E46Fanatics - View Single Post - xi front outer CV boot replacement help
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:09 PM   #18
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: ohio
Posts: 12
My Ride: 2003 - 325xi
My Experiance changing shafts.

I was having a terrible vibration from the front end of my car during acceleration. I checked the shafts and they both could be shook and rattled when moved by hand. So I bought the axle kit from Groton through ebay. Great deal. Lifetime warranty So I searched the forums for a how to change the front axles. There are a few different write ups on this. But there was more detail needed since I never done this to a BMW before. I would like to share my experience with you so that maybe it will be easier for the next guy. To start off I want to say it took me 2 days to figure out the first side (passenger). It took me 1 hour to do the second side. Big difference. I am writing this after the fact so the sizes of sockets are not exact.
Tools needed were:
1)Big Hammer and medium hammer
2)Metric alan wrench set (small to medium).
3)Metric socket set 10-19mm
4)Big flat tip screw driver
5) 36mm 12 point socket for axle nut.
6) ĹĒ Impact wrench and air compressor
Special Tools Needed.
1)2 foot ĺ or 1 inch steel bar for pounding.
2)2 foot 2x4 for pounding
3)small hydraulic jack for lifting the control arm back up.
4)small bucket 12 to 15 inches high with lid to let the control arm / hub sit on.
5) Knee Pads.

OK, Break loose the lugs on the front wheels.
Jack up the car and set it on Good sturdy jack stands.
Take wheels off. Do 1 side at a time.
Take the brake caliper of using the 13 or14mm bolts (2 of them), not the allen head bolts. The whole caliper with the brakes and the brake sensor if you got one should come off together. Keep them together it makes it very easy to put back on. Use the bucket to sit it on until you decide to hang it with a piece of wire from the spring.
Use the impact wrench and the 13 or 14mm socket to take the bolt from the middle of the strut that holds that 12 inch connecter to the front support. If you do not have a impact that bolt is hard to get off Ė you will need a wrench and allen wrench to do it.
Now is a good time to use that big screwdriver and the smaller hammer to bend the axle nut back to normal so you can get it off with the big 12 point socket. I used a breaker bar and a 4 foot pipe to get it loose. Watch you donít knock the car off of the jack stands.
Take the bolt(15 or 16mm) out of the back bottom of the strut(this holds it to the control arm) using the impact wrench. It is on there tight. Pull it all the way out. At this time the hub and lower control might fall down a little. You will need that bucket again to catch the whole thing as it drops. You might have to bounce that big hammer on it a couple of times. Be sure not to damage anything. The hub will flop toward you when it comes off. Use that bucket. Pull the hub toward you.
Now you can get that steel bar and place it in the hub on the end of the axle where you took the nut off. Use the big hammer and knock the axle back through the hub. Be sure not to hit the bearing in the hub. The axle should pop through after about 10 hits.
Push the axle toward the motor to close it up. It should move enough so you can pull the hub end up out of the hub completely. This is where I got stuck, trying to figure out how to get the axle out of the differential without knocking the clip off the axle and into the diff. I discovered if you crawl under the car and take the plastic cover off you can get that pipe up in there and place it on the back of the fat part of that axle where the bearings are and hit it with the hammer. It will come right out and the clip will still be on it. Take that clip off without bending it open. You will need it for the new shaft. The clip that comes with the new one is too big. I could not get the new shaft in with those clips. So I put the old clips on new shafts. They are smaller!!!!!!!

Input: Now when you handle the new shafts keep them pushed together while inserting them in the car. They will come apart if you jerk them outward and you donít want that. Now place the axle in the hole and slide it into the teeth of the differential gear. Be sure not to catch the boot on anything and tear it. You know you are in the gear when the wheels want to turn as you turn the shaft. To get it the rest of the way in you will need that 2x4 I mentioned earlier. Put the end of the board against the boot where it is clamped onto the shaft. Make sure you got no extra boot under the board. The board should be directly against the thick of that back section of the bearings holder. I donít know what it is called, it could be called joint guide or something. Push it tight and then give it a couple of taps with the hammer. You might have to hit it pretty good. But,,,,,try not to tear that boot!!!!!!!
Once you got that in you home free. Just lift the hub side of the shaft up and into the hub. Push the hub into the shaft. you might need to tap it in also. Now use that little jack to jack up the control arm while you shake the bottom of the strut into the hub. It might take a couple of tryís to get it in right. There is a guide pin on the back of the strut that goes down into the hub. Make sure it is down in there all the way. Put the bolt back in with the brake hose holder.

I wonít go through the rest it is just a reversal of taking it apart.
I hope this helps anyone who has to change front shafts on an XI.

By the way the shake is all gone and she rides like new again.
03 325xi
rckt64 is offline   Reply With Quote