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Old 08-19-2006, 10:44 AM
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CV Boot Replacement DIY - BMW X5 (E53)

BMW E53 X5 CV Boot Repair DIY

by hayaku for xoutpost.com
With special thanks to Ecko, Abarth and The Cleaner from xoutpost.com.

This DIY article will address how to repair a torn CV boot on the BMW E53 X5. Doesn't matter which submodel as they are all identical here.

Subject used was my wife's 2002 E53 X5 4.4i. Only the front driver side outer boot was ripped. I frequently wash the car and noticed a thick coat of grease inside of the front wheel. A quick peek under the car and I saw the torn boot but it had plenty of grease still inside and no signs of dirt in the grease, so I surmised the tear was very recent.

The X5 has 8 Constant Velocity (CV) joints as its an All Wheel Drive vehicle. These joints connect the drive hubs to the differentials and are located at both ends of the drive half shafts. They have a high range of motion that allows the drive half shafts to move up and down with the suspension as it travels. These joints are what allows the car to have true independent suspenions, as opposed to having a live axle (like the old muscle cars) where the both rear wheels are connected together.

More details on the CV joint can be found here: X5 World Information about CV Joints

Although the CV joints themselves are rather hardy and very difficult to damage, they are protected by a rubber boot (gaiter) that holds in grease to keep things nicely lubricated and freely movely. Wear and tear eventually will take their toll on these boots and they will rip open. The grease contained inside will spill out and possible get caught up in the inside of the wheel. Once the boot is torn open, the remaining grease in the joint is exposed to the elements and at risk of getting contaminated with dirt and other debris. The contaminated grease could destroy the bearings in the CV joint itself and its best to get this repaired as soon as possible.

The most common occurence of this is on the front left outer boot. The second most common occurance of this is on the front right outer boot. I haven't yet seen an instance where the inner boots (closest to the differentials) have torn as there is not that much movement there, nor any of the rear boots (both inner and outer). However, it is best advised to periodically check all 8 of these boots to ensure they are not ripped. Repair at the dealer could be costly. I was quoted $450 USD for repair of just the front left outer boot. The repair kit for just the front outer boot is under $30 USD with discount from Crevier or your local parts counter.

Since this job requires quite a bit of disassembly, you may want to take advantage of the opportunity and change out your brake pads/rotors, control arm, and sway bar end link should they need to be replaced. Just use the new parts during the reassembly process.

This DIY has the intent to cover the job of all CV boots on the X5, but instructions and pics are from a job that only dealt with the front outer boot. Instructions for replacing the front inner CV boot is given, but only for one that is not yet damaged. If you should have a torn front inner cv boot, it is best advised to remove the entire drive half shaft per TIS instructions so you can service the CV joint properly. The instructions here and logical proceeding can guide you through a rear CV boot job as well.

You will also notice that the pictures may seem out of sequence. I have rewrote the sequence so that it makes more sense and should be quicker for you to follow this way. Special thanks to Ecko for use of his pictures also!

Damaged Front Left Outer Boot

Normal Front Left Inner Boot

Repair Kit
Effort Required:
Skill Difficulty: 8 out of 10.
Time Required: 2-3 hours for experienced/mechanically inclined folks, 4-8 hours for the casual DIY'er

This is what worked for me. If you are not sure nor comfortable doing any of these steps, please DO NOT attempt to perform this procedure. Rather take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic or brake shop for the work to be done. Do not take your vehicle to a friend that does not understand this document either (2 confused minds will not make it better). You cannot hold X5World nor me responsible for any damages YOU may have caused on YOUR vehicle (we weren't there and didn't do any of it, thats the story and I'm sticking to it). But seriously, it ain't all that hard to do.

Tools Required:
36mm 12 point socket
22mm sockets
22mm combo wrench
21mm sockets
21mm combo wrench
18mm sockets
16mm sockets
7mm hex socket (brakes only)
6mm hex socket
5mm hex socket
Large and Small Flat Blade Screw Driver
Air Impact Gun
Various rachet extensions
Breaker bar
5" Universal Gear/Bearing Puller
3 lb Hammer or heavier
scrap piece of 2x4 wood (recommend at least 24 inches long)
Chemicals Required:
CV Grease, included in the repair kit
Electric Grease. BMW uses Staburags NBU 12/K. I used CRC Electric Grease.
Silicone Caulk. I used RTV black high temp silicone.
Penetrating Oil (WD40, Liquid Wrench, etc)
Brake Cleaner
Heavy Duty Degreaser
Optional Tools:
flash light
Zip Ties
rubber gloves
large catch pan
BMW Tools specialized for removal and reinstallation of the swivel bearing
Repair Parts needed:
CV Boot Repair Kit
22mm nylock Wish Bone to Swivel Bearing nut
22mm nylock Tension Strut to Swivel Bearing nut
18mm nylock Wishbone to Chassis nut
1.5" and 4" standard screw type compression rings (optional)

The following procedures assumes you have the vehicle lifted and all wheels removed already.

But first, a few diagrams to define the parts as many of them are called by many different names. We will be removing the following. Please refer to the diagrams for an illustration of what each of the parts look like.

Tension Strut
(aka Front Control Arm)
Part 6
Wish Bone
(aka Rear Control Arm)
Part 10
Swivel Bearing
(aka hub)
Part 4
ABS Pulse Generator Sensor Part 10 and 11
Drive Half Shaft Part 1
CV Joint Stub The end bowl with the threaded and splined stub that part 3 (axle flange nut) connects to
Repair Kits Part 4 and 5

Here are the instructions from TIS if you wanted to go through it. Click on each section left to right, top to bottom to connect all the pictures to view what you should see in a scrolling window. Separate Page with all the screen shots here

TIS ABS Pulse Generator Removal/Installation Instructions
TIS Swivel Bearing Removal/Installation Instructions
TIS Output Shaft Removal/Installation Instructions
TIS Gaiter Removal/Installation Instructions
Step 1:Loosen the 36mm Axle Flange Nut
There's 3 ways of doing this:
1st method: wheel method
If the car is still on the ground, just jack up the one wheel you need to work on and remove the wheel temporarily.
Now you have access to the axle flange nut. Use the small flat screw driver to pry open the tabs so the nut can spin.
Put the wheel back on the car and remove the center cap on the wheel.
Lower the car so that the weight is back on the tires again.
Use your breaker bar, rachet extension, and 36mm 12 point socket to break loose and remove the axle flange nut through the center cap hole on the wheel.
Now lift your vehicle and proceed to step 2.
2nd method: brake method
If the car is off the ground, removed your wheel.
Use the small flat screw driver to pry open the tabs so the nut can spin.
Have a helper push the brakes to lock the rotor from spinning.
Use your breaker bar, rachet extension, and 36mm 12 point socket to break loose and remove the axle flange nut.
Now proceed to step 2.
3rd method: Impact Gun
If the car is off the ground, removed your wheel.
Use the small flat screw driver to pry open the tabs so the nut can spin.
Use your Air Impact Gun and the 36mm 12 point socket to remove the axle flange nut.
Now proceed to step 2.
Step 2:Remove The Brake Caliper and Rotor
Please follow the steps from this DIY up to step 13: Brake Rotor and Pad DIY
Secure the brake caliper to the spring. I used zip ties.
Step 3:Remove the ABS Pulse Generator Sensor.
Use a 6mm hex socket to remove the ABS Pulse Generator Sensor.
Open the sensor connector box located next to the spring.
Disconnect the blue connector that leads down to the ABS Pulse Generator Sensor.
Wipe clean the bore and the sensor.
Now place the sensor somewhere clean and safe.
Step 4:Remove the nuts on the swivel bearing and control arms
Use a 22mm socket and appropriate extensions to break loose the 3 nuts that hold the control arms to the swivel bearing.
Do not remove the arms yet. Its much easier to have the arms still installed to hold the swivel bearing still while you break it loose.
You may want to remove the 3 10mm nuts that hold the dust shield in place. I removed them to allow me to spin the shield so i have clearance to the 22mm nuts.
If you are using an impact gun, then it doesn't matter and you can remove the arms.
The 2 control arms will be difficult to remove unless you have the special BMW press tool, or you can remove the whole arm like i did in the next steps.
Step 5:Remove the Steering Tie Rod from the Swivel Bearing
Tap out the steering tie rod with a hammer.
Tie the tie rod out of the way. I zipped tied it to the strut/end link joint.
Step 6:Remove the Wish Bone Control Arm (rear control arm)
Use a 16mm socket and a 18mm combination wrench to remove the bolt holding the Wish Bone to the chassis.
The Wish Bone will just drop out of the swivel bearing.
This method eliminates the need to use the special BMW press to just push out the bolt from the control arm out of the swivel bearing.
Step 7:Remove the Tension Strut (front control arm)
Use a 21mm Socket and 21mm combination wrench to remove the bolt holding Tension Strut to the chassis.
You may need to loosen the plastic cover panels under the nose of the car to squeeze your wrench in to gain access to the bolt.
On mine, the connection to the swivel bearing was seized. The only way to remove this is to use a slide hammer which damages the ball joint.
I opted to leave that connection attached to the swivel bearing.
I had to zip tie the chassis connection end back in place to remove load/pulling of the swivel bearing down for the next procedure.
Step 8:Press the Swivel Bearing off the CV Joint stub
If you are using a claw style puller, then you may damage the dust shield right behind the hub like I did.
It's better if you have a puller that bolts into the lug holes like the special BMW tool.
Make sure your puller is aligned straight and adjusted to have the proper pulling lenght on the pulling bolt.
My Claw puller pulled off the round bowl dust shield behind the hub, which requires to be tack welded back in place or cut off.
You can cut it off with a dremel tool or similiar cutoff tool (which I will end up doing since the bowl is spinning with the hub and making a slight but irritating grinding noise)
Step 9:Remove the Swivel Bearing
At this point, the only thing that is hold the Swivel Bearing is the 2 bolts attached to the bottom of the strut.
Use a 22mm socket and 22mm combo wrench or another 22mm socket to remove them.
Careful when you are removing the last bolt as the whole Swivel Bearing assembly will drop. It weights approximately 40 lbs.
If you had zip tied the other end of the Tension Strut to the chassis like I did, cut the zip tie to release it.
Remove the Swivel Bearing off the car and place somewhere safe.
Step 10:Remove the Old Boot
Use a small flat screw driver to pop the tab off the locking band that holds the old boot in place.
Either pull the boot up along the shaft so you can expose the inside of the CV Joint or use a utility knife to cut it off.
I just cut it off since it was useless anyways.
Use a clean shop towel to wipe as much grease out as you can.
You want to be able to get a clear view of the joint and how its attached to the shaft.
Step 11:Remove the CV Joint Stub from the Drive Half Shaft
Inspect the joint and notice how much spline is showing on the drive half shaft above the CV Joint.
Now we start alot of hammering. The heavier your hand hammer is the easier it becomes.
Use one of the 3/8" extensions and place the socket end on the flat part of the star center of the CV Joint.
Hammer the rachet part of the 3/8" extension to slide the whole CV Joint off the shaft.
Take your time as this could take a while. With the right hammer, it could be as quick as 2 hits.
The CV Joint will slide about 1 inch before you see the groove in the shaft where the retaining C-Clip is.
At this point, you may be able to pull the CV Joint and stub off, or a couple of more taps and it'll be off.
Step 12:Remove the C-Clip off the Drive Half Shaft
Use a small flat screw driver to lever off the C-Clip.
Its a very loose fit and should not give you and trouble.
Throw the old C-Clip away. Your repair kit will have a new C-Clip to use.
We're now finally able to get to the repair portion of the process.
Step 13:Optional: Remove the Inner Boot
If you feel you would like to replace the inner boot, this is a good time to do it.
This method does not require you to remove the drive half shaft out of the car.
However, if you have a torn upper CV boot, you should remove the drive half shaft from the differential as well and disassemble the upper CV joint.
Simply use a small flat screw driver to release the retaining bands like you did before.
Slide off the old boot or just cut it off with a utility knife.
I did not do this step as my inner boot looked to be in fine condition. Otherwise skip to step 15.
Step 14:Optional: Install the Inner Boot
Grease the inside of the smaller inner boot to help it slide up the shaft and close to the tulip element.
Squeeze as much new grease as you can into the boot and onto of the CV Joint.
Most likely you will not be able to use all of the new grease because we didn't disassemble the upper CV Joint.
Slide the boot over the tulip element.
Secure boot into place with the new retaining bands supplied in the repair kit.
Step 15:Install the new outer CV Boot
Wipe your finger on some grease and apply to the inside of the small opening on the new rubber boot.
This allows the boot to slide over the drive shaft easier then dry.
You may want to put the new retaining bands over in place now.
I ended up buying standard compression rings (1.5" and 4" rings) and used those instead because I didn't have the proper pliers to squeeze and lock the retaining bands properly.
I squeezed the supplied new retaining bands with a normal set of channel locks, but i didn't feel the fit was proper so I replaced it with the screw type compression rings later (pics will show different bands throughout)
Step 16:Clean the CV Joint and Drive Half Shaft
Wipe clean the ball bearings and swivel rings of the CV Joint.
I used quite a bit of shop towels here.
Since my damage was detected very early on, I did not take apart my the bearing assembly, but ECKO did.
from ECKO's post: Taking the joint apart was indeed EZ to do. Basically you start off by poping the individual bearings, then rotate the inner(smaller) ring 180 degres and kinda play around with it until it comes off. Should slide off smoothly so dont force it as it'll get stuck. Same thing applies to the bigger(outer) ring. Yeah I didn't really have to go that far but I figured it wouldn't hurt me to do so.
Use some heavy duty degreaser to clean out all the parts, including the exterior of the CV Joint stub and the drive shaft.
Make sure everything is dry, clean and lint/debris free as you reassemble following the reverse of ECKO's instructions.
Step 17:Grease the CV Joint
It is CRUCIAL that the ball bearings, swivel rings, and inside of the stub cavity is DRY and CLEAN.
Anything but grease in here can and will cause damage to the joint later on. No spec of dirt, sand, lint, etc.
Squeeze out half of the grease out of the tube the repair kit came with into the CV Joint in the stub cavity.
Swivel the bearing parts as much as you can to make sure the grease is getting spread everywhere inside that cavity.
Step 18:Install the new C Clip
Ensure the drive shaft is DRY, CLEAN, and free of lint/debris.
Simply clip in the new c-clip that is supplied with the repair kit.
Step 19:Install the CV Joint Stub onto the Drive Half Shaft
Put the CV Joint back on the Drive Half Shaft and align the splines and grooves to meet that with the inside of the CV Joint.
When aligned and seated, tap the stub to start driving the CV Joint back in place.
This is a delicate process at first, as the CV Joint is lubricated and highly wobbly.
I had best luck by cupping the Stub in both palms as my fingers reached over the open joint to help squeeze the C-Clip in evenly.
DO NOT hammer in the stub unless you are sure the C Clip is squeezed inside the CV Joint first.
After everything is aligned, you will now have ALOT of hammering to do to drive the CV JOINT all the way back onto the Drive Half Shaft.
I used a small 2x4 scrap piece of wood in between the stub and the hammer to protect the stub.
TIS instructions say you will hear a loud audible click when the CV Joint is back in place.
This means that once the CV Joint has slide far enough up the shaft, the C Clip will expand and to natural size behind the CV Joint and make a sound.
However, because we are hammering quite a bit and very loudly, I was not able to hear this audible click the TIS stated I would.
Instead, I guaged the fitment from before. I made sure I have the same amount of spline showing at the top the CV Joint as I did prior to removing it in step 11.
Step 20:Fill the Boot with Grease and Close the Boot
Pull the rubber boot down onto the CV Joint Stub
Squeeze the rest of the grease tube into the rubber boot ontop of the CV Joint
Pull the rubber boot over the CV Joint
Make sure the small end of the boot is in the detent groove on the drive half shalf
Clamp the retaining bands tight with pliers.
Since I didn't have the proper pliers, I tried to use Channel-Locks but wasn't comfortable about the end fitment, so I switched to standard screw type compression rings.
Once all sealed up, rotate and swivel the stub all around to ensure grease is spread and you have smooth and free movement in the joint.
After this point, we have completed the repair job and now its time to reassemble everything back together.
Step 21:Install the Swivel Bearing
lightly oil the stub splines. I used alot of WD40.
Place the swivel bearing back onto the strut and slide the 2 bolts through.
Thread on the 22mm nuts to ensure the bolts don't slide out. You don't need to tighten them yet.
This puts the swivel bearing into position and just holds it there.
Guide the Stub into the wheel bearings and push the entire swivel bearing onto the stub to seat it as best you can.
Since my tension strut is still attached to the swivel bearing, I zipped tied it back into its mounting position on the chassis to keep the swivel bearing aligned properly.
If you have the special BMW tool here, then you won't need to hammer the swivel bearing all the way back in.
In my case, and that of Ecko's and Abarth's, we hammered like Thor.
I placed a piece of 2x4 24" long over the hub and hammered onto that with my 3lb drilling hammer.
It takes ALOT of hammering to push the swivel bearing onto the stub.
Since I have an air compressor and impact gun, I only hammered enough to get the threads of the stub showing.
Once I had enough thread to screw on the axle flange nut firmly, I stopped hammering and used the impact gun to tighten the axle flange nut.
This will effectively pull the stub out and into the swivel bearing.
If you don't have an impact gun or the special BMW tool here, you will need to hammer until you can tighten screw the axle flange nut down to original depth on the stub threads.
My impact gun only tightened the axle flange nut to about 1/8th of a turn left before the tabs could fold down into the stub's grooves (to prevent it from backing out).
This is fine and we'll manually turn the axle flange nut the final 1/8th turn with a long breaker bar later and fold down the tabs.
If you were using a new axle flange nut, then you would have to tighten it to 332 ft-lbs/ 450 Nm, then brake the lip of the nut to create tabs at the detent areas.
Step 22:Secure the Strut
Assemble the hose bracket on the top bolt of the strut.
Tighten the 22mm bolt and 22mm nut to 185 ft-lbs / 250 Nm.
Secure the ABS Pulse Generator wire and Brake Pad Wear sensor wire into the hose bracket.
Step 23:Install the Tension Strut (Front Control Arm)
If you did what I did, then cut and remove the zip tie holding the front of the tension strut up.
Slide the 21mm bolt through the chassis mount and secure the front of the tension strut.
Use a 21mm socket and 21mm combination wrench to fasten the bolt down
You may need to remove or loosen the front under panels to squeeze your wrench in.
Use a torque wrench and tighten the 21mm nut to 122 ft lbs/ 165 Nm.
Since my tension strut was still connected (seized) onto the swivel bearing, I just put the NEW 22mm nut back in place.
Torque this 22mm nut to 45 ft lbs/ 60 Nm.
Step 24:Install the Wish Bone (Rear Control Arm)
Insert the Wish Bone into the swivel bearing from the bottom in the last hole to the back.
Then lift the Wish Bone into its mount on the chassis.
Insert the 16mm bolt through to secure the Wish Bone to the Chassis and thread on the NEW 18mm nut.
Tighten and final torque the chassis mount side to 74 ft-lbs/ 100 Nm plus another 90 degree turn of the wrench (90 degree torque to yield setting).
Rotate the dust shield so you have optimum clearance to work on the back of the swivel bearing.
The swivel bearing side takes a NEW 22mm nut, but the inside bolt will spin because its a ball joint.
Use a 5mm hex socket to hold the inside bolt still while turning the 22mm nut with a 22mm combo wrench.
When the nut is seated at the bottom, you can remove the 5mm hex socket and torque the 22mm nut to 59 ft-lbs/80 Nm.

Step 25:Install the Steering Tie Rod
Spin the dust shield so you have optimum clearance at the front of the swivel bearing to work.
Insert the steering tie rod bolt through the front most hole on the swivel bearing.
You may need to tap it up lightly with a hammer to make sure it's all the way in.
Just like the wish bone bolt at the swivel bearing, the bolt is a ball joint and turns.
Use the a 5mm hex socket to hold the bolt and a 22mm combo wrench to tighten the nut down.
After the nut is fully seated, torque the 22mm to 59 ft-lbs/ 80Nm.
Step 26:Install the Brake Dust Shielf back in place
Spin the dust shield back in place and secure with the 3 10mm bolts, hand tight.
Step 27:Install the ABS Pulse Generator
Plug the ABS Pulse Generator connector back into the blue connector located next to the spring
Close the connector box.
Coat generously the sensor with NEW electric grease.
You can use BMW's Staburag NGK or CRC electric grease.
Insert the sensor into the bore and bolt in the 6mm hex nut.
Torque to 5.9 ft lbs / 8 Nm (or just hand tight but not too tight).
Step 28:Install the Brakes
Follow steps from 16 to 25 from this DIY: Brake Rotor and Pad DIY
Step 29:Install the wheel and lower the car
Remove the center cap from the wheel and install the wheel onto the hub.
The removal of the center cap allows us clear access to the axle flange nut.
Step 30:Final Torque the axle flange nut
If this were a new nut, you would final torque it to 450 Nm.
Once torqued, you would need to bend/break the outer ring to create tabs into the detents on the stub to prevent the axle flange from backing out.
Since I re-used my old axle flange nut, I need to turn it the final 1/8th of a turn so the tabs can be bent into the detents on the stub.
Use a long breaker bar and 36mm 12 point socket with long extension to turn the axle nut till the tabs can be bent back into the detents.
Use a long flat blade screw driver to lever/push the tabs back into the detents.
I used the wheel itself as the leverage point and the blade edge of the screw driver on the tabs to push them close on the detents.
TIS recommends you caulk the axle flange nut to the hub to prevent moisture and dirt from going in.
I used RTV high temp black silicone to seal the outside of the axle flange nut to the hub.
Step 31:Final Torque the wheel lug nuts
Final torque the wheels to 101 ft-lbs.
Since all the control arms were moved in this procedure, the geometry of the suspension is all changed slightly and chances are your alignment is off.
Its strongly recommended you get an alignment soon after you complete this proceedure.
My car went to 2mm more toe in after the install.

That's it.. you are done with your CV Boot Repair DIY. You're done!

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