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Ml320 drive shaft support replacement

After searching the entire internet on how to tackle a broken Ml320 drive shaft support replacement, I decided to attempt it. Boy, this could be fun if you like wrenching.

For the faint hearted, pay a shop or call MBenz to pick it up let them split their knuckles for your big bucks.

Tools needed
A very good jack.
4 Axle stands
Allen key
16mm Socket
Good 12" handle Socket wrench.
8mm socket plus applicable elbow extension.


(You are better off purchasing an Air ratchet - $29.99 from Advance auto parts.
One air compressor, $90.00. Air Connectors and hose $20.00. You're still saving money because you'll have these tools for future use and overall cost of the project is still less than your dealership will charge. Note you still need the strong wrench to loosen the 2 rusty bolts holding the obscured darn stupid Benz contraption)

Start by jacking vehicle up.
The ML is a full time 4wd heavy vehicle; so all 4 wheels must be free off the ground. I only jacked up the 2 rear but that wasted a lot of my time - I repeat, all 4 wheels must be free (Use 4 strong reliable axle stands. Your life could be at stake if you cut corners. Be CAREFUL not CAREFOOL)

Now that all wheels are off the ground, get yourself a mat, and crawl under the truck. You'll cause at how much space Benz left their techs here.

This is a high velocity joint assy you are dealing with so Note how tight all bolts are and remember to tighten them back accordingly when done.

1. With the right Allen key, loosen and remove all the intermediate shaft (or Mid-shaft) attachments to the transfer case Drive. (This is where you’ll start appreciating having all the wheels off ground.)
2. With the 8mm socket plus applicable elbow extension, loosen the 4 bolts holding the U joint assy to free the prop shaft.

3. With a little more space gained, push the intermediate shaft out of the way, and use the 16mm wrench to loosen those 2 rusty bolts - This is where the pain is. It is hard to maneuver, you can only make about 2/3 turn each time. The bolts don't come off easy; if they do, you are in huge luck. Use copious rust freeing liquid e.g. "liquid wrench" (Start making wet from previous night. Do realize you might break the bolts if you work it too much in it's -hard to loosen state-. This is where the air ratchet comes in. Spray the bolt, loosen it, when it gets tight spray it again and tighten back. Spray from the bottom and loosen again repeat this several times until the air ratchet completely drives it out (You could do this for days if you don’t have an air tool -trust me on that one if you live in snow salt ridden area like here in RI, New England.)
Once this 2 nightmare bolts are out, maneuver entire mid-shaft and driveshaft support out via right side of vehicle.

Ha-ha you are now 3/4 through

Avoid wrong assembly; observe the direction of things.
Loosen the center bolt holding the U joint end to the intermediate shaft. (Use the air ratchet as a vice might be necessary if doing it by hand)
Spray some "liquid wrench" on the center the intermediate shaft to penetrate the spline. Also spray the bearing seating on the shaft rod (Take a break and let things soak)

Remove the old messed up support from the intermediate shaft (this may be another challenge if you don't have the right puller (I had to hammer mine out but be careful not to hammer the threaded area or the less thick area or the main shaft itself. Hammer the thicker lower end.
Hammer a flat head screw driver to drive out the bearing - Again tap on the bearing carefully, avoid the spline rod.
Clean the mess put the new unit in - right direction- You need to maintain proper symmetrical force on the bearing. Push in as far as you can. Put the washer and bolt back and air ratchet back in. The bolt will push the bearing back in place.

Replace assy back in vehicle just the way it came out.

Assemble the U joint back FIRST. Ensure the dust caps on the U joint seat correctly if not, you'll crack them and open a new can of frustrating worms.

Now put those 2 lousy bolts back
Install the 6 Allen head bolts back last.
Tighten all bolts accordingly.
Wallah -----------------------------YOU ARE DONE------------------------------

How much money will you save? Only you can tell.
I got my part for $88.00 from eBay and was thoroughly satisfied

Except you are like me or other curious guys out there, I'll advice you to let the pros handle this one.
Good luck guys
 

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98 ML320& 05 ML350SE
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147 Posts
Hey thanks for the detailed write up! Since my left wrist is still broken, I can't do this myself - so it's off to a local MB service shop - they quoted me 4 hrs labor and $300 for the parts, so now it's onto eBay and online for that MB kit "Carrier Bearing Kit" 163 410 00 10.
 

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2005 RX330, 2011 ML350
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79 Posts
I needed to replace this drive shaft support - it became loose and gave me a lot of trouble vibrating whole truck!
I removed 6 allen key bolts, 4 8mm bolts and when I came to those two 16 mm bolts holding support thing - it became a nightmare! I called AAA and towed truck to my friend-mechanic.
It took him 4 + hours to remove bolts, disconnect shaft and put everything back!
REAL NIGHTMARE!
If you don't have necessary tools, don't even try. Not worth. I paid him $250 + $70 I spent to buy support thing.
 

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2002 Mercedes ML320, 132k
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264 Posts
A Gearwrench with a flex head (or similar--I'm not plugging a particular brand) is extremely helpful for those 2 nasty bolts. The thin, tipped head with micro-ratcheting is just what you need. And if you buy the set, you'll be all ready for those nuts on top of the rear struts...

All together now--no clearance, little "swing" room, back and forth about 400 times! Seriously, it's not my favorite job, but it's not that bad. However, mine was pretty free of rust. A creeper also helps, and there's pretty good clearance for one.
 

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2005 RX330, 2011 ML350
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79 Posts
Yes rocketman4321!

I used it and my mechanic used Gearwrench with a flex head. keep it in mind, the truck is 1998. Never left New England and those two bolts were nasty. But they did not end the nightmare. Mechanic used some kind of press to detach the shaft from ... whatever you call it. 5 tons pressure and and it took a while!
Well. I'm glad it's over now.
 

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ML 320 2002 +/- 240 000km
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thank you Richie Lawmn VERY cool right up!!!
Accept my apology I forgot about this post, as i was under so much Psi at the time - but i did the job myself and i wish i had taken pictures, however, i was so nervous doing sth like this for the first time ML 320 2002 I just plugeed away at it slowly unlike the Hare
Yes you are correct on the hanging bearing I only had one of the nuts @#[email protected][email protected]# me silly I think 2.5 hrs later I had the @#[email protected]#$ out AND you need a lot height (wooden blocks maybe) and at least 2 Jacks for the "drive shaft " to clear the back of the vehicle and the ground - well the way I did it at least

Would I do it again:
If I was wealthy maybe not, however, I come form humble origins and can't afford someone to do so I will have to do it again when the time arrives

Ps NB I good tip is to paint a red, yellow .... etc nicely visible line down the centre of the entire lenghth (that means the ENTIRE drive shaft including any bolts bearings etc. Therefore nothing will be out of balance as you will replace all the shaft components in the original way
 

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101 Posts
I had this done last year.... and now I need another one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to do it myself....I have heard of an HD bearing? is there any truth to this? any other tips or tools anyone else would like to add...
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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I had this done last year.... and now I need another one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to do it myself....I have heard of an HD bearing? is there any truth to this? any other tips or tools anyone else would like to add...
Where did you get the bearing you replaced last year?
 

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101 Posts
I had it done by a friend who is a mechanic and works on MBs... I think he put in a poor quality part... I'm still not sure untill I crack it open....

do you know of an HD bearing for this application? I have seen a few car part sites claiming a HD bearing... just curious
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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16,935 Posts
I had it done by a friend who is a mechanic and works on MBs... I think he put in a poor quality part... I'm still not sure untill I crack it open....

do you know of an HD bearing for this application? I have seen a few car part sites claiming a HD bearing... just curious
There is only one support bearing. I have never heard of a HD version. My only suggestion to you is purchase the kit from M/B (163 410 00 10). If you are doing it yourself make sure you mark everything .
 

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101 Posts
will do...most people advise putting the truck on all four jack stands...is that for clearance of the axle during removal/install or do the wheels need to be free to rotate... just curious
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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16,935 Posts
will do...most people advise putting the truck on all four jack stands...is that for clearance of the axle during removal/install or do the wheels need to be free to rotate... just curious
More for clearance than anything else. If you mark the flanges on either end of the drive shaft then it should go back with no problem.
 

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1998 ML320
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133 Posts
In case you find hard to unbolt the mounting screws/bolts as #3 in the OP and #47 in 43sqd's diagram, a little heat will help. I used a small propane torch from below for a few seconds and made unbolting really easy. Just be careful not to overheat and protect any wires in the area.
 

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Good Tip!!! It did come off a year ago when I had it replaced ..so I'm hoping it will come off with ease....saturday will be the big day.. I'll post results...

thank you for all your help and input! unlike other forumns people on here are helpful.
 

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2011 ML350 Bluetech / 2010 ML350 Bluetech
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225 Posts
Is there a specific procedure to line the drive shaft up after reinstallation, there is a fair amount of play in the holes. I have replaced many center bearings on other vehicles, and last year on my ML, now it seams I will have to replace again, as its starting to make noise, so as its only a year old, I wonder if there was a problem with my installation....
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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16,935 Posts
Is there a specific procedure to line the drive shaft up after reinstallation, there is a fair amount of play in the holes. I have replaced many center bearings on other vehicles, and last year on my ML, now it seams I will have to replace again, as its starting to make noise, so as its only a year old, I wonder if there was a problem with my installation....
Mark the flanges on either end of the drive shaft before removal, then draw a center line on the drive shaft once it's off as per the instructions.
 

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2003 ML320, 1981 16v VW Truck
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I just did this procedure tonight and it wasn't all that bad. They were right though about those 2 bolts that hold on the center support, but after shooting a Mapp gas flame up into the holes from underneath they came out extremely easily!

Good luck to everyone else that tries the removal.
 

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1999 ML320
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154 Posts
:surrender:I am shopping around for this drive shaft centre support and there are different brands on the market.

Can someone help based on their experience for the best from the following:

1-Hamburg Tech $90
2-NSK Bearing $90
3-APA/URO $90
4-Febi Bilstein $160

Thanks
 

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03 ML350
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245 Posts
So the question is why did MB put an extra joint in this shaft thus requiring a center bearing? Seems pointless to me.
 
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