BMW Rear Axle Half-Shaft Removal / Removing
In removing the rear axle shaft, you would first remove the six or eight bolts that secure the inner CV-joint to the differential output flange. These bolts will typically have either Allen heads or external Torx heads. The bolts are not usually a problem to remove. If the car is up in the air (at the rear), with the suspension hanging, the bolts around the lower half of the joint will be inaccessible due to the axle boot and axle’s angle. You should, however, be able to get the tool (Allen-head bit or Torx socket with extension and ratchet) on the bolts around the upper half of the CV-joint (from 9-o’clock to 3-o’clock). Just rotate the shaft to get the individual bolts in a position where you can get the tool on them. After removing the inner CV-joint to differential flange bolts, pry the CV-joint from the flange (if it does not fall from the flange, on its own) and gently let the inner end of the axle hang.
There are two basic types of connections for the outer CV-Joint.
The earlier BMW models (Bav, CS, 2002, E21, E12, E23, E24, E28, E32, E34) have an outer CV-joint that bolts to the inner wheel drive flange, just like the inner joint. These outer joints are removed in the same manner as the inner joints. Later model BMWs incorporate the splined drive stub into the outer CV-joint. In these applications, the axle and drive stub must be pulled out from the outer wheel drive flange (or hub). Remove the locking ring on the outer securing nut and then remove the nut. You can now pull the axle assembly out (toward the center of the car) of the outer drive flange. This may require a puller in order to push the axle’s splined drive stub out of the outer drive flange. A typical two or three jaw gear puller will work (hook the jaws on the edges of the wheel drive flange and run the threaded puller/pusher shaft against the axle end), as will a bolt-on flange type puller (base of the puller bolts to the drive flange and the threaded puller/pusher shaft presses the axle out).
Note that the later style BMW models (CV-joint with splined drive stub) with ABS brakes may require removal of the ABS speed sensor prior to removal of the outer CV-joint/drive-stub. To be safe, remove the sensor before removing the axle end.