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2010 ML 350
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Discussion Starter #1
Recently purchased a 2001 ML320 with 87000 miles. There is a constant noise in the rear that is speed dependant. It's a 'metal against metal' sound that reminds me of older type disc brake rivits scraping aginst the rotors when worn. The sound does not change when braking, so it leads me to believe it is probably the wheel bearings. It seems to be on the right rear, and past forum posts indicate the right rear bearing goes first.

Is there a way to narrow down the noise problem, or confirm it is the wheel bearing ? Also, if it is a wheel bearing, is it a DIY project ? And should both rear bearing be changed at the same time ?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,117 Posts
Only a DIY project if you access to press to push out the old bearing and put the new one
in. Or at least a shop that will do that part for you.
Just did my right rear today and it was about 1.75 hours. I have access to a lift and a press.
The condition of the bearing was amazingly bad. I can't believe my wife did not tell me sooner.
I saved it to take a picture of it.
If the bearing is really bad you will feel the slop in the wheel when it is off the ground.
Just get the suspected corner off the ground and if there is any play in the wheel as
you pull and push on it the bearing is probably bad.
Rock Auto is selling SKF bearings for $53 and in the box is a bearing made by NSK which
is the same bearing that MB used and charges $180 for. It is a premium German made bearing.
They are the same for all four corners of the truck.
 

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2010 ML 350
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Noodles,
Thanks. I jacked up the right rear with parking brake off and there seems to be no movement or play when I try to move the wheel back and forth. I realize it could still be a bad bearing. I noticed there is about 3 inches of play when rotating the tire front to back (driving direction) and wondering if theis is a normal amount or indicates a problem.
Thanks.......
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,117 Posts
Do you mean 3' of play before spinning the wheel and then the rest of the drive line
starts to rotate?
I am not sure what the specs should be. I will check mine on Mon or Tues. Shifter is
going back in on Tues and I will be at the shop finishing that up and putting in a new
pop up wind deflector.
 

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2010 ML 350
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The trans is in park so when I rotate the wheel back and forth, there is about 3 inches of play before the driveshaft stops at the trans. The play is between the wheel and the back of the trans. That might be normal play, I'm just tgrying to narrow down the noise in the rear.
 

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1999 ML320 Elegance, BMW R1150RT, SAAB 9-3
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282 Posts
re; There is a constant noise in the rear that is speed dependant. It's a 'metal against metal' sound that reminds me of older type disc brake rivits scraping aginst the rotors when worn. The sound does not change when braking,

that sounds like my experience when the drive shaft support bearing went on my vehicle.
if it is that total failure may be imminent. diagnosis involves getting under the vehicle and trying to move/shake the driveshaft in the area of the bearing (engine off, vehicle on jack stands )
another option is de-laminated parking braking shoes.
 

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2010 ML 350
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
re; There is a constant noise in the rear that is speed dependant. It's a 'metal against metal' sound that reminds me of older type disc brake rivits scraping aginst the rotors when worn. The sound does not change when braking,

that sounds like my experience when the drive shaft support bearing went on my vehicle.
if it is that total failure may be imminent. diagnosis involves getting under the vehicle and trying to move/shake the driveshaft in the area of the bearing (engine off, vehicle on jack stands )
another option is de-laminated parking braking shoes.
Thanks guys. Guess I'll have to put the rear up on jack stands and investigate more. From what I know, a bad wheel bearing would sound a bit different on a tight turn, and my noise is consistant. From searching the forums, it seems my problem might be leaning towards a bad shaft support bearing, even with only 87,000 miles. If I had a garage, I'd be out there now, but have to wait for a warmer day to jack it up.
43sqd, I could not see your attached photo, but will check the emergency brake shoes and everythign else in the rear end to see if I can locate any obvious problem.
 

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2010 ML 350
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Discussion Starter #9
43sqd, I could not see your attached photo, but will check the emergency brake shoes and everythign else in the rear end to see if I can locate any obvious problem.
43sqd - got your photo afterall, thanks, very helpful.
 

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1999 ML320 Elegance, BMW R1150RT, SAAB 9-3
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cabinet - what Mr 43sqds photo is showing is simulated (simulated as the disk is allready removed) removal of the rear disk by backing off the adjusting stars. if you dont back off the shoes then when you pull off the disk your shoes, if not already delaminated, will be delaminated. i found this out the hard way.
you will need a good flashlight to find the adjusting stars... turning the hub and looking through the lug hole.

need to back off parking brake shoes to remove rear rotor. Install one wheel bolt and spin till hole lines up with adjsuter.

driver (left) rear: adjuster star is at 3:30 aprox.Clockwise from above to loosen (i.e push star to the front of the car with screwdriver). mine Was 4 clicks from tight.

passenger (right) rear: adjuster is at 8:45 aprox. Counter clockwise viewed from above to loosen. (i.e. push star toward front to loosen)
 

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1999 ML320
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I had the exact same noise coming from my 99ML, I thought it was a wheel bearing also, the other day I was driving down the street and all the sudden my truck was shaking and it felt like I was driving on rail road tracks.
Come to find out it wasn't the wheel bearing but the driveshaft bearing, I found one for $88 and $18 to press the bearing, my mechanic is going to install it for me for $50

Drive up on ramps and see if the driveshaft wiggles, if it does you may find yourself stranded once the bearing decides to go.
Good luck.
 
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