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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 11-20-2011, 01:00 AM   #1
Doug in Lakeview
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Should I Replace Entire Front Axle or Just Replace the CV Boots?

Hi all,

I have a 2002 325Xi (non-sport package) all stock except for 18” x 8.5” CLS style wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport A/S P245/40 ZR 18” tires. ~114,000 miles on the odometer.

I knew the right front outer CV boot was torn but stupidly continued driving the car since there was no “clicking/clunking” noise when turning. Then when driving home from work the dreaded loud clicking/clunking noise started along with vibration of the steering wheel and some difficulty when turning at intersections. I continued to drive home, less than a mile, at speeds no more than 5 mph due to traffic.

So a will be spending part of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the garage. Should I go ahead and just replace the entire front axle instead of attempting CV boot replacement? I am thinking that I should just bite the bullet and replace the entire axle. FCPGroton & MillerTimeBMW have a good DIY on You Tube for the procedure.

Any suggestions for suppliers of the axles? I was thinking of going with the FCP Groton parts – but need to call them to see who manufactures the parts for them. Any feedback from others who have replaced their front axles? Pros & cons. Original BMW parts are too expensive for my budget but I do want to install axles that perfrom well, do not vibrate, and will last for 100,000 miles - like the first set. Especially if the driver does not ignore torn CV boots.

- FCP Groton (Manufacturer not stated) new; $239.00 TOTAL for left and right

- Pelican Parts (GKN Loebro) remanufactured; $666.00 TOTAL for left and right

- Pelican Parts (Empri) remanufactured; $184.50 TOTAL for left and right

Spouse’s dad is a farmer and has a lift in the garage on the farm and a full set of tools since he used to be a mechanic at a Chevy dealership. I already trailered the car to the farm and will be heading there over the holiday weekend to work.
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:16 AM   #2
redbull 325is
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new gkn or rebuilt GKN from autozone/napa
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:46 AM   #3
Pierce1
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Replace the drive shaft.
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:35 AM   #4
Kubica
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Do not buy an axle from FCP.

You want a remanufactured A1 cardone axle. But an OE circlip and two bottles of Redline 75w90 diff fluid too.

You need a 36mm socket for the axle nut which an American shop may not have. 14mm hex bit for the diff drain/fill.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:03 AM   #5
latitude39
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[QUOTE=... 36mm socket for the axle nut ...[/QUOTE]

Be sure it's a 36mm 12-point socket.

I used the Pelican Parts GKN axle and it has worked fine. The price has come down since I did mine almost 2 years ago. Kubica and others have reported good luck with the much less expensive option. That's probably the way I'd do it next time.
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:53 PM   #6
White_Knuckles
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Not sure on the branding but NAPA carries a remanufactured axle. There have been good reports about them and the price. Is NAPA only West coast?

FCP = Chinese junk.
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:54 PM   #7
jasonbimmer
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Napa uses Cardone.
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:23 PM   #8
GCoop
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If it's clicking you are wasting your time doing anything other than replacing the axle at this point. The other's advice on the axle brand is spot on. Heed it.

Last edited by GCoop; 11-20-2011 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:18 PM   #9
kylek325i
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read the long thread on the axle DIY if you havent already, lots of good info. NAPA carries Cardone remanned axles and they are nationwide. Mine came with a new nut, i'd recommend a new seal too. The 36mm socket can be found at sears.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:27 PM   #10
jasonbimmer
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sadly my Cardone axle is damaged during shipping and the shop didnt look at it before putting it on.
also the axle seal is leaking after replacement. I suggest you replace both while you are in there.
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:01 PM   #11
Doug in Lakeview
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Hi,

I purchased remanufactured left and front drive axles from NAPA. Ordered online Sunday afternoon and they were ready for pick by 3 PM on Monday. The parts were not in the local store and had to be shipped from the local distribution warehouse.

NAPA product is by A1 CARDONE. Each is $131.09 with $55.60 credit due to me if I return the old axles without damaging them when I take them out. We will see how that works out……….

Also, purchased:

- new seal & clip from local BMW dealer for both left & right axle
- 36 mm 12 point socket from Sears
- 14 mm hex bit from Sears
- 75w90 differential fluid

Thanks for all the good suggestions. I will be doing the work over the weekend.

Doug in Lakeview
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Old 11-23-2011, 12:26 PM   #12
wdeerfield
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nice find that NAPA carries them for about the same price as rock auto does + shipping.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:08 PM   #13
jasonbimmer
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hey question for you guys.
what does chattering sound when going straight mean?
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