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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 12-17-2013, 05:53 PM   #21
Mannydog
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NEW axles from NAPA come with a lifetime warranty and cost a fraction of OEM axles, so use those.

Replacing both sides is a preventative measure and if $$ and time allow, by all means do it.
Having spent the better part of the last month getting my axles sorted out, I would say (like lots of others here) get GKN axles from Pelican/ECS/RM, etc.

I got one Cardone reman (from Autozone, but they supply NAPA all the auto parts chains) that seems OK, and another Cardone that was machined undersize and gushed fluid and had grease leaking from the outboard boot.
A lifetime warranty isn't worth much unless your idea of a good time is repeatedly replacing axles.

I don't think you have to worry about one side playing well with the other.
If one side looks recently replaced, I would just replace the bad one with a GKN. Roughly $300 for the drivers side and $350 for the passenger.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:21 PM   #22
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My apologies, most people who just start out on this forum are total n00bs who couldn't tell you the difference between an O2 sensor and a MAF sensor.

I've been around the block and back with this car so I'm just throwing out my opinions and advice.
Hey man no prob, i shouldnt be a jerk and say that I am currently contructing a CJ7, Its an easy car to build but I have some experiance I am new to the forum so no one knows that.

Your ideas do help in the long run! You helped me reconsider waterpump/ expansion tank. Thanks! There is much to learn on a e46! I
am excited

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Old 12-18-2013, 06:41 AM   #23
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Also, I believe these are pretty close to the wheels you're looking for without having better pictures than the one you posted:
http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/Wheel...All&sort=Brand
Na my wheels have more of a groove inside of them. Id still pay anyone $$ if they can find them.

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Old 12-18-2013, 06:44 AM   #24
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:58 PM   #25
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NEW axles from NAPA come with a lifetime warranty and cost a fraction of OEM axles, so use those.
How many miles have you gotten out of these?

My personal experience with any aftermarket axle is that they're a false economy: they are usually good for maybe a couple years or 20 - 30K miles.

A GKN or OE axle will last much longer, as much as 100K.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:30 PM   #26
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NEW axles from NAPA come with a lifetime warranty and cost a fraction of OEM axles, so use those.

Replacing both sides is a preventative measure and if $$ and time allow, by all means do it.
I didn't notice this before.

Do NOT, repeat NOT, buy NEW axles from NAPA. Those are the crappy axles that will fail in 20k miles or less. However, buying the remanufactured axles from NAPA will give you rebuilt OEM axles that won't fail as easily. They are cheaper than the new ones and much cheaper than new OEM GKN axles. I have a reman axle from NAPA on my car right now and have no complaints.
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Old 12-18-2013, 04:17 PM   #27
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Should I replace one Cv Joint ( Axle Shaft) or Both?

While we're talking about the cv shafts and joints. How much grease should be put into the joint if rebuilding the axle?

I have 1 pack of grease 120gr, GKN. Is that meant for one joint or both joints on one axle?


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Old 12-19-2013, 09:35 AM   #28
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How many miles on your car?
I'd just replace the bad axle... My experience w/BMW and a half dozen family Subarus here in Colorado is that they die slowly with plenty of warning and don't explode with your car bursting into flames. You'll usually here a regular clicking noise if you do slow circles with the wheel turned all the way left or right. If a boot bursts and throws grease everywhere sometimes you'll smell that if it hits anything hot under there.
If you have the car up, carefully inspect the axle boots on the other side as well as the steering boots for tears which are often hidden in the folds of the bellows. Move 'em around with your hands, pull and tug a little to find the cracks.
I stay out of the "new/rebuilt axle debate", do what you please.
Also, I wouldn't jump to replacing the 02 sensors. If a code reader gave you that, it's giving you a clue not necessarily telling you the part is bad. You may replace it and have the same code immediately. What codes did the car throw?
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:37 AM   #29
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How many miles on your car?
I'd just replace the bad axle... My experience w/BMW and a half dozen family Subarus here in Colorado is that they die slowly with plenty of warning and don't explode with your car bursting into flames. You'll usually here a regular clicking noise if you do slow circles with the wheel turned all the way left or right. If a boot bursts and throws grease everywhere sometimes you'll smell that if it hits anything hot under there.
If you have the car up, carefully inspect the axle boots on the other side as well as the steering boots for tears which are often hidden in the folds of the bellows. Move 'em around with your hands, pull and tug a little to find the cracks.
I stay out of the "new/rebuilt axle debate", do what you please.
Also, I wouldn't jump to replacing the 02 sensors. If a code reader gave you that, it's giving you a clue not necessarily telling you the part is bad. You may replace it and have the same code immediately. What codes did the car throw?
The car threw the heater control circut. Bank 1 sensore 2 and bank 2 sensor 2.
I checked all the connections and everything seems good. I havent checked yet but does my model have fuses under the hood? I know my buddys e46 m3 actually has a fuse for it.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:41 AM   #30
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The car threw the heater control circut. Bank 1 sensore 2 and bank 2 sensor 2.
I checked all the connections and everything seems good. I havent checked yet but does my model have fuses under the hood? I know my buddys e46 m3 actually has a fuse for it.
Oh yeah! Replaced the axle shaft. Running good
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:43 AM   #31
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I got one Cardone reman
Right, but I'm talking about 'new' axles.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:56 AM   #32
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Do NOT, repeat NOT, buy NEW axles from NAPA. Those are the crappy axles that will fail in 20k miles or less. However, buying the remanufactured axles from NAPA will give you rebuilt OEM axles that won't fail as easily. They are cheaper than the new ones and much cheaper than new OEM GKN axles. I have a reman axle from NAPA on my car right now and have no complaints.
I appreciate the offer of your personal experience. I'd like to offer mine, if you'd hear it.

1. Lifetime warranty from NAPA, at least here, means if you ever have a problem, you get another new one, free. I'm able to get labor comped as well.

2. My experience has been totally uneventful while selling, installing and following up on new axles from Napa. I've been in the business for a few months short of a decade.

3. My Napa sales rep recommended buying from the Dealership before buying a re-manufactured axle from him, as he has nothing but claims and problems with them.

I'm sure there are exceptions to this, and I'm POSITIVE that the fact that the sort of people would pass up a new axle for a reman just to save $9-15 probably make a lot of other poor decisions. I'll disclaim that there are circumstances where an OEM rebuild would be better, but those are typically remedied by a revised part (see: subaru aftermarket axle vibration in park issues).
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:00 AM   #33
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I realize that may have sounded like I was taking a swipe at you, SamDoe1, but I wasn't. I understand that your reasons for selecting the reman axle has nothing to do with cost; my statement was in reference to the whole spectrum of customers that my sales rep services.

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Old 12-19-2013, 11:12 AM   #34
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I appreciate the offer of your personal experience. I'd like to offer mine, if you'd hear it.

1. Lifetime warranty from NAPA, at least here, means if you ever have a problem, you get another new one, free. I'm able to get labor comped as well. Those of us that cannot get labor for free means that we spend another few hours under a car hammering an axle out of the hub rather than doing something much more enjoyable. If you get free labor then by all means install whatever you want. If I got free labor, I'd put in the cheapest axle possible and let the shop deal with replacing it on a yearly basis for free.

2. My experience has been totally uneventful while selling, installing and following up on new axles from Napa. I've been in the business for a few months short of a decade. Is this statement directed specifically at E46 Xi front axles or NAPA parts in general? While I appreciate your experience in selling these parts, if you read on this forum you will find that many, many people have had issues with them. I suspect that the reason for this is that the people on here pay far more attention to their cars and any issues than the average consumer. The random Peggy Sue out there with her E46 Xi would blow out her front diff long before she ever realized that it was leaking from the seal. She might also not even notice the grease splattered all over from the torn boot until after the labor warranty was over.

3. My Napa sales rep recommended buying from the Dealership before buying a re-manufactured axle from him, as he has nothing but claims and problems with them. Then why continue to sell them? Selling parts that have considerable warranty claims with a lifetime warranty seems like a poor business choice. Also, if there are this many issues with them then maybe the rebuild process needs to be revised?
See above. Not making a jab, just throwing my opinion out there.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:43 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Busy View Post
I appreciate the offer of your personal experience. I'd like to offer mine, if you'd hear it.

1. Lifetime warranty from NAPA, at least here, means if you ever have a problem, you get another new one, free. I'm able to get labor comped as well. Those of us that cannot get labor for free means that we spend another few hours under a car hammering an axle out of the hub rather than doing something much more enjoyable. If you get free labor then by all means install whatever you want. If I got free labor, I'd put in the cheapest axle possible and let the shop deal with replacing it on a yearly basis for free.
If you pay to have the part installed the first time, the warranty will cover having them do it again. For the DIYer, this isn't such a large boon, but working with the front ends of these XIs is a royal PITA (lots of threads talking about siezed axles, bearings that needed a 20-ton press to remove etc - did one of those bearings last night, actually, and F***, that was a B****)

2. My experience has been totally uneventful while selling, installing and following up on new axles from Napa. I've been in the business for a few months short of a decade. Is this statement directed specifically at E46 Xi front axles or NAPA parts in general? While I appreciate your experience in selling these parts, if you read on this forum you will find that many, many people have had issues with them. I suspect that the reason for this is that the people on here pay far more attention to their cars and any issues than the average consumer. The random Peggy Sue out there with her E46 Xi would blow out her front diff long before she ever realized that it was leaking from the seal. She might also not even notice the grease splattered all over from the torn boot until after the labor warranty was over. While the statement was about Napa reman axles in general, I don't think that it should be discounted. Reputation is important. Also, the Peggy Sues that come to see ME are/become well-informed, and because of good operating policies and procedures on my end, these things don't get that far. If I think a repair needs to be done, I address it, and we check every car, every service, every time they come into the shop (lightbulbs in the lot - not so much). As long as they come here, they're checked frequently.

3. My Napa sales rep recommended buying from the Dealership before buying a re-manufactured axle from him, as he has nothing but claims and problems with them. Then why continue to sell them? Selling parts that have considerable warranty claims with a lifetime warranty seems like a poor business choice. Also, if there are this many issues with them then maybe the rebuild process needs to be revised? NAPA is a franchise, so they have to do things the way corporate likes them. Totally agree about the revision process, and as I referenced but wasn't quoted on for whatever reason - "(see: Subaru aftermarket axle vibration in park issues).". Subaru front axles were a problem in the initial wave of aftermarket support, they'd but up against the driveline components in such a way as to transfer vibration to the body in park while not in motion. The second generation of these axles were redesigned to totally alleviate this issue, and they did exactly that. This is common procedure, so I don't doubt at all that the first run of aftermarket axles for the new (at the time) driveline configuration could've been plagued with various issues, by now the problems are likely sorted. BTW: Napa isn't my first choice for most things, as there is a local competitor that carries much better brands and keeps much better hours and delivery service, so I'm not a NAPA nut by any means.

TL;DR; If you pay a shop for this, go with a NEW napa axle. Either one will wear out but only the new one will be free to you the next 3 times it happens if you keep your car that long.
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:01 PM   #36
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TL;DR; If you pay a shop for this, go with a NEW napa axle. Either one will wear out but only the new one will be free to you the next 3 times it happens if you keep your car that long.[/SIZE]
Yeah, but if a GKN last 100k, and a NAPA lasts 20k, who wants the hassle of going back to the shop 3-4 extra times?
I have done 90%+ of the work on my cars over the last 30 years. Part is cost, part is that I like tinkering and the satisfaction of doing things right, but a BIG part is I hate dealing with shops. Even with the best ones, the logistics are a pain, and most are (sadly) not very good.
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:26 PM   #37
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does anyone produce a boot that can take more punishment? I did the passenger side of the car a few weeks back and used a boot replacement kit, after dealing with that BS I would rather spend a bit more for a new unit.
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:42 PM   #38
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does anyone produce a boot that can take more punishment? I did the passenger side of the car a few weeks back and used a boot replacement kit, after dealing with that BS I would rather spend a bit more for a new unit.
Why difficult? I rebuild the rear boots on mine and it was pretty simple.. Put the axle on a table, grab a beer and blast away with the brake cleaner and then nicely repack. Helps to have another set of hands tho once putting the boot back.

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Old 12-19-2013, 06:27 PM   #39
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Why I rebuild the rear boots on mine and it was pretty simple.. Put the axle on a table, grab a beer and blast away with the brake cleaner and then nicely repack. Helps to have another set of hands tho once putting the boot back.
Yea that was my experience also, What I may do is buy a new one and redo the other one so in the future if it rips I can just cycle them out. Annoying dinking around for 30-45 minutes cleaning and repacking the thing with a wife tapping her foot LOL. I understand that that CV boot will tear on cars but the XI's it seems a bit higher than normal. It also looks like the outer takes the most punishment because of the exposure.
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:30 PM   #40
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Yea that was my experience also, What I may do is buy a new one and redo the other one so in the future if it rips I can just cycle them out. Annoying dinking around for 30-45 minutes cleaning and repacking the thing with a wife tapping her foot LOL. I understand that that CV boot will tear on cars but the XI's it seems a bit higher than normal. It also looks like the outer takes the most punishment because of the exposure.
The outer is what goes first due to the exposure, your right. That's where mine went on the front left, outer. I picked up a cheap Napa axle and had it installed as i was in a rush, luckily I kept my OEM one and bought a repair kit which I am going to rebuild and put back in place hoping to fix my vibration issue.

Don't pick up the cheap boot kits from NAPA either, get the one from Pelican, I got one here besides me and the rubber is nice and sturdy yet soft. Also the repair kit I got is a GKN one.. the grease has GKN labelling all over it etc. If you need the exact details/part numbers let me know I can dig it up. While I've found the ones at NAPA/Advance Auto are just brittle they seem that if they ever got cold they won't just pop a hole with any ice..

oh and ditch the wife when you do the repair lol, invite a buddy over for assisting in the drinking and extra set of hands

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