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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 12-15-2019, 11:35 PM   #1
Grantgsr
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Help getting CV axle fully seated

I'm new here and have a 2003 330xi. Replacing the front passenger CV axle with an aftermarket unit and also the seal as well. No real problems until I installed the new axle. It slid in and "clicked" but it stopped with about 1/8 inch gap between the big drum of the axle and the housing/seal, and no matter how much I push and wiggle the axle it won't go that last little bit. I don't really understand why it needs to be virtually flush against the housing since the axle spins and the housing doesn't and it doesn't seem right to have unlubricated spinning metal flush against another non moving metal surface. Anyway, this kind of aftermarket axle is completely round where it butts up against the differential housing/seal so there is no groove or lip or anything to put a screwdriver on and hammer it up tight. The axle is in well, I checked and can't pull it out easily by hand. So, am I right to assume I need to find a way to draw it up tight against the housing/seal? If so, any great ideas how? Can/should I beat the end of the axle with a sledge to knock it home? That seems like a bad idea but I'm at my wit's end. Thanks,

Grant
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:35 PM   #2
jmo69
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You probably are all done by now but I grab the axle shaft and once the splines are engaged and the C-clip has the opening at the 12:00 position I just give it a good hard shove and the clip is seated it's good. If there are any grooves in the housing you can try a hammer and a pry bar or big screwdriver. If you can't pull it out you should be good.
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Last edited by jmo69; 12-16-2019 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:31 PM   #3
Grantgsr
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Thanks. I haven't yet finished. I can't easily pull out the axle but that little gap makes me worry that dirt and grit will quickly get in and destroy the seal. I guess I'll either keep trying to get the shaft further in or just tighten everything up and try it a bit as is, worrying the whole time.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:24 AM   #4
jagmandan
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I noticed the same with an aftermarket axle (Carquest) that I'm running at the moment. It just looked a little off to my eye, but it wasn't coming back out so I have run it. It's not going anywhere. Probably just minor design differences. Agree with jmo69, I think you're good. Check it after a few drives to make sure it's not walking out.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:57 AM   #5
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Mine is also a carquest. I guess I'll try it as is.
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Old 12-18-2019, 12:35 PM   #6
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I have a friend coming over tonight to change an axle on his car. IDK the brand but I'll check to see how much of a gap there is.
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Old 12-18-2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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Great. Thanks!
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grantgsr View Post
Great. Thanks!
Finished in record time, had things going back together after about 40 minutes. But the devil is in the details and the fiddly stuff takes time. I got one pic that shows the gap but it's at an angle and I think it's less than 1/8". The axle is a cheap one off of Amazon and matches the one on the passenger side.
Apparently there is a rubbing sound on hard right turns and a bystander heard a clunk when when he drove into the parking lot at work. The axle we changed was the left (drivers side). He didn't hear any clunking inside the cabin other than the struts, He's going to check underneath after work. I'll try to keep this updated.

The rubbing sound is the tire rubbing on the inner fender, the snow tires are just too big or the offset is wrong.
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Last edited by jmo69; 12-20-2019 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 12-24-2019, 07:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Grantgsr View Post
Mine is also a carquest. I guess I'll try it as is.
Any updates or issues on your axle?
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Old 12-25-2019, 10:10 AM   #10
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Sorry, not yet. It's my son's car and he doesn't yet have his license so I've not been in too much of a rush, especially trying to get Christmas stuff done and being out of town. I'll probably get to it tomorrow or the next day and I'll try to remember to post whatever I figure out.
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Old 12-25-2019, 11:30 PM   #11
jmo69
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I think you'll be good, if the gap really concerns you maybe make dust shield out of something to protect the gap. Can't say where to attach it though.
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Old 01-24-2020, 10:23 PM   #12
gordo325xiwagon
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I've used the same original axles, but had them rebuilt... twice. Each time they came back with new c-clips that were difficult to snap in place. Fortunately, I kept the original c-clips and they snap in place w/o issue. Could be your problem also??
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:32 AM   #13
jmo69
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Originally Posted by gordo325xiwagon View Post
I've used the same original axles, but had them rebuilt... twice. Each time they came back with new c-clips that were difficult to snap in place. Fortunately, I kept the original c-clips and they snap in place w/o issue. Could be your problem also??
I always use the C-clip that was on the axle I took out.
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