But after I swapped out the front diff, I noticed the passenger side front axle was bad and went to swap it out too. BMW wanted $608 for it (with a core charge!!) so I grudgingly went to autozone and got their Duralast Gold axle for about $130.
I swapped out the axles and when I took it for a test drive, I drove about a few hundred feet and I heard this horrible metallic pop and grind. I was afraid for the worst...it wound up being that the inner CV separated. I limped it back into my garage and did a post mortem examination on the part.
I could see nothing wrong with it (or my installation) so I went back to Autozone and got another one (no charge). This time, I was even more deliberate about the install to ensure that I was not making some small mistake that was ruining the part. All seemed fine so I made the swap....and the same thing happened! What an awful sound to have the CV snap
I went back to Autozone and after a long conversation, they understood that I was not making a mistake and gave me a refund. I went to another local chain and got a new axle from them. It was a different brand so I thought I was protecting myself from what I thought was a defective batch of parts. BUT...when the part came, it was the same exact part as the Duralast Gold I got twice before! Grudgingly, I installed the part and I recorded my test drive and just as before...the CV snapped before I could even make it out onto the street. The problem as near as I can figure it is that the inner CV cannot move to the same degree as the suspension can so when I go over a bump....POP.
I tracked down a used axle from a nearby used auto part yard and it was in great shape!! The boots looked new and for $135 how could I go wrong? I installed it and all is good...but before I did that...I got on the phone with the company who make the three (what I believed to be) defective axles.
After starting in China and then getting into the USA, I finally found someone who knew about axles and I explained my problem. After waiting on hold for a few minutes, I was told that the director of the parts department (for the manufacturer Suretrack) heard about this problem with the BMW axle and wanted the bad axle I had to go directly to them!
SO...if you are looking to buy an aftermarket front axle for your BMX AWD, do not install anything that has BM-8038 on the axle! And BTW, there is no rebuild kit for the outer joint so you cannot rebuild it yourself.
Glad to be done with this unnecessary odyssey
it had to take so long. All that and I changed out the transaxle fluid to make it feel as new as possible. Well worth the effort.