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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 12-06-2019, 08:15 PM   #1
fanatichuman
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Question about replacing my cv axle boots (front, XI)

Hi all,

I see the boot on one of my axles starts looking frail, so I'd like to change it. I'll do this together with wheel bearings.

Now, in this DIY: https://www.rmeuropean.com/bmw-e46-a...placement.aspx
, the person says that one needs a press to get the tripod joint off!? But I don't see this in other DIYs.

I guess my question is, what tools do I need to complete the front axle boot diy on an XI after I got the axle out of the hub?

Also, if you don't mind:

1) Do I have to replace the axle shaft seal after this DIY?
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...al-33107505601

2) Do I have to re-grease the splines on the cv axle that go back into the differential? Do I have to re-grease anything else in general, except the cv joints?

3) Apart from burping, is there anything special I have to do with the boot other than sliding it over and tightening it down?

Cheers,
fana
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:08 PM   #2
e46alfonso
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Never replaced the boot before, never will. Just replace the whole axle.
Use anti seize on the splines that go in the wheel bearing and oil on the splines that go in the diff. always replace the diff seal when doing this job. Get new strut pinch bolts and some diff oil obviously
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:19 PM   #3
fanatichuman
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Why would I replace a perfectly fine OE axle, nah.

Thx for the other advice though.

The oil that goes on the axle splines that go in the diff is also the diff gear oil, right?

Re the diff gear oil. I didn't see anything about that in other diys. How much diff oil will I lose when taking out the axle?

Thx,
Fana

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Old 12-06-2019, 10:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by fanatichuman View Post
Why would I replace a perfectly fine OE axle, nah.

Thx for the other advice though.

The oil that goes on the axle splines that go in the diff is also the diff gear oil, right?

Re the diff gear oil. I didn't see anything about that in other diys. How much diff oil will I lose when taking out the axle?

Thx,
Fana

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You will lose very little dif oil but it wouldn't be a bad idea to change it, the front dif takes less than a quart. I've never changed a boot, just axles. I always replace the seal, last 2 I used Cortecos, just have to be careful sliding the axle and C clip back in. A little gear lube on the seal and maybe some anti-seize on the hub splines. My last one I was able to use the Harbor freight ball joint separator to drop the control arm out of the knuckle to get enough clearance to get the axle out. No experience with boot changes.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:26 PM   #5
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I bought a boot kit from FCP, believe the GKN brand. Got to the part with the triple roller bearing and no further. Said to hell with it and bought an axle at NAPA for $80 bucks or so. Had a corteco seal on hand, but didnt replace it and it hasn't leaked.

Fast forward a few months and the pass side inner boot is beat as well. Noticed when I pulled the axle the lower 1/3 of the seal area of bearing pedestal is gone. Chose to replace the seal this time with one I didnt use on driverside. Got boogered up when I drove it in so ordered a whole new pedestal with seal already installed. Felt better about it afterwards bc I had my doubts to the seal working properly with part of the housing missing.

I went same route as jmo69 and left knuckle attached to strut tower and disconnected the control arm and tierod. Pass side is b***h bc of its length.

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Old 12-07-2019, 12:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Pass side is b***h bc of its length.
I've done the passenger side on mine 3 times and it's no harder than the drivers side IMHO. I just have to pound the f**k out of the hub to get it back on the axle. The drivers side on mine and the 2 I've done on other cars have just slid on by hand.
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:09 AM   #7
Brewtus79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
I've done the passenger side on mine 3 times and it's no harder than the drivers side IMHO. I just have to pound the f**k out of the hub to get it back on the axle. The drivers side on mine and the 2 I've done on other cars have just slid on by hand.
Now that you say that I recall what made it easier to get the passenger side back in. I couldn't generator enough force to fully seat the axle into the differential by pushing the axle alone.
So after the axle was partially seated I put hub onto the outer portion of the axle and then pushed the axle in the rest of the way. Sounds similar to what you mentioned.

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Old 12-07-2019, 09:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Brewtus79 View Post
Now that you say that I recall what made it easier to get the passenger side back in. I couldn't generator enough force to fully seat the axle into the differential by pushing the axle alone.
So after the axle was partially seated I put hub onto the outer portion of the axle and then pushed the axle in the rest of the way. Sounds similar to what you mentioned.

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Actually I get the axle slid into the splines in the dif and then just give it a good hard shove and it pops in. Maybe I need a new hub, but IDK if I can change out the bearing with the bearing tools I have.
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:19 AM   #9
Brewtus79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
Actually I get the axle slid into the splines in the dif and then just give it a good hard shove and it pops in. Maybe I need a new hub, but IDK if I can change out the bearing with the bearing tools I have.
Sounds about right. One of the front bearings went bad on my machine shortly after I bought it so changed out both w *** brand. I dont think it requires any special tools other than the correct size driver to seat the bearings and a shop press. I have a 20 ton HF version, like others here, I picked up to do some repairs on my father's e28 535i a few years back.

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Old 12-07-2019, 03:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewtus79 View Post
Sounds about right. One of the front bearings went bad on my machine shortly after I bought it so changed out both w *** brand. I dont think it requires any special tools other than the correct size driver to seat the bearings and a shop press. I have a 20 ton HF version, like others here, I picked up to do some repairs on my father's e28 535i a few years back.

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I've got the HF FWD bearing kit, it worked pretty slick on my e36 rear bearing but IDK if it's powerful enough to do the xi front bearings. My shop press is home built and not very big physically with an 8 ton jack. Works great for control arm bushings and ball joints. Maybe the next time the HF press goes on sale I'll pick one up. As far as the axle seal, I've got a 2" rigid conduit coupler that is the perfect size for driving the seal into place, just need to tack a piece of flat stock on to pound on
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Last edited by jmo69; 12-07-2019 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:59 PM   #11
Brewtus79
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The 8 ton may be a bit light for the job. Pushing the bearings with the 20 ton was a bit violent.

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Old 12-07-2019, 04:44 PM   #12
fanatichuman
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After hearing this maybe I'll leave the boot as is and just replace the axle once I hear axle noise. Who knows for how long the boot will still be fine.

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Old 12-07-2019, 04:46 PM   #13
fanatichuman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewtus79 View Post
I bought a boot kit from FCP, believe the GKN brand. Got to the part with the triple roller bearing and no further. Said to hell with it and bought an axle at NAPA for $80 bucks or so. Had a corteco seal on hand, but didnt replace it and it hasn't leaked.

Fast forward a few months and the pass side inner boot is beat as well. Noticed when I pulled the axle the lower 1/3 of the seal area of bearing pedestal is gone. Chose to replace the seal this time with one I didnt use on driverside. Got boogered up when I drove it in so ordered a whole new pedestal with seal already installed. Felt better about it afterwards bc I had my doubts to the seal working properly with part of the housing missing.

I went same route as jmo69 and left knuckle attached to strut tower and disconnected the control arm and tierod. Pass side is b***h bc of its length.

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Thx. Why didn't you get past the roller bearing?

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Old 12-07-2019, 05:16 PM   #14
Brewtus79
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Couldn't figure out a way to separate it w/o destroying it. At the time the only replacement axles I found were crazy money from FCP and the like so I wanted to go the boot replacement route.

Once I found replacements available elsewhere for $80ish per axle it was a no brainer.

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Old 12-08-2019, 03:27 PM   #15
Inka2002
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Another boot question

Okay, Xi brain trust, I have a related question.
The shop I took the car (2004 330xi) to either left off the passenger side inner boot inner clamp (the big one) or put it on in such a way that it came off immediately; it wasn't there by the time I got home. I got a boot kit and will repack the CV joint and put on the new clamp. BUT...
When I put the inner boot - the rubber boot that goes over the CV joint itself and fits the cross-shaped metal piece on the inside and is round on the outside - in place, its shape is not really round, more square-ish with mostly rounded corners.
My question is, is this the way it's supposed to be and the outer boot and clamp will make it conform to the round shape, or is there something else wrong? Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:59 PM   #16
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Ooh, might need a picture for that...
...as long as there's a 'tongue' and a 'groove', things usually stay together.
In your shoes, having a shop clamp come off, I have used a long skinny hose clamp from an E21 air intake with success.

...and that's what has lead me to re- booting the factory axles. The $80 version have a reputation for coming apart,
grinding themselves to pieces, and failing at the worst times. I've re- booted the driver's side twice, and the passenger once,
and the passenger side's about due again.

I too have found that sometimes the hub and axle are a slight interference fit, and are a booger to get back together,
as there's not much to safely apply force to. On the E30, in a similar bind, I cut down a nut to make an adaptor to thread inside
as far as possible, so once a few threads were accessible, I could get a slide hammer onto it. BMW used to show a 'special tool' for this,
ages ago...

t
not overly impressed with bmw's fwd boots.
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:27 AM   #17
Brewtus79
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Ok. So what is the process to separate the axle at the triple roller bearing so the new boot can be installed?

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Old 12-11-2019, 01:48 PM   #18
glacierXI
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I forget how to take the inner bearing joint off but to take the outer you just pound it off

Last edited by glacierXI; 12-11-2019 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:01 PM   #19
Brewtus79
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That would've been miserable to find that out after the fact (that the boot didnt).

I was too leery to beat the axle apart cause I wasnt sure if i was missing anything. The searches I ran didnt return anything about our axles.

Thank you for the reply.

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Old 12-11-2019, 02:05 PM   #20
glacierXI
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Originally Posted by Brewtus79 View Post
That would've been miserable to find that out after the fact (that the boot didnt).

I was too leery to beat the axle apart cause I wasnt sure if i was missing anything. The searches I ran didnt return anything about our axles.

Thank you for the reply.

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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.

Last edited by glacierXI; 12-11-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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