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I somewhat recently purchased an ‘87 300SDL knowing that it would need a diff fairly soon, I’ve driven it around 4,000 miles (just turned 362k yesterday) and although there has been no apparent degradation, I figure I should get at it. There’s is a whine/whirr from 40-50mph and at highway speeds if I’m somewhere between being in the gas and off of it, there’s a point where a fun metallic clinking noise will happen. Regardless, I’ve gone on Car-part to get a used one but it’s showing diffs from many cars like the w124 300E, w201 190E, and even the w202. I don’t really wish to change the gear ratio, the 2.88 is fine with me.
So I guess I’m just curious if those other models’ diffs are actually straight interchange parts, maybe unjustly so, but I have my doubts.
thanks!
 

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I somewhat recently purchased an ‘87 300SDL knowing that it would need a diff fairly soon, I’ve driven it around 4,000 miles (just turned 362k yesterday) and although there has been no apparent degradation, I figure I should get at it. There’s is a whine/whirr from 40-50mph and at highway speeds if I’m somewhere between being in the gas and off of it, there’s a point where a fun metallic clinking noise will happen. Regardless, I’ve gone on Car-part to get a used one but it’s showing diffs from many cars like the w124 300E, w201 190E, and even the w202. I don’t really wish to change the gear ratio, the 2.88 is fine with me.
So I guess I’m just curious if those other models’ diffs are actually straight interchange parts, maybe unjustly so, but I have my doubts.
thanks!
Before diving in for a labor intensive swap, try switching to Synthetic Gear Oil (I think it is 80W). Walmart stuff will do :) It solved similar malady on my 87 SDL at 300+ kmi. What I did is: 1. Flush the diff twice. That is, drain whatever is left and replace with Synth. Drive around about 1 kmi. Drain and refill with same Synth. Done a couple of times or so, should do it. 2. Refill and top-off. Patience. Noises just disappeared.
btw: ensure you are not hearing noise from the right, rear wheel bearing - another trouble spot that needs an expensive tool to do it right.

Problem is Synth was not OEM specified since Synth technology had not caught on, then. Synth is much better and more forgiving as a lubricant, than the 'Recommended by MB" at time of manufacture. Worth a try. Worked for me right up to the time i sold the car at 350-plus kmi.
 
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