Oil Leak on drive shaft input to W210 Diff

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Active Member
Sep 2, 2005
Shawford, Hampshire
E220 CDi (2001)
I have a slight oil leak on the drive shaft input oil seal on my W210 diff. Spoke to the MB garage who want £600 to replace the seal, they tell me they have to practically dismantle the whole rear drive unit to do this. Is it really this complicated ? Has anyone done this job and can comment on the effort involved ? At that price, I'll just stick my head under the car and wipe the drips away every 6 mnths.
They're right, I'm afraid.

This problem affects certainly 210s and 202s, probably most others.

Its a joke as the seals are something like 50p each, but its 4-6 hours labour to do the job.

An indie will undoubtedly be able to do this cheaper. Indeed, mine could do with it being done, but the MB dealer keeps saying "We'll wait until it gets worse" - like you a drip every now and then.

Anybody who has ever owned a Land Rover Defender will tell you what to do about very slow leaks like that: nothing.

Buy a drip tray if oil leakage might cause some distress but otherwise just wipe it off and check the oil level now and again. My old Landy slowly oozed oil from a number of places for years.

Only time to worry is if the leak gets worse or you can stand it no more. (Which is why I sold it.)
The cost of replacing the seal is high due to the labour allocated by MB to do the job.
Rear subframe out then diff out, replace the seal and reverse procedure.

The way it's actually done though is to undo the prop shaft, remove the spider form the diff input shaft then replace the seal and rebuild.

Much quicker.

Thanks (to other members also) for your reply(s). I imply from your brief note that it is not necessary to remove the diff unit from the car, but that the prop shaft can be detached with the diff in place. When the diff coupling (spider) is removed, can the seal be levered out and a new one tapped in. Why does MB go to all the effort to remove subframe if it can be done in situ.

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