Mercedes Front Differential Removal Installation

In this guide, you will find instructions on how to remove Mercedes front differential. Front differential is found on Mercedes-Benz with 4Matic (all wheel drive) systems. 

To remove the front differential from the car you must remove the front passenger drive shaft. Plan on two hours to remove the differential from the car. One to two hours to rebuild the differential. It will take about two hours to install the differential. Total time to change Mercedes-Benz front differential is about 5-6 hours. 

Replacing the differential at the dealer it can cost from $4000-$5500. That's because dealerships don't repair differentials, they replace them. If you are on tight budget, one way to say money is to buy a used Mercedes front differential that comes with warranty and install it yourself. The downside of this method is that you typically don't know how long the used differential will last.

How to change Mercedes-Benz front differential

The first step is to raise your vehicle. Raise your Mercedes-Benz and support it with jack stands. Place wheel chocks to the back of the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from rolling back. Make sure the vehicle is in park and parking brakes are applied.

  1. Jack up the car. Ideally using garage lift or portable vehicle lift. If a lift is not available jack up the vehicle and supports it properly. It is important to secure the vehicle using two methods and ensuring the rear wheels are blocked with wheel chock or block to prevent the vehicle from rolling back.
  2. Remove the soundproofing shield from under the vehicle. Remove both front and back soundproofings. They are held in place with several 8mm bolts which need to be removed.
  3. Next, we need to disconnect the propeller shaft from the front differential. Use  8mm Allen socket and extensions to remove all six bolts.remove mercedes differnetial


  4. Press the drive shaft towards to the back of the vehicle including the front joint. The driveshaft should shrink and allow you to move it to the side. It is not necessary to disconnect the driveshaft from the transfer case.disconnected mercedes driveshaft


  5. Next, you need to remove the passenger side drive shaft. There are two ways to achieve this. In this case, we disconnected the brake line, upper control arm, lower control arm, tie rod and completely removed the wheel, steering knuckle altogether. This method requires that you bleed the brake line afterward.removed mercedes axle shaft wheel steering knuckleThe alternative method is to disconnect the upper and lower control arms but instead of removing the whole steering knuckle, you simply pull out the CV joint and the half-shaft. The bottom line is that the drive axle assembly on the passenger side needs to be pulled out of the front differential. 
  6. Next, we need to disconnect the driver side CV axle. It is not necessary to completely remove the wheel on the driver side. Just remove the nut to the upper control arm.disconnect mercedes upper control armNext, get the brake hose unclipped and the brake wear sensor unhooked from the retainers. This will allow you to swing out the steering knuckle which provides enough room to pull the driver side axle from the front differential. disconnected mercedes wheel


  7. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry out the CV joints from the front differential.remove mercedes front axle shaft


  8. Next, remove the bolts that secure the front differential to the front carrier. Before you remove the bolts you either need to support the differential or have a second person help you by holding up the differential. remove mercedes differential bolts


  9. Remove the differential from the vehicle.mercedes front differential removed 
  10. Installation is in reverse. Use a torque wrench to torque the propeller shaft to differential bolts to 30 ft-lb then give the bolts another quarter turn. The bolts are aluminum and it is recommended that you replace them. mercedes differential replacement



Jeremy.G, 2018-05-07

Great write up. I have been looking for a diy like this for weeks and could not find anything until just now. My ml350 has been been making a rrrrrrrrr sound recently which I have been told it's the front differential. My buddy and I can tackle this job on my garage I think.

Jeremy F., 2018-05-18

My 2008 ML350 has developed a strange noise from the front. After taking the car to two different mechanics the last one was able to identify the front differential going out.

I am mechanically inclined and don't mind doing this myself, but sometimes it is hard to find the root of the problem. My mechanic had a hard time with this one. They thought the noise was coming from the front wheel bearings.

My plan is to get a used differential and swap it one weekend. This guide has made it clear as to what I need to do. There was no other guides that I can find on these cars.

Kristian , 2019-03-29

What yr and model does this apply to?

Steven E, 2019-07-08

I plan on replacing the carrier bearings and seals this weekend. My biggest worry is supporting the my ML500. I have looked underneath the SUV and believe there are a couple areas to place the jack stands. I also believe there is a center support underneath the engine that I can use to lift the front of the vehicle. I'm also wondering if I will have to put the car in Neutral in order to turn the propeller shaft in order to remove all of the bolts on the shaft. I plan on having the back wheels blocked and the emergency brake engaged.

Do you have any suggestions?


Steven E

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