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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 11-10-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
330xiKen
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XI front axle DIY?

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...le+replacement

Right now I'm having problems getting the axle out of the hub. I'm going to try renting a slide hammer tomorrow to try.

Assuming I get that end out, what exactly do I need to do to get the axle out of hte differential? The Bentley book says "pry inboard CV joint out of front differential or bearin pedestal. Since I assume I need to reuse the joint sprint clip, I don't to damage that somehow when prying this out. Tips?

Thanks!
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Old 11-10-2009, 09:34 PM   #2
botaman
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I have attached some pix for you to see how to remove the axle spline from the hub.
From the differential is a lot easier. I used a long and bend screw driver from Harbor Freight, I wedged it some how and wacked with a good size hamer.
You can re-use the OEM cir-clips.
You also need to replace the radial seals, if you don't you may find a leak later.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:00 PM   #3
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:10 AM   #4
Mark M
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Awesome DIY video!! Thank you Rickna!

Very Timely too....just learned last night that my driver's side CV axle may need to be replaced. Will be crawing under tonight to further investigate! This video gave me the confidence to do the work myself.

Thanks...bookmarking that video!
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:08 AM   #5
Rickna
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Glad I could help.
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:52 PM   #6
Mark M
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So looks like prices for these CV Halfshafts are all over the map.

Dealer wants $600
FCP And Bav Auto want $200
Autozone / Napa wants $80

So help me out.....why would I pay $600 when I can source locally from Napa for $80? Napa even says they have a lifetime warranty. So for a part that only takes ~1 hour to install, why not take the gamble and order the Napa part?

Thoughts?
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:48 PM   #7
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I got the right side axle assembly from FCP groton for $140-lifetime warranty.
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:57 PM   #8
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There's quite a few options for axles, the price really depends on new OEM, new non-OEM, rebuilt OEM, rebuilt non-OEM. You can check out this thread for some other options: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=371676

To get the axle out of the hub, I used a hammer and a punch. No need to worry about damaging the old axle since it's bad already. To get it out of the diff, I used the same tools (The punch I used was about a foot long). Just put the punch on the large part of the axle shaft (right where it comes out of the diff, before the boot) and hammer it towards the outside of the car. It should pop out pretty easily.

Also, most axles come with a new circlip. If yours didn't come with one, I'd order a new one. You can certainly reuse your old one, but it only takes one burr on the circlip to make it impossible to get back out. If you have to remove the axle again and it won't come out, don't say I didn't warn you. Also, I'd recommend a new lip seal too (PN 33107505601).
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:14 AM   #9
TopazXi
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Having just replaced both of my front axles a few months ago. I just found a mass amount of grease inside my wheel and all over the back of my brakes...

There is a small hole on the outside boot of the passenger side axle.

Does anyone else here have experience with RMeuropean. I bought both axles from them, and it appears the hole had to have been there when I recieved it, because it isnt in a normal "wear" area. Kind of wondering if they will replace it...

Either way, I will end up doing a right up on how to remove a front axle soon.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:09 AM   #10
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The axle I got from FCP is from a company called DSS. I hoipe it's not the Chinese one .
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:43 AM   #11
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TopazXI,

According to Mekaneck's link above, RMEuropean is a supplier of the preferred brand of CV Halfshafts for our car - GKN Loebro. According to the above site, those made by GKN Loebro are the same identical parts to that sold at the BMW dealer because GKN Loebro also makes them for BMW. So technically you should have the preferred halfshafts.

However, all that hinges on the accuracy of the above site, I don't have facts or knowledge to comfirm if this is indeed true.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:51 AM   #12
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Just spent an hour or so under my car last night trying to diagnose the grease splatter I am seeing on the front left.

The outter boot is perfect, no leaks.....looks nice and dry on the outside.

The inner boot looks in great shape, no tears visible at all and beleive me I inspected closely. However there is grease splatter around the boot leaving a thin layer of grease on the surrounding areas.

It appeared that the inboard clamp was not tight enough and was possibly allowing grease to leak out. I tried to tighten this clamp but as my luck goes, it broke. Off to Autozone for a new clamp.....returned with all they had, some POS Chinese band and buckle. As expected - it failed. Rummage through the tool chest, found a nice big hose clamp. Carefully installed it and snugged her down. Will check the car again tonight to see if the leak is cured.

Yes, I did lower this car about 2000 miles ago - ~1.5 inch. H&R coilovers.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:54 PM   #13
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How many miles were on the car before you dropped it?

Did you have any axle issues before the drop? Are these still the original axles on your car now?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark M View Post
Just spent an hour or so under my car last night trying to diagnose the grease splatter I am seeing on the front left.

The outter boot is perfect, no leaks.....looks nice and dry on the outside.

The inner boot looks in great shape, no tears visible at all and beleive me I inspected closely. However there is grease splatter around the boot leaving a thin layer of grease on the surrounding areas.

It appeared that the inboard clamp was not tight enough and was possibly allowing grease to leak out. I tried to tighten this clamp but as my luck goes, it broke. Off to Autozone for a new clamp.....returned with all they had, some POS Chinese band and buckle. As expected - it failed. Rummage through the tool chest, found a nice big hose clamp. Carefully installed it and snugged her down. Will check the car again tonight to see if the leak is cured.

Yes, I did lower this car about 2000 miles ago - ~1.5 inch. H&R coilovers.
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark M View Post
Yes, I did lower this car about 2000 miles ago - ~1.5 inch. H&R coilovers.
Mark was curious too about the drop effecting your cv joints as I followed that you just recently did this. Have been considering going with the H&R but have of course heard about the problems that come with too much of a drop w/ our xi's.
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:57 PM   #15
TopazXi
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I know what axles I put in, they were GKN...which are exact OEM replacement axles, the very same ones the dealer uses.

When I researched the online companys selling axles, RMeuro was the cheapest.


I guess I just need to call RMeuro and see if they will send me a replacement.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:06 PM   #16
mekaneck
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CV problems due to too much of a drop on the XI is just misinformation that keeps spreading. Your axleshafts will be fine. I try to dispel this myth as much as I can, but it never sticks.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekaneck View Post
CV problems due to too much of a drop on the XI is just misinformation that keeps spreading. Your axleshafts will be fine. I try to dispel this myth as much as I can, but it never sticks.
So a drop of about 1.2" would be "safe"?
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekaneck View Post
CV problems due to too much of a drop on the XI is just misinformation that keeps spreading. Your axleshafts will be fine. I try to dispel this myth as much as I can, but it never sticks.
By all means please continue with dispelling the myth, just going off what word seems to be and would love to be told otherwise
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:25 AM   #19
MileHiXi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekaneck View Post
CV problems due to too much of a drop on the XI is just misinformation that keeps spreading. Your axleshafts will be fine. I try to dispel this myth as much as I can, but it never sticks.
I'm not sure I agree. The people who have said they had early failure on their CV boots also had their cars lowered. I know it's not rock solid evidence, but why do boots typically last 90 or 100k miles and then you have these random people saying they had to replace at 50k? I've had A LOT of AWD cars over the years: four audi quattros, 4 runner, range rover, x5 and this 330xi and each of them had CV's that lasted over 100k miles.

I think there is a reason BMW sold these cars with such ridiculous wheel gap. I don't think it was by mistake.
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:20 AM   #20
Mark M
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My car currently has 97,500 miles on it. The prior owner had the right side CV halfshaft replaced at about 65,000 miles. The left side is still all original from what I can tell, still has the BMW sticker on it.

I wanted an XI for the versatility of use all winter long as a daily driver...but I absolutely hated the 4x4 stance. I wanted it to have the stance of a stock 330ZHP. AKA not slammed, but a tasteful lowering. I installed the new suspension at about 95,000 miles.

My two cents - lowering will not cause your CV halfshafts to fail, but it will cause a change in geometry which may loosen some boot clamps that otherwise would have not had issue. Gone unchecked, this would lead to dry joints and a failed halfshaft which would feed the myth that lowering the XI kills halfshafts. Further, halfshafts are a common wear item that do need replacing...even on non-lowered cars.

Ever since lowering this car I peak underneath at the boots every two weeks just to be proactive. With the new clamp on now, she seems to be staying dry and clean - no leaks. But I will keep a close eye on it now. So in my case...perhaps the change in geometry (1.5" lowering) was enough to cause the clamp/boot seal to be compromised and begin to weap grease. By simply installing a new tighter clamp....I might have dodged the bullet. Time will tell!

Last edited by Mark M; 11-13-2009 at 08:33 AM.
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