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2000 ML430
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2000 ML430 with over 246,000 kms, which I recently took into my MB dealership for a winter inspection program. One of the items they recommended be done is the driveshaft support bearing, which I was planning to proactively replace based on experience from this forum.

However, out of curiosity, I went and took a look underneath my car to try and see how worn it was and if there was any slop or play. Much to my surprise, I could not find the bearing. I know it should be located immediately after the transfer case, connecting a short and longer driveshaft from transfer case to rear differential.The bearing should be sitting on the cross-member that's located in front of the gas tank.

But instead I found nothing. There were no short and long driveshafts, just one long driveshaft running from transfer case to rear differential! I've never heard of an ML with this type of configuration. Has anyone else?

On a side note, I'm somewhat disappointed that the dealer recommended the replacement of a part, which I obviously don't have. If I was going to get the work done, I would have asked for the old part back. Of course, it wouldn't help if they gave me someone else's old bearing. Either they didn't bothing inspecting it and just recommended it based on old age (which is understandable), or they did inspect and just wanted to make money off me.
 

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1999 w163 ML430 Australian Spec
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12 Posts
Mine is a 1999 ML 430, right hand drive Australian spec without a support bearing for the rear drive shaft....original, ex factory.

However, my truck was not assembled in Alabama. It was assembled in Graz Austria.

I heard a story that in the early production years, Alabama could not supply all markets, and Graz produced some ML models, with minor component differences.

This was correct for Australia, and the early OZ ML430s did have a single piece rear driveshaft. (Unfortunately still with the el cheapo made in Mexico electrical switches and wiring harnesses.)

Not sure for your part of the world.

Check your VIN number for assembly location, and one of the ML history gurus on this forum should be able to give you an answer.
 

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2000 ML430
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'm certain I'm looking in the right location. There's no bearing, just one driveshaft out to the rear diff.

Thanks for that bit of info, dirtdodger. However, my ML was made in Alabama. I noticed that the wording from the R&R instructions for the bearing always say something to the affect of "Model 163 w/ two-piece driveshaft". That seems to suggest the existance of a one-piece driveshaft?

In any event, this is a good discovery for me. I never have to worry about this commonly reported failure, ever.
 

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1999 ML320 Elegance, BMW R1150RT, SAAB 9-3
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282 Posts
"One of the items they recommended be done is the driveshaft support bearing, "
'There's no bearing, just one driveshaft out to the rear diff."

scandalous.:eek: it would be tempting to give them the green light to change the bearing - just to see the outcome. when they hand you the "old one" and take your money you get them to put your ML on the lift and show you where it came from... busted - you can blackmail them (get a smart to keep in the back of the ML :p)

you are in ontario - is this the ottawa dealer (not that i go there anyway...) ?

what else did they recommend you have changed ?:confused:

thx
 

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1999 ML430 , 1984 Porsche 944, 1974 VW Karmann Ghia
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99 Posts
My 1999 ML430 built in Alabama and also has a one-piece rear drive shaft without any center support bearing assembly....its got the holes in the frame but no bearing. I have 145000 on it now with no transfer case seal or bearing problems yet. I took some pictures to show you. You can clearly see the holes exist in the frame.
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Any thoughts......
 
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