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Driveshaft Flex-Disc Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Driveshaft Flex-Disc Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets 10mm, 16mm, 16mm wrench, floor jack, two jack stands, safety glasses, pry bar

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Driveshaft flex-disc, Driveshaft flex-disc fasteners, exhaust gaskets and hardware

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine and allow exhaust to cool before beginning

Performance Gain:

Smooth drivetrain

Complementary Modification:

Replace bolts for flex-disc

In BMW E60 models with rear-wheel drive, the driveshaft connects the transmission output shaft at the rear of the transmission to the rear differential. In all-wheel drive (xDrive) models, there are two driveshafts. The rear driveshaft connects the rear output shaft of the transfer case to the rear differential, while the front driveshaft connects the front output shaft of the transfer case to the front differential.

In either case (rear-wheel drive or xDrive) the transmission and transfer case are mounted to the chassis. The rear differential is mounted to the rear subframe. The rubber mounts that attach the engine-transmission and subframe to the chassis have some give so that the drivetrain unit and the differential move slightly in relation to each other; the rear driveshaft has to have some flex to allow for this movement. The flex in the driveshaft is provided by the flex-disc between the front of the driveshaft and the rear of the transmission or transfer case output shaft.

The flex disc is made of solid rubber and wears out over time. You may experience a drivetrain vibration or shimmy. If so, inspect your driveshaft flex-disc. It should be free from distortion, cracks and tears, and have no missing pieces. If you find any of these problems, replace the driveshaft flex-disc and mounting fasteners. To access the driveshaft flex-disc, you have to remove the exhaust system or lower it about eight inches. When replacing, at the minimum, replace the self-locking nuts that attach the driveshaft flex-disc. I prefer to replace the bolts too. The driveshaft flex-disc is also referred to as the giubo.

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the flex-disc without removing the exhaust. I will use the technique or detaching the exhaust hangers and lowering the exhaust using a jack.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Raise and support the rear of the vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove the underbody splash shields. See our tech article on engine splash shield removing.

The flex-disc (red arrow) is just out of sight and is tucked above and forward of the transmission cross member (green arrow).
Figure 1

The flex-disc (red arrow) is just out of sight and is tucked above and forward of the transmission cross member (green arrow).

Place a screw jack or hydraulic jack under the rear muffler (red arrow).
Figure 2

Place a screw jack or hydraulic jack under the rear muffler (red arrow).

Working at the center muffler hanger, behind the fuel tank (green arrow), lever the rubber hanger off the support using a pry bar (red arrow).
Figure 3

Working at the center muffler hanger, behind the fuel tank (green arrow), lever the rubber hanger off the support using a pry bar (red arrow).

Next, move forward on the exhaust to the center reinforcement (green arrow).
Figure 4

Next, move forward on the exhaust to the center reinforcement (green arrow). Remove the four 13mm fasteners (red arrow, one shown). Then remove the reinforcement from the body.

Now it is time to remove the final few supports for the exhaust and lower it.
Figure 5

Now it is time to remove the final few supports for the exhaust and lower it. First move to the rear of the muffler and remove the two 13mm nuts (red arrows).

Then remove the rear most hanger fastener (red arrow), a 13mm nut located to the left side of the tail pipe (green arrow).
Figure 6

Then remove the rear most hanger fastener (red arrow), a 13mm nut located to the left side of the tail pipe (green arrow).

Working at the transmission cross member, remove the E10 bolts while counter-holding the 13mm nuts (red arrows).
Figure 7

Working at the transmission cross member, remove the E10 bolts while counter-holding the 13mm nuts (red arrows). Note the bushing position when removing (red arrows) for reinstallation.

Lower the jack supporting the muffler about eight inches.
Figure 8

Lower the jack supporting the muffler about eight inches. Then remove the center heat shield fasteners (red arrows). There are eleven 8mm fasteners.

Once the fasteners have been removed, rotate the center heat shield toward the right side of the vehicle and pull it out from above the exhaust toward the rear of the vehicle (red arrow) and remove it.
Figure 9

Once the fasteners have been removed, rotate the center heat shield toward the right side of the vehicle and pull it out from above the exhaust toward the rear of the vehicle (red arrow) and remove it. At the front most corners of the heat shield, there are folded retaining tabs. Reach up under the plastic body shielding and unclip them.

Now move forward to the front pipe heat shield.
Figure 10

Now move forward to the front pipe heat shield. Remove three 8mm fasteners (red arrows) and two 10mm sheet metal nuts.

Once the heat shield is free, move it down away from the body and toward the rear of the vehicle.
Figure 11

Once the heat shield is free, move it down away from the body and toward the rear of the vehicle. This one can stay in the vehicle if you want. You will have enough room to work around it.

The red arrows point to the orientation indicator on the flex-disc.
Figure 12

The red arrows point to the orientation indicator on the flex-disc. Before removing, note the position and be sure to install the replacement flex-disc with arrows showing in the same direction. The arrows should point toward the mounting flanges as shown in this photo.

Working at the transmission, remove the six, 16mm driveshaft flex-disc fasteners.
Figure 13

Working at the transmission, remove the six, 16mm driveshaft flex-disc fasteners. The red arrows points to the washers that are used only on the driveshaft portion of the flex-disc. Note the orientation for reinstallation.

Working at the driveshaft support bearing, remove the two 13mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 14

Working at the driveshaft support bearing, remove the two 13mm fasteners (red arrows).

Then lower the driveshaft and pull it away from the transmission.
Figure 15

Then lower the driveshaft and pull it away from the transmission.

Remove the flex-disc from the driveshaft.
Figure 16

Remove the flex-disc from the driveshaft. Be sure to replace the nuts for the flex-disc. They are self-locking and should not be reused. Install the new driveshaft flex-disc onto the driveshaft and install the fasteners finger tight.

Then install the center support bearing nuts finger tight.
Figure 17

Then install the center support bearing nuts finger tight. Then install the driveshaft flex-disc to the transmission and tighten the fasteners. Then tighten the driveshaft flex-disc to the driveshaft fasteners. Once the flex-disc is tight, preload the center bearing to about 1mm toward the transmission and tighten the nuts. Finally, install any items you removed to improve access. Note my marks on the support bearing flange. I mark it to note the position. It helps me to see if I am in about the same place when I install the new flex-disc. Once tight, reassemble the heat shields and the exhaust system.

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Comments and Suggestions:
tbacon Comments: I see in the article that the splash shield and the reinforcement plate should be removed to access the flex disk. Do I also need to remove the engine splash shield before removing the transmission splash shield?

Do you have a tech article for replacement of the center support bearing?
September 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, remove them all.

We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jona Comments: Very nice 'how to', but why does the 'looking for parts' section on the right mention a new exhaust manifold gasket? I'd be very surprised if that part needs to be replaced as part of this project :!
November 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Likely a web code issue. I will forward your comment to the web team.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:42:11 AM