Rear axel replacement cost... some things I'm just not going to do myself...

vanski

'05 Box Snow Camper
A while ago I started a thread related to an increasingly annoying howling noise coming from the aft side of my driveline. I finally got it diagnosed by some folks with the appropriate equipment and it turns out it's the rear differential. It's bad.

I have the 3.72 ratio...

These guys had about 10 3.72 used diffs on used driveshafts around. In situations like these they send the entire assembly to a specialist they use to have it cleaned, inspected, and if needed and able to be rebuilt, rebuilt..

The cost is $1,200 plus $300 labor so $1,500 out the door. I get a two year warranty on labor and the parts.

Seems pretty fair but I don't have experience in this area and thought I'd put it out to the sprinter collective.

Thanks!
 

vanski

'05 Box Snow Camper
Also... theoretically, if I was to drain the rear diff fluid I should see metal shavings if it is indeed bad, correct?
 

danpaul000

A man, a van, no plan
Also... theoretically, if I was to drain the rear diff fluid I should see metal shavings if it is indeed bad, correct?
I don't know about the replacement, but draining the rear diff is easier than changing the oil, so it might be worth it just to see what you see/learn. There's one drain bolt on the bottom/side of the diff. I think its a big hex nut. Gear oil smells really bad, so don't be surprised. Just let it drain into a catch pan, and then re-fill from the rubber fill plug at the top. I used Mobil 1 75W-90. You can get that and a long mouth funnel for $10 at most auto shops. Whole job took 20 minutes.

Yes, metal shavings would be a bad sign. You could probably take the ten bolts off the diff and remove the rear half of the housing and inspect the carrier gears. I don't exactly know what to say to look for, but a visual inspection is always informative.

:2cents:
Dan
 

vanski

'05 Box Snow Camper
I don't know about the replacement, but draining the rear diff is easier than changing the oil, so it might be worth it just to see what you see/learn. There's one drain bolt on the bottom/side of the diff. I think its a big hex nut. Gear oil smells really bad, so don't be surprised. Just let it drain into a catch pan, and then re-fill from the rubber fill plug at the top. I used Mobil 1 75W-90. You can get that and a long mouth funnel for $10 at most auto shops. Whole job took 20 minutes.

Yes, metal shavings would be a bad sign. You could probably take the ten bolts off the diff and remove the rear half of the housing and inspect the carrier gears. I don't exactly know what to say to look for, but a visual inspection is always informative.

:2cents:
Dan
Thanks Dan. Yes, I've done a rear diff fluid change. easy peasy. I just don't know what I'm looking for or various spots which could fail. I do know noise was coming from the rear diff and not the wheel bearings and definitely not the center carrier bearing (drive shaft compared to axle).

Opening the pumpkin isn't a bad idea to get a good view of what's going on in there. I might do that prior to opening my wallet up.
 

Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
If the oil is fairly clean, you may just need new bearings. The pinion bearing is a common noise maker. The bearings can be changed by any competent shop. The diff and gears generally do not need replaced in this scenario.

Don't condemn the hard parts until you inspect, as bearing noise doesn't mean gears and shafts are damaged.
 
I had noisy rear end caused by worn 4 bearings and got them changed and noise was no more
 

nutterbutter

2004 LTV Free Spirit T1N
I'd definitely take off the differential cover to look inside before spending over $1k (unless the shop did that already). A little tube of RTV to close it back up afterwards. (You'd change the gasket if it was a long-term fix, but to just look inside after draining the oil, you'll be fine.
 

vanski

'05 Box Snow Camper
If the oil is fairly clean, you may just need new bearings. The pinion bearing is a common noise maker. The bearings can be changed by any competent shop. The diff and gears generally do not need replaced in this scenario.

Don't condemn the hard parts until you inspect, as bearing noise doesn't mean gears and shafts are damaged.
MWD: As usual, thank you very much for providing great info to lead me down an alternative path... your contributions here are greatly appreciated. I've been looking for a good thread to help diagnose this area but can't find one. AP put together this thread, but in quickly looking it over this is for the wheel bearings. My wheel bearings are good. I found this thread regarding pinion bearing, but I'm pretty sure it's not the pinion bearing because when I recently removed my drive line my pinion bearing didn't show this kind of play (link is from previous thread).

Pardon me as I'm ramping up.. Just haven't worked in this area yet... So aren't there carrier bearings on the outside of the diff which can fail.. Perhaps as seen in the attached picture.

I had noisy rear end caused by worn 4 bearings and got them changed and noise was no more
Thanks GS.. Which 4 bearings did you replace?

I'd definitely take off the differential cover to look inside before spending over $1k (unless the shop did that already). A little tube of RTV to close it back up afterwards. (You'd change the gasket if it was a long-term fix, but to just look inside after draining the oil, you'll be fine.
Thanks NB! Yes, a little RTV goes a long way..
 

Attachments

2 As shown in the picture with red circles + 2 more between Carrier and Driveshaft
 

vanski

'05 Box Snow Camper
2 As shown in the picture with red circles + 2 more between Carrier and Driveshaft
GS: Very helpful! So in this image (not a sprinter but still very useful) you replaced items 13 (carrier bearings) and 20 (axle bearings)

I'd like to do this myself but wondering if there are special and expensive tools required... I could hoist the van up via the tree that makes my shade ;)
 
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Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
I have not done this on a sprinter. The following is general for semi floating axles. Normally the bearings can be replaced without special tools. It is time consuming though. Both axle half shafts need to be partially withdrawn, and the pinion nut removed. The diff cage/ring gear is rotated or removed, and the bearings replaced. There are usually one bearing for each side of the cage/shaft and two on the pinion shaft.

The pinion offset is critical, and is established by a spacer. A torque wrench must be used.
 

psychoboy

05&06 Dodge Longs & Talls
if you want to shop for a used axle, swapping them isn't all that bad.

I put a whole assembly under my 06 long and tall in about four hours taking my time and plodding along. four nuts at the axle/spring joint, four bolts at the driveshaft, four bolts/nuts at the shocks and swaybar links, two brake lines, take the ebrake balancer off the body, and cut the wiring. install is the opposite of removal.
 

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