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BMW E39 Driveshaft Rebuild
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Driveshaft Rebuild

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

*****

Tools:

18mm wrench, mallet, puller, bearing separator, flat face snap ring pliers, cutting pliers

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:

Drive shaft, Guibo flex Disc

Hot Tip:

Mark position of the driveshaft before remove to reduce the chance of vibration

Performance Gain:

Knocking under acceleration and or deceleration

Complementary Modification:

Guibo flex disc, exhaust hangers

The job of the driveshaft is to transmit the torque from the transmission and apply it to the rear differential. Being the engine/transmission assembly and the rear differential are rubber mounted and BMW uses a floating differential there needs to be a little bit of flex in the driveshaft. BMW uses a two piece driveshaft with a center bearing supporting the middle of the shaft. This center bearing can wear out over time and you will feel a vibration and noise under severe acceleration and deceleration. Also the driveshaft uses a CV joint at the mounting point for the differential. CV joints can wear over time particularly with hard driving. You can extend the life of your driveshaft by repacking this CV joint with new special grease. In this tech article we will go over all of the steps to rebuild your driveshaft.

The driveshaft needs to be removed in order to rebuild it although you can rebuild the rear CV joint while it is on the car. Review our tech article on driveshaft removal.

On both the front a rear driveshaft halves make a paint mark (green arrow) to align both halves for reassembly.
Figure 1

On both the front a rear driveshaft halves make a paint mark (green arrow) to align both halves for reassembly.

With a wrench remove the 18mm bolt (green arrow) that holds the driveshaft halves together.
Figure 2

With a wrench remove the 18mm bolt (green arrow) that holds the driveshaft halves together.

As you loosen the bolt (green arrow) gradually pull apart the driveshaft otherwise you will not be able to back the bolt out all the way.
Figure 3

As you loosen the bolt (green arrow) gradually pull apart the driveshaft otherwise you will not be able to back the bolt out all the way. There is a thin spacer (yellow arrow) between the halves. Remember the location for reassembly.

Use a bearing puller and puller to pull the center support bearing off of the front half of the driveshaft.
Figure 4

Use a bearing puller and puller to pull the center support bearing off of the front half of the driveshaft.

With pliers remove the band clamp that secures the CV joint boot to the shaft.
Figure 5

With pliers remove the band clamp that secures the CV joint boot to the shaft.

Tap out all of the mounting fasteners with a mallet in the direction of the blue arrow.
Figure 6

Tap out all of the mounting fasteners with a mallet in the direction of the blue arrow.

With a flat edge chisel tap the CV joint boot cover off of the CV joint.
Figure 7

With a flat edge chisel tap the CV joint boot cover off of the CV joint.

Use a puller to pull the CV joint off of the shaft.
Figure 8

Use a puller to pull the CV joint off of the shaft. This three jaw puller pulls evenly on the CV joint to pull it straight out. If you only have a two joint puller you will need an adapter bracket on the driveshaft side of the CV joint and use your puller to pull on the bracket and slide off the CV joint shaft with it.

If you do not have the special tools to remove the CV joint from the shaft you can still replace driveshaft CV joint.
Figure 9

If you do not have the special tools to remove the CV joint from the shaft you can still replace driveshaft CV joint. Rotate the outer CV joint race (green arrow) until you expose the ball bearings and remove them.

If you are replacing the driveshaft CV joint you can now use a two arm puller to remove the inner CV joint race.
Figure 10

If you are replacing the driveshaft CV joint you can now use a two arm puller to remove the inner CV joint race. You will not be able to remove the cage around the inner joint race until the inner race is pulled off the driveshaft.

If you do not a have puller you can still disassemble the CV joint and repack it while it is on the driveshaft.
Figure 11

If you do not a have puller you can still disassemble the CV joint and repack it while it is on the driveshaft. Pull back on the CV joint boot to expose the joint. We have cleaned the joint for photographic purposes. Before you disassemble the CV joint note the position of the notch in the joint so you know how to reassembly it.

Rotate the CV joint outer race to expose the first few ball bearings.
Figure 12

Rotate the CV joint outer race to expose the first few ball bearings.

Pull out the ball bearings and rotate the joint to expose and remove each ball bearing.
Figure 13

Pull out the ball bearings and rotate the joint to expose and remove each ball bearing.

After you pulled the joint off you will notice two gaskets on the outer CV joint race.
Figure 14

After you pulled the joint off you will notice two gaskets on the outer CV joint race. The larger gasket (green arrow) fits between the joint and the boot as is available commercially. The smaller gasket (yellow arrow) is mounted on the differential side of the CV joint and is not available commercially so be careful not to break it.

With the joint disassembled clean the bearing surfaces of the outer race (green arrow), inner race (yellow arrow) and the bearing cage (red arrow).
Figure 15

With the joint disassembled clean the bearing surfaces of the outer race (green arrow), inner race (yellow arrow) and the bearing cage (red arrow). Avoid using solvents because they can leave a residue that will break down the new CV joint grease you pack the joint with.

Make sure the gaskets are firmly attached to the CV joint.
Figure 16

Make sure the gaskets are firmly attached to the CV joint. You can use silicone or glue to hold them in place. Start the assembly by placing the outer race over the cage and installing the ball bearings.

Rotate the outer race over the ball bearings you have installed.
Figure 17

Rotate the outer race over the ball bearings you have installed. Here we have installed three but you can start off by installing one or two at a time.

Rotate the drive shaft and rotate the CV joint to expose the empty slots.
Figure 18

Rotate the drive shaft and rotate the CV joint to expose the empty slots. Continue to install all of the ball bearings.

Install the snap ring over the end of the shaft to hold the CV joint on.
Figure 19

Install the snap ring over the end of the shaft to hold the CV joint on. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Pack the CV joint with special CV joint grease. If you have removed the entire CV joint press it back on the shaft. Install the snap ring. Tap in the driveshaft mounting fasteners with their brackets. Install the thin spacer and join the two halves Fit the mounting bolt and tighten. Install the drive shaft according to our tech article on driveshaft removal.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:06:05 AM