E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > E46 Xi Forum

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.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 08-09-2013, 11:12 PM   #1
tanayast
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Posts: 19
My Ride: 2001 325xi
Another Front Axle DIY (2001 325xi)

First of all, I want to THANK YOU for the E46F members for their posts on the front axle replacements. It helped me tons doing mine.

I know there are a lot of good DIY already in this forum for Front Axle replacement, but I though I'd share my front axle replacement experience with you all. One more DIY with pics can't hurt, right? Plus it may helped someone else by providing more reference....

I ended up buying the GKN Loebro axles from Pelican. They're a bit more expensive than the Cardone reman ones, but still cheaper than getting them from BMW dealer.

What started this is the usual: Outer boots are ripped, grease all over the place, and clicking noise when turning. On my pics below, you'll see my brakes are removed and the car is entirely on jack stands because I ended up replacing all 4brake rotors and pads while I'm at it.

Some of the pics below are taken outside the actual car for clarity.

(1) Make sure the car is securely rested on Jack Stands. If possible, soak all the threads with PB Blaster the night before, it will make the job much easier



Remove the plastic undercarriage shields.

(2) As mentioned above, I removed all my brakes (although I don't know if it's necessary to do so if you're not doing brake job). Make sure the calipers are zip tied to the springs and not hanged on the brake line.

(3) I started removing the tie rod end on the passenger side, but later found out you DON'T NEED to remove the tie rod.

(4) Remove the sway bar link from the strut. Then separate the strut from the steering knuckle by removing the strut bolt and hit the steering knuckle with a hammer downward.

(5) To remove the Axle Nut: Hit the dimples on the nut using punch and hammer so it can turn. Afterward, I just hit it a couple times with an electric impact (while my other hand is holding the axle from behind the knuckle to minimize the axle spinning). A couple hits with impacts and the Axle Nut came out.



(6) To separate the outer CV from the hub: I rented an Axle Pusher tool from a local part store. Just bolt the flange on the hub using 3 lug bolts and tighted the center rod until it pushed the axle out.



(7) Now the fun part. To remove the inner CV, crawl under the car (again, please make sure the car is securely supported by jack stands) and using a punch or chisel (I have one from Harbor Freight with the rubber 'handle' that works great), hit the inner CV out from the diff. You can tell from the pics below where I hit it and how to access it from under the car:


This is where you hit:


What I did was hit it like 10x, do a quater turn, hit it another 10x, keep doing it and eventually the axle will pop out from the diff. Make sure the clip is out with the axle on the inner splines. Same procedure for both sides.

(8) Remove the output axle seals and replace with new ones. I got them from the BMW dealer, I think they're around $17 each. I used a round stock that fits inside the red plastic holder and tap them into place (see pic where I tapped them). Remove the red plastic holder afterward. Apply a little grease on the ID of the seals.



(9) While I'm at it, I drained both front and rear diff fluids (MAKE SURE you can open the fill plug prior to opening the drain plug - sorry to state the obvious ). For the rear, I re filled it up right away using transfer pump and closed the fill plug. For the front, wait to refill until both axles are in.

(10) A lot of people said reuse the old axle retaining C clip. I removed the old clips from the old axles and compared them with the new GKN clips. They are exactly the same size and shape, so I just used the new clips. But if you run into issue, you may want to try using the old ones. Make sure the clip opening is up top (12 o'clock)

(11) Driver's side (LHS) - Apply a little grease or anti-seize on the splines. Push the inner splines unto the diff and make sure they are aligned. Then using the dimples on the inner side of the CV, tap the axle into the diff (I used the HF chisel mentioned above). This is where you hit it:



(12) Passenger Side (RHS) - Apply a little grease or anti-seize on the splines. The key is to make sure it goes perfectly straight and aligned. What I did is cut a piece of 1x4 and placed it above the frame to support the axle, that way it's straight and not tilted down.



You can fine tune the height of the support by 'shimming' the 1x4 using piece of cardboard. Let the axle rest above the 1x4 then push in until the splies are aligned. After than, tap it using the same method as the driver's side discussed above. You may need to move the axle left / right to find the sweet spot, but once it's aligned you'll know as it will push in easier.



I actually had a hard time started it, so I did this (*but I don't recommend it unless you're desperate... like I was....)
Get a long 2x4, and rest it on the part of the inner boot that rested on the piece of the inner joint. Place a towel or rag in between the 2x4 and the boot to avoid damage AND if possible, round off the edges of the 2x4 a bit. Again, only do this if you absolutely can't push the axle in any other way AFTER you made sure they go in straight:



(13) Refill the front diff oil (don't forget!! )

(14) To insert the outer splies into the hub, I use a some anti-seize on the splines and get them aligned. After that I used a slide hammer to push in the hub. Just bolt the flange on the hub using the lug bolts and hit the hub with a slide hammer until enough thread is visible to start the nut (at least 3 turns).



(15) After that, install the nut and zap it using an impact until the front face of the thread is pretty much even with the nut and it won't move any more.



Do NOT stake the nut yet.

(16) Reinstall the strut, sway bar link, and tie rod (if you removed tem, but again, you don't need to).

(17) In my case, I reinstalled the brakes. Have someone hold the brakes and torque the axle nut to ~220 ft-lbs. After that stake the nut using a punch / chisel to prevent it from backing out.

(18) Reinstall tires, reinstall under carriage shields, lower the car, and torque the lugs.

(19) Test drive the car and listen / feel for anything out of place. If all goes right you shouldn't have any problem.

Sorry if it's a bit long and redundant, but I just feel like I should give back to this community that helped me so much already

Let me know if I missed anything and feel free to PM me with any questions.
Good Luck
tanayast is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 08-09-2013, 11:44 PM   #2
Shadow330xi
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 112
My Ride: 2001 Red 330xi
Awesome write up, definitely will be looking at this when I do mine! Thanks for taking the time!
Shadow330xi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2013, 03:01 AM   #3
dgknight
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 184
My Ride: 02 325xi 5sp 120k
+1 thanks!
dgknight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2013, 06:42 AM   #4
Kubica
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 4,354
My Ride: 2003 325xi
This is good.

I believe you must either release the bottom of the strut or control arm/tie-rod to get an axle out.
Kubica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2013, 08:58 PM   #5
xi_ter
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 2,221
My Ride: 2003 325xi
Good to see how to use this equipment for the axle replacement.
__________________
xi_ter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2013, 09:49 PM   #6
bilwltr5
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 22
My Ride: 2004 325 xi
Will be book marking this thread for future use. Its always nice to know the reference you need is readily available.
bilwltr5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2013, 11:40 AM   #7
xi-xi
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 29
My Ride: 2002 330xi
When I did this I had the lower control arm out so it wasn't necessary to remove the strut from the steering knuckle--it was easy to push it out of the way to get the axle out, even with the tie-rod still connected. I've read how a lot of people have to pound the axle to get it loose, but mine popped out easily. Went in easy, too. I used a new Cardone axle...so far, so good.

Last edited by xi-xi; 08-20-2013 at 11:42 AM.
xi-xi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2013, 12:28 PM   #8
GSherbs
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 400
My Ride: 2002 330 xi
Very nice!

Appreciate the write up!
GSherbs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2013, 01:54 PM   #9
TiAgXi
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: CO
Posts: 998
My Ride: e46xi, e46m
Nice write up.

A helpful method for removing the axles from the diff is to get a large diameter circle clamp to fasten around the axle in order to have a different point to place your lever. I put a pickle fork on the circle clamp to act as a lever, then I give the pickle fork a single large whack with a small sledge which pops the axle right out. I just recently learned this trick, so I thought I'd share.

Last edited by TiAgXi; 08-20-2013 at 01:54 PM.
TiAgXi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2013, 03:57 PM   #10
Kubica
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 4,354
My Ride: 2003 325xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by xi-xi View Post
When I did this I had the lower control arm out so it wasn't necessary to remove the strut from the steering knuckle--it was easy to push it out of the way to get the axle out, even with the tie-rod still connected. I've read how a lot of people have to pound the axle to get it loose, but mine popped out easily. Went in easy, too. I used a new Cardone axle...so far, so good.
Driver's side tends to go in/out much easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgXi View Post
Nice write up.

A helpful method for removing the axles from the diff is to get a large diameter circle clamp to fasten around the axle in order to have a different point to place your lever. I put a pickle fork on the circle clamp to act as a lever, then I give the pickle fork a single large whack with a small sledge which pops the axle right out. I just recently learned this trick, so I thought I'd share.
What's a circle clamp?
Kubica is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 10:47 AM   #11
Hogan773
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 790
My Ride: 2002 325xi
Awesome write up! Good job. Seals the deal for me that next time my axle goes, I'll still pay the couple hundred to my indy to do it for me though. I'm still new to the DIY thing and your writeup tells me that this ain't the job for me!
Hogan773 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 03:23 PM   #12
Big Rick
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Maryland - Land of Taxes!
Posts: 1,410
My Ride: 325Xi
Excellent write-up! Thanks for posting this.
__________________
NWS and Advertising Removed.
Big Rick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 08:07 PM   #13
fastjasonbmw
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: CO
Posts: 244
My Ride: 330Xi
I'd like to comment on step (8), lube the sealing surface. I also like to add a bit of grease to the inner part of the seal, where the spring resides, this helps keep the spring in place during re-installation of the axle. This also applies to any seal that has a spring around the inner seal surface. I also like to place a pry bar in the brake rotor vent veins and and place the handle of said pry bar against the fender liner (wheel well plastic) to make the removal/installation of the axle easier (more space to work). just pay attention to the brake line, so it is not overly stretched. With the right tools and knowledge/experience, you can bust out a front outer CV boot replacement under 30 mins. But, you're better off replacing the inner and outer CV boots at the same time. Don't forget to apply silicone/RTV to the inner CV boot rubber piece sealing surfaces. My opinion: I like to remove the lower control arm outer ball joint nut, to separate the control arm from the knuckle, a ball joint separator tool is recommended.

Good DIY!

Last edited by fastjasonbmw; 08-21-2013 at 08:19 PM.
fastjasonbmw is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2013, 08:42 PM   #14
TiAgXi
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: CO
Posts: 998
My Ride: e46xi, e46m
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Driver's side tends to go in/out much easier.



What's a circle clamp?
one of those steel circular bands that tightens. like what they use to secure hoses'n'things.
TiAgXi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2013, 09:09 PM   #15
tanayast
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Posts: 19
My Ride: 2001 325xi
Thank you all for the kind words and adding to this DIY!
Let's keep helping each other out

Last edited by tanayast; 08-24-2013 at 09:19 PM.
tanayast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2013, 04:02 PM   #16
Mannydog
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Washington State
Posts: 102
My Ride: '02 330Xi 5spd
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanayast View Post
Thank you all for the kind words and adding to this DIY!
Let's keep helping each other out
tanayast:

This was a big help last weekend changing my drivers side axle, thanks!

The seal I used didn't have the clip, but for the passenger side (next weekend), I have an OEM BMW seal on the way that should have the clip.

What is the diameter of the stock you use to tap in the seal (which, BTW, looks a lot easier than what I went through to get the first seal in)?
__________________

'02 330xi 5 spd
Mannydog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2013, 10:19 AM   #17
mvance30
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NJ
Posts: 101
My Ride: 2002 325xi
I'm sure this is probably mentioned somewhere but I cant find it. Replacing diff fluid is needed and/or recommended? if so what weight would I need? Redline would work?
mvance30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 09:19 AM   #18
Mannydog
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Washington State
Posts: 102
My Ride: '02 330Xi 5spd
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastjasonbmw View Post
I'd like to comment on step (8), lube the sealing surface. I also like to add a bit of grease to the inner part of the seal, where the spring resides, this helps keep the spring in place during re-installation of the axle. This also applies to any seal that has a spring around the inner seal surface.
Good DIY!
What he said!
After installing a GKN axle (and OEM seal) on the passenger side, I had a serious leak.

I thought it must be the support bracket/pedestal, so I got a new on and installed (luckily I read fastjason's tip and added grease). After installation I did a little forensic work on the old support bracket and found the spring from the seal cuddled up next to the bearing inside the support bracket.

Thanks Jason, I never would have thought about the spring coming off if I hadn't seen your post!
__________________

'02 330xi 5 spd
Mannydog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2014, 01:16 PM   #19
thassler25
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 10
My Ride: 2002 BMW 325xi
axle gap problem

I just completed this job the other day and your DIY was a big help! I do have a problem though. I just noticed a gap between the axle and where the differential seal goes. Its about a quarter inch, maybe a little less. I already have everything back together and had an alignment done. Do you think it will work its way back in? I'm not sure if I should leave it alone or pull it apart and beat it in further. What is your thought? There might be a little oil dripping out too. I'm gonna go drive it around a little more and double check that.
thassler25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2014, 02:04 PM   #20
Mannydog
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Washington State
Posts: 102
My Ride: '02 330Xi 5spd
Exclamation

NO!

Don't drive it! You will leak dif fluid and risk damaging the dif!
It's not all the way in and it can take several tries to get it seated (the snap ring has to go past the internal splines into the corresponding groove).

Possibly the most frustrating part of the whole axle change procedure.

I seriously doubt it will work its way in on its own.
__________________

'02 330xi 5 spd

Last edited by Mannydog; 03-21-2014 at 02:05 PM.
Mannydog is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use