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Old 05-13-2015, 08:32 PM   #1
ZWis212
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Front axle boot is ripped. Need opinion.

I have a 2003 325xi, and it was leaking oil so I had it looked at by a close indie shop. He took care of it and it was the oil filter housing gasket that is on the engine block. As he was changing it on the lift, he noticed that my boots on my front axles are ripped and said I should get them replaced within the next couple of weeks. I'm fine with that but then he brought up that replacing the boots is more work that just buying the new axles for each side and replacing those.

He told me that the local AutoZone has rebuilt bmw axles that work for $70 each that have a lifetime warranty on them so if anything happens to them that I can get them again for free except the labor.

Is that a good route to go? I just got this car about a month ago and don't know a whole lot about them.

He said it would be a lot more for labor in removing axle, replacing boot, packing grease and putting back on just to replace the boots rather than just getting the lifetime warranty on the axles and replace those. What do you think?

Not that I don't trust Autozone but I hear a lot of bad things on here about their "cheap" products and don't put that garbage on a bmw...
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:52 PM   #2
RichG
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http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=848529
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:53 PM   #3
JFern
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I'd say what you've heard about the parts at AutoZone is right.

What you need to determine is whether the axles are too far gone and actually need to be replaced. When the boots rip, the grease inside starts to come out over time. Once the grease is gone, dirt gets in and the CV joint starts to wear significantly, causing a "clicking noise" when going around turns. If you're at that stage, you need to replace the axles.

If you're not there yet, you just need to replace the boot and fill it with fresh grease. I don't buy the story that it would be a lot more in labor to replace the boot and grease compared to replacing the whole axle. Both procedures require removing the axle from the car.
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:56 PM   #4
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http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=13818182
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:04 PM   #5
ZWis212
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I don't have the clicking noise yet but I don't know what to do. That first link that RichG posted shows that some people think they work fine and others say not to. I'll have to read more about it.
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:24 PM   #6
RichG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZWis212 View Post
I don't have the clicking noise yet but I don't know what to do. That first link that RichG posted shows that some people think they work fine and others say not to. I'll have to read more about it.
Thankfully the dealer near Boston replaced my axles while I was picking up the car. I was so happy to get a good $9000 on my 125,000 mile 07 Mustang I didn't question it because they hated my car after they saw it. however I traded a car that was mechanically sound and I guess they wanted at that point to give me somrthing to make it back to CT. I should have asked what was under there when i had the control arms done a couple weeks ago.
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:25 PM   #7
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Change the axles - it's the same amount of work. There is a slight difference in the price of parts but for some reason when you buy the pre crimped axle kit the boots last longer.

I changed the boots only on one of my cars about 18 months ago - 2 months ago I noticed both boots ripped again. Come to think of it the boot kits were Victor Reinz - so I'll add those to my list of bad VR products along with his VCG.

This time I changed both axles for the Cardon reman axle kits.
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:29 PM   #8
ZWis212
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So you'd recommend going for the axles but not the autozone axles? I'll have to see how much more those axles are and go from there.
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:39 PM   #9
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I'm not saying the autozone axles are bad - it's likely they are reselling the same quality as I bought. - what I'm saying is replace the axles in lieu of just the boots. The difference is not much. If water or dirt got in the boots or they've been running dry - you will be doing this again very soon. For the price difference and piece of mind just replace the whole axle. It comes with the boots attached.
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Old 05-13-2015, 11:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZWis212 View Post
He said it would be a lot more for labor in removing axle, replacing boot, packing grease and putting back on just to replace the boots rather than just getting the lifetime warranty on the axles and replace those. What do you think?
I would agree with this. I recently replaced both front axles on my 330xi with Duralast remans from Autozone and haven't had any issues or concerns yet. If you follow my guide it's a relatively easy DIY. I could probably do both axles in under two hours if I had to do it again. From the research I did when making the same decision you're facing, there are 3 trains of thought:

1. Replace just the boots to save money and hope the damage isn't already done. The labor alone on this is a pain in the ass, and if the boots are completely split there's a good chance some damage has already been done.

2. Replace the axles with a cheaper reman that has a lifetime warranty and hope they last. This is the route I went, and I'm happy with my decision. Less than $200, a few hours and a six pack of beer is all it took.

3. Replace the axles with a high quality replacement so you don't have to worry. Many people on this forum spend too much money on their cars with parts that exceed the stock performance needs by a long shot. GKN axles have a great reputation, I just can't justify the price on my 11 year, 150k daily driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW-North View Post
This time I changed both axles for the Cardon reman axle kits.
If you decide to go this route, buy from RockAuto. The Cardone axles for the xi are $61.79 each.

Last edited by nallman; 05-13-2015 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 05-14-2015, 02:20 PM   #11
pc148
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Changing the axles with reman units is much easier than removing the axles and breaking them down and replacing the boots.
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