If your like most MINI owners you probably have a bad cv axle. You can identify a bad CV Axle in a couple different ways, you can look for torn boots, or an audible clicking when turning. Here is the process for replacing the drivers side CV Axle, the process is the same for the passenger side with the addition of the carrier bearing and bracket that's easily removed with two bolts.
1. The first step is to safely lift your MINI and place the vehicle on jack stands or a lift. Never use a floor jack to support the weight of the vehicle while your under it, and never use the screw jack that is provided with your MINI for roadside assistance to support the weight of the vehicle.
2. Next you will want to remove the wheel, and place carefully to the side. You will use a 17mm socket to remove the lug bolts.
3. You do not need to remove the brake caliper, or rotor for this job. Next you will remove the axle nut from the axle. This axle nut will be very difficult to remove if you do not have air tools at your disposal. The nut will take a 32mm socket. After taking it off you should be able to move the axle shaft a little bit inside the wheel bearing, make sure that it is not seized.
4. Next you will need an 18mm deep well socket to remove the nut on the lower ball joint, after removing the lower ball joint nut take a hammer and firmly hit the side of the control arm until the ball joint breaks free. Be careful not to hit the threads, or stud of the lower ball joint. If this method does not work, you can remove carefully with a pickle fork, a quick trick of the trade, if you grease the boot and the fork before using, it will keep the boot from tearing on the lower ball joint! Once out, carefully check that the joint is not damaged and that there is no up and down play in the joint.
4. You can carefully now pull the spindle/hub assembly out and away from the car, just enough to slide axle out of the wheel bearing. Once this is free, we will shift our attention to the other end of the axle.
5. The CV axle has a small metal clip that holds the axle inside the transmission, to get the axle to pop free, you will need to place a good amount of force in an outward motion to pop it free. The best way to do this is with a pry bar. Gently place against the transmission case, place the edge on the axle so that when prying it will pop the axle towards the outside of the vehicle. Be careful not damage the transmission in any way, or the axle seal.
6. Once the axle is completely free you can remove it, and then inspect the axle seal on the edge of the transmission so that when the new axle goes in, you do not leak fluid when the axle is spinning.
7. Gently line up the splines of the new axle and push firmly into the transmission until you hear/feel it click. It is also a good idea to visually inspect the axle to ensure it is all the way in. Then grease the splines on the other end and slide back through the wheel bearing.
8. Line up the lower ball joint and torque nut down until it is tight.
9. Thread new axle nut onto the axle, and torque down to 134 ft. lbs. using a torque wrench. Improper torquing of this nut will cause your wheel bearing to fail. In worse case scenario your wheel could come off, and cause severe damage to your MINI, you, and potentially others. USE A TORQUE WRENCH.
10. Once the axle nut is torqued, use a small punch and hammer to fold a part of the axle nut over the cut out in the end of the axle.
11. Remount your wheel, thread in the lug bolts by HAND, and tighten to 103 ft lbs in a criss cross motion.
12. Safely lower the vehicle and go for a test drive!!
If you do not have the tools required to complete this job, you may be able to rent at a local auto parts store, if you are not comfortable and do not feel that you can complete this job on your own, reach out to your nearest local MINI service center!