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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 10-27-2016, 07:55 PM   #1
lingon300k
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NJ / USA
Posts: 1,740
My Ride: 2005 325xi Automatic
Tie rod advice?

While working under the car I noticed that the driver's side tie rod boot is torn open and has completely separated into two pieces. With 103k miles on the car, I think it's a good times to replace both tie rods and boots.

I'm probably going with Meyle tie rods and Febi boots.

Any advice for doing this on an xi?
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Old 10-29-2016, 04:08 PM   #2
erehtuo
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Morgantown WV
Posts: 74
My Ride: 2004 330XI
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
While working under the car I noticed that the driver's side tie rod boot is torn open and has completely separated into two pieces. With 103k miles on the car, I think it's a good times to replace both tie rods and boots.

I'm probably going with Meyle tie rods and Febi boots.

Any advice for doing this on an xi?
Buy the inners and outers, unless you've already broken them apart. They like to seize together.

I just replaced mine with Moog for the greaseable joints. I've always been happy with Moog parts.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
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Old 10-30-2016, 11:56 AM   #3
latitude39
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States/Colorado
Posts: 322
My Ride: 2002 325xi (163k)
I replaced my passenger-side "tie rod assembly" which includes both inner and outer tie rods. As mentioned by erehtuo, they're pretty tightly bonded so it's also easier to replace the inner + outer with new. I used the Lemforder brand, which appears, to my side-by-side comparison of new and old, to be OEM. I used the boot that was supplied by RMEuropean. It had no brand name but was German-made and clearly good quality.

I felt OK replacing just one side--and not both. Upon disassembly the passenger-side inner tie rod's bearing felt smooth and snug without grittiness, almost "like new." And that was after 160k miles. I guessed the driver's side was still in good condition too since its boot was intact and the steering felt good.

Match the length of the new tie rod assembly to the old so you can drive the car in for an alignment.

Good luck.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
While working under the car I noticed that the driver's side tie rod boot is torn open and has completely separated into two pieces. With 103k miles on the car, I think it's a good times to replace both tie rods and boots.

I'm probably going with Meyle tie rods and Febi boots.

Any advice for doing this on an xi?
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Old 10-30-2016, 02:00 PM   #4
lingon300k
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NJ / USA
Posts: 1,740
My Ride: 2005 325xi Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by latitude39 View Post
I replaced my passenger-side "tie rod assembly" which includes both inner and outer tie rods. As mentioned by erehtuo, they're pretty tightly bonded so it's also easier to replace the inner + outer with new. I used the Lemforder brand, which appears, to my side-by-side comparison of new and old, to be OEM. I used the boot that was supplied by RMEuropean. It had no brand name but was German-made and clearly good quality.

I felt OK replacing just one side--and not both. Upon disassembly the passenger-side inner tie rod's bearing felt smooth and snug without grittiness, almost "like new." And that was after 160k miles. I guessed the driver's side was still in good condition too since its boot was intact and the steering felt good.

Match the length of the new tie rod assembly to the old so you can drive the car in for an alignment.

Good luck.
Thanks for the response. I should have mentioned that I ordered the whole assembly in the first post. Both sides. It's probably not necessary that I replace both, but I'm paranoid about steering and brakes.

How much trouble did you have with the boots? The boots seem like they'll be the most difficult part, with the subframe in the way. I'm leaning toward using zip-ties, like a few people in various threads have mentioned.
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Old 10-30-2016, 03:27 PM   #5
erehtuo
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Morgantown WV
Posts: 74
My Ride: 2004 330XI
I didn't have to replace the boots on mine so I didn't have to take them off the rack but zip ties worked great for securing them back on the tire rods.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:32 AM   #6
latitude39
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States/Colorado
Posts: 322
My Ride: 2002 325xi (163k)
Getting the inner clamps on the boots was hard. I recall using side-cutting pliers to clamp the inner metal bands. I like the metal bands for durability but I can see the attraction of zip-ties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
...
How much trouble did you have with the boots? The boots seem like they'll be the most difficult part, with the subframe in the way. I'm leaning toward using zip-ties, like a few people in various threads have mentioned.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:15 PM   #7
lingon300k
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NJ / USA
Posts: 1,740
My Ride: 2005 325xi Automatic
I did this earlier today. It took just under an hour and a half. It was nowhere as difficult as I thought it would be.

I used a small screwdriver to start bending to clamp on the rack-side of the boot, then a larger screwdriver to bend it the rest of the way off. The outer clamp, of course, was easy to get off. I couldn't find my pickle fork, so I used big, old, rusted wrench I have. I hammered it in just like you would with a pickle fork and the ball joint popped right out. Compared the tie rods, made them the same length, tightened each on on the bench vise, and installed them. I installed the boot on the rack before installing the tie rods. The hardest part of the whole job, which really wasn't that hard at all, was getting the new boot on the rack. There's so little space that it's hard to manipulate the rubber around the rack.

Attached everything, tightened it down, and put zip ties on the boot. Everything went far more smoothly than I thought it would.

Thanks for the replies, everyone!
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:30 PM   #8
zander271
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,439
My Ride: 6spd ZHP/5sp XI
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
While working under the car I noticed that the driver's side tie rod boot is torn open and has completely separated into two pieces. With 103k miles on the car, I think it's a good times to replace both tie rods and boots.

I'm probably going with Meyle tie rods and Febi boots.

Any advice for doing this on an xi?
I just installed Meyle's on my car last month. Seems to be OK, long term I'm not that worried because I bought them from FCP.
__________________

ZHP Mods: JB Lightweight fly wheel (10.5 pounds), Koni FSD ProKit, Supreme Power Drop Hats, Hotchkis front(30.2mm)/rear(25.4mm) sway bars, Sprint Booster, AFE Stage 1 Intake, Morimoto EvoX-R Headlights, Orion V4 Angel Eyes, Satin Black 18x9 ET42 APEX ARC-8 Wheel

330xi Mods:Front Koni Yellow Struts and Rob43 Rear 9 Way adjustable Rear Dampers,Custom Sport Springs,Supreme Power Drop Hats,ZHP 5 speed shift knob
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