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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 07-07-2015, 11:08 PM   #1
joe lochner
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: albany ny
Posts: 8
My Ride: 2003 bmw 325xi
Replacing CV axle..Need Help!!

I have a 2003 325xi in the northeast. Only 61K miles but the driver side cv boot ripped. I am attempting to replace the axle. I may just replace the boots since I caught the rip very early and I've heard the BMW OE axles are much better than re-conditioned ones.
Here's where I need advice. I have run into 2 problems. I got caliper , sway bar and tie rod disconnected and out of the way. Although I applied PB the strut pinch bolt head broke off. Also the screw holding the DSC pulse generator cable to the carrier is frozen solid with rust to the carrier. The screw takes a 5mm hex bit but I'm afraid I'll strip it/round out the head trying to loosen it. I have drilled holes in both ends of the pinch bolt with my home hand drill, bombed it with penetrating oil and acetone for over a week and then tried to easy out the bolt but won't budge and I don't want to break off the easy out bit in the bolt. I have applied some propane heat but am afraid too much heat could be dangerous since it will transfer to the strut and I've read on here the gases in the strut could explode if heated. Is that true?
What should I do? I see 2 alternatives. I could give up, put the car together and have it towed to my indy mechanic who would complete the job. Or from reading related threads I could try to drill out completely the pinch bolt (which would take a long time) and either tap and replace it with a new bolt or replace it with a non threaded E90 pinch bolt and nut (item 3 and 4 in link)


If I travel down this road however and fully drill out the pinch bolt and can't complete the job I question even if I can move the car to tow it since I'm not sure the strut would collapse with weight on it with no pinch bolt.
What should I do?
Finally I'd like to remove the DSC cable from the brackets to disconnect it the socket housing in the wheel well but I can't get the cable out of the bracket. Any help here also?
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Denver
Posts: 124
My Ride: 323ci
Replace only the boots and regrease if it's not clicking. Definitely go that way!!!

About the pinch bolt, I would try to drill trough it completely and then use and easy out bit. Which may or may not break. If if breaks I would just run a larger drill bit and use a non threaded bolt.

I believe that if everything fails you're still safe to drive slowly and avoiding potholes even with that bolt missing.
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:59 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: El Paso
Posts: 158
My Ride: BMW 2003 330xi
You don't need to do all of this for the axle.. Just remove the strut bolt and it'll drop down. Needless to say you need to remove the axle nut as well and beat it out of the hole it goes into.
Then go to your transmission with a crowbar or a huge screwdriver, and beat against the edge of the axle connected to the transmission. It takes some force, but it will pop right out.
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:18 PM   #4
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 67
My Ride: 325xit
zombie thread, i hope Joe found a solution without too much headache. i'm only replying now to contribute to the database.

i had the same issue arise when i overhauled my suspension a while back. sheared strut pinch bolt, and there was simply no way that beyotch was coming out. i made no headway with easyouts, they just broke as well. the corrosion on that bolt made it a permanent part of the steering knuckle. i ended up replacing the whole steering knuckle. fortunately i didn't need the strut since i was putting new ones in there, but i stripped everything else i could from the old knuckle and cut my losses. it was an expensive mishap.

so on the other side i was determined not to do the same thing. i had the car on jacks for weeks and would go into the garage a couple times a day and hit the pinch bolt with heat, a hammer, and a few different kinds of liquid wrench/pb blaster, etc. then i gave it a couple squirts with an impact wrench, backwards and forwards. i lost count of the number of times i did this before it finally broke free.

the salty road conditions in the NE mean this is not uncommon. just something to be aware of.
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