Main.TrailIndexPage | Drive Shaft and Rear Axle | DriveShaft.Driveshaft


This component is part of Driveshaft and Rear Axle.


The driveshaft (also called propeller shaft) transports the power and torque from the transmission to the differential on the rear axle. Itís main components are:

1) a flexible coupling (flex disc) that attaches between the transmission and the driveshaft

2) a tubular front section of the driveshaft

3) an intermediate (centre) bearing

4) a tubular rear section of the drive shaft that connects to the differential pinion


The front section of the drive shaft MUST BE LUBRICATED with grease every 3 000 km. There is a grease nipple that rotates with the shaft, so you need to be able to turn the drive shaft to locate and reach the nipple.

The intermediate bearing is mostly maintenance-free. However, some early 230SLs may have a bearing that needs to be lubricated regularly, as well.

The torque wrench setting of all drive shaft connecting and mounting nuts and bolts should also be checked periodically.

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I have suffered a series (3) of failures on the rubber donut coupler between the trany and the drive shaft. The first was shot when I bought the car, the second was a good looking, but old coupler, however, the last one was new and installed correctly. It only lasted about 2,000 miles. The driveshaft has new u-joints and intermediate bearing, and I loaded up the car with weight before I tightened the steady bearing assemble. I also have a minor clunking noise when shifting gears which I am assuming is the flexible coupler for the rear end carrier. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

When you say "installed correctly," does that mean the transmission side was installed facing the tansmission AND the tranny output shaft was bolted to the output shaft holes and the prop shaft was bolted to the prop shaft holes? It does make a big difference. Think of the output shaft as "pulling" the prop shaft behind it (in a circle). Thus, every other space between the bolt holes in the flex disc is in tension and the alternate spaces are in compression. If you bolt the prop shaft to the holes that are designated for the output shaft, you will put the spaces that were designed for tension in compression and vice versa. Voila! Instant failure. (Ever try to push a rope)? Supposedly, the flex disc has 3 what are known as "double links" between the bolt holes and are the ones that should be placed in tension. I say supposedly because I have not replaced the flex disc on this particular model... yet.

My 230SL has a tendency to go into oscillations when I decelerate at low speeds (in 1st or 2nd gear). Its a front to back motion, but its very noticiable. I have no other driveline noises. I was wondering if anyone else out there ever has had these kind of symptoms. I replaced all of the engine, tranny, and axle mount, but still have to replace the large axle bushing, and the trailing arm bushings are pretty shot. Could it be that my shocks or springs are worn out? There is no thump or clunk in either the driveline or differential, just a back and forth motion.
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