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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 04-09-2012, 08:10 PM   #1
celluloidheros
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Help ! Cant get front axle out of hub

I did the drivers side no problem. But the passenger shaft spline won't come out of the hubI did not disconnect the strut pinch bolt but did remove the control arm from and rear mounts. I braced the hub and I am using a drift in the center of the drive shaft with the old 12 point nut on the shaft. It is not bouncing much at all and I have used pb blaster and hitting it quite hard. I have not tried a press yet as i don't have one. Any ideas ? I live in rochester, ny the salt capital of the world. take care, DC
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:41 PM   #2
Bobby330xi
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I would try to avoid heat since there is a bearing and CV boots that could be damaged, amongst other things.
A hub puller or FWD hub puller would be best. You could also use a heavy duty 3 jaw or 2 jaw puller if you're lucky. Autozone and some other auto parts stores sometimes lend/rent these tools.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:06 PM   #3
celluloidheros
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I tried a BFH 4 and 10 lb, I also tried a 3 leg puller that I bolted down with the 3 lug bolts. I used two pry bars to keep the hub from spinning and a 2 ft breaker bar to apply force, this did not budge it. I know its a stupid question but yes i had the 12 pt nut loosened. I am wondering if i removed the strut, then pulled the axle out of the differential whether I could bring it to a place to have pressed out ? Very frustrating, i wonder if the circlip is jammed or if the thing is just rusted ? What a PITA.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:05 AM   #4
325xittt
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I had a axle that wouldn't come out. I had to remove the hub as you suggested. I used a 40 tonne press at work to push it out. It came out with a bang, thought I busted the knuckle, but all is well. The new axle went back in with no problems. If you don't have a press you will need to find a Auto Parts store that does the work (Maybe a NAPA) or a shop the can do the job. It's a 5 minute job on a press.
The other side came out no problems
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:05 AM   #5
Rickna
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I had an A1Cardone stuck in the hub. I use a hub puller.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:46 AM   #6
celluloidheros
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What parts did you remove to get the hub assy to the machine shop, i figure that i will have to remove thye strut pinch bolt and the main control arm ball joint. But what should i do with the axle, just leave it whole and pop it out of the differential. well I was planning on repairing the cv boots so I could leave the axle whole of take apart the inner CV joint. the other issue is the ABS speed sensor, that seems to be stuck. Any idea how to get that out ? Rochester sucks for corrosion. Im wondering if i should replace the wheel bearing and hub just as a precaution ? Harbor freight makes a 5 or 12 ton hydraulic gear puller but it has claws and we need lug bolt feet. I am trying to remain calm. LOL thx for the help.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:29 PM   #7
Kubica
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Yeah my passenger axle has become a pain to get out of the hub too. Keep at it with a BFH.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:42 PM   #8
Bobby330xi
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If its taking that much force and still won't budge, I also recommend taking the assembly to a press. Then you don't have to beat everything up.

If you unbolt the tie rod end, ball joint and pinch bolt you should be able to tug on the axle assembly while someone pries on the inner CV. There is a snap ring that fits in a groove on the end of the axle that holds it into the diff. When you pull on the axle the snap ring will stay with the axle and allow it to pop out of the diff.

Alternatively, you can cut the band clamp holding the inner CV boot. Then tug on the axle and the whole CV should separate and leave part of it stuck in the housing. Then you can pry it out with levers as mentioned above.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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This worked for me-

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Old 04-10-2012, 08:38 PM   #10
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As i mentioned in my earlier post I needed the press (I think it was at about 26,000 lbs of force when the axle shaft popped loose). The slide hammer shown above wouldn't have touched it. Yours may not be as stuck as mine. I separated the axle halves ( i was replacing the axle anyway) removed the strut at the pinch bolt and broke down the assembly as far as possible before attempting to push the shaft out I would have taken it to a shop had I not had access to the hydraulic press at work. I needed an an assortment of heavy steel bars and plates to shim the oddly shaped knuckle level when pushing on the end of the axle. It was a little scarey I'll tell ya
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:15 AM   #11
e46alfonso
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i have been removing axles from the hub by hand lol. they just slide out, its been that easy for me. didn't need a 2000 ton press.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:56 AM   #12
celluloidheros
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I was able to remove the axle using the hub puller that uses 3 lug bolts and about a 3/4 inch center screw. That was after softening it up with the BFH. Well I noticed that the wheel bearing was a little loose, like I damaged the race. So I proceeded to snap of the pinch bolt for the strut. This car has seen the salt for 12 years.

So here are my questions:

Do I drill out the punch bolt and put a new one with a nut or try to re-tap ?

Should I buy a whole hub, bearing and steering knuckle assy or do i have to try to take the stuff apart and just replace the bearing. I probably can find a used Steering knuckle and wheel bearing, but who knows the condition.

All this for a little plastic/rubber CV Boot, I wish I had known, I would have tried to extend the life of the CV boot.

I really appreciate any help here, Don C

Last edited by celluloidheros; 04-11-2012 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:46 AM   #13
325xittt
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Get a good set of male torx bits and and female torx sockets. They will be your friends. As for the ball joint you may be able to generate enough resistance to the ball spinning by tapping the tappered shaft back into the knuckle. A impact driver may help.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:52 AM   #14
Bobby330xi
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I'm in the middle of the same situation withthe pinch bolt and soon, the hubs. I'm trying to talk myself into taking it to a shop to do the struts and boot replacements.

The strut pinch bolt is very hard steel, grade 10.8. I have some "titanium" plated drills from Harbor Freight that are taking forever to cut through this mess. I've already dulled 3-4 bits and I'm not quite done. The metal is brittle so it chips away and can sometimes jam the bit and snap it (1 so far).

I would rather tap it and use an original bolt. If you can't get a good thread, then you can use a through bolt, grade 8 or higher.

If the ball is still spinning in the joint, jack up on the control arm to force the taper back into the knuckle to keep it from rotating. Otherwise, I've had to destroy ends by using a cut off wheel or hacksaw blade to carefully cut the nut end off to get the joint out.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:20 PM   #15
celluloidheros
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I noticed that you can buy a whole new knuckle assy used that has the wheel bearing, hub, knuckle and abs sensor. im wonderiong if i can use a cut off tool and just cut the bolt in the middle ? and replace the whole assy ?
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:32 PM   #16
Bobby330xi
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Unfortunately, its not that easy. The bolt goes through the edge of the strut body to lock the strut into the spindle. You have to completely remove the bolt to get it past the strut body.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:21 AM   #17
celluloidheros
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Hello, You are right Bobby 330xi, drilling that bolt out is a PITA, the lower strut body on the XI has a groove cut into it. You have a very small margin of error to remove all of the 10.8 hardness bolt, yet not pierce the strut. It took me 3 hours of hell last night to get it out. i removed the strut top mounting bolts and put the whole thing on the bench to work on. i didn't realize the strut had the groove. Moral of the story is don't snap the bolt off in the first place. I ordered a used assy from Ebay. But then Rickna said he had one too. Just to confirm, the hub should have no wobble or play at all right ?

I have something else to admit that Im ashamed of but i will post it to help other. I think that i put the oil seal backwards into the differential. now I have to get a new seal and install it correctly. Not too smart.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celluloidheros View Post
Hello, You are right Bobby 330xi, drilling that bolt out is a PITA, the lower strut body on the XI has a groove cut into it. You have a very small margin of error to remove all of the 10.8 hardness bolt, yet not pierce the strut. It took me 3 hours of hell last night to get it out. i removed the strut top mounting bolts and put the whole thing on the bench to work on. i didn't realize the strut had the groove. Moral of the story is don't snap the bolt off in the first place. I ordered a used assy from Ebay. But then Rickna said he had one too. Just to confirm, the hub should have no wobble or play at all right ?

I have something else to admit that Im ashamed of but i will post it to help other. I think that i put the oil seal backwards into the differential. now I have to get a new seal and install it correctly. Not too smart.
It happend to me too. I was able to drill the bolt out and I used a longer bolt that went all the way through with 2 nuts on the end.
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:49 PM   #19
Bobby330xi
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I finally got the rest of the bolt out of one of my struts today. I ended up using a carbide ball end mill and ground out the bolt with that. My new Bilsteins showed up 3 days early, so it looks like I have a project for the weekend.

Here is a little trick to make it go faster next time: drill from the threaded end of the bolt. Cut the bolt in half with a cut off wheel or hack saw between the opening in the steering knuckle. This way you can drill through just half of the bolt and then drive out the rest once you have your hole drilled in the threaded section.

I almost bought that front strut that was on Ebay on the '04 XI with about 106K miles on it...but ended up talking myself into going with all new stuts, top plates and bump stops.

I thought the new Bilsteins come with the spring perches already on? Mine didn't come with them, so I have to reuse my old ones.

Last edited by Bobby330xi; 04-13-2012 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:34 AM   #20
Rickna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby330xi View Post
I finally got the rest of the bolt out of one of my struts today. I ended up using a carbide ball end mill and ground out the bolt with that. My new Bilsteins showed up 3 days early, so it looks like I have a project for the weekend.

Here is a little trick to make it go faster next time: drill from the threaded end of the bolt. Cut the bolt in half with a cut off wheel or hack saw between the opening in the steering knuckle. This way you can drill through just half of the bolt and then drive out the rest once you have your hole drilled in the threaded section.

I almost bought that front strut that was on Ebay on the '04 XI with about 106K miles on it...but ended up talking myself into going with all new stuts, top plates and bump stops.

I thought the new Bilsteins come with the spring perches already on? Mine didn't come with them, so I have to reuse my old ones.
Did that witha Sawzall. Good plan.
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