing plate to the body; heat might be necessary.

I don't know where you are getting the bearing, but if it is a knockoff you'll be doing the job again in 6 months. Buy quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll definitely be marking everything with a scribe and paint pen before disassembly.

Thank you for the R&I's, the Driveshaft support sheets you provided are higher quality than the print-ups I had prior.

So are you recommending by the picture that I replace the U-Joint components by the bearing, part 53 and 56, while it's opened up?
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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Replacing the O-ring on the P/S pump is fairly easy, but you must remember that after you are finished, DO NOT START THE ENGINE.

Fill reservoir to 3/4 and then raise the two front wheels off the ground, turn the key to pos. #2 and slowly turn the steering wheel from lock to lock, while someone observes the bubbles in the reservoir.

When there are no more bubbles, all air in the system has been purged. Then start the engine and after a while, top off to correct level.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the PS info; I knew about turning the wheel but not that the MB technique was to do it 30 times. I hope the seal turns out to be the issue; I don't think I should just replace the PS pump over a leak like the mechanic wanted.
 

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2000 ML430 (Sold)
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If the rack and pinion is shot it is a straightforward diy. Several threads here regarding how to, and no special tools needed. I suggest looking into it to save some cash. The worst thing is its time consuming if you have never done one. Took me almost five hours. But I'm sure now I could do it in two.

Sent from my GT-I9000M using AutoGuide.Com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If the rack and pinion is shot it is a straightforward diy. Several threads here regarding how to, and no special tools needed. I suggest looking into it to save some cash. The worst thing is its time consuming if you have never done one. Took me almost five hours. But I'm sure now I could do it in two.

Sent from my GT-I9000M using AutoGuide.Com Free App
This is the part that's been worrying me; I'm glad to hear it's not too big of an issue, though I'm not sure what special tools may be needed.

Truth be told, since I've got to get the lower ball joints done anyway and I'll probably source that work out, I'm considering throwing the Rack in the same job too.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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I don't think I should just replace the PS pump over a leak like the mechanic wanted.
Have no idea what you mean by this sentence. I only posted the P/S pump removal because there is no separate instructions for just the removal of the reservoir.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That statement was referring to the mechanic; perhaps I could have made that clearer.

The mechanic wanted to replace the power steering pump due to a leak, even though there was no evidence of pump failure. Considering the reservoir leak is a common problem, it makes sense to check that first before scrapping the whole pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pulled the reservoir off last night. The PS fluid was the color of root beer.


It sounds stupid, but there wasn't a gasket either in the reservoir or the 'intake stem'. Not sure what the story is here...


As for the center bearing, its worn down so far I can lift the driveshaft so there is an inch of clearance between the bearing and driveshaft. Not good.
 

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99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,144 Posts
It is a an o-ring between the reservoir and the pump, no gasket. That is what gets hard and fails allowing it to start leaking.
Get the center support bearing kit from an MB OEM supplier like parts.com.
It is far superior to any aftermarket bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, there was no o-ring on the reservoir. I spent 15 minutes looking for it in case it dropped out but if it was there it disappeared.


I'll look on parts.com. I'm going to have another bearing waiting on the shelf for when it fails just in case.
 

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2002 ML320
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2000 ML320
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Discussion Starter #16
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1527449-power-steering-problem.html

This thread can guide you through a new res and O-ring. It is not difficult, I'm a mild DIY guy and I pulled it off without problem using the .pdf in that thread.

In my case the o ring was stuck in the res. It's possible that is where yours is hanging out to. Just rebuild it. 50 bucks gets it done.
Found old O-ring hiding in one of the belts; must have fallen off when I removed the reservoir. New O ring and replaced, filled reservoir. No leaks as of yet.

Got the driveshaft removed, and the carrier bearing was not even touching the shaft. There was an inch of clearance between the driveshaft and the bearing; I'm having them flown out to where I work so I can use the bearing press in the shop to set it this week.

So we're progressing, albeit slowly. We have 10 weeks before our new baby arrives, so we need to get the balljoints replaced, new tires, an alignment done and the third row seat brackets and seats installed. :eek:
 

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2000 ML320
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Discussion Starter #18
Why are you using a bearing press to replace the center support bearing?
The R&I states: Press intermediate bearing (11) off the
propeller shaft.

The only center bearing I've seen on this car is completely destroyed so I don't have a hands-on reference.

I don't know whether that bearing slides on easily or will need to be pressed, but since I'm at work for the next week and have access to several presses, pullers, and a turbine maintenance workbench I figure as long as the friction didn't wear down the shaft we should be fine.
 

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99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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I should have reworded my reply, I know it is best to use a press, I was more curious about having
it flown to where you are. Most good mechanics have a press and will charge $20 or less to do it.
If you get free air shipping then I understand.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I should have reworded my reply, I know it is best to use a press, I was more curious about having
it flown to where you are. Most good mechanics have a press and will charge $20 or less to do it.
If you get free air shipping then I understand.
Oh, I gotcha.

Well, where I work anything that gets dropped off at the heliport gets flown out as cargo with no cost to me.

I'll have my wife box up the shaft with some grease and the new bearing and I'll do it out here at the shop.

Since I am away from home for a week at a time, this is a way for me to knock out mechanical projects while I am away and would otherwise be unable to do so with a set of tools I don't have access to at home.
 
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