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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Suspension & Braking

Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 06-05-2010, 05:23 PM   #1
barfoot1
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My Ride: 2002 325xi
'02 325xi rear springs broken, they were worse then I expected

So about 4 months ago, I was waiting at a stop light and heard this loud bang, like a high tension wire breaking. I had no idea what it was though. So fast forward to a few weeks ago, while I was rotating my tires, I noticed the passenger side rear coil spring was really loose compared to the driver side. The broken piece of the spring was also lodged into the rubber mounting pad.

So I went ahead and ordered 2 new springs and was able to install them two nights ago. Much to my surprise, the rear springs were way worse then I originally suspected. The driver's side spring was broken in one spot and the passenger side spring was broken in two spots. I also found that the driver's side rear sway bar link was broken.

So got the two new springs in and wow, what a difference. In a few days I will get my new sway bar links installed and hopefully be back to normal handling!

In closing, thanks to everyone on the board that has contributed, I was able to quickly get the job done thanks to the great DIYs.

Enjoy the pics of the carnage.
-John
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:23 PM   #2
Bimmer Dude Xi
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wow im shocked. how miles do you have?
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:03 PM   #3
barfoot1
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Sorry, I should have mentioned that. The car is sitting with ~127k at the moment, if I had to guess, I'd say I probably heard the spring break around the 115k mark. As for the sway bar link, that breaking was probably just a result of extreme force on the part due to the passenger side spring being as bad as it was. I went ahead and ordered two new links with hardware just to be safe.

Additionally, after inspecting the failed springs a little more closely, I'm actually kind of disappointed in the quality of the part.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:54 PM   #4
Kubica
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Yep, that's typical damage for rear springs. Mine looked like that after only 65k miles.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:54 PM   #5
Blocked Out
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Absolutely normal and common thing with E46's and CARS in general.
Please dont tell us you bought OEM springs as a replacement.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:08 PM   #6
barfoot1
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Yes I did purchase OEM replacement springs, for the following reasons: 1)I have not yet had my sub frame dealer inspected and when I do, I don't want to give them any reason to deny repair if there are problems found, 2)This is my daily driver car, I commute over 110 miles per day, a lot of it through construction and city driving with poor roads, for me, the stock suspension is a perfect combination of drive-ability, comfort, and sportiness (when the springs are not broken, that is).
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:33 AM   #7
Bimmer Dude Xi
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i thought Xi's dont have the sub frame issue?
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:09 PM   #8
barfoot1
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i thought Xi's dont have the sub frame issue?
I could be wrong, but I have been receiving the legal documents in the mail about it...
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:41 PM   #9
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Seems to be a very common problem. I guess German steel isn't what it used to be - or they have them made in 3rd world countries
It really is sad when they can't make a simple spring that doesn't break from normal wear & tear.

I have a 330xi, 2003.
Both rear springs were broken at around 100k kilometers so I upgraded to H&R springs with my OEM shocks, then replaced those with Bilstein sport shocks a year later because the OEM were finished.

But I am now getting crazy noises recently as the car "twists" in & out of parking lots/driveways on an angle (one wheel at a time over the incline/decline causing the body to torque).
Speed bumps are not a problem if BOTH wheels on the axle go over at the same time.
The noise did not start immediately after the suspension swap either.

I am sure the problem is in the back, have had everything obvious/visible checked and the car feels perfect - smooth & tight - just a very loud creaking noise that sounds like it could be a subframe - metal creaking / bending noise. I have seen the subframe video that shows the rear wheel jerking all over - I feel nothing loose, hard throttle/braking/pop clutch.... all smooth & no noises, the creaking is ONLY in & out of parking/driveways or over big bumps slowly.

I would love to have confirmation the Xi models were not having the sub-frame failures because I am really not sure how to proceed. I know the dealer will just tell me it is my fault no matter what (and make me pay) so I haven't wasted my time with them.
Next time I go out I will record the sounds as they happen.

I am scared one day the rear end will pass me on the highway after ripping apart!
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:19 PM   #10
Kubica
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Originally Posted by SharkmanBMW View Post
Seems to be a very common problem. I guess German steel isn't what it used to be - or they have them made in 3rd world countries
It really is sad when they can't make a simple spring that doesn't break from normal wear & tear.

I have a 330xi, 2003.
Both rear springs were broken at around 100k kilometers so I upgraded to H&R springs with my OEM shocks, then replaced those with Bilstein sport shocks a year later because the OEM were finished.

But I am now getting crazy noises recently as the car "twists" in & out of parking lots/driveways on an angle (one wheel at a time over the incline/decline causing the body to torque).
Speed bumps are not a problem if BOTH wheels on the axle go over at the same time.
The noise did not start immediately after the suspension swap either.

I am sure the problem is in the back, have had everything obvious/visible checked and the car feels perfect - smooth & tight - just a very loud creaking noise that sounds like it could be a subframe - metal creaking / bending noise. I have seen the subframe video that shows the rear wheel jerking all over - I feel nothing loose, hard throttle/braking/pop clutch.... all smooth & no noises, the creaking is ONLY in & out of parking/driveways or over big bumps slowly.

I would love to have confirmation the Xi models were not having the sub-frame failures because I am really not sure how to proceed. I know the dealer will just tell me it is my fault no matter what (and make me pay) so I haven't wasted my time with them.
Next time I go out I will record the sounds as they happen.

I am scared one day the rear end will pass me on the highway after ripping apart!
Sounds like a rear swaybar issue.

And . . . . READY? . . . no XI subframe issue. Don't waste your time getting it inspected.
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:43 AM   #11
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Thanks Kubica
VERY, very happy to hear that. I jacked the front corner on the side I think I hear the noises and as the front was jacked I would hear the noise from around the rear right wheel. The same creaking sound but one at a time instead of one longer creaking sound.

It does sound like the swaybar bushings are the most likely suspect, so I think I should change the swaybar links & bushings - any tips / part recommendations?

BTW, I don't want to upgrade the swaybar itself, the car is extremely well balanced as is with little to no under-steer, probably thanks to my offset tire sizes, 235/255 (TOYO Proxes T1R, exact same setup that I had on my 540i!)
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:05 PM   #12
Kubica
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Originally Posted by SharkmanBMW View Post
Thanks Kubica
VERY, very happy to hear that. I jacked the front corner on the side I think I hear the noises and as the front was jacked I would hear the noise from around the rear right wheel. The same creaking sound but one at a time instead of one longer creaking sound.

It does sound like the swaybar bushings are the most likely suspect, so I think I should change the swaybar links & bushings - any tips / part recommendations?

BTW, I don't want to upgrade the swaybar itself, the car is extremely well balanced as is with little to no under-steer, probably thanks to my offset tire sizes, 235/255 (TOYO Proxes T1R, exact same setup that I had on my 540i!)
Hmmm. It could be a sway bar issue, not sure now. I just replaced my rear sway after 100k miles and both bushings looked ok. The end-links had some movement, but they weren't to the point that they NEEDED replacement.

If i had to guess, i would say it's more likely a spring issue. Was this your first time installing rear springs? I had a tough time with mine- the xi springs are tough to get in there perfectly without almost pinching your fingers off. Could be a spring pad issue as well.
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:23 PM   #13
SharkmanBMW
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It could indeed be the spring - I did not install them, it was done by a race shop. Because I cannot see the spring at the top, or the pad I can't tell.
The other fix I considered is replacing spring pads and all the parts that hold the top of the rear shocks in, what I can see from the wheelwell looks rusted and the rubber parts should have been changed.

I'm starting to wonder if the shop installed 330 parts instead of 330Xi parts! Thanks for the input, this is an ongoing process of diagnosis!

I think I read that the Xi has a thicker pad than a regular sedan...?
When I got the H&R springs, do you think they came with spring pads? (I was not there to witness)
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Last edited by SharkmanBMW; 06-08-2010 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:47 PM   #14
nogoer
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Ok here i am dirty as **** from trying to get the new rear spring in my 02 330xi. All the pre reading i did was pointless , its not as simple as they say and i just cannot get the rear arm to lower enough to fit the new one in. Its not even close and the rear sway bar link is seized onto the sway bar too.

What DIY did you use? you mention them but didnt give any links.
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:59 AM   #15
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Well it turns out there is a fairly decent trick to this in that you need to make sure both wheels are off the ground or the sway bar restricts the travel of the wheel you do have off the ground. Once i had both sides up all it took was a good pry down on the hub and the spring wedged back into place.
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