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  #131  
Old 11-14-2011, 02:28 AM
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Well, I'm not sure what the problem was with that first clamp, but I went on to the next one, and it crimped fine, so I went back to the first one, and was able to get it crimped. For some reason, the first one didn't need as much crimping to get snug, which made it an unfortunate one to use as my first (I've never had the "pleasure" of a CV boot replacement project before.

So, the left side is done, and I've smeared some grease in the right side's outer joint through the gaping hole of a tear in its boot so the car will be driveable (although we will keep any driving to an absolute minimum) while I wait for the new clamps to arrive, at which point - oh joy! - I get to do the right side. Thanks to everybody for all the helpful suggestions along the way.
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  #132  
Old 11-19-2011, 11:28 AM
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OK, I got my new clamps, and replaced the passenger side CV boot last night (and well into this morning). I started around 5:00, and finally finished the job a little after 1:00 AM, but I took about an hour to eat dinner, and I wasted a good hour trying to see if I could separate the outer CV joint, and not have to then remove the inner one and deal with the "special" grease issue again. No luck on this - for the life of me, I can't understand how it is possible to apply the proper leverage to this outer joint, not have the vice grips keep sliding off, etc. I couldn't get mine to budge after a very frustrating hour.

I didn't have any problems with the job, but a video of this job should be placed next to the word "misery" in the dictionary. It took me a solid six hours working by myself, as every step of the process, from wrestling off the old clamps, dealing with the very heavy components, getting covered in grease, just dealing with BMW's idiotic idea of using lugs rather than studs to secure the wheels, getting the clamps tight enough prior to crimping them, torquing the control arm bolt with the full weight of the car on the tires, etc., makes this something I hope I never have to do again. And this was after already having done the drivers' side, so I was very familiar with what I had to do. And I'm a little concerned that the new boots (from the recommended GKN Laebro brand) have a "plasticky" as opposed to a supple, rubbery feel to them. God, I hope they last.

So, my summary is that while this job is within the realm of the DIY'er, it's something you should seriously consider only if you have A LOT of time to kill, and are really strapped for cash, like I am at the moment (annual property tax bill coming due soon, after a year of unexpected medical expenses). And the title of this thread just makes me cringe. Sorry, I have to call BS. A Formula 1 pit crew with access to a lift couldn't do this job in 30 minutes. OK, done venting. So glad this is over. And MANY thanks to all the tips given by members of this board, without which this job simply wouldn't have happened.

On a more positive note, I have to say, considering the reputation of the X5, ours has been very reliable. The torn CV boots, and a severe battery drain (which I fixed by installing a relay that kills the parasitic current when the key is off), are the only problems we're had with it in a year and a half, so overall, we're very happy with the car.
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Last edited by Multibeemer; 11-19-2011 at 11:53 AM.
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  #133  
Old 11-19-2011, 02:22 PM
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I don't understand why everybody on this post is replacing boots instead of replacing the whole CV.? I added my quick tip to removing the CV about 5 pages ago and have been receiving the updates ever since. I replaced both front CV Shafts entirely and the job took a little over 2 hours. I will qualify that and say that I have a lift and Air, so I understand these are time savers.
Why not do the whole shaft? At least so that you can avoid dealing with "special grease"
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  #134  
Old 11-19-2011, 04:24 PM
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Isn't that kind of like replacing the cylinder head, when all you need is new spark plugs? OK, maybe not the best analogy, but why would you want to replace something that's perfectly OK? There was nothing wrong with my joints (they were still well greased; luckily, I noticed the torn boots before the joints ran dry), just the rubber boots. And it's even more work to replace the axle, because you have to separate it from the hub, which requires dealing with that monster collar nut (which I pounded away at for a good half hour, breaking one of my punches in the process, without noticeably un-bending the locking lip), and then you have the press the joint out of the axle. Going through the inner boot does require "dealing with" the "special" grease, but from talking to several mechanics, it appears that nobody uses the stuff anyway. Plus, I'm not sure the quality of rebuilt axles is necessarily all that great, nor do I think they come with the special thinner factory grease on the inner tripod joint. And finally, it costs about ten times as much to replace the axles as it does the boots. Not seeing the logic here...

Edit: I just went back and read your post (this is a looong thread...). Wow, $69. That's a fraction of what I saw online. Maybe next time (and I pray there isn't a next time), I'll go that route, but not without an impact wrench... And a power chisel... And maybe a stick or two of dynamite
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Last edited by Multibeemer; 11-19-2011 at 04:51 PM.
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  #135  
Old 11-19-2011, 05:09 PM
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To modify the method I talked about, I found a much easier way to separate the joint. I still put the vice grips on the shaft, but hook a simple bungee cord to it to pull a little tension on the joint, then use a long punch (or screwdriver etc) and a hammer to hit outward at the center of the joint near the splines. It usually pops right out this way.
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  #136  
Old 11-19-2011, 05:40 PM
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I tried that (using my knee instead of a bungee cord...) No matter how much I hammered away at the joint, it wouldn't move a micron. Separating the outer joint from the shaft just wasn't in the cards for me. It seems that there is a lot of variation in the tightness with which the shaft in pressed onto the outer joint. I supposed very small variations in dimensions will make a huge difference.
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  #137  
Old 11-19-2011, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Critical Drew View Post
I don't understand why everybody on this post is replacing boots instead of replacing the whole CV.?
The axle is pretty expensive from the dealer. The $100 ones you see are commonly made in China. I would guess most people tend to avoid those ones since the quality may be hit and miss (sort of like replica made in China wheels).

Having said that, I guess if you can get the whole axle out, you can still change the boot fairly easily as it is probably easier to take apart when its out of the vehicle. You can then clean it and repack it.
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  #138  
Old 11-19-2011, 07:32 PM
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I agree. An OEM axle shaft from OEMBimmerparts is $299 (thus my estimate of 10X the cost vs. just replacing the boot). You may get lucky, but I don't think I would trust a $69 axle. If the joint is kept lubricated, an axle should be a lifetime part. So to me, replacing just the boot with a high quality one that will last makes the most sense.
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  #139  
Old 11-20-2011, 02:31 AM
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I'm not trying to "flame" anyone, or to get flamed. (obviously)
I have just been getting many updates about the absolute horrors of separating these axles in place, etc.
My drivers side had ripped some time earlier and the grease was basically gone, so replacement was a must. I did the passenger side at the same time even though the boot had just ripped.
The axles I bought at Oreillys were re-manufactured units which doesn't guarantee that they are OEM or cheap Chinese knock-offs, but does mean they've been rebuilt to a standard.
The outer nut is not terribly difficult with an Air impact and a little bending back of the crushed edges. After partially releasing the knuckle or "upright" you only have to drive the axle back out of the drive flange. this is done with an axle removal tool, also straightforward.
The new "reman" unit is complete with the inner joint, so the only thing left to do is knock the whole axle out of the front diff and reverse the process.

I've done maybe 8 CV axles over the years on various vehicles and I've never had a bad replacement unit, so I think that risk is a non-issue.

I'm only trying to be helpful
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  #140  
Old 11-20-2011, 10:10 AM
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Drew,

Well-written post. Yes, there are clearly many different approaches to this challenging job, and different circumstances. Obviously, if your joint has dried out, replacement is a must, and you seem to have found a method that works very well. I'm glad to hear you haven't had any trouble with remanufactured axles. If anything, it gives me confidence that not using that "special" grease on the inner tripod joint, which as far as I can tell is only available from one place, and which I'm sure the people who remanufacture the axles don't bother using (considering a tube of it costs almost as much as the entire axle from Oreilley's!), is not a big deal.

To me, that outer collar nut was a deal-breaker. Plus, I wasn't clear on how to separate the outer joint once I got the collar nut off (e.g. was some sort of special puller required?), nor was I clear on whether I would be able to find a new collar nut locally after I destroyed the old one while removing it. So going through the inner joint and knocking the tripod joint off the axle shaft with a hammer and a punch seemed to be the easiest approach for my circumstances (no lift, air tools, impact wrench, or any special pullers). But other people have had success with other methods, so there doesn't appear to be a single "right" way to do this job.
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