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BMW E39 Axle Shaft Rebuild
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Axle Shaft Rebuild

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Mallet and straight chisel, External Spring Clip pliers, ring clip pliers, band clamp tool

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan/Wagon (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan/Wagon (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

CV Joint with shaft, inner CV Joint, boots

Hot Tip:

CV Joint boot kit will make things easier

Performance Gain:

Clicking noise from axles under acceleration or deceleration

Complementary Modification:

Axle nut, inner and outer CV joints can be replaced.

The job of your axle shaft is to take the torque that has been split in the differential and apply it to the hubs in the rear wheels. An axle shaft uses Constant Velocity (CV) joints to allow the driveshaft to transmit torque and flex as the rear hub moves up and down through its suspension travel. Over time these CV joints can wear out causing a ticking noise either under acceleration or deceleration. Flexible rubber boots protect the CV joint from dust and dirt while containing the grease necessary to lubricate the joint. You can replace the boots if they tear. A broken boot can let in dirt and dust which acts like grinding material and causes premature joint failure. To extend the life of your axle shafts you can repack them with new grease. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to rebuild your axle shaft.

When rebuilding your axles you should know the outer CV joint must get replaced with the whole shaft attached to it. The inner CV joint can be replaced and you can replace both CV joint boots but to do the outer boot you need to remove the inner joint and boot. The procedure for doing both driver and passenger side axles is the same. Remove the axle shaft from the car. Follow the steps in our tech article on removing axle shafts.

Axle Shaft Disassembly:
Here is a complete axle shaft assembly.
Figure 1

Here is a complete axle shaft assembly. The boots (green arrows) are serviceable items. The inner CV joint (yellow arrow) is also serviceable. You can replace the outer CV joint just remember the shaft comes with it.

Start by removing the band clamps for the inner boot.
Figure 2

Start by removing the band clamps for the inner boot. Remove the band clamp for the boot seal on the shaft.

Remove the band clamp from the boot to the inner CV joint.
Figure 3

Remove the band clamp from the boot to the inner CV joint.

Use a flat head chisel to remove the inner CV joint grease cap.
Figure 4

Use a flat head chisel to remove the inner CV joint grease cap. Tap the chisel while working around the perimeter of the cover until you can remove it.

Use external snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring that secures the inner CV joint on the shaft.
Figure 5

Use external snap ring pliers to remove the snap ring that secures the inner CV joint on the shaft.

Keep the CV joint straight as you slide it off of the shaft.
Figure 6

Keep the CV joint straight as you slide it off of the shaft.

Use a flat head chisel or flathead screwdriver to tap off the boot from the inner CV joint.
Figure 7

Use a flat head chisel or flathead screwdriver to tap off the boot from the inner CV joint.

Once disassembled, find the spacer that has fallen off into the boot.
Figure 8

Once disassembled, find the spacer that has fallen off into the boot.. Remember to install this spacer during reassembly.

Use a pair of flat ring pliers to remove the snap ring that holds the inner CV joint in place.
Figure 9

Use a pair of flat ring pliers to remove the snap ring that holds the inner CV joint in place. If you are only changing the inner CV joint or boot you can stops here and reassemble the unit. Reassembly is the reverse of the removal procedure. Install snap ring, boot and spacer. Then slide on joint, snap ring and tap on the boot and the cap to the CV joint.

Outer CV Joint Boot:
Remove the band clamp where the boot seals around the shaft.
Figure 10

Remove the band clamp where the boot seals around the shaft.

Remove the band clamp that seals the boot to the outer CV joint.
Figure 11

Remove the band clamp that seals the boot to the outer CV joint.

Twist the boot and while twisting it push the boot downward in the direction of the blue arrow away from the CV joint.
Figure 12

Twist the boot and while twisting it push the boot downward in the direction of the blue arrow away from the CV joint.

Slide the boot off the open end or the inner part of the shaft.
Figure 13

Slide the boot off the open end or the inner part of the shaft.

You cannot separate the outer CV joint as it is built on to the shaft but you can repack the joint with special CV joint grease that is provided with your boot kit.
Figure 14

You cannot separate the outer CV joint as it is built on to the shaft but you can repack the joint with special CV joint grease that is provided with your boot kit. Reassembly is the reverse of the removal steps. Repack outer CV joint, slide boot over open end of the axle shaft and apply and tighten band clamps in the same position they were when you took them off.

Inner CV Joint Rebuild:
Rotate the inner cage and inner bearing race (green arrow) so it is more perpendicular to the outside bearing race.
Figure 15

Rotate the inner cage and inner bearing race (green arrow) so it is more perpendicular to the outside bearing race.

Remove the ball bearings (green arrow) from the cage and inner race.
Figure 16

Remove the ball bearings (green arrow) from the cage and inner race. Slide out the cage and inner race and remove all the ball bearings.

Twist the inner race in the cage until they are perpendicular to one another.
Figure 17

Twist the inner race in the cage until they are perpendicular to one another. Clean and dry all parts and be sure not to leave any cleaning solution on the parts for reassembly.

Install the inner race (green arrow) in the outer cage (yellow arrow).
Figure 18

Install the inner race (green arrow) in the outer cage (yellow arrow).

Assembly the inner race in the cage (green arrow) then install it in the outer joint race.
Figure 19

Assembly the inner race in the cage (green arrow) then install it in the outer joint race.

Hold the inner race and cage at a 45 degree angle to the outer race and start installing the ball bearings (green arrows).
Figure 20

Hold the inner race and cage at a 45 degree angle to the outer race and start installing the ball bearings (green arrows).

Flip over the CV joint and install the remaining ball bearings (green arrows).
Figure 21

Flip over the CV joint and install the remaining ball bearings (green arrows). Be sure to put two ball bearings in last that are spread apart from one another in the outer race (yellow arrow). You will not be able to install the inner part of the CV joint if you install two ball bearings into slots that are closer together (red arrow).

Install the inner boot first and pack it with grease.
Figure 22

Install the inner boot first and pack it with grease. DonÂ't forget to install the spacer with the lip (green arrow) facing away from the CV joint on the shaft then put the CV joint of the shaft. Reassemble remaining parts as instructed to in previous steps.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:05:58 AM