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Old 11-07-2023, 08:51 PM
haigha's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Reviving an old, useful thread. My passenger side front CV boot failed about a month ago. My trusted friend is getting older (74 now!) and has cancer. He still loves working on cars. He's gutting and restoring a '56 Bel Air. So we had to find a good spot when it was warm--X5 said 85F-- and he was feeling up to the task. He prefers working on cars to sitting watching TV or, his fate of late, sitting in doctors' offices for hours on end.

We did this using the great tips from dville, Weasel, wpoll and others. The driver's side was the first to go after ~18 years. It was my X5's 20th birthday on November 2 and time for the other side. We tackled it yesterday.

The 66 years of experience my friend--a retired master BMW mechanic-- has might make this easier for the people who struggle with the shortcut. He started in his dad's shop at eight. In particular, turning the steering wheel fully to the opposite side and using small blows to gradually knock the axle out, while a second person keeps pressure on the opening of the "clam", may be a tip that helps those who are stymied by the information provided in the 444 earlier posts in this thread (mine is reply 444).

Here are my observations:

Left in neutral to facilitate spinning the rotor as needed. Handbrake on and rear wheels chocked well, one on the forward side, the other in back.

We easily loosened the control arm using a Milwaukee Fuel 12V 3/8" stubby impact while on the jack stand. Awkward to reach the nut, so we used it on the bolt side (16mm) with a wrench on the nut (18mm). This is on an early LCI 4.4i model (10/03 build). As someone noted earlier in the thread, you can put the bolt back on in reverse which will make removing by the nut easier in the future.

We turned the wheels all the way to the opposite side (full left on LHD passenger side). At the end of the procedure, when reinserting the axle with c-clip, we got it started in this position, then I turned the steering wheel back to center slowly as my friend guided the axle back into the wheel assembly. It was only inserted about a third of the way at this point. While my friend checked the inside, making sure the c-clip was in correctly, and turned the rotor, I carefully knocked the 36mm nut on the axle with the minisledge to get it the rest of the way in.

To remove the axle, we used two vise grips side by side on the narrow part, as illustrated earlier in the thread. Having two gives the vise grips more stability when you put pressure on them. We put gaffer tape on the axle before putting on the vise grips. I pulled out and to the right on the caliper while pushing firmly on the vise grip handles while my friend used a 3 lb minisledge and the drift. We started with a 5 lb one, but it was too awkward.

The axle came out slowly, not all at once. I kept pressure, pulling out on the caliper and holding the vise grips. I could feel the axle separating slowly, like opening a clam. This is two old guys, taking our time, one skilled the other not so much.

We used a 1/2" by 7" brass drift/punch. We started with my friend's 1", but it was too big to get on the inner race. One of the ball bearings fell out. My friend cleaned it and reinserted it. The grease was still pristine. We cleaned out what we could and used the entire packet from the GKN replacement. Nice that it matches the original grease!

We lifted the rotor with the jack to the level it sits in the wheel well when on the ground and, while there, connected and torqued the lower control arm, still on the jack stand.

Total time about an hour, not hurrying. A messy job. Bring lots of shop towels and a change of clothes if you're doing this at a friend's place

Last edited by haigha; 11-09-2023 at 08:27 PM.
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