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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 05-25-2011, 11:29 AM   #21
Itadienekes
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Good input, thanks!

No tremors or violent shaking while accelerating.
But definitely some low-frequency whomping noises when decelerating which sounds like bad bearings.
Probably a relatively new problem, but since I don't know 100%, and the big investment is the labor, I'd just rather get new axle assemblies (Reman'ed) and get it over with.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:34 PM   #22
SWFan
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There is actually a video on Youtube showing how to replace the front axles on an E46 xi. It honestly doesn't look too terribly hard. Though I've been bit before by thinking a DIY would be simple and end up losing an entire day or two as things didn't work as the DIY indicated they should.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:22 PM   #23
Hero6
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As the first major repair on my car, I researched the hell out of this DIY. It's simple enough in theory, but was a beast in practice, at least for a novice. Not to say I wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad I know what I do now. Most of the trouble was getting the axle out of and back into the differential. Despite how the guy in the youtube video goes about it, I would NOT have been able to accomplish this project without the assistance of air tools. (am I the only one that finds everything twice as hard as it looks in the videos??? ) I promptly got myself an assortment of air ratchets, wrenches, and a hammer after seeing how beneficial they were. Two things that I'd pass on is to make sure you have a 36mm 6 point socket (somewhere in my research I had found you should have a 46mm socket... typo?), and make sure to get the damn thing back in there all the way. A couple days after the job mine worked its way back out while I was going down the road... the dealership mechanics had a good laugh with that one.

After a couple months, I am getting vibrations/grinding noises. I'm hoping that an alignment and diff fluid change will fix that up. Dealer said they changed the diff fluid, but there is a reason I like to do things myself...
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:02 PM   #24
svdw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itadienekes View Post
Good input, thanks!

No tremors or violent shaking while accelerating.
But definitely some low-frequency whomping noises when decelerating which sounds like bad bearings.
Probably a relatively new problem, but since I don't know 100%, and the big investment is the labor, I'd just rather get new axle assemblies (Reman'ed) and get it over with.
I've had the same experience for the last month or so, maybe more. There has been that same low frequency whomping noise coming from my left front tire. No tremors or shaking though. I attributed it to uneven tread as the previous owner had over inflated the tires. I figured the sound would go away when I replaced the tires. So, I picked up some new to me rims and tires (TSW Mondellos with Toyo Proxes 4's- 225/40/18- came with an additional rim, one tire needs to be replaced- crack in the sidewall but the other tires are only a month old- all for $400). I haven't had the chance to put them on the car yet but I think my theory about uneven treadwear may only be partially right. Just after loading the rims in my car, I took a fairly sharp left into a parking spot only to hear a clunking noise. I haven't had it checked yet by anyone other than me but I tore the right front boot almost identically in the Fall. The funny part is that I haven't heard any noise since this happened Monday night.

For me, money is an issue, so my plan is to get the boot fixed and hope it will last. My front diff was replaced last summer due to a failed seal so I'm hoping the rest of the internals are ok (axles, etc.). I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:33 PM   #25
Kubica
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Originally Posted by svdw View Post
I've had the same experience for the last month or so, maybe more. There has been that same low frequency whomping noise coming from my left front tire. No tremors or shaking though. I attributed it to uneven tread as the previous owner had over inflated the tires. I figured the sound would go away when I replaced the tires. So, I picked up some new to me rims and tires (TSW Mondellos with Toyo Proxes 4's- 225/40/18- came with an additional rim, one tire needs to be replaced- crack in the sidewall but the other tires are only a month old- all for $400). I haven't had the chance to put them on the car yet but I think my theory about uneven treadwear may only be partially right. Just after loading the rims in my car, I took a fairly sharp left into a parking spot only to hear a clunking noise. I haven't had it checked yet by anyone other than me but I tore the right front boot almost identically in the Fall. The funny part is that I haven't heard any noise since this happened Monday night.

For me, money is an issue, so my plan is to get the boot fixed and hope it will last. My front diff was replaced last summer due to a failed seal so I'm hoping the rest of the internals are ok (axles, etc.). I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
Your issue almost sounds like a bad front strut.

Definitely check the axles though- it's very easy. Grab the shafts and look for more than 1mm of play front/back. And the tell-tale grease will tell you if a boot has split.

That's rough about the front diff. Do you have a manual tranny? Maybe you have my old front diff!
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:45 PM   #26
svdw
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Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Your issue almost sounds like a bad front strut.

Definitely check the axles though- it's very easy. Grab the shafts and look for more than 1mm of play front/back. And the tell-tale grease will tell you if a boot has split.

That's rough about the front diff. Do you have a manual tranny? Maybe you have my old front diff!
Thanks for your take and your advice Kubica. I'll check the axles this weekend. The tranny is a Step although I'd much prefer the manual. Honestly I was just happy to find an affordable xi with low miles. I bought it in December '09 with 52k on it and only now have 63K.

It's a great all around car that I plan on keeping for a long time. I've spent a lot of time in the last few months researching this site in order to really get to know what I bought. I'm getting there. Thanks again.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:36 AM   #27
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Alright, had some noise this morning while turning left out of the driveway but really listened this time and the noise seems to be more general, not just from the left side as I first thought.

Sway bar end link issue? Struts? I drove the car fairly hard in parts of a 350 mile trip earlier this week and it seemed to be handling great. Still going to check the axles this weekend.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:22 AM   #28
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The uneven treadwear could be from a bad strut, clunking could be a loose swaybar endlink caused by a bad strut.

Check the level of your front diff fluid too. Wheel bearings make a 'whomping noise' too, but the sound usually comes from the outside wheel during a corner.
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Old 05-27-2011, 03:11 PM   #29
svdw
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Any advice on diagnosing a bad strut? Checked them visually but nothing obvious. Definitely have a persistent whomping that is most audible at low speeds.

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Old 05-27-2011, 03:27 PM   #30
Kubica
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^ it's tough to tell if a strut is blown by inspection. I usually need to drive it.

Excessive diving under hard braking, especially while turning is a telltale.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:03 AM   #31
svdw
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Turned out to be my driver's side cv boot. Telltale grease was obvious. Think I'll attempt the repair myself. Going to start researching it today. Any advice?

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:34 AM   #32
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Three choices, repack the grease in the joint and enclose it in a new boot, replace the entire axle with a brand new one, or replace the entire axle with a reman one.

If it just started and only some of the grease has leaked out you should be okay just re-greasing the joint and putting on a new boot. Personally, if you go this route which also requires pulling the axle off you might consider refreshing all four joints (inner/outer pair on both axles) with new grease and new boots.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:01 PM   #33
svdw
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Thanks. Had the passenger side cv boot changed by a shop about 5000 miles ago. Hoping I can get by for now by changing the boot. The shop that changed the last one did it and an oil change for $180. Might be worth it for now.

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Old 06-14-2011, 04:09 PM   #34
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Turns out that my cv boot was not ripped or cracked but the clamp was loose causing the grease to leak. The real culprit was a bad outer ball joint. Right one is fine, left one is shot. Time to start shopping I guess.

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Old 06-17-2011, 12:44 PM   #35
SILVRRONIN
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Sit on your cars side above the wheel well and slowly bounce up and down. Once you have a rhythm going sit a little harder each time. Then you wil be able to hear any clunking or clicking. Currently mine does it, my struts are coming out Wednesday wil all new appendages, boots, seat backs, gaskets etc.
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:50 PM   #36
svdw
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I will, thanks for that. I had a mechanic friend of mine do a thorough once over of my car. He found the bad ball joint which makes sense considering that there has been a whomping noise, for lack of a better description, coming from the left front of the car for some time. He also found that the right rear spring is broken. The ball joint is a no brainer, just needs to be replaced but the spring is another story. I have read every suspension thread I could find but still am not sure what I'm going to do. I am hesitant to go with oem replacement springs considering I have a broken one at 63k and I think it has been broken for awhile. Leaning towards Eibach right now but I'm still undecided.

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Old 06-23-2011, 07:44 AM   #37
association16
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I would agree with SWFan. I have replaced the right front CV joint and the left CV axle. The axle is a more expensive, but way easier to put in yourself. It took me only 30 minutes to put in my new axle. I also just went to my local autozone and ordered the part from them for 80 dollars after the core charge. For those that have had experience with the more expensive brands, about what is the lifetime difference of cheaper and these more expensive brands? Mine from autozone has been working great with no signs of anything bad about it. But I would like to know if it would be worth it if I have to replace it again to go with the expensive?
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:31 PM   #38
Itadienekes
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BUMP.

Anybody have any input on how to remove the front output shaft seal from the diff box? I'm afraid of damaging something by prying against the box itself...
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:03 PM   #39
markusvt
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Use a seal puller. If not anything with a solid hook, (spring puller) will pull it easily.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:12 PM   #40
Itadienekes
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Use a seal puller. If not anything with a solid hook, (spring puller) will pull it easily.
Got it, thanks! $8 seal puller from Napa saved me lots of trouble...

NEW Problem... Looks like there's a gap between my new axle/assembly and the diff. I'm not sure whether I didn't push it in enough, or if that gap is supposed to be there.

Could anyone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE post a picture of the driver-side diff-to-axle connection area to get an idea of how it's supposed to look like. Would be very very appreciated! Thanks
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