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Old 04-01-2008, 09:40 PM   #6
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 180
My Ride: '02 330xi
Overall I would say this was a moderately difficult task that was made much easier by having the proper tools. As I mentioned in my post, I have a fairly common set of metrick wrenches and sockets, as well as an air wratchet, but the specialty tools you will need include:

-36mm 12pt socket for the axle nut
-18mm wrench for the front ball joint (I couldn't get a socket to fit)
-some small torx bits to get the headlight arm off the control arm if you have the xenon lights (you'll find the bolt has a place for the torx bit so you can keep it from spinning while you take the nut off with a wrench
-a metric alan head socket to take the brake pulse sensor out
-the KD tools universal puller to separate the hub from the axle
-a set of special pliers for crimping the CV boot clamps
-lots and lots of shop towels to wipe away a lot of grease

Once you have the tools you will need the parts (I used to look up the part numbers and then ordered the parts from
-Front inner CV boot kit
-Front outer CV boot kit
-Axle nut

The Bentley manual was helpful, but since I had never done this before I was left to figure a couple things out on my own that I don't think were well explained in the manual.

First thing you will want to do (after your car is jacked/supported and the wheel in question is removed) is take a hammer and punch (or screwdriver) and pound out where the axle nut is staked. Then use your 36mm socket and an air ratchet to loosen remove the nut.

Next follow all the instructions in the Bently to remove various parts from the control arm and remove your brake caliper (suspending from the suspension springs with zip ties keeps it out of the way nicely. I didn't think I would need to remove the aluminum heat sheild, but I ended up needing to in order to get to the rear control arm bushing mount. (There are two small screws, one in the wheel well and one further back under the car; I really had to pull to get the heat shield out)

After that, you can remove the control arm bushing and the front ball joint from the frame of the car and the it should just hang from the hub.

Finally, use the hub puller to press the axle back through the hub (I used a long metal bar wedged through the puller resting on the floor, to keep the puller from spinning while I pressed the axle out).

Once you have seperated the axle from the hub (pulled out the back) rather than following the process of pulling the axle stub out of the transmission with another $200 tool, I simply grabbed the axle and gave it a couple good tugs. The inner CV boot pulled off the transaxle stub and I was able to remove the outer axle from the car. Since this method separates the inner CV joint, you should definately replace both boots at the same time. Make sure you take the adapter out of the inner boot (adapts the triangular transaxle to the round boot) as you will need to reuse it.

Now you will need to place the center axle in a vice and remove the boot clamps from both joints. Slide the outer boot (big end of the boot) back and hit the large part of the stub with a hammer to separate it off of the center axle. Then you can remove both boots off of this axles; and you will need to wipe out all the grease. The boot kits I bought said not to use brake cleaner but rather wash the parts with soap and water. Once both joints and all axle parts are clean, take the new circlip and slide it down into the groove in the outer axle stub joint. You can then slide the boots back on and pack the grease into the joints but don't tighten the clamps. Next you put the outer CV joint back together and hammer the outer axle stub back onto the center until the clip snaps into place inside the joint. Next tighten down the large clamp on the outer boot, and manipulate the joint in every direction; then tighten the small clamp.

Noe you can slide the axle back into the (cleaned) transaxle and get the outer axle stub started into the hub. Slide the adapter and boot onto the transaxle and tighten clamp. Squeeze the inner boot to burp the air out and then tighten the small clamp. Now comes the part I had the most difficulty with; I took a foot long 4"x4" board and used a small 3 pound sledge hammer to pound the hub back onto the outer axle stub far enough to get then nut threaded about half way on (it took a lot of pounding and some pretty hard shots). Finally I thightened the nut as much as I could with an air ratchet, and reassembled the rest of the car. I put the wheel back on and lowered the car so that the wheel was supporting the weight of the car; then I used a 1/2 torque wrench and the 36mm socket set to 185ft/lbs (as high as it would go) and then I tightened the nut as much as I possibly could. The torque wrench indicated 185ft/lbs and I still got almost another full turn of the nut after that point. Finally, stake the new nut and put the wheel center cap in.

I wouldn't think you would need to get an alignment done after this, but I had done some rear suspension work at the same time so I took my car in for a four wheel alignment when I was done.

All in all, when I was done it was probably a four hour job and I spent about $25 in total parts. I spent about $200 in tools, but I believe these will be a good investment and overall the total cost including tools was still cheaper than an indi shop would charge you to do a single boot.
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