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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > NA Engine (non-turbo) / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > GKN Axle



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      05-06-2017, 06:36 AM   #1
Efthreeoh
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GKN Axle

I searched on GKN and axle, but didn't find anything. I'm looking to replace the left rear halfshaft on the E90. Has anyone sourced a GKN axle? It seems to be the go-to part for aftermarket vs. rebuilt OE. I'd like to know about the quality of the part.

Thanks
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      05-06-2017, 08:49 AM   #2
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GKN Loebro is the OE for a lot of BMW's CV shafts (at least in the past). If you order a new boot kit from BMW, it'll probably be GKN.
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      05-06-2017, 09:11 AM   #3
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GKN is a Tier-1 OEM Supplier and there quality is pretty darn good, it takes a lot to get that status. They supply components to all the major automotive companies like Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, etc. (may not be for all models)

I used to work for GKN back in 2011 in the Roxboro, NC facility where the shafts are fully assembled before being shipped directly to the OEM warehouses, I would recommend their parts especially knowing how they are made and all the rigorous quality checks they go through.
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      05-07-2017, 07:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
GKN Loebro is the OE for a lot of BMW's CV shafts (at least in the past). If you order a new boot kit from BMW, it'll probably be GKN.
That's what I was getting from my internet research, just wanted to confirm.

I used a bit too much persuasion getting the left shaft out. I possibly could re-thread the end but it'll take a $35 adjustable re-threading die and $20 die handle (I don't have one that big). I already took it to a shop to let them have a crack at it and they bagged it. Considering the miles on the shaft and the rust on the outer joint/spindle, I think I'll just get a new shaft. The rust already ate two speed sensors a while back. Parts just wear out

Thanks
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      05-07-2017, 07:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohitsja View Post
GKN is a Tier-1 OEM Supplier and there quality is pretty darn good, it takes a lot to get that status. They supply components to all the major automotive companies like Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, etc. (may not be for all models)

I used to work for GKN back in 2011 in the Roxboro, NC facility where the shafts are fully assembled before being shipped directly to the OEM warehouses, I would recommend their parts especially knowing how they are made and all the rigorous quality checks they go through.
Thanks for the reply. Much appreciated information. Hat's off to you for working in the manufacturing industry.
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      05-08-2017, 02:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rohitsja View Post
GKN is a Tier-1 OEM Supplier and there quality is pretty darn good, it takes a lot to get that status. They supply components to all the major automotive companies like Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, etc. (may not be for all models)

I used to work for GKN back in 2011 in the Roxboro, NC facility where the shafts are fully assembled before being shipped directly to the OEM warehouses, I would recommend their parts especially knowing how they are made and all the rigorous quality checks they go through.
Awesome, another former GKN'er. I used to manage the met-lab at the Alamance facility. GKN parts are good stuff.
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      05-08-2017, 03:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rothwem View Post
Awesome, another former GKN'er. I used to manage the met-lab at the Alamance facility. GKN parts are good stuff.
I had to do a double take on this one. I misread it as you saying that you managed a meth-lab.
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      05-09-2017, 08:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by W37V View Post
I had to do a double take on this one. I misread it as you saying that you managed a meth-lab.
Ha, yea. Common joke. It didn't help that it looked like sort of like a really clean meth lab...beakers, flasks and acids all around. Also, we sometimes had to use picric acid, which is explosive if you let it crystallize.

Stupid met lab. All of the trouble of a meth lab, none of the money.
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      05-09-2017, 04:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rothwem View Post
Ha, yea. Common joke. It didn't help that it looked like sort of like a really clean meth lab...beakers, flasks and acids all around. Also, we sometimes had to use picric acid, which is explosive if you let it crystallize.

Stupid met lab. All of the trouble of a meth lab, none of the money.
As a young pup, I used to spec and buy the metrology lab equipment for a Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant. Loved that job...
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      05-11-2017, 08:21 AM   #10
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So to follow up with this, I received the new GKN axle yesterday. I inspected the part this morning. The actual axle shaft (between the CV joints) is of a different design than the OE part. The CV joints and most importantly, the CV boots, look to be of high quality. When I get a chance I'll take some photos of the replacement part and the OE part and post them here. So it is fair to say that GNK is not the OEM of the the E90 rear axles, or GNK has changed the design for the cheaper after-market replacement part. As long as the form, fit, and function is the same, then I'm good with it.
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      05-11-2017, 08:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
So to follow up with this, I received the new GKN axle yesterday. I inspected the part this morning. The actual axle shaft (between the CV joints) is of a different design than the OE part. The CV joints and most importantly, the CV boots, look to be of high quality. When I get a chance I'll take some photos of the replacement part and the OE part and post them here. So it is fair to say that GNK is not the OEM of the the E90 rear axles, or GNK has changed the design for the cheaper after-market replacement part. As long as the form, fit, and function is the same, then I'm good with it.
That's interesting, I'd like to see the pics.

Also fwiw, the only axles we made in North Carolina were the ones for the front axle. We never did any of the rear drive stuff, though they were ramping up to do the monobloc axles for the X5 and X6M cars.
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      05-11-2017, 08:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
As a young pup, I used to spec and buy the metrology lab equipment for a Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant. Loved that job...
Ha, metrology and metallurgy are two different things. My "met lab" was the metallurgical lab. The metrology lab was just called the "gauge lab".
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      05-11-2017, 08:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rothwem View Post
Ha, metrology and metallurgy are two different things. My "met lab" was the metallurgical lab. The metrology lab was just called the "gauge lab".
Ah, well I bought stuff for the AMT lab too. Advanced Materials Technology lab..
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      05-11-2017, 09:29 AM   #14
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Ah, well I bought stuff for the AMT lab too. Advanced Materials Technology lab..
Ooh. I should've changed my lab's name to that, it sounds waaaay more high tech.
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      05-17-2017, 06:45 AM   #15
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Soooo.... THAT didn't work.

New bearings and new left halfshaft (the original one wasn't bad other than rust and ahem, munged-up threads...), but the vibration I was chasing is now even worse!

So I'm thinking the diff decided to go on to better pastures. I took the car to a local trans/diff shop (domestic mostly) and they thought it wasn't a diff issue... hummmm. They were thinking a driveshaft problem. The guibo and center bearing I replaced at 250,000, so I doubt it is either of them. The shop thought possibly the centering pin (going into the trans yoke) is out of round. My idea was to pull the diff an have them rebuild it (maybe install a limited slip unit...), which is why I contacted them. They are not a BMW shop by any stretch, but diffs are diffs...

So I'll pull the driveshaft and inspect it, but I'm confident it's not the issue. The vibration I'm chasing is only on deceleration. It's so bad that it literally vibrates the rear door panels and seat surround. Upon acceleration the drivetrain is smooth as silk. Trans shifts fine and no noise at speed and throttle applied. Makes the vibration whether in neutral or in gear. Clutch and flywheel are new as of 293,000.

I'm stumped. Any insight from anyone is welcomed.
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A manual transmission can be set to "comfort", "sport", and "track" modes simply by the technique and speed at which you shift it; it doesn't need "modes", modes are for manumatics that try to behave like a real 3-pedal manual transmission. If you can money-shift it, it's a manual transmission.

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 05-31-2017 at 11:21 PM.
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      05-17-2017, 06:39 PM   #16
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The roller pin bearings on the u-joint(s) of the drive shaft may be on their way out. My front drive shaft had that. U joint on one end was binding if more than a few degrees bent. It had very fine red oxide dust coming out of it, which is how I suspected it. After removal it was able diagnose for sure.
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      05-21-2017, 10:06 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by PhaseP View Post
The roller pin bearings on the u-joint(s) of the drive shaft may be on their way out. My front drive shaft had that. U joint on one end was binding if more than a few degrees bent. It had very fine red oxide dust coming out of it, which is how I suspected it. After removal it was able diagnose for sure.
It's going to be a few weeks until I can get back to wrenching on it. I doubt it's the driveshaft, but I'll pull it out of the car and check. I'm pretty much sure it's the diff, given the mileage and the noise it makes when spinning the flanges. I just bought a used diff with only 42K on it. It should be here the week after next.
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      05-21-2017, 10:12 AM   #18
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So dummy me, I should have just looked at the old axle. When re-installing the old right side, I saw the sticker on the inner CV cap. Right on there the sticker says GKN...
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      05-31-2017, 06:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaseP View Post
The roller pin bearings on the u-joint(s) of the drive shaft may be on their way out. My front drive shaft had that. U joint on one end was binding if more than a few degrees bent. It had very fine red oxide dust coming out of it, which is how I suspected it. After removal it was able diagnose for sure.
You may be right....

Diff was good. The new (42,000-mile used) diff is more quiet than the 325K unit I replaced ... but still the vibration. I pulled the driveshaft and the bearing spins smooth and fine and has no play/noise (I replaced it 75,000 miles ago) and the u-joints are tight as far as I can tell; the runout/play spec is .006 in. , so how do you tell

A new re-manufactured shaft is on its way...
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      05-31-2017, 10:37 AM   #20
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Yeah that spec means no play. The problem with my front drive shaft was the ujoint was binding when trying to bend more than a few degrees, it was very obvious outside of the car, plus red oxide dust coming out of the joint.
If it is not the drive shaft not differential what comes to my mind as suspect is the half axle cv joints. They can wear and start binding too when rotating at angle causing vibration. A friend had that in front cv joints. The cv joints are mechanical engineering marvels
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      05-31-2017, 11:19 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaseP View Post
Yeah that spec means no play. The problem with my front drive shaft was the ujoint was binding when trying to bend more than a few degrees, it was very obvious outside of the car, plus red oxide dust coming out of the joint.
If it is not the drive shaft not differential what comes to my mind as suspect is the half axle cv joints. They can wear and start binding too when rotating at angle causing vibration. A friend had that in front cv joints. The cv joints are mechanical engineering marvels
Yeah, I've thought that too, but I replaced the left side half shaft. The right has no play whatsoever, it's worn, but CVs are supposed to move around. When I rotated the driveshaft, while still connected to the diff, but the diff disconnected from the halfshafts, I could see the center bearing move up and down in the mount, which I found unusual; remember the bearing only has 80 thousand on it. After so many miles maybe the driveshaft just plain wore out. I'll know on Saturday after the new shaft goes in.
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      06-04-2017, 06:26 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaseP View Post
Yeah that spec means no play. The problem with my front drive shaft was the ujoint was binding when trying to bend more than a few degrees, it was very obvious outside of the car, plus red oxide dust coming out of the joint.
If it is not the drive shaft not differential what comes to my mind as suspect is the half axle cv joints. They can wear and start binding too when rotating at angle causing vibration. A friend had that in front cv joints. The cv joints are mechanical engineering marvels
It was the driveshaft. So I ended up with new rear wheel bearings, new (used) diff, new Left halfshaft, and a new (remanufactured) driveshaft. The car has not been this quiet since it was new.

Now on to that new scooter I've been looking at...
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