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ssssSnake
02-27-2014, 01:16 AM
As you can see from the pictures, the differential is leaking pretty bad. I put the van in neutral, block the tires and there is a lot of movement in the assembly (red arrows). I would say a good 1/4" play all around. I have no idea what is "normal".

Local shop wants to replace entire rear axle with a used one(74,000 miles) $1800 USD for axel plus labor. This is my first sprinter. It is a 2003 old DHL delivery van in the US. It has just under 200K miles on it.
It does not make any noise when driving but I just may not be able to hear it (slight hearing loss).

Does replacing the entire rear axle make sense? Kinda seems excessive to me.
Thanks for this forum!

PS - I live in the Portland Oregon area if that makes any difference

Aqua Puttana
02-27-2014, 01:39 AM
Without at least pulling the cover and doing a simple visual inspection, recommending a complete assembly replacement seems a bit drastic to me. 1/4" is quite a bit though.

If Dennis, Lindenengineering doesn't chime in here you might try a PM to him.

vic

ssssSnake
02-27-2014, 01:56 AM
Thanks for the quick response Vic!

lindenengineering
02-27-2014, 02:30 AM
Vic
I have just seen this post over my cup of evening PG TIPs
ssssSnake
You have input pinion bearing failure.
Not an uncommon problem.
It means a tear out and installing new TIMKEN-- MADE IN THE USA:thumbup: bearings and it will be fine! Probably has Koyo Japanese bearings at the moment.

Don't leave it too long as you will wear the involute tooth form of both the pinion and ring gear
(crown wheel as its called in the UK & Dahn Undah!).

Not a hugely difficult job, and shop time is about 6 to 8 hours to do.
Cheers Dennis

Graphite Dave
02-27-2014, 02:38 AM
I am not a mechanic but think you should pull back cover to look at gears. With that much play and that much oil loss, the ring and pinion may be damaged.

ssssSnake
02-27-2014, 02:41 AM
Dennis!

That's good news! Will print out and bring to my service station! How can I tip YOU?

lindenengineering
02-27-2014, 03:58 AM
Dennis!

That's good news! Will print out and bring to my service station! How can I tip YOU?

You don't need to!
Its just being part of great website membership forum on Sprinter vans.
Best of luck with the repair
Cheers Dennis

ssssSnake
02-27-2014, 04:57 AM
How cool!

Dennis, In your experience, what are the odds of needing an entire rear axle? I recognize that cyber estimates/diagnosis are WAGs but........ if the the bearing just went (wasn't driving on a blown bearing), do you think the differential internals are still "good"?

MANY THANKS!

sssssSnake

Boater
02-27-2014, 10:48 AM
I'm currently looking at servicing my own diff (not for novices, need some accurate measurements) and reading up what I could from the forum in advance it looks like people have paid up to $4600 for a rebuild - on that basis $1800 for a replacement doesn't look too bad, but Dennis has listed a typical breakdown of his rebuild costs as a guide for checking quotes and I think it came to a bit over half of that (might have been a few years old) - presumably including Timken bearings, which are not inexpensive but I don't think that included new gears.

With 1/4" play in all directions I would think you need to inspect the gears before you can get an accurate quote - fingers crossed it is recent and only the input bearings are affected!

Is the $1800 for a rebuilt axle on an exchange basis?* If so your "need" a new axle question may seem answered (the exchange guys are confident that they can rebuild whatever comes back!), but consider that for commercial operators the economics of how long a vehicle is down waiting for parts usually makes exchange parts the best solution.... If down time doesn't cost you, a rebuild should be cheaper.

*I assume exchange axles are available in the US, something about Dennis' stories of sourcing parts makes me wonder though!

Aqua Puttana
02-27-2014, 12:40 PM
Should the decision be made to replace the entire rear axle be certain that a unit with the same ratio is installed. Otherwise it will set you up for lots of trouble to make it work properly.

Some info is here for possible parts.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?p=45554#post45554

vic

Altered Sprinter
02-28-2014, 10:21 AM
How many S's are there in a Snake?:smilewink:
Differential may be damaged! However if so where?
First rule. check oil for heavy metallic contaminates, this can be done by draining and separating fluid by separation of both oil and metallic or plastic compounds from damaged internals of the differential housing.

If the oil is a dark battle ship grey it was way past its usable lifespan.
First line of failure is the pinion seal, this is evident by your picture.
Disassemble tail-shaft, crack pinion nut ,this is not reusable, remove pinion seal the internal plastic seal and retaining spring will have both been damaged as a result of fatigue and failure, this is where the oil is weeping out from.

The metal outer circumference of the pinion seal will be distorted and burnt under friction as a result of slippage.
The burnt brown tarnish vanish is an indicator the oil was failing under hot operating conditions.
Check pinion shaft for-tolerances with micro meter, and look for deep scratching.
There is a possibility that the entrance to the pinon shaft is out of round.
Replacing the pinion seal with an OEM will fail if the shaft has damaged, a speed seal can be made to order to refit into the pinion shaft. this eliminates out of round surfaces of the pinion casing, and prevents excess weapage once replaced.


If the oil is heavily contaminated then the bearings with in the pinion shaft will have to be replaced and the gearing etc inspected for chips and battle scars, I doubt if the differential gearing is damaged! but then inspecting the crown is easy enough as it can be rotated, for a visual inspection. The critical line of defense for parts to inspect on the pinion are as follows.
A Nut this can not be reused.
B Seal Ring Differential pinion, this has been destroyed and will have to be replaced.
C Tapered roller.
D Spacer Bushing Tube; look for vertical scratches.
E Spacer Washer 5.24 MM this will have to be replaced if severe whip lash is coming from the differential under start off loadings you'd hear it as a rumble or grumble.
F Tapered roller bearing.
The above parts in the US would not exceed $400 American dollars from a genuine Mercedes dealership
Not hard to replace however specified tooling is required, especially with re-torquing the nut.
58154

58155

58156

58157

58158



I'm surprised more precise information has failed to come forth.
Richard

lindenengineering
02-28-2014, 05:00 PM
How cool!

Dennis, In your experience, what are the odds of needing an entire rear axle? I recognize that cyber estimates/diagnosis are WAGs but........ if the the bearing just went (wasn't driving on a blown bearing), do you think the differential internals are still "good"?

MANY THANKS!

sssssSnake

The only way to determine if it needs an exchange axle is to open it up and inspect it for damage.

Like most things a repair or replace decision is based upon economic circumstances and availability.

I tend to fix mostly O/O vans who get their living from having a van in service with the minimum downtime. And so it went about three years ago with an out of state expeditor VOR'd with a noisy diff. The thing had shown the same symptoms as your photos and grey oil in the pan. My immediate decison was to err on the side of obtaining an exchange axle.

Now that was then but how much has changed? Who knows on pricing today, but at the time MB source it was in excess of $4500, Dodge was $2400 rebuilt but no availability--back ordered.
Having opened it up I remember there was some bruising on all diff carrier bearings the pinion bearings had spalled and were the cause of the issue. The gearset was judged to be good.

So I rebuilt it using Timken bearings. Job charge out $1300, I still see it from time to time as it runs through Colorado still running fine.

The other misc parts I got from the local Dodge dealer around the corner; they were the only folk who had parts immediately available.

The factory build used Koyo Hi Strength roller bearings which from my experience tends to fall apart. The Timkens don't exhibit the same issues.

Now I have reason to be suspicious of Koyo bearings since on their vehicle applications they don't last as well as Steyr and Fag the standard build on that application.
I have it from good rumour sources that the major part of Koyo bearings are actually made in China, it might explain the reasons for premature failure.

In any case since you are intending to present the van for professional repair they should be able to assess the situation and make an appropriate repair decision like I did in a similar situation which has repeated itself many time since..

Please bear in mind that this axle is very conventional in its build, in many ways just like a Dana in a Chevy or Jeep. Remember just because it has an MB badge/stamping on it doesn't need to be intimidating to anyone!
Don't be fooled!
Dennis

ssssSnake
03-01-2014, 07:02 PM
Richard,

There are 5 S's in ssssSnake!

:smilewink:

What a FANTASTIC post! Thank you. The pictures are of tremendous help. I will be taking the Sprinter in mid next week and give an update when diagnosis and repair have been completed.

EZoilburner
03-01-2014, 09:23 PM
The only way to determine if it needs an exchange axle is to open it up and inspect it for damage.

Like most things a repair or replace decision is based upon economic circumstances and availability.

I tend to fix mostly O/O vans who get their living from having a van in service with the minimum downtime. And so it went about three years ago with an out of state expeditor VOR'd with a noisy diff. The thing had shown the same symptoms as your photos and grey oil in the pan. My immediate decison was to err on the side of obtaining an exchange axle.

Now that was then but how much has changed? Who knows on pricing today, but at the time MB source it was in excess of $4500, Dodge was $2400 rebuilt but no availability--back ordered.
Having opened it up I remember there was some bruising on all diff carrier bearings the pinion bearings had spalled and were the cause of the issue. The gearset was judged to be good.

So I rebuilt it using Timken bearings. Job charge out $1300, I still see it from time to time as it runs through Colorado still running fine.

The other misc parts I got from the local Dodge dealer around the corner; they were the only folk who had parts immediately available.

The factory build used Koyo Hi Strength roller bearings which from my experience tends to fall apart. The Timkens don't exhibit the same issues.

Now I have reason to be suspicious of Koyo bearings since on their vehicle applications they don't last as well as Steyr and Fag the standard build on that application.
I have it from good rumour sources that the major part of Koyo bearings are actually made in China, it might explain the reasons for premature failure.

In any case since you are intending to present the van for professional repair they should be able to assess the situation and make an appropriate repair decision like I did in a similar situation which has repeated itself many time since..

Please bear in mind that this axle is very conventional in its build, in many ways just like a Dana in a Chevy or Jeep. Remember just because it has an MB badge/stamping on it doesn't need to be intimidating to anyone!
Don't be fooled!
Dennis

I remember reading a thread here from maybe a few years ago where it said this axles where far different from what We (here) are used to, it is great news to know it isn't so. Its far cheaper to buy bearings, seal and shims than it is to pay for a new set of gears.

ssssSnake
04-02-2014, 12:57 AM
Update!

I finally got my Sprinter (2003 long tall - ex DHL delivery Van) back from the shop. Turns out they only had to replace the pinion bearings and NOT the entire rear axel!

WOO HOO! $1000 out the door. Was happy with that.

Just wanted to say thanks to all who responded and especially Linden Engineering, Aqua Puttana and Altered Sprinter for the comprehensive feedback! MANY MANY THANKSsssssssssssss!

PSssssssssss- As an aside, they said they had just finished doing two other vans with the same problem, so seems to be an issue. FWIW.