123 Series Drive Shaft Joint Lubrication

BullyFooked

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Gentlemen, Ladies, I have lost touch with Mercedes probably because, being English they neither liked my responses to their lazy, facile replies and my asking them to find someone over fifty to ask about the lubrication used in the 123 series drive joints after they responded that all they could do was look in some contemporary Mercedes publication. My 1982 230CE (one of them) with less that 100,000 miles on it has no wear on the faces of the universal joints (they are off and apart because the 1982 rubbers are showing signs of wear). All the boot kits are supplied with grease, which I refuse to use for two reasons: no wear on original equipment using what smells like gear oil 80 or 90 and the fact that rather than just rubber boots the boot attaches to a can obviously designed to contain the oil that engineers and designers, not accountants, came up with. My question is what was the oil and what quantity should I use in each (top and bottom). Perhaps I should add for the benefit of anyone that does not get my point is that if thirty one year old Crystal clear oil was good enough to inhibit wear then contemporary oil will probably do the trick but then I don't like lights, interior mirrors, handbrakes and windscreen wipers that work of their own accord nor do I have time for a radio that cannot be tuned manually with a knob. Your kind responses will be greatly appreciated particularly if you are under fifty!
 

DaveE320CDI

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Hi,Im over fifty and have owned a few w123 series, in the first place bad idea of mercedes to fill rubber boots full of oil!! Times move on do as i did and pull the boot back, after undoing the clip of course then fill the rubber boot full of molibinum grease for driveshafts, do this and as long as you have cought the loss of lubrication early enough, then you will have many thousands of miles left in the driveshafts, good luck,
 

Silver_Star

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I would be inclined to think that the boots were originally filled with grease which has broken down over it's 31 year life and now resembles an oil.

If I were you I would clean the UJ's up and fill with the MB specified grease.
 
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BullyFooked

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Oil v's Grease

I like the understeer v's oversteer and HP contribution and thank all who have contributed. However, and having 'moved on' in many respects including music, still riding fast motorcycles, being married to a much younger woman, looking after an engine room full engines, two of which are over 3,000 HP, etc. blah, blah, blah, not only do I see the sense in filling the cans with oil but I wish to continue to use gear oil. Let me explain while I have already explained that there is no wear inside these original, undamaged, unopened 1982 boots (attached to the cans). Having played with many CV joints since 1969 and seen the grease thrown out by the centrifugal force, sometimes barely anything left to do the actual lubrication these have cans and the oil assumes level every time the vehicle stops and even when it is progressing slowly, thus lubricating all the time. It worked then with more primitive oil and will work now so my question is still, "Does anyone know what gear oil (e.g. 80 or 90) or what oil and if so how much in each end?
 

Richard Moakes

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Because I like googling, I have spent some time on this request.

The closest I can find is a reference to "Spider Joint Oil" which was the original lubricant from the factory. No mention is made of grade or part numbers I am afraid.

The following link shows a joint being repacked with grease when it was originally filled with oil.

http://dieselgiant.com/mercedesaxleshaftbootreplace.htm

I suspect lubricant technology moved on and grease was adopted instead of liquid oil, or perhaps the accountants made the decisions rather than the engineers!
 
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television

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Henry Royce always said "never put grease where oil will go" I still have some Morcoma R1000 oil, its so thick it will not come out of the tin in this weather
 

GEORGEROV

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I agree with Silver Star here . Grease is just an oil in a soap base . After thirty years the soap base will either dry up or break down depending on its original composition characteristics . In this case it has broken down and the oil is left .
 
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BullyFooked

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Thank You

Now we are smokin. Thank you gentlemen (I am assuming this to be the case of course). Seeing the pictures of someone else with the same original content I am inclined to open up my other 230CE of the same age but gear oil smells like gear oil and I have never smelled grease with that odour. Be that as it may thank you all. I am going to elect to use SEA 90. If it's good enough for diffs .......... so it's down to quantity now. I had no leaks (all four ends) and it was all original and a low speed, low mileage Jersey car so I will restrict myself to something like the amount that came out. We rarely drive at less than 150 kmh out here and if I see no leaks or bursting of the new boots I'll assume that all is ok. I note that in the article to which I was referred they used an air operated boot opening gubbins. No need: you can tap the ends (only need to do one end) off the shafts using a collar around the shaft and dropping it in the vice. The entire end joint comes off or, rather, the other end with the shaft continues downwards.
 

GEORGEROV

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If you do get a split in a boot then you will lose the oil a great deal quicker than cv joint grease . Also 80 or 90 gear oil will not have molybdenum disulphide in it like cv grease does .
 

Richard Moakes

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If you do get a split in a boot then you will lose the oil a great deal quicker than cv joint grease . Also 80 or 90 gear oil will not have molybdenum disulphide in it like cv grease does .

An interesting point, being somewhat old fashioned I like using Molyslip. When I changed my diff oil I added some Molyslip for good measure.
 

GEORGEROV

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Moly is well known for giving a hard friction resistant coating . Not ideal in all circumstances but certainly of value in cv joints .
 
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BullyFooked

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Georgerov, You are absolutely right of course but while Mercedes cannot even acknowledge that they used oil let along the type and quantity and given that it has served my joints better than any grease I am going to do it, particularly as I have discovered this afternoon that I am right and that Mercedes did use oil. See http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w12...763-her-rear-end-axles-subframe-trailing.html in which the contributor has the following to say while he agrees with me that it is a much better option anyway. I shall now write to Shell having discovered that Mercedes haven't a care or a clue about their history in this respect.

"MB at one time used oil to fill the cv joints of the homokinetic style axles. Those are the axles with the splined shafts at each end of the axle with one in the wheel hub, and the other C clipped in the differential. These shafts are found on many series of MB cars going way back when. Later on came the annular style CV joints refering to the axles that have the series of bolts that mate the axle to the differential. The annular style joints are of different internal construction with the style of joint being different than the homokinetic joints. The annular style joint is found in many other applications/cars and uses the specially formulated CV grease It seems that for the w126 the change in axles came aproximately with the genI to genII transition. You can change out the axles in some w126's without opening the differential to remove the C clips.

My 84 500sel and 83sd both have homokinetic joints on the axles. In the service manual the proceedure for replacing the boots is outlined with the second to last step being to "fill the synchromesh with spider joint oil". It seems that the international ban on spider hunting came along in the 80's and severely impacted the spider joint oil industry and farmed raised spiders and joint oil extration labor cost soared. Now the boot repair kits for all axles come with the CV grease. I have a technical background and think way too much about minor issues that don't cloud other peoples minds and lives. I did a lot of searching for the spider joint oil and researching cv grease. I read articles about lubricants written by lubrication engineers and it only made matters worse! In the end I was swayed to keep oil in the homokinetic joints as these things routinely run for 25 years without issue of the joint itself but rather suffer cv boot failure and subsequent joint damage. With these axles becoming history so has the the spider joint oil availability. Calls to MB parts counters yielded that the oil was no longer available and grease is substituted. Again, the grease might work fine but I saw "issues" that caused me to go with gear oil instead. In brief, to me it was like using turbine oil in an old Cessna engine. Yep, it'll work...for a while I want to get more than a few years on the axles. The "cans" of the CV joints are filled with oil to the point that even at speed the joint is bathed in oil. I used gear oil (differential oil) due to it's properties for high pressure and shear resistance. One of the things about using the oil over grease that I thought would be of benefit is the fact that it circulates and keeps fresh lube on the joint and wear material wouldn't remain in suspension in the joint with the grease. One could argue that the grease does circulate but clearly not to the degree that the oil will."

I reproduce this for all the other right thinking mechanics forced to tow the line force fed to them by the makers and others and while having not obtained the writers permission to reproduce this I credit him fully for it in the hope that he is happy that his findings have been published to others.
 

GEORGEROV

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Hi bully , very interesting , in the light of this then I would probably do as you are doing and use gear oil but maybe adding a touch of molyslip to keep Richard happy :) . You are right about Mercedes nowadays , just want to sell you new cars and not bothered about their older models . They forget that when an enthusiast like yourself gets shoddy service then it will be remembered when new car buying time comes around .
 
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BullyFooked

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Georgerov, I shall certainly look in to the Molyslip idea. It is something that I remember my uncle using way back when but I thought I read that it actually widens the gap between good working parts (forces them apart further) while filling the gap in worn parts. I don't have worn parts (can't say the same for my own body) so don't want to do damage but I have written to Shell about Spider Oil today and will post my findings. Good weekend to you.
 

syncropaddy

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Gentlemen, Ladies, I have lost touch with Mercedes probably because, being English they neither liked my responses to their lazy, facile replies and my asking them to find someone over fifty to ask about the lubrication used in the 123 series drive joints after they responded that all they could do was look in some contemporary Mercedes publication.

Am I the only one who is actually surprised by Mercedes supposed attitude to someone who starts their first post like this?
 
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BullyFooked

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Why?

I perfectly understand your comment. However, the post was initiated because of Mercedes refusal to even acknowledge that they fitted homokinetic joints filled with oil. It's frustrating particularly as Shell, to whom I have turned for advice on what they manufacture that is akin to or supersedes Spider/Spyder Joint Oil have just this morning replied that they have referred to Mercedes who have, of course, informed them they have never used oil but the usual UJ grease. In turn I have cited all the references to Mercedes homokinetic joints to Shell alerting them to the fact that I am dealing with them and not Mercedes and that my question is a simple one: "What oil do they either recommend I use in the joints or what is akin to or supersedes ....... ? Perhaps there is a member who has a contact in Mercedes who can call someone else and ask them what was used in them. All I want to do is put the blasted shafts back (but swapping left for right and visa versa as is recommended).
 
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BullyFooked

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Here is What I am Now Up Against

I'd be remiss if I didn't post this from a Shell chap having to tow the Mercedes line. You'd think Merc would be proud that their joints go on until the seats drop out of the bottom of their vehicles (this had happened to me in a 300D estate that had done over a million miles).

"Hello Shaun,

I have checked the lubrication requirements for this car and according to MB, the lubricant required for this application is MBZ 267 spec, defined as an NLGI 2 general purpose lithium grease. But I have also consulted our second level support about your inquiry and this was the response:
“Both lubricating oils and greases can be selected to lubricate flexible couplings, but unless specifically noted by the coupling designer, couplings for the majority of components are grease lubricated. In this case MB list a grease. Coupling components are protected primarily by an oil film which bleeds from the grease thickener and seeps into the loading zone. A major concern in this type of application is the centrifugal stress on the lubricant. With grease this can cause premature separation of the oil from the thickener, poor oil distribution within the housing and oil leakage from the housing. It is likely that in this instance that is what is being seen. We don’t have oils specifically for this application, and as MB recommend a grease I would not go against what is recommended by the Original Equipment Manufacturer – i.e. A lithium based grease.”

Many Thanks,

xxxxxx xxxxxx.


Lubricants Technical Help Desk - UK
Telephone - +800731 8888
Email - productinfo-uk@shell.com
Web - http://lubematch.shell.co.uk/
 

binks

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I know its eight years on, but I'm in the middle of replacing my rubber boots, badly cracked but not yet leaking. The wagon has done 490,000km plus, much of it on dirt in the australian countryside, (the underside has the scars to prove it). Its the first time the axles have been touched and the joints are, much to my surprise, in as new condition, probably due to the oil which filled the can. There will not be any grease going into these cv joints ! 70+ and not a mechanic but if it works, don't change it........
 


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