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Rear Driveshaft and Driveshaft Center Bearing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Driveshaft and Driveshaft Center Bearing Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets 8mm, 13mm, 15mm, wrenches 17mm, 18mm, T60 Torx bit, E12 external Torx socket, punch, hammer, pry bar, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Driveshaft, Driveshaft center bearing, exhaust hangers

Hot Tip:

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

Performance Gain:

Smooth drivetrain

Complementary Modification:

Replace flex-disc (Giubo)

In BMW E53 all-wheel drive 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.

The transmission and transfer case are mounted to the chassis and 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. 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.

The center support bearing holds the two-piece driveshaft in place while maintaining a smooth driveline. When this bearing fails, you may have noise, vibrations or a loose driveshaft.

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the rear driveshaft and the rear driveshaft center support bearing.

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. 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.

The driveshaft runs through the transmission tunnel from the transmission (yellow arrow) to the rear differential (red arrow) supported by the center bearing (green arrow).
Figure 1

The driveshaft runs through the transmission tunnel from the transmission (yellow arrow) to the rear differential (red arrow) supported by the center bearing (green arrow).

The bottom red arrow points to the orientation indicator on the flex-disc.
Figure 2

The bottom red arrow points 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. I like to make my own marks (red arrows) to help when reinstalling.

Place the transmission in neutral.
Figure 3

Place the transmission in neutral. Working at the transmission, remove the three 18mm driveshaft flex-disc fasteners. The red arrows in the photo point to two fasteners. One fastener is out of sight. Counterhold the nut while loosening the bolt.

Next, use a pry bar to lever the driveshaft away from the flex-disc (red arrow).
Figure 4

Next, use a pry bar to lever the driveshaft away from the flex-disc (red arrow).

Next, you have to mark the driveshaft flange at the rear differential (red arrows).
Figure 5

Next, you have to mark the driveshaft flange at the rear differential (red arrows).

Using a pry bar (green arrow), counterhold the driveshaft while loosening the 16mm nuts (red arrow).
Figure 6

Using a pry bar (green arrow), counterhold the driveshaft while loosening the 16mm nuts (red arrow). There are six nuts in total.

Once the nuts are removed, you have to remove the studs and support flanges.
Figure 7

Once the nuts are removed, you have to remove the studs and support flanges. I like to use a pry bar (red arrow) to tap the studs out. I tap at the area between the flange and the driveshaft (green arrow). Once free, remove the flanges with the studs (yellow arrows).

Separate the differential flange and driveshaft.
Figure 8

Separate the differential flange and driveshaft. Use a pry bar and lever the two apart using the slot (red arrow) in the driveshaft. Pull the driveshaft down (green arrow) once it is free from the differential.

Working at the driveshaft support bearing, mark the location of the driveshaft center support bearing (inset).
Figure 9

Working at the driveshaft support bearing, mark the location of the driveshaft center support bearing (inset). Then, remove the two 13mm fasteners (red arrows).

With the driveshaft removed, you can separate it at the splined joint and service the support bearing (yellow arrow), the rear section with universal joint (red arrow) or the CV joint (green arrow).
Figure 10

With the driveshaft removed, you can separate it at the splined joint and service the support bearing (yellow arrow), the rear section with universal joint (red arrow) or the CV joint (green arrow). Before separating the driveshaft, mark the splined joint orientation.

Secure the driveshaft in a vise.
Figure 11

Secure the driveshaft in a vise. Then loosen the 18mm securing bolt (red arrow). Note the dust shield position when removing it (green arrow). As you loosen the bolt, push the driveshaft away from the universal joint to separate it. Once you can see the splines, mark them for reinstallation (yellow arrow).

Pull the driveshaft apart to separate the splined joint.
Figure 12

Pull the driveshaft apart to separate the splined joint.

To replace the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise.
Figure 13

To replace the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise. Then using a punch (red arrow), drive the center bearing off the driveshaft. Tap it around the entire bearing, working your way around to hammer it off evenly.

To install the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise.
Figure 14

To install the center bearing, place the driveshaft in a vise. Then using a punch, drive the center bearing onto the driveshaft. Tap it around the entire bearing, working your way around to hammer it on evenly. Be sure to only tap on the inside steel race (yellow arrow). If the punch (yellow arrow) hits the seal, it can be damaged. Work carefully. Before joining the driveshaft pieces, use a small amount of blue Loctite on the threads (red arrow). Then lubricate the splined ends with NLGI Grade 2 longlife grease. Then align the marks from removal and assemble the splined end.

Before installing, apply a small amount of NLGI Grade 2 longlife grease to the driveshaft end where it meets the transfer case.
Figure 15

Before installing, apply a small amount of NLGI Grade 2 longlife grease to the driveshaft end where it meets the transfer case. Then install the center support bearing nuts finger tight. Install and tighten the CV joint end studs and nuts. Install and 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 (red arrow) and tighten the nuts. Finally, install any items you removed to improve access.









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Comments and Suggestions:
Ytse Comments: Thanks for the great writeup.. Is there a repair kit for cv joint?
July 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Something should be available.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Crunch Comments: LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Thanx for the excellent write-ups! One quick question about this one. What happens if you DON'T preload the center bearing? I DID preload mine, but it was the second one to go bad in less than a year The bearing itself was fine, but the metal housing broke just above the weld. And that's how the first one was broken too. Yes, my guibo has been changed. Thanx again!
March 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you don't preload it, the movement of the insulator is stressed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jdant202 Comments: I agree that saving your drive shaft is really important for the life of your car. I actually didn't know that these models had two of them. I'll have to see if I can follow your tips on replacing it. Thanks for sharing.
July 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:47:18 AM