Sprinter rear axle

munch33kin

New member
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
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
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
 

topless

Wichita, KS
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.
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
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:bash:
with lesser GVM capability's
Posted 25/12/07 Richard
 

topless

Wichita, KS
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?
 

sikwan

06 T1N Can
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... :smirk:

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.
 

sikwan

06 T1N Can
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.
 

topless

Wichita, KS
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.
 
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sikwan

06 T1N Can
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.
 

SprintED

New member
I am thinking that you probably could get a whole new driveshaft built at a driveline shop for a whole lot less than $3500! with serviceable, greaseable bearing cups etc....

If any one wonders why "California cars" etc... are highly sought after - take a look and the spic and span underside of Seeks unit...Mine ceased to look anywhere close to that in under 5000 miles. Just too much snow, ice, road salt, pea gravel, bug guts, dust etc... up here on the bald prairie!

Ed
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
I am thinking that you probably could get a whole new driveshaft built at a driveline shop for a whole lot less than $3500! with serviceable, greaseable bearing cups etc....

If any one wonders why "California cars" etc... are highly sought after - take a look and the spic and span underside of Seeks unit...Mine ceased to look anywhere close to that in under 5000 miles. Just too much snow, ice, road salt, pea gravel, bug guts, dust etc... up here on the bald prairie!

Ed

I don't want to come off as harsh, but before I got too upset about a cost report read on rv.net, I think I'd call a few dealerships/parts suppliers and get confirmation that replacement drive shafts (because u-joints aren't serviceable) is really going to cost me $3500.00.

Also, in case anyone's wondering if u-joint failure/costs are a good reason to dump the T1N for the current model year: it's not. NCV3 u-joints are integrated with the "propeller shaft" sections from what I can tell.... and there's easily visible zerk fitting for lube, either.


-Jon
 

topless

Wichita, KS
I've had aluminum drive shafts custom made locally, they cost under $300. But, they weren't very long.

Like I said, I just found the information hard to accept for a popular commercial van, used world wide. Since Sprinters are relatively new to the U.S. market, I was hoping one of the more experienced owners would be able to shed some light on the subject.
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
NCV3 u-joints are integrated with the "propeller shaft" sections from what I can tell.... and there's easily visible zerk fitting for lube, either.


-Jon

I dropped a negative. It should have read: "and there's NO easily visible zerk fitting for lube, either."
 

sikwan

06 T1N Can
Thanks Topless. A good find and an interesting read. :thumbup:

I guess this will be on the list of things to do for the future. :rolleyes:
 

tegimr

2003 Pass 140 289000 mile
This link was posted and shows that a company has taken this where we thought it should go.

http://www.driveshafts.com/pages/sprinter.html
Well, I called and spoke with Jerry; Driveline Services of Portland is working on a change (he said 'tweak') for their current method of rebuilding the drive line and he could not give me a firm price but gave me a range of $600 USD to $700 USD and this includes a carrier bearing (Local dealer quoted > $200 USD for just the carrier bearing - bringing the cost of the drive-line to ~$400 to $500 USD, seems within the expectations set by topless in
I've had aluminum drive shafts custom made locally, they cost under $300. But, they weren't very long.
. The price above did not include a core charge or shipping, but they do come with . . .
Our remanufactured Sprinter driveshafts come with new u-joints, yokes and carrier bearings, and are straightened and dynamically balanced.
. . . in fact, we warranty them for 50,000 miles.
The drive line design has been a pet peave of mine for some time ( Replacing U-Joints? er, drive line! ) . Taking Richards thoughts and the experience (see thread ), I opted to NOT have one built and have put up with a much minimized RSN (the fluid level caused RSN remedied) and have awaited an increased vibration indicating an immanent u-joint failure before springing for a new OEM drive line and carrier bearing. If their pricing is where they said, I'll be springing and not waiting.

Brr. Not looking forward to climbing underneath in the unheated garage, but it will be worth it!

Regards to all,
Tim
(I think we've - um, ok, I've - hi-jacked this thread - sorry. Got carried away in the excitement.)
 
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jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Very cool.


It's also nice that Driveline Service of Portland is two miles from Portland Freightliner's Sprinter sales / service facility and about 20 miles from Upscale Automotive in Tualatin, Or.

For those of us in the neighborhood, this is all very, very good news.

Thanks Topless and tegimr!!!
 

abittenbinder

Doktor A (864-623-9110)
Here's a reprint of my March 2, 2006 posting (almost 2 years ago) in the Spritervan Yahoo groups site:

Thanks for the link to Driveline Service Co. There's good news and bad
news. They appear to be big players in the driveshaft business. I
called them and they don't rebuild Sprinter driveshafts "in
house"-yet. They subcontract the Sprinter driveshafts and their
pricing(which includes shipping) is essentially the same as "Dodge
new" except for some savings if you have the 3 piece 158
driveshaft.And that was wholesale prices they quoted! (They do plan on
doing them in-house at a later date. Maybe price will come down). You
also have a substantial core charge and shipping costs to return your
old core. The Dodge pricing on new driveshafts(which include the
support bearings is as follows- 118" about $850, 140"- roughly the
same , about $850, 158" owners have to purchase the 140" driveshaft
and an additional 3rd shaft(for an extra $635). Andy (again-almost 2 years ago)
 

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
Alright you pulled me out of my Holiday break.Is there no rest for an old Devil?
3500 series as refereed to in the States, from drive-shafts ....State there may be a two piece tail shaft! on the 3500 series .
Fact they exist:thumbup: My 2005 MWB single rim 901-903 Unit By all definition is a 3500 series. not a 2500 series.
Seek Can you explain this photograph .
Model 901, ranges...901 902 903 904 905 906 each is based on variants to chassis design and weight capabilty.
Richard:popcorn:

seek.jpg
 

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