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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 12-11-2019, 01:08 PM   #21
glacierXI
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My Ride: 330Xi
https://www.rmeuropean.com/bmw-e46-a...placement.aspx


here we go.

Last edited by glacierXI; 12-11-2019 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 12-11-2019, 01:14 PM   #22
Brewtus79
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My Ride: M3 Vert, 330xi, X5
Year: 2002
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Originally Posted by glacierXI View Post
I edited my post as I thought you were taking bout the outer bearings. I dont remember how I did the inner joint. might have been some clips in the inner. I guess before you attempt it make sure you know you have the gnk axles first.
Gotcha. Both times I had boots torn they were the inners. I ought to be good for awhile. If it happens again I may try the boot route and not worry about ruining the axle.

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Old 12-11-2019, 01:25 PM   #23
glacierXI
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https://www.rmeuropean.com/bmw-e46-a...placement.aspx


I remember those getting the pliers for those clips. Its not horrible job if you want to save some money. axle prices have dropped a lot too when i did it 4 years ago the pass axle was 450 or 500 bucks from fcp. At least now i have the lifetime warranty on both.

Mine always rip on the outer join by the wheel hub. my 4 year old one is already ripping ;(

Once you take it apart you'll see they are pretty damn strong. Mine looked fine inside no signs of wear wasn't even any dirt in it.

Last edited by glacierXI; 12-11-2019 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:42 PM   #24
Brewtus79
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Originally Posted by glacierXI View Post
That link is the key! Looking at that, I got to the point of knocking off the 3 bearings and quit. Thanks again glacier.

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Old 12-21-2019, 07:24 PM   #25
christospap
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My Ride: 2005 330xi
Year: 2005
Model: 330xi
Transmission: manual
When I did both drive shafts in my 2005 330xi I followed a different procedure, I removed the strut and the steering arm from the bearing carrier. Then you can swing the carrier out to remove the shaft. I found that procedure far easier than removing the control arm.

Both axles came out easily by simply pulling them, and went back equally easily by giving them a good push. One drive shaft refused to go in easily at first, so I realigned the spring clip on the splines so it is centered. Went in on the second try.

I would not replace the entire original drive shaft if the CV joint is still good. I have had problems with aftermarket shafts, plus it's cheaper to replace the boot alone. I use GKN boots, they are cheap.

Unless you live in the rust belt, the hardest part is removing the axle nut. You need an impact wrench for that. I have a Ryobi 1/2" cordless impact wrench, and using a heavy-duty impact socket both axle nuts came off easily. Your experience may be different, there was no rust on mine.

To separate the CV joint I put the shaft on a vice and using a drift with a 3 lbs hammer I just pound it off. Unless your spring ring is mangled it should come off relatively easily. I mark the CV joint so it will go back in with the same orientation.

I have not done the inner joints, those rarely go bad.

I find that replacing the CV boot is such an easy job that I do not foresee buying a complete drive shaft unless the old is damaged. I did not replace the seal in either case and had no leaks.

Chris.
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Old 12-25-2019, 10:43 PM   #26
jmo69
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I just did the drivers side axle for a friend and although I used to drop the knuckle off the strut, I dropped the control arm at the outer ball joint with my HF ball joint tool. We were putting things back together after about 40 minutes. I have no desire to break the pinch bolt in the knuckle and have to drill it out. The ball joint was less than a year old and with a little patience it came apart. I have an Earthquake 3/8" impact that hasn't had a problem with the axle nuts.
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Alternative to expensive xi control arm bushings
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Bad outer xi ball joint?
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1998 328is 5sp
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Old 12-25-2019, 11:00 PM   #27
christospap
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Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
I just did the drivers side axle for a friend and although I used to drop the knuckle off the strut, I dropped the control arm at the outer ball joint with my HF ball joint tool. We were putting things back together after about 40 minutes. I have no desire to break the pinch bolt in the knuckle and have to drill it out. The ball joint was less than a year old and with a little patience it came apart. I have an Earthquake 3/8" impact that hasn't had a problem with the axle nuts.
Is it enough to separate the ball joint from the knuckle? I have not tried it this way since separating the strut from the knuckle works so well for me. I still have to separate the tie rod from the knuckle so if your method only needs to separate the outer ball joint from the knuckle then that's theoretically better.

You are of course right about going the least risky route. I had no trouble separating the strut in two different cars, but one should assess each situation individually. I also like to remove the bolt from the strut so I can put anti-seize on it for future repairs.

Chris.
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Old 12-26-2019, 07:21 AM   #28
jmo69
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I've done the strut bolt a few times, but never had to take the tie rod off. Just easier to get the ball joint back into the knuckle than the strut.

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