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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 12-11-2010, 09:07 PM   #1
mcopenha
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 137
My Ride: '01 325xi, '73 2002
Xi Front axle, cv joint DIY

Hey fanatics. Spent a long day today replacing the front axles on my 2001 325xi. There are already several threads that contain DIY information on how to do this. For example,

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...light=cv+joint

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...light=cv+joint

And of course, there's the FCP-sponsored video on youtube:
.

They all contain good information, but I have a slightly different technique for installing the new axle that could prove useful. In my opinion, the most difficult part of the process is getting the new axle onto the wheel hub. Basically, I think the best way to go is to *remove* the wheel hub and install the axle to the hub on a bench. This was the best technique that I could find with the minimal amount of pounding, and without special tools.

Anyway, here's what I remember from the entire process:
  1. 1. Remove the center caps on the front wheels
    2. Loosen the axle nuts (36mm?) on both wheels. Do not remove the nuts, just break them. *Lot* of torque on these.
    3. Jack up the front wheels and place on jackstands.
    4. Now, working on one side, remove the axle nut, brake caliper, rotor, ABS sensor, and shield.
    5. Remove the tie rod from the hub.
    6. Remove the coller nut holding the strut in place. Pound downward
    on the hub until the struts comes out
    7. Use a piece of wood to pound on the front of the axle to push it
    out of the hub.
    8. Get underneath the car and use a coal chisel and hammer to push the
    other end of the axle out of the front differential.
    9. Use a puller to remove the hub from the lower ball joint.
    10. Remove the hub from the car.

With the hub out of the car, I put the new axle in a vise and pounded the hub on just far enough to thread the axle nut on and use an air wrench.

Here's a picture of the setup:

From 325xi Control arms and bushings


This is different from most DIY's I've seen that try pounding the axle in with the hub on the car. The problem with this technique is that it's very difficult to get solid hits on the end of the hub. You're also transmitting your blows through the entire axle, which is something I tried to avoid. Reassembly is much easier once the end of the axle is already attached to the hub.

Folks have also recommend replacing the inner axle seals on the differential. Very good idea. I bought my seals from the stealer and they were about $20 each; they're much cheaper versions available online. Removing the old seals is a PITA. You'll need a good seal puller to pry it out. I also had good luck with a puller with a slide hammer.

Another thing: I bought my axles from Rockauto; they were reman units from A1-Cardone. Given the amount of time I spent on this DIY, I wish I had spent the money to buy the OEM axles. I think it's worth the money. You don't want to have to perform this DIY that often. I'll report back on how the A1-Cardone axles are doing. During the initial test drive, everything felt awesome. We'll see. If I get 50K out of them, I'll be very pleased.

Last edited by mcopenha; 12-11-2010 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:30 PM   #2
BLAU III
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 660
My Ride: eat's cars.
how are your Cardone's holding up?
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