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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 09-11-2013, 01:08 PM   #1
SamDoe1
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CV Boot (Not Axle) Repack and Replace

Being that I've only ever replaced the axle and never replaced just the boot and grease (never caught it in time), can anyone walk me through the process of repacking and replacing just the boot? I'm good to go through the point where I have have to yank the inner boot off the inner drive shaft that goes into the diff. What do I do after and what should I expect and/or look out for?
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:53 PM   #2
kljohnsn63
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I just did this job. The hardest thing is getting the outer ball joint on the lower control arm out of the steering knuckle without damaging the boot on the ball joint. If you want to do this you'll need the special tool. I was saved that expense since the boot on one of the ball joints was ruined anyway. I ended up replacing both the lower control arms and the associated ball joints (there are two per control arm) and the bushings. I had to put a torch to the steering knuckle to get the ball joint stub to come out - with a good deal of persuasion from hammer & fork (the fork is now scrap).
If you've replaced the front axle before I'm guessing you've been through all that. Which boot are you replacing? If it's the inner you might save time by separating the rest of the axle from the outer race of the inboard joint rather than pulling the whole thing out of the transmission.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:00 PM   #3
radaddict
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Found this in the DIY section:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...hlight=cv+boot
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:11 AM   #4
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kljohnsn63 View Post
I just did this job. The hardest thing is getting the outer ball joint on the lower control arm out of the steering knuckle without damaging the boot on the ball joint. If you want to do this you'll need the special tool. I was saved that expense since the boot on one of the ball joints was ruined anyway. I ended up replacing both the lower control arms and the associated ball joints (there are two per control arm) and the bushings. I had to put a torch to the steering knuckle to get the ball joint stub to come out - with a good deal of persuasion from hammer & fork (the fork is now scrap).
If you've replaced the front axle before I'm guessing you've been through all that. Which boot are you replacing? If it's the inner you might save time by separating the rest of the axle from the outer race of the inboard joint rather than pulling the whole thing out of the transmission.
I'm going to do both boots since it appears that I will have to remove the inner boot to remove the outer boot. Is that correct? Only the outer boot is torn so if there's a way to just remove that one without bothering with the inner, I'd be ok with that. I don't have a problem with getting the axle out but I'd like to accomplish this with as little work as possible.

Also, I'm replacing the control arms at the same time so I've already removed them and all associated ball joints and bushings. They weren't much of an issue when presented with a pickle fork and a 4lb hammer. Now I'm just waiting for my parts to come in the mail. Having a 3rd car is awesome for saving money...even when it does 14mpg.

Last edited by SamDoe1; 09-12-2013 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
Hogan773
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My outer boot is leaking. Is it easy for me to try to tighten up the clamp or something, or is this something I need to take to my indy and have him replace the boot? I'm a beginner DIYer who can do oil changes but I'm not interested in hammering my front suspension with pickle forks and sh*t - I think that is too advanced for me.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
e46alfonso
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it would be easier to remove the whole axle.
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
ixtoxi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
I'm going to do both boots since it appears that I will have to remove the inner boot to remove the outer boot. Is that correct? Only the outer boot is torn so if there's a way to just remove that one without bothering with the inner, I'd be ok with that. I don't have a problem with getting the axle out but I'd like to accomplish this with as little work as possible.

Also, I'm replacing the control arms at the same time so I've already removed them and all associated ball joints and bushings. They weren't much of an issue when presented with a pickle fork and a 4lb hammer. Now I'm just waiting for my parts to come in the mail. Having a 3rd car is awesome for saving money...even when it does 14mpg.
Remove axle. Cut old outer boot off of axle. Using a ball peen hammer, knock the outer CV joint off the axle splines. Clean all old grease out of the CV joint with kerosene or other solvent. Dry CV joint with compressed air. Repack CV joint with high-temperature grease. Slide new boot onto splined end. Hammer CV joint back onto axle. Slide boot over CV joint. install small and large CV boot clamps. Reinstall axle.

This is a VERY messy job, but not technically difficult, unless you disassemble the CV joint - getting it all back together can be tricky.
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #8
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ixtoxi View Post
Remove axle. Cut old outer boot off of axle. Using a ball peen hammer, knock the outer CV joint off the axle splines. Clean all old grease out of the CV joint with kerosene or other solvent. Dry CV joint with compressed air. Repack CV joint with high-temperature grease. Slide new boot onto splined end. Hammer CV joint back onto axle. Slide boot over CV joint. install small and large CV boot clamps. Reinstall axle.

This is a VERY messy job, but not technically difficult, unless you disassemble the CV joint - getting it all back together can be tricky.
Can I knock out the outer joint without removing axle? From what I've read online, you can just hit it with a hammer and screw driver to knock it out. Would rather not replace seals and other such fun things.
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:51 PM   #9
ixtoxi
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Yeah, I think you can. I had a leaky seal, so I removed the whole axle.
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:55 PM   #10
SamDoe1
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^ I'll give it a shot and take some pics. Maybe I'll make a DIY while I'm at it. Thanks for the advice, I fully expect to be covered in grease by the time I'm done with this.

For anyone looking for a generic boot replacement guide, here's an awesome one:
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:27 AM   #11
kljohnsn63
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If you are going to do the outboard boots the axles will definitely have to come out of the car. As stated above the CV joint is attached to the axle shaft with a circlip; you will need to knock it off with a mallet. Once you have the CV joint off the axle carefully inspect it to make sure there is no debris in the joint. Unless you are going to completely disassemble the joint (which I don't suggest unless you have done it before) I suggest that you DO NOT use a solvent to clean the CV joint. Any residual solvent left in the joint can break down the grease. Before you get started, a list of parts and tools you will need (others please help if I've left anything out):
- shop manual if you don't already have one (Bentley has a good one but they're expensive)
- new axle nut (these aren't reusable, and they are a pain to get off, you'll need a punch and hammer)
- 40mm socket for axle nut
- ball joint removal tool for the tie rod end (can be had pretty cheap), there's a different one for the lower control arm ball joint (I had a hard time finding this one and it's a bit more $)
- pry bar to get the inner joint out of the transmission. Judging from the illustrations in the manual it looks like it's held in with a circlip, but I haven't pulled one out on this car before.
- drive axle seal (where the inner axle stub goes into the transfer case)
- crimping tool for boot clamps. The special tool from Oettiger (the clamp manufacturer) is over $200, so unless you're planning on doing this regularly or have a liberal budget for special tools.... I used a dull pair of end cutters. Be careful not to damage the clamp if you're using some type of end cutter!!
- boot and grease (obviously! lol)
Skimming through the manual I don't see where it says to drain the oil before removing the axle, but as I said earlier, I haven't personally done this one myself. Double check that.
Hope all this helps. Good luck!
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Old 09-16-2013, 04:15 PM   #12
SamDoe1
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So I started doing the work on this and got to the point of getting the axle back together and it was a giant pain in the ass. At the end, I couldn't get the axle back together properly without all the internals moving around so I just said fvck it and went to NAPA to get a Cardone axle. I made sure it was a GKN reman (you can tell by the hex shaped inner joint housing) and will be putting it in tonight.

So to summarize, don't bother spending the $35-40 on boots when you can get a reman from NAPA for $80 and $15 for the seal. Just make sure you get the OE reman axles. It's a hell of a lot less work and a lot less of a mess, repacking the joints blows like a $2 hooker.

Also, I bought the boot crimp tool so if anyone wants it, you can have it for $10 just pay for the shipping.

Last edited by SamDoe1; 09-16-2013 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:24 PM   #13
SamDoe1
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Follow up:

New seal in, new axle in, new control arms and bushings in, no leaks, no vibrations, and I've FINALLY figured out what the fvcking buzzing sound at 2k rpm is. It's the heat shield that covers the passenger side bushing mount hitting the rear of the front subframe. When you tighten down the underbody panels, they push it against the subframe and prevent it from rattling. 2k rpm must be it's resonant frequency.
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