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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 08-13-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
Churchfield
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Staunton, VA
Posts: 2
My Ride: '02 330xi 5-spd MT
Slight front axle leak

My '02 330xi developed a slight leak on right (passenger side) front axle where it 'exits' the support bracket attached to oil pan. I believe it generates the slight 'hot oil' smell I note while driving. Is the fluid engine oil? Would that account for the loss of crankcase oil (500-700 miles/quart; Mobile 1, 0W-40). I never see oil on garage floor; only found it after taking off plastic shrouds. Axle was replaced about 10k ago w/OEM.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:56 PM   #2
Kubica
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 4,342
My Ride: 2003 325xi
It sounds like a leaky axle seal.

If so that would be diff fluid leaking, not engine oil. Is the axle just a little wet, or do you see a wet stripe on the plastic shield below?

The axle seal should be replaced with each axle- who did the work? Indy? Stealer? You? If stealer, it should be covered under warranty.

Before pinning it on the axle seal though, have a look to see if the valve cover gasket is leaking. That would explain the oil leak, smell, and oil consumption issues. Look at the metal shield next to the motor on the passenger side to see if it's stained brown with burnt oil.
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:45 PM   #3
Churchfield
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Location: Staunton, VA
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My Ride: '02 330xi 5-spd MT
Thanks. Will check that area you mentioned. Indy did repairs.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:14 PM   #4
Kubica
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Well if the drivers side axle by the diff is wet too, he probably just overfilled the diff. Search for VCG leak pictures and rule that out first though.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:28 AM   #5
briantm85
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Northern VA
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My Ride: 330xi 02'
Any suggestions on where to get the AXLE SEAL? I looked at bavauto and FCPgroton and haven't seen the part. Thanks
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
Kubica
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Search part number 33107505601.

http://ebmwparts.com/parts/index.cfm...&siteid=216397

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/...FILTER_BMWM=ON
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
sidct
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: CT
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My Ride: 2004 330Xi
A common cause of oil seal leakage is vibration secondary to unbalanced drive train ( bad bearing, wheel balance etc). You will need to check these areas too.
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