10-21-2010, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States/Colorado
My Ride: 2002 325xi (163k)
GKN axles: my experience
I have experience with "GKN Loebro" axles. I purchased a right-front axle from Pelican. It installed well and has worked without issues. I've had it in my '02 325xi for 6,000 miles. I'm happy with it.
I compared this axle ($378.75, purchased Jan 2010) to the BMW axle ($700+) sold at the Schomp BMW dealership near Denver. I found 2 notable differences:
- Missing shield on GKN reman'd axle (see photo)
The packaging of the BMW axle was superb with its internal cradling of the axle at multiple points in order to hold it straight and cushion it during transport. The GKN axle was just stuck in an oblong box without internal support. Maybe it doesn't matter on something as tough as an axle. It wasn't a big issue for me.
But I was made to believe I was going to get an *exact* BMW axle, just like that from the dealership. The BMW axle was more complete, with its shield.
The missing shield that protects the pedestal-to-axle interface was more concerning. The BMW axle had one; the shield on the GKN unit had clearly been removed, probably during the reman process. The shield protects the axle shaft seal (a "grease seal"). That may or may not make a real difference but it was notably missing. See the photo for a side-by-side comparison with the axle that I replaced--an aftermarket axle, I think. I posted this photo on the Pelican website in my generally favorable review of the the axle. Pelican contacted their supplier, at my request, who verified that GKN axles were now supplied without this shield.
Maybe the missing shield isn't a big cause for concern but it is conspicuously absent.
Pelican now sells "Genuine BMW" axles--$479 vs: $333 for the GKN version. I don't know how they compare. See http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/cata...SUSaxl_pg2.htm
Also, please know that this is the only experience I have with BMW axles. I am *not* a professional mechanic.
Photo note: The GKN axle is compared to the axle that was on my car, which, I believe, was an *aftermarket* axle. The photo does *not* compare the GKN axle to the genuine BMW axle that I mentioned above.