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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 06-16-2011, 07:14 PM   #1
Rickna
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Front Axle Seal Install

Looks like I have a leaking sel on the pass side. Are there any special tools I need? What is the R&R prodecure?
Thanx
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:14 PM   #2
Kubica
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Pry the old one out with a screwdriver. Unless you have BMW's special tool, you will have to use your hands to install. Don't remove the plastic insert yet and use the palm of your hand to make it sit correctly. Remember to remove the plastic and coat the seal in diff fluid.
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for your help.
I was thinking-this might be helpful. What do you think?

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Old 06-20-2011, 09:10 AM   #4
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^yeah that looks like the BMW tool.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
^yeah that looks like the BMW tool.
Thanks-much appreciated.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickna View Post
Thanks for your help.
I was thinking-this might be helpful. What do you think?

Before you purchase a race/seal driver kit, you should know that AutoZone will lend one to you for free.

Make sure to pound the seal in evenly and stop when its flush.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgXi View Post
Before you purchase a race/seal driver kit, you should know that AutoZone will lend one to you for free.
Yeah I know. I have a nice collection of tools, I don't mind adding to it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgXi View Post
Make sure to pound the seal in evenly and stop when its flush.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:47 AM   #8
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this might be redundant but:
- remove wheel
- zip axle nut off with air. (or put car back on the ground with wheel on but no center cap, using a long breaker bar, break nut loose (36mm 12pt)
- remove outer tie rod end (i usually back the nut off 3/4 then hit the ear the tie rod goes through (perpendicular to tie rod shaft/nut). hit hard enough and the tie rod will pop out without having to touch a ball joint separator or messing threads up)
- remove two bolts for the inner ball joints on control arm
- press axle out of hub (tap with hammer)
- pull whole hub assembly towards the back of the car (may have to remove sway bar link)
- remove cv from oil pan/diff (might have to pry a bit, but no worries since you are replacing that seal)
- R&R seal
- put everything back together
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbull 325is View Post
this might be redundant but:
- remove wheel
- zip axle nut off with air. (or put car back on the ground with wheel on but no center cap, using a long breaker bar, break nut loose (36mm 12pt)
- remove outer tie rod end (i usually back the nut off 3/4 then hit the ear the tie rod goes through (perpendicular to tie rod shaft/nut). hit hard enough and the tie rod will pop out without having to touch a ball joint separator or messing threads up)
- remove two bolts for the inner ball joints on control arm
- press axle out of hub (tap with hammer)
- pull whole hub assembly towards the back of the car (may have to remove sway bar link)
- remove cv from oil pan/diff (might have to pry a bit, but no worries since you are replacing that seal)
- R&R seal
- put everything back together
Thanks. I am familiar with the axle procedure.
After taking measurements of the axle seal, I found that the seal drivers in the kits won't fit properly. I am in the process of fabricating a driver in my shop.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:27 PM   #10
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^Just use your hands.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:48 AM   #11
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I just replaced my left CV axle. Is the axle seal something that I should have replaced at the same time as well? Or does the replacement CV axle come with a replacement?
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
^Just use your hands.
And damage my baby soft skin? LOL Yeah, I coud do that...
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by association16 View Post
I just replaced my left CV axle. Is the axle seal something that I should have replaced at the same time as well? Or does the replacement CV axle come with a replacement?
The seals are seperate item. The best time to change the seal is when you have the axle out.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:41 AM   #14
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If you don't change the seal out, there is a very good chance you'll end up with a leak.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgXi View Post
If you don't change the seal out, there is a very good chance you'll end up with a leak.
Yup. the 1st axle I replaced, the seal didn't leak. The 2nd time, the seal is leaking.
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:24 PM   #16
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i pressed mine in with a 3" peice of pipe I had laying around. I wrote up the little how to in case somebody was searching for the procedure.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:14 AM   #17
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Going to be tackling this on the upcoming weekend, any tips for doing the installation by hand?

Kubica mentioned coating the seal with diff fluid, so just a little along the inside/outside of the seal before I press it in?

Thanks!

Last edited by SaturnX; 12-01-2011 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:43 AM   #18
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From my experience the seals do not easily pop in and out, i used a seal puller and had to really pry it out. Use care not to marr the bearing pedestal. Definitely coat the whole seal in fresh oil. Take your time on the install so it doesnt go in cocked to one side. I used a hammer and the plastic frame that came on the seal to use as the seal driver. The metal frame on the seal OD is stronger than it looks. GL-
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:56 AM   #19
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I've always been able to line it up and bang it in with the palm of my hand. Just don't remove the plastic ring until it's all the way in. The TIS says to keep the plastic ring until the axle is inserted, then cut it off:

http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/06/10/97
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:59 AM   #20
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On a side note, do you guys have a vent tube on your front diff?:

http://tis.spaghetticoder.org/s/view.pl?1/06/18/07
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