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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 12-08-2009, 12:03 AM   #1
Chibo
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Manual Xi to RWD

Let's say you have a pristine xi you got at a great price and it's immaculate, but you never encounter snow and plan to keep it for a long time.

I see that the transmissions are different on realoem, but does anyone know if you can take the tcase off of the XI and either bolt a standard 325i driveshaft onto the transmission output or something similar? It has to have been done before but I can't find any in depth information on it. I'm not really a newb to engine/transmission swaps but there is so little information I can find on the XI.

I know the blocks are the same between XI/I so if it came down to it I could simply bolt a RWD transmission on with the mount but I'd like to see if it can be done without a trans swap.

Thanks guys.
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Last edited by Chibo; 12-08-2009 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:11 AM   #2
nightdagger
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I would think that unless (and maybe even if) you DIY it would cost more than selling the xi and buying a RWD.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:12 AM   #3
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i would imagine you are going to see dash lights if you modify something in the driveline like that. if you really want rwd and don't mind dash lights, just remove the front driveshaft.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:15 AM   #4
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edit: Oops, double post.
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Last edited by Chibo; 12-08-2009 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:16 AM   #5
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I would think that unless (and maybe even if) you DIY it would cost more than selling the xi and buying a RWD.
DIY is a given, a shop has never touched a car I've owned other than mounting tires. It's not cost effective for me to sell the car and buy a non Xi given the mods, condition, and price I paid for this car.
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i would imagine you are going to see dash lights if you modify something in the driveline like that. if you really want rwd and don't mind dash lights, just remove the front driveshaft.
If you did that the tcase would direct all of the power to the front driveshaft output, unless these have some kind of LSD in the tcase. I could care less about lights though. You can do that with a center diff lock though, I did it a few times in my old FZJ80 Land Cruiser after trail breakage.


My question is not if it is economical or easy to do, but simply if it bolts up the way I would hope it would. People told me the M3 rear bars didn't work on non-M's... well, I am running a stock M3 rear bar.
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Last edited by Chibo; 12-08-2009 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:26 AM   #6
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i don't know as much about these cars as some people on here, and i'm not sure how bmw's awd system works, but...
i don't think the system works like an open diff, if DSC controls the front as well, i speculate that there wouldn't be a need for electronic limitation of the transfer case, and therefore would actually send all the power to the rear wheels. however, if the DSC is going nuts about the front end being offline with the system, i'm not sure what its going to do about sending power to the rear.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:23 AM   #7
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You could theoretically remove all of the xi part from your car, and turn your car into an "i". However, you realize that the front differential is in/part-of the oil pan of the engine....
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:33 AM   #8
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Yeah.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:01 PM   #9
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I would imagine that it would only be worth it if you had a donor car and could do the work yourself or have it done at a very fair price.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:31 PM   #10
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Just remove the front driveshaft. If the front wheels aren't driven, you still won't get DCS issues unless they're slipping. I think that this should work, the E46 AWD system is essentially very simple. Give it a shot.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by SpeedDemon View Post
I would imagine that it would only be worth it if you had a donor car and could do the work yourself or have it done at a very fair price.
The question is if there even needs to be a donor car. I'd imagine I can just take the tcase off and either put a non-xi driveshaft right on or have a driveshaft made.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:19 PM   #12
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However, you realize that the front differential is in/part-of the oil pan of the engine....
This is an incorrect statement. The oil pan is different on an xi, but its definitely a seperate part from the oil pan.

OP- why wreck a perfectly good xi? Does 1/3 of the power to the front really ruin the car for you? Do you really think 2 axles, a front diff, and a Tc slow you down that much?

And the limiting factor here, if I had to guess, is the rear diff. They are much smaller than RWD diffs, and don't know if it would take all the power.

IMHO- bad idea.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:11 PM   #13
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Because my car will never see snow a day in it's life and it may see rain twice a year. So to answer your question, yes, it ruins the car for me.

Even IF, which I doubt, the diff was a limiting factor RWD diffs bolt right in and cost less than $100. This car makes little to no horsepower, I'm not bothered about something like a diff handing the power.

I'm not asking for opinions, I'm asking for facts.
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:21 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=Kubica;11016570]The oil pan is different on an xi, but its definitely a seperate part from the oil pan.

QUOTE]

This is a fact. You also got an opinion.
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:15 AM   #15
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I say try and sell the xi. It is winter time in most of the country....demand for a good snow car is high. You could fetch a nice coin for a well kept xi.

As for converting it to rear wheel. Easiest thing to do as was said, just remove the front driveshaft from the transfer case to the front differential. However.....this will not achieve your desired results.

The transfer case on the e46 is NOT electronic. It is mechanical and locked, not variable. It will ALWAYS send 62% power to the rear, 38% to the front. It does this through its gearing.

As it is mechanical and locked at that ratio via the gearing design, disabling the front driveshaft will slow you down as 38% of the power is no longer on tap. If that is the case.....you are SOL and stuck with the XI system. However, for giggles...why not remove the front driveshaft and let us know. It has me curious. Nothing could be harmed from trying it.

The only electronics on the e46 XI system are on the dynamic stability control for each wheel. It will, as needed, apply brakes independently to each wheel and or retard engine throttle. There is NO electronically managed transfer case or differentials.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:44 PM   #16
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I'll be taking the front DS out and trying it. My reason for not selling it is because I paid $7k for a car with not a single dent, ding, or scratch, all the records, H&R coilovers, Alpina intake box, Shark injector, full exhaust, clean title, in the exact color combo I wanted, etc. My only hold back is the AWD part, it would be insane for me to get rid of it and gamble on another car.
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
This is an incorrect statement. The oil pan is different on an xi, but its definitely a seperate part from the oil pan.


We're both trying to say the same thing - the final drive of the front axle goes through the oil pan.
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Chibo View Post
I'll be taking the front DS out and trying it. My reason for not selling it is because I paid $7k for a car with not a single dent, ding, or scratch, all the records, H&R coilovers, Alpina intake box, Shark injector, full exhaust, clean title, in the exact color combo I wanted, etc. My only hold back is the AWD part, it would be insane for me to get rid of it and gamble on another car.
To get the car to rwd spec you would have to change:

- Front subframe and suspension
- Oil Pan
- Transmission, xi transmissions are the same thing as the rwd but they have a modified end case to mate up to the transfer case, I don't know whether retrofit from xi manual to rwd manual is possible.
- Rear driveshaft, awd driveshaft must be shorter than rwd to accomodate transfer case.
- DSC programming, can't change to rwd without letting the traction control system know, it would still be trying to regulate the front axle as if it were working with an awd still.

All in all just having to change the front subframe and suspension alone would be cost-prohibitive enough for me, let alone having more on top of that.

Also even if taking the front driveshaft off does work, you'll only have 68% of your already limited power.

Last edited by JFern; 12-11-2009 at 10:45 PM.
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