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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 08-08-2011, 02:56 PM   #1
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Axel Assembly Problem?

Hi Everyone!

I'd like to start by thanking anyone who reads this and provides some help. I'm a huge BMW fan but have to admit I don't know much about how things work under the hood so really appreciate the expertise available on here!

A few weeks ago I started hearing a bit of a "clunk" sound coming from the front of my car. It only happened when I was going slowly (or that's the only time I could hear it). Not very loud but still noticeable to me.

My car is one year out of it's extended warranty so I took it to a high-end German shop to have a look...maybe my first mistake.

They said that the plastic shoes that go around the axel had dried-up and were cracking and would thus need to be replaced. The total cost of the repairs would be $2,100! This seemed a bit crazy to me since the car has been in perfect shape up until now and I really haven't heard of anything like this before.

Here are some of the costs they estimate:

- 2x axel Assembly ($547)
- 1x Disc Rotor ($85)
- 1x Brake Shoes &/or Pads ($83)
- Labor, Axel Shaft Removal + Installation ($329)
- Labor, Disc Rotor remove and replace ($131)

Can you let me know if any of this makes sense or if you've heard of this problem before? HUGE thanks in advance for your help!!
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:10 PM   #2
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The prices you've listed individually don't sound too bad (if they're using OEM parts), but the total of $2100 sounds pretty outrageous. If it's just the boots that need replacing, there's no need to replace the whole axle assemblies. But just cracked and dry rotted boots shouldn't make a clunking sound (sounds like a problem with one or more of the CV Joints, which begin to fail when the boots get torn and contaminants get into the CV joints and the grease lubricating the joint slings out). If they are going to remove the axle, it's basically one extra screw that they have to remove to pull off the rotor, so it seems kind of crazy to charge $131 for that. The axle removal is a pain in the butt, so if you're not mechanically inclined, the $329 they've quoted for that doesn't sound unreasonable, nor does the $547 for two axles (if they're oem). However, I'd want to be sure all that truly does need replacing.
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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It's a common problem with XI's. The price sounds about the same I was quoted from the dealer but I ended up having it done at a independent shop. Parts and labor was around $600 per side but I had a [shiity] warranty so I ended up paying just over $200 a side.
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:16 PM   #4
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$300 in parts and 3-4 hours labor for front axles.
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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The secret is to have the "I wanna do it" and "KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT YOU DOING" ... i would spend the money on tools and get it done your self... =D save money, experience , just couple hours of your life. =-D
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:44 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the great feedback - I really appreciate it!

I wish I knew more about cars and I would do it myself. Given that I've never touched an engine and haven't even changed my own fluids I probably wouldn't be a great candidate to do anything with the axel...actually I just found-out what the axel does last week (don't tease me for it though, just being honest!)

I'm taking the car into one of the better but realistic shops here in LA for a second opinion. Just seems annoying that one year out of warranty I'd have a $2,000 problem. I know people with cars twice as old as mine that have never had a problem over $500, although this might be the whole cost of owning a Bimmer thing catching up with me

Either way - you guys rock and I really appreciate the input. Going to be doing a blog post about this forum!
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:29 AM   #7
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you can buy remanned ones for like $100 a piece or so (after you sell them back the old ones) at napa. Thats what im gunna do with mine
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:23 AM   #8
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You have to be very careful when buying aftermarket axles, if you are going to go the aftermarket route, than pull the old axles and compare the retainer ring on the inside and make sure the size is perfect. Also replace the front differential final drive seals, or you may be back soon to do those.
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