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Did this twice on my 02 325XI within 30,000 miles. First time was a complete rebuild of both axles when I bought the car since boots had failed and CVs were shot. Second time was R&R just to replace the cracked leaking boots.

The step you didn't photograph is the step that takes the most finesse. That is hammering on a chisel/pry bar at the right angle to break the axle free from the differential. There is only a single spring clip on the axle shaft that holds it in the differential and it is critical that you use the same one that comes on the original when you reassemble. I tried a new clip from the dealer and the gauge of the wire was to thick to allow it to go back in. So I had to reshape the original since it was distorted. I had one axle pop out on the highway after the first rebuild and I lost almost a quart of fluid.

I tend to agree that the BMW front halfshafts are not the best proven AWD design. I'm glad I no longer own my XI since this was the biggest PITA job I tackled on it and I didn't look forward to having to do it again.
 
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