Can anyone identify this leak?

buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
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I was getting ready to change my oil when I noticed crud all over my wheel well (was not there 4k miles ago) and it wipes off like black oil. I cabt tell if it was power steering fluid or not since its black, but my power steering resivuar is almost full? Anyways here's the photos, it's right near the steering wheel arm.

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DCook

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May 25, 2018
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Is the clips still on the half shaft boot, or no tears? May be grease.
 

buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
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Is the clips still on the half shaft boot, or no tears? May be grease.

There arnt any tears and the clip is one. It's hard to snap a picture of it because of my XI front axles.

Where could the grease have come from?

Looks like slung cv boot grease to me.

Doesnt it seem a little excessive for boot grease? Any areas of interest I should look? I'm just worried it might be from the front transfer case or something (I'm not even sure what that looks like yet even though I replaced my turbos lol)
 

buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
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I'm wondering if its fluid leaking from my axle? I'm not sure if fluid even leaks from there but that's kinda what it looks like since the grease is all over the wheel well as if it was spun while driving.

Here are some more photos, it's even on the inside of the rim and when I shine a bright flashlight onto it it looks like it has a green tint to it? Do we have any fluid anywhere that's green? I was thinking coolant but bmw is blue on that.

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Rob09msport

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Oct 28, 2017
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I've learned when comes to leaks a little goes long way , it can look like whole lot. That deff looks like grease . Put it this way my wife's friends husband has an expedition and his wheel bearing went , it got so hot the grease turned to liquid and sprayed all over . if something is going on their and heating up it will fling muck all over but if stuff is getting hot in their i would be careful driving .
 

buster84

Corporal
Mar 24, 2018
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335 bmw xdrive
I've learned when comes to leaks a little goes long way , it can look like whole lot. That deff looks like grease . Put it this way my wife's friends husband has an expedition and his wheel bearing went , it got so hot the grease turned to liquid and sprayed all over . if something is going on their and heating up it will fling muck all over but if stuff is getting hot in their i would be careful driving .

Any ideas on what I should look at?

I have a new theory, not should how plausible this could be. I noticed tiny bits of oils on the bottom of the oil catch can drain plug and then when i looked down i saw oil on that tube I in my first picture with the clip and it looks like oil may have creeped all the way down. My catch can had maybe 1/4th an ounce of oil but maybe the engine when driving caused the catch can drain to leak from air? I tightened that drain plug so that's good now.

I'm going to finish up my oil change and pull the car into my driveway, jack it up then and pressure wash it all away. Then I'll keep and eye on it and see if it comes back because at this point I have no idea what I'm looking for. I run motul oil so I'm not sure if its the oil or not that has that slight green tint since I'm not really sure what motul oil looks like. I never looked hard at it with a flash light lol.

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DCook

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May 25, 2018
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It looks very thick like grease, especially the color. Theres no where else that uses grease. The only rotating part to sling it is the axle. A drip or leak wont cause that. I shattered an axle, and it looked exactly the same when grease flew all over. Its def the boot.
 

Rob09msport

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Like dcook said deff seems like from that boot if you put latex glove on and smear some on your finger does it feel like a paste or just feel slippery? Mistake i make sometimes is just cause you find one thing doesn't mean rest is ok,i know you might have oil from catch can I've had the bottom of my bms can have oil on it before to. But that doesn't mean everything else is ok i think might just be making things little confusing
 

buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
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Looks like axle grease.

It looks very thick like grease, especially the color. Theres no where else that uses grease. The only rotating part to sling it is the axle. A drip or leak wont cause that. I shattered an axle, and it looked exactly the same when grease flew all over. Its def the boot.

So if this is axel grease does this mean ive broken my axel? I'm a little confused since i havnt even floored the car since i threw the turbos back on and its been driving great. I drove it around the block and everything seemed normal after i pressured washed it all...

If this is the axel, should i stop driving the car? Could the bad axel break something else like the transfer case? Or is this just a broken axel boot?

Any tests i can do? I probably wont jack the car back up until tomorrow since im heading out, but now im double thinking even driving this car and going in my other one. What do you guys think?

Edit: I left my subframe hanging for about a month and my axels floating now im wondering if i ripped the boot on one. Can just the boot be replaced if thats all it is? I'm guessing it would have to be re-greased. I'll probably just pay someone to do this ive put so many hours into this car im tired of being under it for now lol.
 
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buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
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I forgot to mention I seen this too when reinstalling my wheel. I cant seem to find any online photos to compare to. Does this look normal or bad?

I'm thinking of just grabbing a used axel off ebay.
 

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The Convert

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Jun 4, 2017
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Axle grease outside of the cv boot means you need to replace the axle. It does not mean the axle is broken, but because it's now been exposed to the environment, it will fail prematurely.
 

pdxbimmertech

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Coming from a BMW tech with 14 years of dealership experience and 4 more at independent this is for sure axle grease from your outer CV boot. Even a pinhole or a slightly loose metal clamp can cause lots of grease to sling out. You can get a used axle and replace it or just have the boot replaced. Labor is most likely the same if you are paying a shop or slightly more for the boot as it pays to remove the axle and then disassemble the joint to replace the boot. Most of the newer X drive vehicles have really tough CV boots compared to the earlier ones like E46 or E53. I've yet to see an E9X front outer boot split on it's own.
 
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buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
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I've yet to see an E9X front outer boot split on it's own.

Then maybe i caused it when i left my subrame hanging for over a month after i removed my turbos? I knew i should have lifted it, but i was expecting the turbos to be replaced within a week but it ended up taking almost 1.5 months sitting on jackstands. I bet this ripped it or something.

Coming from a BMW tech with 14 years of dealership experience and 4 more at independent this is for sure axle grease from your outer CV boot. Even a pinhole or a slightly loose metal clamp can cause lots of grease to sling out. You can get a used axle and replace it or just have the boot replaced. Labor is most likely the same if you are paying a shop or slightly more for the boot as it pays to remove the axle and then disassemble the joint to replace the boot. Most of the newer X drive vehicles have really tough CV boots compared to the earlier ones like E46 or E53. I've yet to see an E9X front outer boot split on it's own.

hmmm i just pressure washed it so if the boot was leaking i just added water into it and probably made things worse. I guess ill take the wheel off again and take another look for a rip or something. At this point im thinking of just buying a used one since i can get one for about $100

Question you might know. Are the axels from the 328 x-drive the same as the ones in the 335i xdrive? Also is it safe to drive on for now since I plan to buy a new adel anyways? I'll just drive safe lol
 
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buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
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Update! Found a crack on the boot! Looks like my axel is fine and it's just the boot, but considering my axel is on 120k and pdxbimmertech said the labor is the same other way I'll just grab a used one online. Blah this sucks. I wonder if it was from my subframe hanging for so long or just old age. The crack is on the bottom so at least I know my pressure washer didnt reach there since I didnt have it high enough to get it from the bottom.

Is there any special tools needed for an axel replacement? I'm planning to buy one now and im trying to decide whether or not to pay someone to do it if i dont have all the tools.
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DCook

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May 25, 2018
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I cant specify on front, but axle socket, and drop and pull the strut away from the car and pop it out. Not gonna be an easy task from the looks.

Use antiseize on the new splines before putting it in, and wire brush it both splines to clean rust off and make it easier for reassembly.
 

buster84

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Mar 24, 2018
240
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335 bmw xdrive
I cant specify on front, but axle socket, and drop and pull the strut away from the car and pop it out. Not gonna be an easy task from the looks.

Use antiseize on the new splines before putting it in, and wire brush it both splines to clean rust off and make it easier for reassembly.

Ok.. I guess I'll call around for some quotes first and decide if want to tackle it. For some reason dealing with suspension and drivetrain I tend to not want to diy it.

Looks like I got lucky Found one with 41k miles on it!

https://m.ebay.com/itm/07-12-BMW-32..._trkparms=itemid:323284948174&epid=1711153193
 

The Convert

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Honestly, as a previous tech for 4 years, and now a manufacturing engineer, never replace a boot if it has already started loosing grease...just replace the axle. The only people that should imo replace a boot that has already torn are people doing the work themselves that are trying their absolute damnedest to put as little money into a car as possible.
 
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