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2001 ML 320
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Discussion Starter #1
MY 2001, ML320.
Has anyone changed the front wheel bearings? Is this a DIY job? I thought it was the brake pads wearing on the rotor, but I removed the caliper and spun the rotor and heard and felt a faint "thump thump thump" from the rotor area.
The bearing only costs 65.00, so I tought I'd give it a whirl....

Thanks in advance!
/Doug
 

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Black 2005 ML 500
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1,662 Posts
Replace Front Wheel Bearings ML320

I was about to post the info appended below. It sounded a lot more involved. Was it easy and can you do a DYI for us..? I may have to change the front bearing too. MB changed my right one after it was generating a very bad rolling sound. I had to buy brand new tires so that they would not be blamed, and the rolling sound will not change with the different road pattern/materials. It was night and day, but now the other bearing is going bad and I don't know if MB will change it since it is not extremely bad yet.

AC
 

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2001 ML 320
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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, it IS night and day. And well worth it. Thanks for the great info. It was rather simple, the only difficult part was pressing out the bearing, which I did at a local garage. Provided is my step-by-step procedure.

Tools used:
Air Hammer (Not needed but makes easier)
1/2" Air Gun (Not needed but makes easier)
#40 Torx (Removal of brake caliper)
30mm or 1 1/4" Standard (I think) for axle nut
10mm for brake sensor bolt and brake line bracket
Needle-nosed pliers to remove the circlip holding the bearing
Allen wrench for rotor 1/4" or so I think
Box wrench for Upper / Lower ball joint nut and Tie rod nut (Can't remember size)
Press!! - I got lucky when I visited a gas station and they LET ME USE THE PRESS!. If you're not that lucky then any auto parts store with a press will do it for you - Maybe 25.00..

Procedure:
1. Loosen lug nuts
2. Jack up car and use jack stands!
3. Remove wheel
4. Remove two torx bolts holding brake caliper
5. Remove brake sensor bolt then pull out sensor (All plastic, no need to worry about anything falling out)
6. Remove brake-line bracket
7. Set caliper away from spindle to provide work space (I set mine towrads the middle of the car on top of the drive axle)
8. Remove allen bolt from rotor
9. Remove rotor (I used an air-hammer on the surface to loosen the rotor then it came right off).
10. Remove tie rod nut then remove tie rod (I used an air hammer at the end of the tie rod on the outside and it fell right out)
11. Remove UPPER A-arm (Ball-Joint) nut first. You cannot get a wrench in the LOWER (Ball-Joint) end before you remove the upper. (I then used the air-hammer to loosen the upper connection to the A-arm and it came right out).
12. Remove LOWER A-arm (Ball-Joint) nut and then the spindle will then be freed
13. Used air-gun to remove axle nut
14. Used air-hammer to push (loosen) the axle shaft from the spindle. You can also try tapping on the axle shaft with a copper or hard-rubber mallet to loosen the spindle.
15. Using a press, press the axle flange out of the spindle. The flange is pressed out from the inside.
16. Remove circlip from spindle
17. Press bearing out toward the side that had the circlip
18. Clean the inner spindle where the bearing goes
19. Press in new bearing starting on the side that had the circlip until it stops
20. Install circlip (I used the same one, but replace if necessary)
21. Press in axle flange until it stops
22. Now, the hard part is done!! Time to reinstall.
23. Attach tie rod to spindle and tighten nut
24. Attach LOWER A-arm to spindle and tighten nut
25. Attach UPPER A-arm to spindle and tighten nut
26. Insert brake sensor and bolt
27. Attach brake-line bracket
28. Put rotor on spindle and tighten allen bolt
29. Attach brake caliper to spindle
27. Install axle nut on axle shaft (It was late and not wanting to distrub the neighbors I used a breaker bar to tighten nut. Be sure to have someone apply the brakes so the rotor does not spin while tightening the nut)
28. Remount rim and tire and ighten bolts.
29. That's it.

Total time was 2 hours. It took only 45 minutes to remove and re-install all the parts, but I used 1.25 hours pressing out and in the bearings. If you have a shop do it for you you're probably better off and it will take much less time.

I bought the bearing at a local NAPA parts store for 65.00.

If anyone has questions I will try and answer. It is definitely worth it. I don't know how nuch MB would charge, but i'm sure it has to be somewhere around 500.00.

/Doug


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Black 2005 ML 500
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Doug, Thanks for the procedure instructions..!! It is going to come pretty handy for many of us..

Regards,

AC
 

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Yes, it IS night and day. And well worth it. Thanks for the great info. It was rather simple, the only difficult part was pressing out the bearing, which I did at a local garage. Provided is my step-by-step procedure.

Tools used:
Air Hammer (Not needed but makes easier)
1/2" Air Gun (Not needed but makes easier)
#40 Torx (Removal of brake caliper)
30mm or 1 1/4" Standard (I think) for axle nut
10mm for brake sensor bolt and brake line bracket
Needle-nosed pliers to remove the circlip holding the bearing
Allen wrench for rotor 1/4" or so I think
Box wrench for Upper / Lower ball joint nut and Tie rod nut (Can't remember size)
Press!! - I got lucky when I visited a gas station and they LET ME USE THE PRESS!. If you're not that lucky then any auto parts store with a press will do it for you - Maybe 25.00..

Procedure:
1. Loosen lug nuts
2. Jack up car and use jack stands!
3. Remove wheel
4. Remove two torx bolts holding brake caliper
5. Remove brake sensor bolt then pull out sensor (All plastic, no need to worry about anything falling out)
6. Remove brake-line bracket
7. Set caliper away from spindle to provide work space (I set mine towrads the middle of the car on top of the drive axle)
8. Remove allen bolt from rotor
9. Remove rotor (I used an air-hammer on the surface to loosen the rotor then it came right off).
10. Remove tie rod nut then remove tie rod (I used an air hammer at the end of the tie rod on the outside and it fell right out)
11. Remove UPPER A-arm (Ball-Joint) nut first. You cannot get a wrench in the LOWER (Ball-Joint) end before you remove the upper. (I then used the air-hammer to loosen the upper connection to the A-arm and it came right out).
12. Remove LOWER A-arm (Ball-Joint) nut and then the spindle will then be freed
13. Used air-gun to remove axle nut
14. Used air-hammer to push (loosen) the axle shaft from the spindle. You can also try tapping on the axle shaft with a copper or hard-rubber mallet to loosen the spindle.
15. Using a press, press the axle flange out of the spindle. The flange is pressed out from the inside.
16. Remove circlip from spindle
17. Press bearing out toward the side that had the circlip
18. Clean the inner spindle where the bearing goes
19. Press in new bearing starting on the side that had the circlip until it stops
20. Install circlip (I used the same one, but replace if necessary)
21. Press in axle flange until it stops
22. Now, the hard part is done!! Time to reinstall.
23. Attach tie rod to spindle and tighten nut
24. Attach LOWER A-arm to spindle and tighten nut
25. Attach UPPER A-arm to spindle and tighten nut
26. Insert brake sensor and bolt
27. Attach brake-line bracket
28. Put rotor on spindle and tighten allen bolt
29. Attach brake caliper to spindle
27. Install axle nut on axle shaft (It was late and not wanting to distrub the neighbors I used a breaker bar to tighten nut. Be sure to have someone apply the brakes so the rotor does not spin while tightening the nut)
28. Remount rim and tire and ighten bolts.
29. That's it.

Total time was 2 hours. It took only 45 minutes to remove and re-install all the parts, but I used 1.25 hours pressing out and in the bearings. If you have a shop do it for you you're probably better off and it will take much less time.

I bought the bearing at a local NAPA parts store for 65.00.

If anyone has questions I will try and answer. It is definitely worth it. I don't know how nuch MB would charge, but i'm sure it has to be somewhere around 500.00.

/Doug


1.
Thank you for the step by step instructions. Everything was exactly as you posted except for me the axle nut was a different size. After following your instructions the total cost was $95...($60 for the replacement bearings through a mechanic friend) and $35 to have the new bearings pressed in at a shop. Thanks again
 

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2000 Mercedes Benz ML430
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Thank you for the step by step instructions. Everything was exactly as you posted except for me the axle nut was a different size.
What size was your axle nut? Mine's bigger than any of my sockets so I have to buy a new one. Just wanted to know which to get.

2000 ML430
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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16,866 Posts
What size was your axle nut? Mine's bigger than any of my sockets so I have to buy a new one. Just wanted to know which to get.

2000 ML430
Have you ever removed a steering knuckle on any other vehicle before? You will need quite a few heavy duty accessories and tools.
 

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1990 Unimog 1300L, 2004 ML350, 1999 SLK 230,
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579 Posts
What size was your axle nut? Mine's bigger than any of my sockets so I have to buy a new one. Just wanted to know which to get.

2000 ML430
For my 2004 ML350 I had to buy a 36mm socket
 

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2001 ML320
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21 Posts
For anyone who has replaced the W163 bearings themselves by removing the wheel carrier, did you replace the self-locking nuts on the tie rod joint, upper arm ball joint, and lower arm ball joint with new self-locking nuts during reassembly? I understand these are the oval-type deforming lock nuts that are supposed to be replaced after one use. If so, where did you get them other than the stealership? And if nuts were re-used, any problems with it, and was loctite used? Looking to do bearings myself soon.
 

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99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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Blue Loctite on mine, but if I had new nuts I would have put them on instead.
 

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2001 ML320
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21 Posts
DIY wheel bearing

Finally changed the front right wheel bearing myself. Ended up using an on-car hub/bearing extractor/installer as I don't have time to take a day off to go to a machine shop and none are open on weekends. No air tools either, but would have been nice. The name of the tool is the OTC Hub Grappler. Worked like a charm. Removing axle nut was a breeze with a 40" breaker bar. The self-locking nuts for the tie rod and control arms turned out to be the type with plastic inserts--not oval-type--so I just reused them with blue loctite. Removing axle from hub, as well as tie rod from joint, was easy with the tool included in the OTC kit. Upper arm came off with a few taps from a hammer. Didn't need to remove lower arm from ball joint. Took a lot of torque to free bearing--scary while doing it--but it did the job. Installation was a breeze; helps to ice bearing and hub before installation. Planning on doing front left and rear left soon. Will take pics and post if anyone interested. Didn't take pics this time as too much to worry about. Doing this myself as dealer did rear right bearing 3 times before getting it right (didn't tighten axle nut enough--I don't even think they used a torque wrench). By the way, you'll need a torque wrench that can reach 490 Nm for the axle nut--got mine used on eBay for $150 (plus $60 to calibrate). Even with the costs for all tools, still way cheaper than dealership quote of $600+ per bearing, plus I have tools for future use. Got bearing at RMeuropean for about $50.
 

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2001 ML320
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Bearing Change using Hub Grappler

So here is the write up with pics on the left rear bearing using the Hub Grappler on-car bearing/hub extractor. This is on a 2001 ML320. Attempt this at your own risk. I make no guarantees but I basically followed the Mercedes WIS document.

1. Jack up car with jack stands and chock the wheels. Safety first!

2. Remove wheel. Disconnect speed sensor and brake wear indicator bracket.

3. Remove caliper. Suspend securely.

4. Loosen axle nut (36 mm). This is best done with the rotor still on as you apply the parking brake to hold the rotor while you torque the nut off. I didn't reinstall wheel bolts during this step but it would probably be a good idea for more secure holding of rotor to hub instead of just the allen bolt. I used a 3/4" drive 40" long breaker--came off like butter. Alternatively, you could leave the caliper on and have someone step on the brake. I used the parking brake method. On a front bearing job, you can slide a drift pin through the caliper window and into the vanes of the vented rotor.

5. After axle nut is off, remove rotor.

6. Remove parking brake hardware and disconnect parking brake cable. This requires pinching of some tabs on the plastic retainer that holds the cable to the spindle. These are located inside the recess where the cable comes into the spindle. I didn't know this and ended up breaking the tabs by forcing out the plastic retainer from the back side. It still reinstalls snugly without the tabs and I dont' think it will cause a problem. If doing front bearing, this step does not apply.

7. Remove tie rod nut (22 mm) and disconnect tie rod. I used the puller with the Grappler kit (pics 1 & 2). Remove upper control arm nut (19mm) and disconnect upper control arm (pic 3). This came off with several gentle taps with a hammer--no need to pulverize it. Good time to inspect ball joints.

8. Press axle from hub. This required the puller tool (pic 4). Suspend axle safely. This is a good time to clean all debris off the speed sensor notches on the axle.

9. Reinstall upper control arm and nut. This is to hold the spindle steady while extracting/installing hub and bearing.

10. Using the Hub Grappler tool (pics 5-10): Extract hub. The outer race of the bearing will come off with the hub. Use the kit puller to remove the outer race from the hub. Remove C-clip. Extract old bearing. Clean bearing housing of all loose dirt and rust. Press in new bearing. Install C-clip. Press in hub. I used penetrating lubricant liberally on the hub and bearings during every part of the process. I also put the new bearing in the freezer before starting, and the hub in the freezer after removal, to make installation easier.

11. Reassemble everything in reverse order. Careful to align axle teeth with hub teeth. Torque on upper control arm nut is 50 Nm (I just tightened by feel as torquing it would require a crowfoot wrench). Torque on tie rod nut is 55 Nm (this one is easily torqued with standard socket). Used blue loctite on control arm and tie rod nuts, which are plastic-insert lock nuts. Torque on axle nut is 490 Nm (YES 490 Nm!), and this is best done after reassembling parking brake/rotor to keep the hub from spinning (During reassembly, I just tightened axle nut without torquing to seat axle into hub). Good idea to temporarily reinstall wheel lugs to hold rotor to hub when torquing axle nut. For front bearing job, use drift pin in rotor vanes to keep hub from spinning.

12. Install sensors and brake calipers. Clean the speed sensor well. It tends to accumulate gunk and rust. I replaced my pads with ceramics since I had the calipers off.

13. Install wheel. You're done. Shouldn't need alignment if things were aligned prior to procedure.

Took me about 6 hours. That includes taking pictures, and cleaning and inspecting parts in the process.
 

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Replaced front wheel bearing on 1998 ML320 this last weekend. I have 210K miles on it and it was really starting to make some noise. Pressed out bearing and pressed new one in without taking hub off of vehicle. Still had to take loose upper ball joint and tie rod in order to pull axle all the way out of the hub.
Cost was the bearing which was $65 and approx $150 worth of tools I picked up from harbor freight. Since the cheapest estimate I received was $325 I saved some cash plus now have the tools so if I have to change another it will just be the cost of the bearing.
Basically I followed a couple of videos that was on youtube. Different car but the process was the same.
Removal...... Wheel Bearing Removal with Harbor Freight Universal Tool BMW 325i Rear Front - YouTube
Replacement..... Wheel Bearing Install with Harbor Freight Universal Bearing Tool BMW 325i Rear Front - YouTube

The one thing I had to do different was when using the large bearing seperator to pull the hub the lug nuts bottomed out before it came totally off so I had a couple of old brake pads that I dropped in behind to give me the extra bit to totally pull it. Grease up the puller and bolts/washers and it came off and back in fairly easy. I estimate if I had to do another one it would take probably less than a couple hours total.
 

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2010 GL550, 1998 ML320, 2004 BMW 545, 1987 VW GTI race car
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Yes I'm resurrecting an old thread. I tried the Harbor Freight tool with no luck. The bolt is too small and the threads are too shallow and fine, they even look like they're cut not rolled. I stripped the threads before the bearing budged, using a breaker bar not an impact wrench. A local repair shop removed and replaced the bearing with no problem for $25 cash. Fortunately HF returned my money.

Cheap tools are a waste of money.
 

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1999 ML430; 1998 S420
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204 Posts
Need help. I'm in the middle of this project but am stuck with upper control arm. I removed the upper control arm nut but the arm won't separate, despite smacking the metal of knuckle with hammer. I've got to go to work tomorrow, so I'm debating whether to just put the whole thing back together, rather than wasting more time. Is there a trick to separating it? Can I use a crowbar? Is there a special tool for such a situation?
 

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1999 ML430; 1998 S420
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Never mind...just figured it out. No amount of hitting it with a hammer would separate the upper control arm. The bolt from the upper control arm was at an angle, so I used a bottle jack to raise up the front, straightening out the bolt. Hitting it again did not work, so I used a breaker bar under the control arm and leveraging against a welded bracket on the body and voila, it separated. Now onto removing axle from the hub, extracting the hub, and extracting the old bearing. So far, the instructions here have been very helpful, although my 1999 ML430 has a different caliper than the one in these instructions and it took some time to figure out how to remove it. Also, some of the bolt sizes have been different.
 
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