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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 01-08-2013, 07:22 AM   #1
miweber929
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High pitched whine at 45 mph

Anyone else have this high pitched whine, especially when cold? I'm trying to pinpoint what's going on with my 02 330xi and it all seemed to start after the transfer case bushing and CSB were replaced. As well, a full fluid service of both diffs, transfer case and tranny fluid flush made no difference. It's definitely speed and not engine rpm related as shifting the car (an auto) to a lower gear makes no difference though load does make it quieter; if I give it heavy throttle it is far quieter.

Ideas? The shop that's been working in the car had it in the lift and can replicate the noise and swears its coming from the TC. But before I buy another one I am wondering if there is any way they could have put the CSB in wrong or mis-aligned, or if anyone else has had to replace the TC because if it?

I'm stumped and completely sick of throwing money at this f-ing car but this noise is very loud, very repeatable and driving me and my passengers crazy. The fluid change did quiet it down a little bit, but not by much.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:38 AM   #2
jeepo23
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Does the whine go away once the car has a chance to warm up? If so it could very well just be a small tear in your intake boot. I have the same noise on colder mornings and its there until the car warms up and then dissapears.

The CSB wouldn't be making this noise, if the CSB was installed wrong it would just detoriate faster and cause the driveshaft to wobble/clunk perhaps.

Quick question, why did you replace your TC bushing? Did you have some sort of vibration? I am looking at replacing my TC bushing myself and was just wondering what sort of symptoms you had before it was fixed and how it feels now?
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:45 AM   #3
miweber929
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I'll clarify a few things:
- The whine comes from the middle/rear of the car.
- The shop is clearly pointing at the TC as they can verify its making noise.
- it gets slightly better when the car driven and warmed up but will still be there after an hour plus driving.

And Jeepo, yes I was one of the people you talked to and asked about the TCB in the vibration thread, and I indicated that yes it did help to get rid of the vibration.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:53 AM   #4
jeepo23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miweber929 View Post
I'll clarify a few things:
- The whine comes from the middle/rear of the car.
- The shop is clearly pointing at the TC as they can verify its making noise.
- it gets slightly better when the car driven and warmed up but will still be there after an hour plus driving.

And Jeepo, yes I was one of the people you talked to and asked about the TCB in the vibration thread, and I indicated that yes it did help to get rid of the vibration.
hehe thanks for the info lol. I wasn't sure if you were part of that big thread. Well I can't wait then to tackle mine and hopefully it helps out too.


Regarding your whine, I'ts not what I am thinking of then. I am sure they've already checked into the fact that they didn't crack the TC when installing the bushing? I was told that using a hammer to put that bushing in is a big NO-NO.

What kind of fluid did they put into the TC? It's a bit strange that it wasn't making this noise until it came out of the shop..
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:29 AM   #5
miweber929
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So no one else has run into this? It's metallic, like a gear or bearing and has been somewhat coming and going now the past few days, though the original problem has been going on for almost 6 weeks.

All right then, I'll have the shop swap the transfer case in a week or so then, just didn't want to do it if there were any other ideas.

Mike
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:37 AM   #6
benzedid
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I have a 318i. I have a whining noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. It seemed to be coming from the right wheel. I took it to the shop several times and they ended up changing the brake pads and rotors but the noise is still there and its driving both me and the shop crazy. Tomorrow I'm going to the shop again to check differential fluid. The guy at the shop told me that probability is very low to have something wrong with the differential but we've reached the desperation point already...
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:26 AM   #7
SamDoe1
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Originally Posted by miweber929 View Post
So no one else has run into this? It's metallic, like a gear or bearing and has been somewhat coming and going now the past few days, though the original problem has been going on for almost 6 weeks.

All right then, I'll have the shop swap the transfer case in a week or so then, just didn't want to do it if there were any other ideas.

Mike
Check the fluid level of your entire drive train.

Other issue could be that the CSB they installed was bad or they damaged the bearing when installing it.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:14 AM   #8
miweber929
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Check the fluid level of your entire drive train.

Other issue could be that the CSB they installed was bad or they damaged the bearing when installing it.
Fluids were all changed and the noise appeared before.

The shop swears there is no way to put the bearing on wrong or even damage it upon install (I have had it back there a couple times to check this out and they could have fixed their mistake to shut me up quite easily).

They are 100% confident the noise is the transfer case and that replacemnt is the only option as it's not serviceable and the fluid flush they performed didn't help. Weird thing? If I drive the car aggressively the noise has subsided the past 3 trips.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:54 PM   #9
jxs0402
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Originally Posted by miweber929 View Post
Anyone else have this high pitched whine, especially when cold? I'm trying to pinpoint what's going on with my 02 330xi and it all seemed to start after the transfer case bushing and CSB were replaced. As well, a full fluid service of both diffs, transfer case and tranny fluid flush made no difference. It's definitely speed and not engine rpm related as shifting the car (an auto) to a lower gear makes no difference though load does make it quieter; if I give it heavy throttle it is far quieter.

Ideas? The shop that's been working in the car had it in the lift and can replicate the noise and swears its coming from the TC. But before I buy another one I am wondering if there is any way they could have put the CSB in wrong or mis-aligned, or if anyone else has had to replace the TC because if it?

I'm stumped and completely sick of throwing money at this f-ing car but this noise is very loud, very repeatable and driving me and my passengers crazy. The fluid change did quiet it down a little bit, but not by much.
I have an 03 330xi and I also had a high pitched whine. Mine turned out to be a tear in the intake boot (after the MAS). It sounded like it was coming from the suspension but was tough to tell when I drove the car exactly where it was coming from. The only reason I figured out what this was - about 3 months after hearing this noise the check engine light came on - I checked the codes and found out about this tear. I could not even see the tear by looking at it - it was on the back side and I could fit my finger in it.

I really hope this is what is causing your problem (a nice easy fix). If not - then it's just my 2 cents!

Last edited by jxs0402; 01-10-2013 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:38 PM   #10
SamDoe1
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Originally Posted by miweber929 View Post
Fluids were all changed and the noise appeared before.

The shop swears there is no way to put the bearing on wrong or even damage it upon install (I have had it back there a couple times to check this out and they could have fixed their mistake to shut me up quite easily).

They are 100% confident the noise is the transfer case and that replacemnt is the only option as it's not serviceable and the fluid flush they performed didn't help. Weird thing? If I drive the car aggressively the noise has subsided the past 3 trips.
Have you gone into the shop and told them to show you that it's coming from the TC?

I just have a hard time believing something liks that is bad if the fluid in it is still good.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:54 PM   #11
e46alfonso
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Do you service the car at a bmw shop or at jiffy lube? That shop might be screwing with you. They might have underfilled the tc or used the wrong fluid on purpose to snatch more cash from you. These TCs don't just fail out of the blue.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:08 AM   #12
miweber929
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Originally Posted by jxs0402 View Post
I have an 03 330xi and I also had a high pitched whine. Mine turned out to be a tear in the intake boot (after the MAS). It sounded like it was coming from the suspension but was tough to tell when I drove the car exactly where it was coming from. The only reason I figured out what this was - about 3 months after hearing this noise the check engine light came on - I checked the codes and found out about this tear. I could not even see the tear by looking at it - it was on the back side and I could fit my finger in it.

I really hope this is what is causing your problem (a nice easy fix). If not - then it's just my 2 cents!
Definitely not an intake whine like I outlined earlier, but I appreciate the thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Have you gone into the shop and told them to show you that it's coming from the TC?

I just have a hard time believing something liks that is bad if the fluid in it is still good.
That's the thing, the fluid was shot when they changed it, and they indicated flushing it 3x it still came out sort of black. The strange thing is its getting a bit more intermittent at this point but always returns after sitting at a light for a few minutes. They offered to put it back on the lift and show me when I picked it up but I didn't have the time to wait around.....they're a small shop with a very good reputation. As busy as they are, as pissed as I am, as much **** as they are going through for me to get this all I have a very hard time believing its not coming from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by e46alfonso View Post
Do you service the car at a bmw shop or at jiffy lube? That shop might be screwing with you. They might have underfilled the tc or used the wrong fluid on purpose to snatch more cash from you. These TCs don't just fail out of the blue.
I'll outline this whole issue from start to finish as it still doesn't seem to be clear as the noise did NOT appear after the fluid change, but the change was a preventative item and an attempt to find the issue. I outlined this in a couple threads now do I didn't think I needed to go over it all, but I'll recap in this one; most forum I am on are small and we all know each other so on going issues are easy to write about.

- Bought the car in October with 117K on it, no previous records. And other shop did a PPI which indicated a VC and OFHG leak, bad outer ball joint (left), left CV axle getting sloppy and some minor stuff. Put a brand new set of tires and my wheels from my E36 on it.
- After purchasing the car I took several 3 or 4 hour trips really began noticing it vibrated a lot at high speed. Took it to this current shop, had them look at it, they found the exact same stuff and replaced CV axle, left control arm, OFHG, DISA valve (it all of a sudden threw a bunch of misfire codes and ran like crap the night before I was bringing it in). Vibration was far better but continued.
- Brought it back a few weeks later to do the VCG and look at the vibe again, they did the VGC and did the TCB and CSB and redid the wheel balance after which 80% of the vibration was gone and it felt more normal. However the night I picked it up it was well below freezing and I went to a movie with a friend. We got back into the car and it started making weird noises at low speed and started to hear this metallic howling at 45mph.
- Brought it back a couple times for them to look over their work, be sure everything was in correct and identify the noise. They stated it came directly from the transfer case and they spent a couple days trying to figure out what is repairable and what's not in it.
- We discussed the possibilities of the failure, and both agree more than likely the bad TCB caused the rear of the drivetrain to move around causing the excessive wear on the CSB. Once those both wore and were moving around more than likely the TC gears and bearings had extra stress out on them, after we fixed the floating drivetrain the TC was then supported differently and therefore howling. Since I wanted a full driveline flush anyway, the thought was that may quiet the TC down. They had some success on the lift after the flush, but immediately after I picked it up that night it started howling again. Since the TC only hold 1.8 ounces of fluid there is not a lot of wiggle room for under filling.

That's where we are at now, and the start of this thread with the car at 123K on it. At this point I have an 85k mile TC from a wrecker ready to go in on Wednesday (6 month warranty) unless anyone else has run into this and has another idea as to what could be wrong.

It's a small Indy shop that specializes in German cars doing the work. They've cut me deals on everything they needed parts wise (dealer cost), been attentive, told me things I can do myself, let me find parts and bring them in, basically everything a trustworthy shop should do. I'm confident but still wary of throwing more money at this which is why I'm here.

Ideas?

Last edited by miweber929; 01-11-2013 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:15 AM   #13
miweber929
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The thing is the TC may still be "good" as in it works fine, however the howling is annoying as passengers hear it, passers by hear it and it can be louder than the radio at times. So it's not a sudden failure a much as an issue.

I'm driving it 5 hours each way back to my fiancees family's place this weekend. If it blows up, then I know, maybe it'll wear in and stop making noise, but either way I should know more by the end of the weekend how solid this thing is.

Last edited by miweber929; 01-11-2013 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:45 AM   #14
SamDoe1
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It's a small Indy shop that specializes in German cars doing the work. They've cut me deals on everything they needed parts wise (dealer cost), been attentive, told me things I can do myself, let me find parts and bring them in, basically everything a trustworthy shop should do. I'm confident but still wary which is why I'm here.

Ideas?
How much is the new TC? If you honestly feel like the TC is the cause of the issue, then go for it. You, and your shop, being on site will have more knowledge of the issue at hand than a bunch of guys on the internet. All we can do is offer our opinions and diagnosis based on the info you feed us. We can't touch, feel, hear, or otherwise physically diagnose problems over the interwebs.

That said, what shop are you taking it to? I lived in Woodbury, MN for 20 years and my parents still live there. I know the area like the back of my hand.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:08 AM   #15
miweber929
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How much is the new TC? If you honestly feel like the TC is the cause of the issue, then go for it. You, and your shop, being on site will have more knowledge of the issue at hand than a bunch of guys on the internet. All we can do is offer our opinions and diagnosis based on the info you feed us. We can't touch, feel, hear, or otherwise physically diagnose problems over the interwebs.

That said, what shop are you taking it to? I lived in Woodbury, MN for 20 years and my parents still live there. I know the area like the back of my hand.
Sorry if it came out wrong, and I completely agree with your assessment of internet issues and am looking for firsthand knowledge on the subject. But know I personally am not sure what it is, which is why I am looking for ideas from others who may have experienced this whine. Shop 100% feels that is where the noise is from, but I am still (understandibly) somewhat skeptical as it didn't start until after the TCB and CSB were replaced.

Shop I am dealing with is Midwest Motorworks in Hudson. Again, they have been very good to me and I highly recommend them, but I'd like to know if anyone has had these symptoms or had to replace their transfer case due to noises.

Last edited by miweber929; 01-11-2013 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:16 AM   #16
SamDoe1
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Sorry if it came out wrong, and I completely agree with your assessment of internet issues and am looking for firsthand knowledge on the subject. but know I personally am not sure what it is, which is why I am looking for ideas. Shop 100% feels that is where the noise is from, but I am still (understandibly) skeptical as it didn't start until after the TCB and CSB were replaced.

Shop I am dealing with is Midwest Motorworks in Hudson. Again, they have been good to me, but I'd like to know if anyone has had these symptoms or had to replace their transfer case due to noises.
If you aren't sure, then just get a second opinion from another shop. Imola Motorsports in Golden Valley and JB Eurotech are great shops but are on the west side of town.

I've heard good things about Midwest but again if you're not sure then just get a second opinion.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:37 AM   #17
miweber929
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If you aren't sure, then just get a second opinion from another shop. Imola Motorsports in Golden Valley and JB Eurotech are great shops but are on the west side of town.

I've heard good things about Midwest but again if you're not sure then just get a second opinion.
At this point I trust them and will just have them swap next week as scheduled; running to the other side of town is a PITA and I have to trust the shop doing the work.

I was just hoping to find someone else who ran into this before, just to ease the mind a bit before I stick ANOTHER $600 at this damn thing! Wish I had more time and could actually get underneath the car myself......

Last edited by miweber929; 01-11-2013 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:50 AM   #18
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I think I'm having a similar problem on my xi, though not as pronounced yet as yours. I've noticed some play in my front output shaft. I can move the front output shaft slightly up and down and side to side at the TC this is on top of the usual rotational backlash. I've been considering rebuilding my TC, but I cant afford to have my daily driver out of commission while I research and source all of the components. Would you consider sending me your old TC as a doner?
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #19
o3BMW325xi
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if you hearing whine noise coming from under the car could be two things 1) bad wheel bearing 2) tcase. Have owned awd cars most of my life and everytime i have witnessed a whining noise has been from a bad t-case. In one of the vehicles i ignored it for so long that eventually gave up and while driving at 45mph, it locked all my 4 wheels making my car spin in the middle of the road. T-cases can be very dangerous on an awd car, if not serviced properly.

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:33 PM   #20
miweber929
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Shop replaced the transfer case last week, redid the preload on the CBS and also found a TSB about isolating the carrier bearing if you get noise and I'm happy (er) to repart some improvement, especially after the shop flushed the transfer case.

The noise showed up again the day I picked it up but has subsided to a more "normal" level after all the work. On a cold morningI heard it very briefly but then immediately went away and didn't return, and every other time I've drive. is simply gone. I'll update more as the weeks go on but even the vibration I had been feeling is subsided. The shop and I are thinking the noise must be coming from somewhere else and simply transferring along the driveshaft and appearing at the TC since after the did the initial swap the noise was exactly the same. They did some checking, I did some checking and they did the steps outlined above which has helped.

325xittt, the old transfer case is pretty worn and has play in the output shaft as is, not sure it's good for much other than a paper weight and shipping it to you would be huge $$$. I paid $250 for a used one and had several in the area to choose from, shop said it only took them about 2 hours to swap so labor wasn't that bad either. Biggest issue was the coolant expansion tank exploded while the had it on the lift testing it; glad it didn't happen while I was traveling with it the weekend before about 500 miles away from home!!! FYI, 125k and it blew the side right out of it, change yours if you haven't already.
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