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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW CV Joint, Boot,
and Axle Replacement

Difficulty Level: 4
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

  This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series.  The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts.   With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
 
Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!

[click to enlarge]

     One of the most common sets of suspension items to replace or service on the 3 Series are the “constant velocity,” or CV, joints that connect the wheels to the transmission. These bearings, packed in grease, get a tremendous amount of wear through the years and tend to wear out after about 100,000 miles. One of the clear signs the joints need replacing is a distinct “clunk, clunk, clunk” sound coming from the rear axle when the car is in motion.

     In some cases, the boots that cover and protect the CV joints will be torn and need replacing. The procedure for replacing the boots is very similar to the procedure for replacing the entire joint. Install new boots each time you install a new CV joint.

     For both the E30 and E36 cars, BMW sells only a complete, replaceable axle. The new axle contains both the inner and outer CV joints, as well as the boots that cover and protect them. Although the inner E30 CV joints are available separately, I recommend installing the complete axle. It simply bolts up to the car, and you don’t have to mess with disassembly or CV joint grease.

     First, jack up the car (see our Tech Article on jacking up your BMW) and remove the road wheels. Then, pry off the dust cover cap on the wheel hub if your car has one in place (Photo 1). Now, knock out the back of the center hubcap of the wheel, remount the wheel to the car, and then lower the car. With the car in gear and the emergency brake on, use a long breaker bar to loosen up the drive shaft flange collar nut. This nut is tightened to more than 250 N-m (184 ft-lbs), so it will take quite a bit of force to loosen it up. Lift the car up again and remove the wheel once more.

     Next, start removing the bolts from the inner CV joint (see Photo 2). You’ll need a properly sized Torx socket set for this task. Warning: You must have the correct tool for this task, or you might strip the CV bolts. If you do strip the bolts, the only way to remove them is to grind them off, which is not a fun task.

     To access the CV bolts, rotate the wheel until you can clearly get your Torx socket wrench on the bolts. Then, pull the emergency brake and place the transmission into first gear. This will allow you to loosen the bolts without having the axle spin. When you have removed all the bolts you can from this angle, release the brake, take the car out of gear, and rotate the wheel until you can reach the next set of bolts. When all of the bolts are removed, suspend the end of the drive axle with some rope or wire.

     Once you have the CV bolts disconnected, it’s time to remove the axle. Disconnect the brake caliper and brake rotor assembly, and hang the caliper out of the way. Place your floor jack under the rear trailing arm to support it. Remove the lower shock mount bolt. Now, lower the rear trailing arm so you have enough clearance to remove the stub axle from the hub. If you cannot pull the axle out of the hub, you may need an axle-pulling tool to push the center of the axle out of the hub.

     Remove the axle and take it to your workbench. The inner CV joint is held onto the axle by a large circlip, which is located under the large rear dust cap. The outer CV joint is not removable. If you wish to replace the CV joint boot on the outer joint, you must remove the inner joint first. Remove the inner circlip, release the boot clip, and the joint should come right off. It’s generally a really bad sign if large balls from the bearing start falling out. That’s a clear indicator you need to replace the joint. If you reuse the joint, carefully place it in a plastic bag to avoid getting any dirt or grime in it. Even a grain of sand in the CV joint can cause it to wear out prematurely. Carefully inspect both CV joints for any wear prior to installing them back into the car.

     Once you remove the joint, replacing the boots should be easy. Simply disconnect the small clips that hold the boot to the shaft and slide it off. The new boots are installed in a reverse manner. Rotate the joint through its entire motion before tightening the small, inner boot clamp—you don’t want it to be too tight.

     When installing new CV joints, pack them with plenty of CV-joint grease before you install them. Also place plenty of grease in and around the boot. Move the joint in and out as you insert the grease to ensure it’s well lubricated, as new CV joints do not come pre-greased. When ready, place the new boot on the axle, and then place the CV joint on the axle. Reattach the circlip so the joint is attached to the axle. Reinstalling the axle is essentially the reverse of the removal process. Use a new driveshaft flange collar nut and retainer plate when you mate the axle back with the hub. Deform the nut and/or retaining plate after the nut is tightened.

     Once you have the entire assembly back together, take the car out for a drive and check the rear for noises. All should be smooth and quiet, and the boots should no longer leak.

     If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs.  If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one.  Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Figure
Figure 1
The driveshaft flange collar nut is hidden by a metal cap (green arrow). Pry this cap off after you remove the wheel to gain access to the nut (red arrow). Pop out the center hubcap to your road wheel, remount the wheel to the car, and lower the car so the wheel will be held steady as you loosen the driveshaft flange collar nut. When reinstalling the axle, deform the retaining nut around the stub axle splines (purple arrows).
Figure
Figure 2
The four CV joints are located in the rear of the car, attached to the transmission flanges and the stub axles on the trailing arms. Replace the joints in pairs—either both of the inside ones or both of the axles. Chances are, if one of the joints is showing signs of wear and deterioration, the other three will not be far behind. The inset photo shows the inner CV joint dust cover that must be pried off in order to access the retaining circlip underneath. The yellow arrows show four of the six Torx bolts that attach the axle to the rear differential.
Figure
Figure 3
This complete axle has a new nut and retainer plate, an inner CV joint, and a CV boot kit for an E30 3 Series. On the 3 Series cars, the outer CV joint is not available separately but must be purchased as a complete axle, because the joint is integrated into the stub axle and cannot be separated. If the boots are damaged and leaking, you should replace them, because dirt and debris can find their way inside. Apply the Loctite 2701 that comes with the CV boot kit to the CV bolts just prior to installation.
  Looking for more photos?  Click to see bonus pictures for this project.
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Comments and Suggestions:
Holly Comments: I have a 2000 328i with almost 230 k miles. I was having an issue with a loose feeling in the rear on hard acceleration and any speed higher than about 40, can't keep it between the lines, so jacked up the car to find that the wheel had a bit of play. I replaced the rear bearings, brakes & shocks and it was tight for a while, now I notice it again, getting progressively worse - jack the car up to see what's up and the wheels both sides are even looser than before and feel like they are about to fall off! The axles on both sides will shuck back and forth between the diff and bearings quite a bit - hate to be such a noob, but is this normal? I didn't replace the axles when I did the bearings and don't see anything else that could be causing the wiggle in the wheels. Will new axles fix my issue? Could the bearings be bad again so soon? What would cause this?
October 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the bushing that connects the rear suspension to the body. It is mounted just ahead of the rear wheel. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Saul Comments: Im not able to knock our me rear left axle? everything is off but it wont come off
August 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle re you working on? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BMW Lover Comments: I have 2001 BMW X5 3.0L, both front boots were damaged and I could hear clicking noise therefore I have local mechanic replace CV axle instead of just boots both side. After pickup within one day I found that car was not moving in drive gear and when I tried to change gear it was making noise. Problem was self healed when I started the car after 30 min. I took the car to same mechanic thinking he didn't do the good job in CV axle replacement. Mechanic is saying it's nothing to do with the work he has done and telling me there could be some issue with transmission or clutch. I need your help to understand if the problem I saw is related or work he has done. I didn't see same issue happening in last 2 days but little nervous that it may happen any time since it has not been fixed. Thanks in advance.
August 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It sounds like a linkage issue, maybe. If it hasn't happened again, there isn't much you could do but inspect the linkage and clutch hydraulic components. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
V22Builder Comments: Helping a friend with a '98 Z3 with a 1.9 engine. He is experience a bone rattling rumble on deceleration. Following advice on various sites, we changed the guibo according to directions from your site. Everything went well but it did NOT cure the rumble. We cannot detect any rough spots when rotating the wheels by hand while on a lift. Any suggestions where to look next? Any advice will be appreciated.
July 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would inspect the driveshaft and drive axles. Check for binding and looseness. I think you find something loose in one of them, from your description. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Heather Comments: Hello everyone,

this morning i heard a very large clunk in my rear, it sounded like a falling gear, and now the rev sounds off.

I am sure my tranny is now slipping but is there any details someone might have?
June 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: First check the transmission fluid level to be sure it is correct. Then check the transmission ECM for fault codes. If the system is not working properly, a fault code will be set. This will be your best bet when diagnosing.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Dave Comments: Hi my name is Dave. I have a 97 e36 m3 coupe. My driver rear cv gave way at the inner side, snapping the bearing cartridge. So I purchased a factory m3 cv axle complete with the torx bolts. Go to install it, to find out the inner mounting plate is too small. By a hair small. Can I pry it out and replace it with a slightly bigger one? If so, what is the correct name of this mounting plate and where can I buy it? Thank you for your help and consideration.
May 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you purchased a factory axle, it should fit. If it does not, the part is wrong. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
casey Comments: Just wanted to thank the guys at pelican for doing these detailed how to instructions, they have helped me countless times. Keep it up!!
May 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BMW boot Comments: Hi I have a 325xi and the problem I'm having is the the car will shake while accelerating, it feels like its coming from the front drivers side tire but I can't be 100% that it is but I have several theory's on what the problem could be but a professional opinion would be greatly appreciated
April 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the vibration only happens under acceleration, it could be a faulty drive axle. You can remove the axle and inspect the joints for binding or excessive play. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
oldskooltlw Comments: Will an e36 M3 RR axle work on an e46 M3?
April 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jamie Comments: I have a 2000 328 ci and the rear differential went out so i had it changed now when u get to 2nd gear the rear end locks up ! what can it be ? they are saying i need a new tranny but i also heard it could be a sensor ! what do u think ??
April 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Does not sound like a sensor. If it is locking up, a mechanical part may have failed, causing the trans to jam. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
510man Comments: Bought a new axle shaft for my '87 E30. The zip tie on teh inner pancake joint was broken so the ball bearings are out. I don't see any info on how to reassemble the CV joint before greasing it. I watch some YouTube videos for other cars but the E30 appears to be different. Suggestions?
April 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Place the balls into the cage, then guide the outer ring back over them. If it binds, try rotating the ring one ball clockwise. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
cesar Comments: i just buy a bmw x3 2.5i ,i hear a lot noise when accelete and when turning to my left i check the tire out to see clearly i found out the disc is kind loose ,i also observe ,the axel nut wasnt all the way tight ,what kind a tool do i need for replace it,and if the disc need to be firm ,with out any lateral gap.
March 31, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the axle nut is loose, the wheel bearing is likely faulty. You will have to replace the wheel bearing and any associated damaged parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mark Comments: I recently purchased a 2002 Z3 2.3 with the 2.5 engine. The car is in show room condition with only 18,000 miles. The original owner kept the car garaged under cover and in 10 years clocked 12000 miles. They second owner a 68 yr old gentleman put 6000 miles on it. Everything on the car is perfect except the noise in the rear when putting the car in gear or shifting when trying to take off slowly, which is difficult to do. For some reason the second owner had a loud muffler installed I'm thinking maybe to disguise the racket. Anyway my question is what is the problem? Old grease or gear oil. Should I start replacing parts? The sound is similar to the old ping/clunk from the old u-joint noise in the old cars. Where do I start?
March 27, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a noisy drivetrain component or the exhaust moving as the engine torques. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jonesy Comments: Hi I just bought a 2000 328ci and it is lowered 2inches also has h and r springs and blistien shocks I got all the maintance records with the car it says that the rear axles were replaced at 202000km the car now has 207000km on it I've had no problems no vibrations then all of a sudden I'm driving down the hi way. And I hear a clunk and grinding no response on gas pedal I pull over and after crawling under my car I realize the cv axle is completely disconnected from the diff on the drivers side only two bolts remain in mount on axle side and then I check the passanger side and 3 of the 6 bolts are at least half way out have you ever heard of this and should the bmw dealer that did the work replace this
February 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would have the problem inspected. Someone will have to look at it and determine why the bolts fell out before blame is placed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kbrack Comments: Just slide my 03' 325xi into a side walk on an icy road, rear wheel is now angled in, would I need to replace axle and joints?
January 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure, you will have to inspect the suspension and see what is bent. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mike Comments: My lugs won't go in on my rear wheel, is it easier to change the entire control arm assembly or take the hub off?
January 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would say replacing the rear hub and bearing is easier. You will need bearing press tools. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jeff Comments: My '98 Z3 has developed a rumble that can be felt through the seat of your pants. It feels/sounds like it's in the right passenger side. It occurs during acceleration from about 16mph in first gear and continues in second gear until I reach about 23mph. It is not present during the shift. I was leaning toward CV joint, but it doesn't happen in cornering. It's just during the acceleration from about 16 to 23. I think it's wheel speed generated, but have no clue where to start. I pulled the right rear wheel, spun the axle and see no breaks in the CV boots. There is a clunk in the driveshaft when rotating the rotor forward and back, but seems to be normal gear backlash. Could this be faulty mounts or is my thought of CV joint correct?
December 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if it is there under acceleration but not decel, that could be an axle. You will have to inspect it for binding or roughness. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Andrew Comments: Hi i have a 330i 2011 e90 and everytime i accelerate or sometimes leave the gas pedal i hear a liw sound of a sort of metal is hitting something from the exhaust, if you could help me out nd know maybe what is causing this problem id appreciate it. Thank you
December 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have a bad transmission mount, causing something to hit the driveshaft. Or a heat shield is faulty. I would look in the area of the sound. Check for fresh rub marks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
christopher Comments: I recently started to hear the clunk,clunk noise on my 2003 BMW 325xi. I was told that the CV axles were replaced just before I bought it. If it's not the axles, then can it be just a CV joint?
November 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the noise is happening mainly when you turn, then yes, the CV joint could be faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Velek Comments: Is it okay to use any sort of grease on the axle shaft splines?
November 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On the splines that go into the wheel hub? You can use a wheel bearing grease. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Roo Comments: I have a 88 325ix, the front drivers side cv boot had a tear, it did not make any abnormal sounds last time I drove it but recently a slight clunking noise is coming form the side the boot tore. I looked and the cv boot didn't have much grease in it. Would cleaning, repacking the grease and putting on a new boot fix it? Do I have to buy the entire cv joint if I can't or can I just get new bearing. I'm having trouble finding parts for this car.
November 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I find if the axle is making noise, your best bet is to replace the entire axle. Usually when they make noise it is due to wear on a ball or socket. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
EJS Comments: I have a 1990 E30 2 litre convertible automatic. If I go over bumps in the road there is a clunking noise from the offside towards the rear. I have taken apart the rear seats and door panels but there is nothing obvious. Any suggestions.
November 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if the speakers or the rear parcel shelf area. Could be the exhaust system? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tdog Comments: 1986 325e - I took a look at the rear end and it's definitely leaking fluid. The person who owned the car befor me put new half shafts on and it looks like there's a gap on the left, which is where it seems the fluid is coming from. The right shaft looks fine. How could I fix that gap?
October 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You're going to have to remove the axle, then pop out the axle flange, then replace the seal.

When you remove it, see if you can pop it in so the depth matches the opposite side. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tdog Comments: I have a 1986 BMW 325e And when coasting down the road or when in neutral ther is a knocking sound coming from the rear diff. Can someone help me out?
October 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would take a look at the drive shaft, and also the pinion bearing in the rear. Check the fluid in the rear, look of metal flakes, the rear could be worn.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ferry Comments: I have a 2004 bmw 325xi. I have replaced the left axle 3 times by bmw dealership, but yet still the boot keeps busting. what could be the cause of this?
October 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You need to take a look and see if anything is hitting the boot while the wheel is turned all the way from left to right, also check the motor mounts and the front end for play.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rollan Comments: I have the same exact symptoms as Craig, but every time I moved the axle back and forth the noise would go away for a few months. My guess is the grease needs to be repacked, because the noisy axle feels like there's absolutely nothing lubricating inside the boot.
August 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could try to remove the boots and repack them with grease, or just replace the axle,Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Zerotrip Comments: How much force should it take to put a CV Shaft back in on the rear of a E36 99 M3. Once side went in ok not too much rubber mallet but the other side just wont go back in easily. Was doing a rear bearing and hub replacement on both sides. Concerned how much pressure or force is really needed or is something else wrong.
July 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use a wire brush to clean all of the rust from the splines and make sure they are not damaged, use so light oil like WD-40 and it should go back together.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jess Comments: im working on a 89 325is im replacing the rear bearing but one of the drive axle bolts stripped can some one help me out with some ideas on how to remove that stripped bolt?
April 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have a few options, one of which should work.

You can remove all other bolts, then try toloosen it using a flat jaw pair of vise grips.

You can use a larger size star bit and drive it into the fasteners using a hammer, jamming it in, then remove bolt.

You can grind the head of the fastener off.

Hope this helps. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ky Comments: I have a 1989 BMW 325ix , got a clank clank clank sound from under the drivers floor. Is it the CV joint or my transmission? It happens when I take off or go up hill ?!?!? Thanks
April 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's difficult to take a guess at a noise without hearingit for myself. It could be your driveshaft. I would inspect the drivetrain for loose parts or signs of items making contact. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
diva_3181377 Comments: My 2000 Z3 Auto is making a click/clank sound when putting it in R-N-D or R-N-D OR when coasting to a stop and the end the transmission engages. Changed the differential mount, fluid. Still it is there. Went under the car and with a helper found that sound is coming from the differential area Cant pin point CV or differential it self. Sub frame bushes and nuts looks fine and also diff bushing mount welding. Sound clearly from differential area. The inner CV have dirt around the boot appear to be not torn and both of the cv axles have horizontal play, but no radial play while the wheel is in ground. Does this sound like CV joint? If to it should have a radial play i can turn it by hand when wheel is on ground?
April 4, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: have you inspected the driveshaft? I would start there. There would be metallic debris in your differential fluid if the failure was bad enough to create a sound like you described. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rooney Comments: what size socket does it take to remove the axle nut on a 2004 Bmw 325xi. I tried a 36mm and it is too small.
March 2, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: These could be 36mm 12 piont or 36 mm six point. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bugman Comments: I have a 2003 330xi. I had a clicking sound as I turned left and accelerated. The mechanical shop said it was an idler pulley, replaced it and two belts. Cost: $358.00 I still have the clicking sound. Did I get ripped off on the idler pulley?
If I choose to replace the axle on my 330xi, what is an approximate cost for the part?
January 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Unfortunately I would tend to agree that you had a bad diagnosis on the idler pulley. It's rare for an idler pulley to change its sound when you change the direction that the car is turning. It may be something related to your break this, or your CV joint which of course is part of your axle. And axle typically costs a few hundred dollars to buy the part, and takes about to three hours or so to install it. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
6string Comments: What size torx socket is required to remove the CV axle bolts? 1996 328i. Thanks
December 7, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would buy a set of sockets that has E8-E14 this will cover every torx bolt on the car.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
lwilly63 Comments: This is a picture of the male end of the CV shaft - splines have flat ends
February 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
lwilly63 Comments: I have a 1985 BMW 325E I bought new in Germany with american specs in 1985. The rear passenger side cv shaft was making clunking noise, so I decided to replace the shaft. I purchased one from O'reilleys auto but the splines male have a flat end like the ones in your pictures. The hub looks like it takes pointed splines like the ones in your pictures and it does not seem to fit. Can you help. Sent picture of hub, but the male end is in your picture collage.
February 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like something is not right with the parts you got, Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
barber Comments: what size torx socket do you need for the axle bolts ?1997 bmw 328is
January 29, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would by a set that includes E8-E14 this should cover everything on the car.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Singer4AD Comments: Follow up to the post I just made. I just watched a You-Tube video showing how to change a front axle. They showed removing a snap ring from the end of the old axle and putting in on the new one. My axles did not have this when I pulled them out but I do see the grove where they would go. Are they possibly laying in the bottom of my differential now and that is the clunking noise, the axles are not locked in place? I bought a real expensive shop manual and of course it does not cover the iX and its front axle or transfer case. Is there a shop manual I can buy that covers the AWD drive train?
January 26, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Without the snap rings the axle are not locked in place and the ring could be in the bottom of the front dif. I have found that he after market snap rings on replacement axles are to big, you are better of to use the old ones.Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right manual.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Singer4AD Comments: In an attempt to do the right thing, I removed both front axles on my 1989 325 iX to rplace the CV boots, one was torn. It came apart easy enough, breaking lower ball joints loose is always a pain. Everything slipped right back together with no issue either. I put the right axle in first and then the left. Now I have a very load clunking noise in the front under acceleration and deacceleration. This noise seems to be much louder than what a CV joint will make. When it clunks the steering wheel momentarily jerks to the left just slightly. I put the car up on jack stands and ran it. Everything seemed just fine. Turned the axles by hand real slow one at a time and everthing is real smooth with no play. So what the heck did I mess up? Did I screw something up in the differential buy pulling both axles out? I know you can't do that with a trans axle but this being a differential I did not think that would apply here. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.
January 26, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be the inner joint that is making the noise, if it can't move in and out freely then it can cause front end noise. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Craig Comments: Hey Wayne,
I have a Knocking sound on acceleration on my 94 BMW 325ic. It's on the rear drivers side wheel. The symptoms are: it's intermittent, really only happens on acceleration, and seems to be weight effected as after every time i've lifted the car the sound will disappear, anything up to a week :-/.
Taken it to 4 garages and had the drive shaft checked, flex disc and support mount and have now established it's coming from the rear drivers wheel. Had the knocking sound for nearly 2 months with no diagnosis as you can imagine, veeeerrry frustrating
Now apparently it's not the rtab which I thought it may have been, and was obviously hoping for due to cost and ease to replace but is the Axle. apparently it has a little 'play' in it which it shouldn't. Quoted me 650 plus tax and said it may solve the problem. The boot looks in very good condition. I don't know what to believe. What do you think?
December 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The grease in the inner joint could be gone or dried up, and it could be making that noise. You could use a grease gun with a needle on it and pump some grease in there to see if the noise gets better before you spend the money.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Stephan Comments: I have a 1997 328i and have a loud vibration coming from the rear of my car when I accelerate. I was told that it could be the cv joints. Can any one suggest what the problem might be.

Thank you
December 5, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be the axles or the drive shaft or support bearing. You are going to have to put the car on a lift and have it checked out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Radevv Comments: Hi, can you tell me what is the size of the Torx bolts that attach the axle to the rear differential?
Thank you
Ves
September 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would buy a set from E8-E14 that should cover every torx bolt on the car.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
CS1 Comments: I believe I obtained remanufactured e30 rear axles for my '84 318i. I got the old ones out without a problem and got new bearings pressed in to the trailing arms. When installing the new reman. axles, one side went in with a struggle and I CAN'T get the passenger side rear axle in. What should I do? I don't want to hit it too hard and push out the bearing/hub or break the axle. Any suggestions? Should I file the splines?
September 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: BMW makes a tool that will pull the axle through the bearing without damage. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right tool.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rob Comments: Hello: Just replaced my diff with a 3.73 LSd in my e30. Changed the gear oil before install and made sure there was very little play in the input and output of it. Now a hear a clunking sound when I make right hand turns mid-turn and occasionally on the freeway depending on speed and road condition. If I put my hand on the rear tunnel, I can feel the vibration. I'm thinking a messed up a CV-joint, but how can I tell which one? I'm tentatively ruling out Center support bearing, because now clunking under shifting,acceleration - thoughts? Thanks!
March 27, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would probably take a close look at the center support bearing first, as it needs to be preloaded when you install it, and will clunk around if it's not. I'm assuming that you disconnected it during the installation - I would probably recheck the preload and add a whole bunch more to see if it's the problem. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Discobay Comments: Hello: I have an '89 BMW E30 325i automatic with 317k miles on it. Recently I've noticed a noise as I begin to accelerate from a dead stop. This noise is coming from the right rear wheel area and begins as "clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk". Once the car is on it's way and I've picked up speed, the noise goes away. I replaced the rear shocks and double checked everything else, including the brakes, rotors and tires, but I don't see anything else. Do you believe it's the CV axle? Thanks for your help!
March 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yup, it could certainly be either the CV joint, the differential carrier bearings, or a wheel bearing. Most likely one of those three. Check out my new article on wheel bearing replacement. It's on the Boxster, but it's almost 100% applicable to all BMWs: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/40-TRANS-Wheel_Bearings/40-TRANS-Wheel_Bearings.htm - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
ardo Comments: how do you get the inside or uper axle boot or the suspension steering rack boot in place wihtout removing the Suspension Inner Tie Rod?
March 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hmm, the inside axle boot is in the rear, and the steering rack boot is in the front - unless you have a four-wheel drive car. Either way, you need to remove the tie rod to get to the boot on the steering rack. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Alex Comments: Can you tell my what size/type of socket I will need to remove the collar nut from the end of the axle?
December 29, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It does vary a bit with different cars (the 4 wheel-drive cars in particular), but for most E36 cars it should be 24 X 1.5 mm. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
chad Comments: how do you get the outside axle back into the hub?
those teeth arnt as polished as the ones that came out.
December 4, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be able to drive it back into the splined hub. Make sure the inside of the hub is perfectly clean, otherwise you will encounter some resistance. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
bryn Comments: Wayne,
I'm getting a single nasty clunk from the rearI think only when turning right, in mid corner. Suspension/subframe visual checks out fine and there are no adverse handling effects. If I jack up the rear and lock the wheels I can get a small amount of play in the drive shaft when rotating it by hand tranny out of gear. I can get a similar amount of play if I take the e brake off, lock one wheel and rotate the other. Not sure if this is normal
Ideas? E36 M3, 5 speed.
Thanks,
A happy customer
October 16, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check the rear control arm bushings, and all of the mounts. The dif and the trans are going to be ok.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ed Comments: I have a 1989 BMW 325ix, 4wd. There is a clicking noise coming from the front rightpassenger side of the car when the car is turning. What could it be and what can I do to fix it? What parts do I need to buy?
Thanks
August 30, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be a lot of different things. It could be a worn CV joint, it could be wheel bearings, it could be a differential carrier bearing, it could be the rotors and/or pads. You need to get in there and start doing some more investigation to try to find the problem. If the sound is happening when the car is turning, then that is often related to the brakes. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
spaceman Comments: can you replace outer boot on front without removing shaft?
325xI
August 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On that car, you should be able to remove / replace the boot if you remove the entire wheel carrier. But that may be more difficult than removing the whole shaft. I think you can also disconnect one end, remove the entire CV joint from the inside and then access the outer boot. This is how we recently did this on a Boxster.- Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Jim Comments: I have a 2003 IX 4WD. The front left needs new boots. Is the procedure much different doing a front CV axel?
June 24, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should be very similar, if not identical to the CV boots in the rear. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
JohnnyTouring Comments: How can I check if the "clunk" is coming from the CV-joint and axle setup or from the driveshaft bearing? Will the axle be loose and rattle about if I shake it, or will I have to take it all apart to verify that it's broken?
Thanks for a great DIY!
December 14, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can set the parking brake to lock the rear axles and then see if there is any play in the center driveshaft. Sometimes it's very difficult to tell. For CV joints, you can sometimes lock one wheel on the opposite side and then rotate / wiggle the wheel on the other side to see if you can feel vibration and/or hear some noise. Also compare the two wheels to each other when you spin them to see if there are any variations. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
92325i Comments: just followed these instructions and finished in about 6 hr. ha and i'm not a mechanic or don't have all the right tools. thanks alot pelican
December 3, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No sweat! We strive to try to make things easy! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
aurelius Comments: Clarification: it does not continue clunking as I drive. Only upon and just after clutch engagement.
December 3, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Also check your rear control arm bushings and mounts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
aurelius Comments: I have an '87 325is with a clunking noise that I'm trying to diagnose but seems it may be different than the symptom described above. In my case, there is clunking and drive line lash when engaging 1st & 2nd, & reverse gears and driving slowly in those gears. Happens when clutch is fully engaged.

Rear sub-frame bushings have been replaced, as have rear shock mounts. Drive shaft center bearing looks ok, as do cv boots. 125k miles, manual trans. Suggestions?

Clarification: it does not continue clunking as I drive. Only upon and just after clutch engagement.

Also, for the guy above with the '89 cabrio, seems there is a good chance it has a broken timing belt. E30 buyers beware when it comes to non-running cars.
December 3, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try this. Lift the car up, put it in gear with engine off of course, and then lock one wheel. See how much play you have when you turn the other wheel. This will show you the play in the drivetrain - it may be coming from the driveshaft coupler, or the differential itself. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Dave Comments: For clarification, the CVs are only on the rear wheels in these cars? Mechanic told me they were wearing out and should be replaced, but didn't go into more detail than that he noticed when he put it up for a tranny fluid change. Thanks guys
October 20, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are four CV joints on the rear wheel drive, and should be eight on the 4WD xi cars. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Joel Comments: I have just acquired a '89 325i Convertible, 97K miles. It has been sitting in a garage not running for the past 7 yrs. The owner was told it was the fuel pump and cost $1600 to repair. Any suggestions as to what I should do before I try to drive it again? Is there a way to test to see if it the fuel pump before I go and buy a new one?

Thank you
October 19, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That's ridiculous, I replaced the fuel pump on my E36 in a parking lot of a Las Vegas hotel in about 3 hours with nothing more than a few tools bought at the local autoparts store and my trusty Swiss army knife. (see here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/E36-Fuel-Pump/E36-Fuel-Pump.htm ). Check the fuel pump by running 12V directly to it to see if it's still running. Change the coolant, oil, and gas before doing this though - seven years is a long time. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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