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aioros
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This is just to put on writing and in pictures of my experienced on changing the left front cv axle on my 01 330 xi. I'm not gonna explain it step by step, you can look at a better DIY video on youtube, which I used as a reference. But I will point out some of the things that the video does not show.
Picture #1: I lifted the car and set it on jackstands

Picture #2: A look to the back side. You can see the boot all tore up and the grease all over the place. I found out that the tie-rod, the sway bar and control arm outer ball joint are bad and need to change.

Picture #3: I used a ball joint remover to remove the tie-rod end. i bought a tie-rod remover but it did not fit. I needed one that it is not wider then 2 3/4" on the top. you can see it in the last picture.

Picture #4: Something the video doesn't show is to remove the bolt holding what I believe is the speed sensor.

Picture #5: Tie-rod is off, sway bar is off (16mm wrench and torx wrench) and brakes and caliper are off. the video shows unscrewing the 2 guiding screws in the caliper but fails to say that you need to remove the 2 bolts that connect the caliper to the steering nuckle and to unscrew the cap for the brake fluid so you can remove the caliper from the rotors.

Picture #6: it was very hard to unscrew the axle nut (I don't have an impact gun) plus none of my two 36mm sockets fit in right. I bought one in sears thin enough to do the job. With everything out of the way, I used this phillips screw driver and a dead blow hammer to separate the axle from the hub. It need it a few hits.

Picture #7: self explanatory.

Picture #8: the old axle and the re-manufactured one from NAPA ($70 + $55 core)

picture #9: it shows everything put back together but it was a BIG-HUGE PITA to make the hub go in through/over the axle. i used a 2x4 and the dead blow hammer and pounded it very hard a lot, a lot of times until there was enough thread to screw the nut.

Picture #10: Tools that I used. 16mm-to-19mm sockets, 36mm socket, ball joint remover from harbor freight, 1" dia pipe as a cheater bar, torx wrench, hex socket wrenches, 16mm wrench, ratchets, lots of paper towels, carb cleaner, common sense, etc.
the two sockets on the top are the 36mm that didn't fit right in the axle nut.

Since I couldn't find the torque specs, this is what I used:
-axle nut 100ftlbs
-lug nuts 70ftlbs
-tie rod 50ftlbs
All other bolts very tight :p
 

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We want the Lion!
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Installing the hub back on to the axle was a major PITA, I agree. However, hammering on the hub, is it the only way to get the lock nut on to shaft?
I used a lead hammer and a large socket - DO NOT hammer against the bearing; you need to seat the socket against the steering knuckle.
 

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I am in the midst of doing this on my 330Xi and am at the point where I am trying to seat the new seal. After pounding on the seal for some time it still sticks out about 1/16 of an inch (1-2mm). This is the hard outer edge of the seal not the inner soft raised ring. Is this the proper seating or should the outer part of the seal sit flush?
 

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Finished this job last week on my 2004 330Xi - replaced the passenger side front axle and seal along with the swing support for the right side of the stabilizer (I broke the original when trying to loosen it).

What I learned in no particular order:

  1. Air tools are good. Without my cheapo 150PSI compressor and an air hammer I do not think I would have been able to get the pinch bolt off (#2 here http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showparts?id=EW53-USA-12-2003-E46-BMW-330xi&diagId=31_0564 ) and that was after soaking it for the better part of a week with PB Blaster.
  2. Get a long breaker bar. I think the one I used was 21 inches long.
  3. Rent a wheel hub puller. Advance Auto had exactly what I needed (you need the larger diameter variant). All they required was a deposit and its yours for up to 30 days. Sweet.
  4. Rent a torque wrench. See above. The only one I could find was a 250ft-lb variant. Since the wheel hub require 310~ft-lb I maxed it out and then found a burly friend to give it another 1/8 of a turn with the breaker bar. That should do it.
  5. Cold chisel worked like magic on bending the wheel hub nut back on. Screw driver just didn't cut it. Note that the original nut was 36MM but the GKN replacement was 34MM. Full stop and hit the local O'Reilly's for a new tool.....
  6. The seal....I was conflicted here. I couldn't remember if the as built stuck out a 1/16 of inch from the face or not. I checked my pictures and finally decided it did. I used a large (36MM) socket to evenly pound it in.
  7. Patience is key in getting the axle back in. Taking out was pretty easy. Pound Pound Pound. Turn 45 degrees. Repeat. Took a couple of minutes and it popped out. Putting it back in required a bit more finesse. I took it out twice to find the sweet spot. Again it was Pound Pound Pound. Turn. Repeat. "CLICK" or something similar. I used a GKN axle which has raised edges around the axle. These edges allow you to pound the axle home right at the seal so there is no issue of slamming the bearings in the boots. I also reused the original clip. It was tense as I had never done this before but it went in without any real problem. It does stick out of the casing slightly more than the original - about 1-2MM.
  8. You need a good sized rubber mallet to get the wheel hub assembly back together. I thoroughly cleaned with a brass brush both ends of the new axle and the inside of the wheel hub. I used oil from the casing for the interior axle and white lithium grease at the wheel hub
  9. I was going to replace the tie rods as I was in there and the car has 114k on it. Might as well. It didn't work out. I could not get the tie rod end attached to the steering rack loose. I even used the special "tie rod removal tool" as sold by Bav Auto and others. It just would not bite onto the rounded tie rod end. It doesn't help that the 330Xi has part of the frame right in the way as well. I gave up when I realized that the torque was 74 ft-lbs. There was no way I was going to be able to get the leverage to put it back on that amount of torque. I'm interested in hearing from any one who as done this successfully on a 330Xi.

Other than that - piece of cake. Just a big lego....
 

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Hi Riff, thanks for posting instructions and pictures. When looking at the picture of the inner axle joint I see markings of a GKN logo and part number. I'm developing a post comparing various axles, CV joints and boots.

1. Can you take another photograph of the markings?

2. Is the axle the original axle on the vehicle?
 

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Question on CV seals (red-ring version...)

All (apologies for old thread resurrection):

I'm about to embark on the fix on both sides, and see two types of axle-seals available; one has a red plastic ring, the other doesn't. I see the ring(s) shown in the picture above...'are those removed following installation, or are those retained - e.g. the splines pass thru the red ring?

I ask as I'd not imagine the rings were designed for tapping (you drive around the outside of a seal, not the inside) - so the rings have me perplexed!

Thx in advance
 

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All (apologies for old thread resurrection):

I'm about to embark on the fix on both sides, and see two types of axle-seals available; one has a red plastic ring, the other doesn't. I see the ring(s) shown in the picture above...'are those removed following installation, or are those retained - e.g. the splines pass thru the red ring?

I ask as I'd not imagine the rings were designed for tapping (you drive around the outside of a seal, not the inside) - so the rings have me perplexed!

Thx in advance
That's my pic. As I recall it's just for protection. I think you pop it off prior to putting the shaft back in.

Sent from my Moto G Play using Bimmerfest mobile app
 

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All (apologies for old thread resurrection):

I'm about to embark on the fix on both sides, and see two types of axle-seals available; one has a red plastic ring, the other doesn't. I see the ring(s) shown in the picture above...'are those removed following installation, or are those retained - e.g. the splines pass thru the red ring?

I ask as I'd not imagine the rings were designed for tapping (you drive around the outside of a seal, not the inside) - so the rings have me perplexed!

Thx in advance
Sent from my Moto G Play using Bimmerfest mobile app
 

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137 Posts
All (apologies for old thread resurrection):

I'm about to embark on the fix on both sides, and see two types of axle-seals available; one has a red plastic ring, the other doesn't. I see the ring(s) shown in the picture above...'are those removed following installation, or are those retained - e.g. the splines pass thru the red ring?

I ask as I'd not imagine the rings were designed for tapping (you drive around the outside of a seal, not the inside) - so the rings have me perplexed!

Thx in advance
That's my pic. As I recall they are just for protection. they pop off prior to putting the shaft back in

Sent from my Moto G Play using Bimmerfest mobile app
 

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Stick with your E46 folks; avoid E90's :-(

Following a TRIO of front cv axle premature-failures...imagine my shock when I applied extra light to the area around the front-diff mounting bracket; Lo and behold; two aluminum bolts had in fact sheared: This was causing the assembly to sag ~1.5 inches closer to the subframe...which was (likely upon mild bump) eating inner boots.

Right-or-wrong; those AL bolts got replaced with STEEL. This is a bargain, hi-mile ride, but I've had my fill of finding sheared soft stretch bolts on my garage floor and underpans. I'm thinking my E46 was that last model to have

Appreciate 0
 
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