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BMW E39 Axle Shaft Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Axle Shaft Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

E12 Torx socket or wrench, 36mm 12 point socket with breaker bar

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:

Axle shaft, fasteners

Hot Tip:

Make sure the E12 Torx socket is fully seated on the fastener to avoid stripping fastener.

Performance Gain:

Replace worn shafts or ones with torn boots and damaged CV joints.

Complementary Modification:

Replace worn suspension componenets

Your axle shafts have a tough job. They have to take the torque from the rear differential and apply it to your rear hubs and finally the wheel. The really hard part is it has to do this at all different angles as the rear suspension moves up and down while driving down the road. Constant Velocity Joints (CV Joints) allow for the axle shaft angle to change but still transmit the torque of the driveline to the wheels. These joints are pretty tough but they can wear out. CV joint boots can tear and allow dirt to get in. The dirt can act like grinding material and cause premature CV joint failure. In this tech article we will show how to remove you axle shafts so you can replace them.

In order to replace your axle shafts you need to raise and support the rear axle of your vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up and supporting your vehicle.

The procedure to replace the axle shafts is the same for both the left and right side. In these pictures we will be alternating between the left and right side. We will note it in the caption just keep in mind the step applies to both sides. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

This photo illustrates the left side rear rotor.
Figure 1

This photo illustrates the left side rear rotor. You need to remove the 36mm, 12 point axle nut (green arrow). Open up the locking tabs (yellow arrows) that pinch the axle shaft and prevent the nut from loosening up over time.

Use a straight edge drift chisel and tap in the direction of the blue arrow to gradually open the pinch of the nut on the axle shaft.
Figure 2

Use a straight edge drift chisel and tap in the direction of the blue arrow to gradually open the pinch of the nut on the axle shaft. Remember to wear eye protection.

In this close up view of the axle nut and shaft we see the top right pinch has been tapped away properly leaving the proper gap (green arrow).
Figure 3

In this close up view of the axle nut and shaft we see the top right pinch has been tapped away properly leaving the proper gap (green arrow). The lower left pinch still has not cleared the axle shaft (yellow arrow) and needs to be tapped out more.

With a 36mm, 12 point socket remove the axle nut in the counter clockwise direction.
Figure 4

With a 36mm, 12 point socket remove the axle nut in the counter clockwise direction. This nut will be very tight and needs to be properly torqued to make sure it does not loosen and also does not crush the wheel bearing that mounts in the hub in between the axle and the nut. You must install a new axle nut for installation.

This photo illustrates the left side rear wheel well.
Figure 5

This photo illustrates the left side rear wheel well. Follow the drive shaft all the way to the CV joint by the rear differential. Remove the six E12 Torx head fasteners (green arrows) that hold the axle shaft on to the differential flange. Some fasteners are hidden behind the axle boot in thisPicture.

This photo illustrates under the car on the left side looking at the inner axle shaft mounting to the differential.
Figure 6

This photo illustrates under the car on the left side looking at the inner axle shaft mounting to the differential. You will not have access to all the bolts at the same time. You will probably have to get the top or side bolts first then, turn on the ignition key, put the car into neutral, rotate the axle shaft by twisting it until you can see more fasteners to remove, then put the car into park to hold the shaft still and turn off the ignition key so your battery does not go dead. Repeat this process until you have all six mounting bolts removed.

There is more than one way to make some room to get the axle shaft out.
Figure 7

There is more than one way to make some room to get the axle shaft out. You can remove the lower control arm to spindle mounting bolt or you can do what we did here. We removed the lower control arm mounting bolts on the sub-frame side. See our tech article on removing the rear lower control arm for this step. With all the fasteners removed move the inner CV joint away from the flange and let it rest on the rear suspension.

Working back out at the rear rotor use a drift punch to tap out the axle shaft from the hub and spindle it sits in.
Figure 8

Working back out at the rear rotor use a drift punch to tap out the axle shaft from the hub and spindle it sits in. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. From the middle of the car install the outer axle shaft into the hub/spindle assembly, position the inner axle shaft in the mounting flange on the differential and install the six mounting fasteners. Install and tighten the outer axle shaft nut to specifications. Reassembly any suspension components you removed to make access easier.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:06:04 AM