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Old 12-20-2007, 06:39 PM   #1
munch33kin
 
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Question Sprinter rear axle

Has anyone experienced rear end bearing problems with the 2003 Sprinter leisure Vans, after towing a vehicle that was well under the GCVWL?
We towed an 07 Dodge Caliber on a car dolly one time (from Michigan to Colorado and back) and had to have major rear end work done.

All the carrier and pinion bearings failed.
And the total miles is 88,000

The lube oil level was good & the oil had been changed 10,000 miles ago with their synthetic oil. But during the repair I found out that the ring gears for both the 3/4 & 1 ton are only 8". I my opinion & all the mechanics I know this is inappropriate for Sprinters own GVWR & GCVWR.

I know the GL-5 versus the GL-4 ratings. But the service & owners manuals call for 75w-140 GL-5 synthetic. Also the ring gear size is a direct relation in size to the bearing and axle size. This is an engineering problem,This
is an on going problem with the auto industry because of lowering cost causing lower quality standards especially in rearends. This is also why most of the auto industry has including light; medium; and heavy trucks gone to synthetic
GL-5 gear oils, over the past few years.
Thank you for your input, Barb
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

Quote:
Originally Posted by munch33kin View Post
Has anyone experienced rear end bearing problems with the 2003 Sprinter leisure Vans, after towing a vehicle that was well under the GCVWL?
We towed an 07 Dodge Caliber on a car dolly one time (from Michigan to Colorado and back) and had to have major rear end work done.

All the carrier and pinion bearings failed.
And the total miles is 88,000

The lube oil level was good & the oil had been changed 10,000 miles ago with their synthetic oil. But during the repair I found out that the ring gears for both the 3/4 & 1 ton are only 8". I my opinion & all the mechanics I know this is inappropriate for Sprinters own GVWR & GCVWR.

I know the GL-5 versus the GL-4 ratings. But the service & owners manuals call for 75w-140 GL-5 synthetic. Also the ring gear size is a direct relation in size to the bearing and axle size. This is an engineering problem,This
is an on going problem with the auto industry because of lowering cost causing lower quality standards especially in rearends. This is also why most of the auto industry has including light; medium; and heavy trucks gone to synthetic
GL-5 gear oils, over the past few years.
Thank you for your input, Barb
OUch that would have cost! But you answered your own question , an overkill on weight, the Leisure van was already maxed out, adding a trailer as well was just too much for it. wrong differentail , wrong chassis and wrong suspension set. Not a MB problem either. as for the GVM 3800T convert to LBS 8850
GAWR F 1751 KG =3860 LB
GAWR R 2431 KG =5360 LB
Class 3500
Deweighted it's not what was said to be on your cert plate! Unless you ordered the suspension upgrade, read your manual and the specs as to warranty from Leisure van it's in the fine print section.
GVWR 5003 11030LB
GAWR F 1850 4080 LB
GAWR R 3502 7720LB
Notation . NO extra chassis points , no extra welding points, No extra sealents to obsorb vibration No H/D options past 4.1 GVM Maxium legal possiabiltys for the GVM is 4.4 T on the 901 series. for the 3500 0nly.
Richard
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Old 12-24-2007, 06:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

This question was also posted in RV.NET.
The discussion has continued there, and brought up some interesting questions.
One of which is concerning the universal joints in the drive shaft. It was stated that they are un-serviceable an a new drive shaft must be purchased. Please tell me that isn't true, I can't imagine having to buy an entire new drive shaft instead of just replacing u-joints.
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Old 12-24-2007, 07:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

U-joints are replaceable. At least for the T1N, it's written in the service manual.
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Altered Sprinter View Post
OUch that would have cost! But you answered your own question , an overkill on weight, the Leisure van was already maxed out, adding a trailer as well was just too much for it. wrong differential , wrong chassis and wrong suspension set. Not a MB problem either. as for the GVM 3800T convert to LBS 8850
GAWR F 1751 KG =3860 LB
GAWR R 2431 KG =5360 LB
Class 3500
De weighted it's not what was said to be on your cert plate! Unless you ordered the suspension upgrade, read your manual and the specs as to warranty from Leisure van it's in the fine print section.
GVWR 5003 11030LB
GAWR F 1850 4080 LB
GAWR R 3502 7720LB
Notation . NO extra chassis points , no extra welding points, No extra sealants to absorb vibration No H/D options past 4.1 GVM Maximum legal possibility's for the GVM is 4.4 T on the 901 series. for the 3500 only.
Richard
Apologies for above posting
Forgetting it was a 2500 series not a 3500
with lesser GVM capability's
Posted 25/12/07 Richard
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Old 12-25-2007, 02:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

Quote:
Originally Posted by sikwan View Post
U-joints are replaceable. At least for the T1N, it's written in the service manual.
This is what was posted in RV.Net yesterday by a fellow that is a mechanic on a truck fleet which includes Sprinters, I believe they are all T1N:

"No, the U-joints are not replaceable. I looked long and hard at this several months ago because our vans started to have u joint problems. They are staked in place on the outside of the shaft and the inside of the yoke is tapered and will not allow for a C clip there. The only way to have a replaceable u joint is to have a new shaft made with yokes that have snap ring groves outside of the u joint cup. The hanger bearings are replaceable on the Sprinter shaft though, but they seem to outlast the u joints. The long wheelbase van have a three piece shaft, the front is sold by itself and the two rear sections come together. Getting the shaft was not hard, overnight from the warehouse to our local Dodge dealer but the price was the shocker."

"That has a lot to do with our operating cost on these vans. To change the three shafts costs around $3500 with our discount on parts, Im not sure what retail is. To change u joints on our 2006 E350's cost under $100 with my time included and I put in Ford OE ones that are lube for life because the guys that do the oil changes have a tendancy to miss greasing the u joint and they do not last too long if you miss them a few times. With the Ford lube for life ones, we get 200,000 km easily from them. The Sprinter shafts last about the same but cost way more."

Does anyone have a part number for a replacement U-joint?
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Old 12-25-2007, 06:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

Quote:
Originally Posted by topless View Post
Does anyone have a part number for a replacement U-joint?
When I looked up the part number for the replacement u-joint, it wasn't listed. What was listed was a part number for the entire driveshaft assembly, which included the u-joint. That's probably why the gentleman mentioned that the entire item had to be replaced. It's not even listed as a separate part with a separate part number.

One thing about the part numbers list that included diagrams, the u-joints are not held down by clamps. At least comparing it to my 2006 T1N, it's not. Luckily I took some pictures a while back so I didn't have to crawl underneath the van on xmas...

If you look at positions a, you'll see nibs (for lack of a better word) that prevent the u-joint from sliding out in that direction.
My dosing pump in the background if anyone noticed. :D
frontu.jpg
You can't see the other side whether there are nibs, but you can see c-clip at position c.

I just can't believe that these u-joints cannot be changed out. The problem would be to locate these u-joints seeing that they're not listed in the parts list as a separate part with part number.

Here's another picture, a with nibs...
rearu.jpg
...and b without.

Now it's a matter of tracking these u-joints down. Maybe the aftermarket, hopefully, has something in the same dimensions and strength.
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

So I went outside to crawl underneath my 2006 T1N to make sure I wasn't spewing out fiction and sure enough I was wrong. The gentleman was right. The u-joint is NOT replaceable because it's staked at all four ends.

If I was faced with a u-joint replacement, I would take the entire driveshaft assembly to a driveshaft house and have them cut out the old u-joint assemblies and weld some new ones on that are serviceable. It's not as cheap as replacing one u-joint but it should not be the $3500 quoted.
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Old 12-25-2007, 08:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

I'm somewhat amazed that a commercial van that was in production for over 10 years, would not have serviceable u-joints. Surely there is a fix from outside the U.S. that we don't know about.

If not, I would do as you mentioned, take the drive shaft to a drive shaft specialist shop and replace those yokes with one that could be repaired.

If a u-joint is available that would replace the stock one, a good machine shop could cut the "c" clip groove in the existing yoke.

Last edited by topless; 12-25-2007 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 12-25-2007, 09:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sprinter rear axle

Quote:
Originally Posted by topless View Post
If a u-joint is available that would replace the stock one, a good machine shop could cut the "c" clip groove in the existing yoke.
After looking at it, I don't think I would bother IMHO. I think the labor cost to remove would be similar to that of removing it and welding a new yoke on.

I looked at the costs of yokes and u-joints and the prices are not that bad. The labor cost of removing and welding on new units and balancing the driveshaft would probably cost the most. I would just look at installing some new Spicer units and call it a day. These guys that work on these driveshafts are fast so turn around time will depend on stocked items.
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