Mercedes-Benz E320 Transfer Case Output Shaft Oil Seal Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a Mercedes-Benz E320 transfer case output shaft oil seal replacement is between $394 and $463. Labor costs are estimated between $264 and $333 while parts are priced at $130. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: The cost of this service or repair can vary by location, your vehicle's make and model, and even your engine type. Related repairs may also be needed. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs might be right for you.

How does a Transfer Case Output Shaft Oil Seal work?

Like other shaft seals, the transfer case output shaft seal is a continuous circle made of a synthetic rubberized material that conforms to the surface of the shaft and allows the shaft to rotate freely inside the seal. The outer casing of the output shaft seal is metallic, and is pressed into the output shaft housing, sealing it externally as well. To keep tension between the rubber, watertight seal and the output shaft, there is a spring inside the seal that constantly applies light pressure inward towards the transfer case output shaft. This ensures that no oil or dust can exit or enter through the seal.

What are the symptoms of a bad Transfer Case Output Shaft Oil Seal?

A failing transfer case output shaft seal will first show signs of seepage, that is, the drive shaft and output shaft housing will begin to show signs of contact with oil, though droplets of oil may not be forming underneath the seal. Over time, droplets will begin to form at the base of the transfer case output shaft housing, and possibly trickle down the drive shaft. At this point, there will be clearly visible fluid marking the storage location of the vehicle, and there may be a slightly foul or oily smell around the vehicle after operation. Finally, if a severe leak has occured while driving, the likely symptom will be a check engine light, in some models, but others will only present a clattering noise from the transfer case, or the transfer case may fail.

Can I drive with a bad Transfer Case Output Shaft Oil Seal?

Since the transfer case is a power distribution unit to all four wheels, failure of the transfer case will render the vehicle useless, so an obviously leaking transfer case output shaft seal should be repaired immediately to protect the expensive unit. However, if only seepage is noticed, or in other words, the area near the seal seems a little glossy, the repair is not extremely urgent. In this case, the transfer case fluid level should be checked, and if the transfer case is full, the manufacturer may even consider slight seepage normal.

How often do Transfer Case Output Shaft Oil Seals need replacement?

According to a comparison of real-world data, transfer case output shaft seals typically fail any time after 85,000 miles, with the majority of them failing long afterwards. Some failures are reported before the 85,000 mile mark, but that is typically not the case. Risk factors that could cause the output shaft seal to fail prematurely are lifted suspensions that alter the driveline angle, a worn drive shaft yoke, worn transfer case output shaft bearing, or lack of maintenance.