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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 01-15-2013, 09:35 AM   #1
mixedgas401
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non xi parts on my xi

Hello this is my first post here. I have done quit a bit of searching as a non member and can't seem to find anything to specifically answer my question.

I have a 2004 325xi and the camber on the front is very much negative. I have -2.5 on the drivers side and -3.5 on the passenger side. All parts appear to be in good working order and springs are OEM and not broken. Using various part sites I have confirmed that the upper mounts are the same between an I and xi. Springs appear to be the same. That leaves the strut as the only different part. My caster is a bit on the low side as well but equal. Basically on the alignment rack my car appears OK.

I'm just wondering what parts whether different or not are able to be used from a RWD model on my AWD model
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:19 AM   #2
SamDoe1
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Springs are different, struts are different, tie rods are different, control arms are different, etc...

The easy answer is no you can't use the RWD parts on your car. The difficult answer is that it's possible to use the springs but not the struts, tie rods, or control arms.

If I remember correctly, the upper mounts are interchangable.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:29 AM   #3
xixixi
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Anything is possible
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:39 AM   #4
mixedgas401
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So if the springs are interchangeable would I expect to get a drop from the rwd springs to give me such high negative camber? I still have a three finger gap between the front tire and fender so its not like the car is slammed, but compared to a friends 03 xi my car sits a bit lower.

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Old 01-15-2013, 10:47 AM   #5
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xixixi View Post
Anything is possible
With enough time and money...yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedgas401 View Post
So if the springs are interchangeable would I expect to get a drop from the rwd springs to give me such high negative camber? I still have a three finger gap between the front tire and fender so its not like the car is slammed, but compared to a friends 03 xi my car sits a bit lower.
I'm confused with what you're asking. Are you looking to lower your car and want to know if the RWD springs will work or are you trying to diagnose your camber issue?

FWIW, the RWD camber spec is 1.7 FR and 1.8FL.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:28 AM   #6
mixedgas401
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Eventually yes I want to lower my car but as of now I'm trying to figure out what is not right with why my camber is whacked and caster is low. I know that the lca's aren't interchangeable and I know all my ball joints are good. My caster is even and but low and visually everything looks fine.

What I am saying in the last post comparing my car side by side with another xi my car sits significantly lower.

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Old 01-16-2013, 08:27 AM   #7
bikesandcars
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What is your caster?

Was the car in an accident ever?

Are the strut mount alignment pins aligned with the hole in the tower?

Are the rear front suspension bushings stock?

Are you thinking of using non-xi parts to fix an xi problem? (bad idea). Do you think that someone else used non-xi parts and created a problem? (possibly but not likely)
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:57 AM   #8
mixedgas401
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Caster was at 4.5 right and 4.4 left frt.

The bushings in the back of the control arm are OEM....(in the sense that they aren't offset).

The car was crashed but it was a side swipe.

I noticed while looking at struts the front struts do not have a perch in the picture on an xi but the I does. Is my perch supposed to be removable

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Old 01-16-2013, 09:11 AM   #9
bikesandcars
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Originally Posted by mixedgas401 View Post
Caster was at 4.5 right and 4.4 left frt.

The bushings in the back of the control arm are OEM....(in the sense that they aren't offset).

The car was crashed but it was a side swipe.

I noticed while looking at struts the front struts do not have a perch in the picture on an xi but the I does. Is my perch supposed to be removable

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Suggest you post a picture of what you are talking about regarding that strut mount.

Struts are straight no matter what type they are, so they have no impact on caster or camber. Caster and camber are influenced by the relationship of the outer control arm ball joint and the top mount of the strut tower. There is no adjustability of caster or camber in the upright itself. There is a procedure in the Bentley manual for knocking out the top strut mount alignment pin and moving the mount slightly to correct issues (if the car has been in an incident). If you can't correct the problem by using the stock holes there is a problem elsewhere.

0.1 degree caster isn't much to worry about IMO. Caster is there to allow the vehicle to self-track to center and to give "road feel", numbers in that range should do the trick. I don't know the alignment specs of the xi off memory, but caster in that range is probably acceptable. The most you generally see on a car is 5 degrees.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:55 AM   #10
mixedgas401
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I believe its supposed to be a degree higher than what it currently is at. I'm not so much worried about the caster. I was just throwing it out there to get as much info as possible out there.

My theory about the strut is that if the RWD strut is shorter than the AWD strut then that will lower the car and significantly change my camber towards the neg.

Now is it possible to put the RWD strut/spring/mount on my AWD car?

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Old 01-16-2013, 11:03 AM   #11
bikesandcars
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Lowering the car will induce more negative camber. You can lower the car through a variety of ways, but most use shorter struts and matching springs. Shorter struts are available via coilover kits or "sport" struts.

I'm sorry but I can not answer your direct question becuase I do not have a non-xi for comparison, nor would I want to experiment with non-xi parts when there are xi-parts that would work

It is confusing to answer because you are presenting a problem and a non-sensical solution as your question.

IF you want to fix the camber on your stock car, you would move the strut mounts. If you want to lower your car, you would use aftermarket suspension. If you have a target camber in mind (maybe more for track riding) you would still set the camber by the top strut mounts. If you want aftermarket suspension buy something made for the XI. If you have non-XI suspension sitting around and you want to put that in your XI then do a forum search or maybe someone smarter than me will reply.

As a rule of "good wrenching" you do NOT adjust camber by inserting struts from a non-xi model.

Last edited by bikesandcars; 01-16-2013 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:03 PM   #12
SamDoe1
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Originally Posted by mixedgas401 View Post
Now is it possible to put the RWD strut/spring/mount on my AWD car?
Springs, yes. The rest, no. The struts are entirely different even down to the mounting location of the sway bar links.

Additionally, the Xi suspension is SHORTER than the RWD suspension and has less travel. Putting the RWD strut on the car, if it would fit, would actually raise it up more. The reason the RWD cars sit lower is because the mounting is all different.

Why don't you jack the car up, take the wheel off, and take some pics for us of both the lower and upper part of the suspension. Please include the top of the strut tower in the engine bay.

Or....you could take this to a qualified shop to figure out the problem. If the camber is that far off and not being able to be adjusted, there should be an obvious cause for it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:04 PM   #13
mixedgas401
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I work in a certified shop, and I am an ase certified tech. I am asking if the parts are interchangable.

As for lowering the car I am looking into coilovers with adjustable upper mounts, I can get bushings to correct the caster and I do like to run my car on a track since I live less than an hour from nelson ledges in Ohio.

I was just looking for a little insight on what my issue could be. I appreciate the help but I guess I just got a little too detailed and made more of a mess of this by giving all my details.

So with tax time coming I'm just going to buy the coil covers and bushings and hope for the best

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:10 PM   #14
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedgas401 View Post
I work in a certified shop, and I am an ase certified tech. I am asking if the parts are interchangable.

As for lowering the car I am looking into coilovers with adjustable upper mounts, I can get bushings to correct the caster and I do like to run my car on a track since I live less than an hour from nelson ledges in Ohio.

I was just looking for a little insight on what my issue could be. I appreciate the help but I guess I just got a little too detailed and made more of a mess of this by giving all my details.

So with tax time coming I'm just going to buy the coil covers and bushings and hope for the best
Should have told us that you knew what you were doing then. My apologies, didn't mean to insult you but you wouldn't believe the number of n00bs that come in here talking like the own the place and don't know jack sh!t.

Anyway, if your camber is that far out unintentionally and won't come back into spec, there's something very wrong with either the upper strut mount, lower pinch bolt, or the strut tower itself. The camber is, as you know, set by one adjustable location (upper strut mount) and one fixed location (lower strut mount). If one or both of these are damaged, it's likely your camber would be thrown far off.

Next step suspension upgrade. Coilovers, while made for the Xi, are generally not used because of the excess strain it puts on the front driveline components. Additionally, it lowers the suspension travel quite a bit and will make your ride rather uncomfortable. If you are looking for the best track oriented suspension, my recommendation is going with H&R springs and Koni yellow adjustable shocks. If you want a street car, go with Eibach springs and Bilstein sport shocks. I wouldn't doing coilovers on my car but that's just my opinion.

Last edited by SamDoe1; 01-18-2013 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:19 PM   #15
Kubica
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I don't see how you can get that much camber on the front with stock springs.

Something isn't installed correctly.

But if you are going to the track, those camber numbers sounds great.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:32 PM   #16
mixedgas401
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Ideally for my the -2.5 is great but the -3.5 makes turns to the right tough to pull out of in comparison to left. And the lower caster doesn't help either. Good looking out on the coil covers. I don't really mind a rough ride but I really don't want to be changing axles on a regular basis. I went through that on a 92 accord I had that was slammed on coilovers and making close to 300 to the wheels with a eBay turbo setup (low budget Lol).

The only h&r springs I could find for my car are sports. I prefer the race springs. From what I read here I can use the race springs for the I on my xi correct?

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