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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 12-21-2016, 07:23 PM   #1
E46xiguy
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 1
My Ride: 2002 e46 330xi
Vibration around 40-60km/h

So I'm new to the E46 xi and I must say I love it.... other than this one issue. Under acceleration from a standstill, I get a vibration from what feels like the rear centre of the car from 2k-4k rpm and only around 20-50km/h. Thats the only time I ever feel it. I should add its an automatic in case that matters. From what I've read I could have a driveshaft issue, or even centre support bearing issue. I have recently replaced the right rear cv shaft so now I notice the vibration coming more from the middle. Any advice before I tear her apart?
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:17 PM   #2
jmo69
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 2,335
My Ride: 03 325xi 98 328is
Unfortunately getting to the drive shaft, the guibo and csb involves removing the exhaust. You might want to consider trans and motor mounts too. My only acceleration vibration came from a bad front axle and happened anytime the car was under any load. It came through the floor in the front and the steering wheel IIRC. As soon as I let off the throttle it would disappear.
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Old 12-22-2016, 09:14 PM   #3
DEADF15H
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Boca Raton, FL or Salisbury, NC
Posts: 1,465
My Ride: 2001 325i Auto
Just changed my CSB and Guibo, dropping the muffler was no biggie but I have a CA/FL car with minimal rust. Order the gasket and nuts for the muffler.
Coat everything with PB Blaster.,at least once.
If you do PM, you can get to the post 02 sensors while the muffler is down.

jjrichar has a DIY on the CSB and Guibo. Extra jack stands or jack is advised if working alone.

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Last edited by DEADF15H; 12-22-2016 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:08 PM   #4
05E46EU
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Weston, CT
Posts: 7
My Ride: 2005 325XI EU
Vibration caused by Front Axel Universal Joint

It may feel like it is a center universal problem, but here are my symptoms on my 2005 E46 325XI with 250K miles and still going strong:
1) The car does not vibrate until it warms up while driving, anywhere from 20-45 minutes
2) At that time, when you put any torque on the engine, approx. 2500-3500RPM, you can feel a heavy vibration, which is actually more like a wobble. It truly feels like it is coming from the middle of the car, which makes you think it is the center universal mount bearing or the guibo disc(sorry for the spelling)
3) The vibration is not speed dependent but gets more pronounced when turning up an incline. It is definitively torque related and disappears when letting off the gas and coasting.

This is a common E46 issue especially over 125K miles. The culprit is the inside universal joint of one of the front axels. Replacing the entire axel is a good idea. The reason why you feel it in the middle of the car is because the faulty joint is actually putting reverse torque on the engine and causing it to absorb the vibration and that travels through the drive train.
Took me months to research this but came up with nothing, until I went to my well trusted BMW dealer and had their chief tech work on it. All I had to do was describe it and he filled in all of the blanks.
Note: DO NOT USE AFTER MARKET PARTS ON A BMW SUSPENSION...or any critical component that has a lot of labor involved for that matter. Sure, you may save a few bucks but there is no guarantee that they will meet BMW specs and you may find yourself not fixing the problem. Not sure if your dealer does this, but mine here in CT gives me a two year warranty for all parts, and that includes the labor to swap them out.
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:29 PM   #5
05E46EU
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My Ride: 2005 325XI EU
Forgot to mention mine is a 5 speed

Should have noted that mine is a 5 speed and the vibration happens in all gears, again...torque related.

You can also verify the problem by putting the car up and doing a running test. Turning the wheel will actually make the motor vibrate on the mounts.
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:44 PM   #6
gordo325xiwagon
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Daytona Beach FL
Posts: 122
My Ride: 01 325xit '12 328i
05E46EU is correct. The front axle is probably your culprit... it was on mine.
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Old 01-23-2017, 04:03 PM   #7
05E46EU
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My Ride: 2005 325XI EU
UPDATE- Solved the vibration problem

Just wanted to update everyone, mainly because I spent months researching this issue and got no less than a half dozen different answers. This week I had my front driver's side axel replaced, along with the hub and bearing. Not cheap. Over $2,400. I didn't want to chance this so I brought it to my dealer, who I have to say has very knowledgeable BMW trained techs. The problem with suspension issues is not only the physicality in removing parts, but the issue of potentially breaking a rusted bolt or other component, which means a tow and hundreds of dollars more to fix.
ANYWAY, when I got in the car after the repair it was incredible. You would have believed I just drove it off the lot, and mine is at 250K miles. Virtually all of the vibration is gone and the car runs like an animal. I had a look at the old axel, probably original. The upper boot was intact, but water had gotten into it and the joints were grinding, which caused the reverse torque into the engine and created the vibration and "shudder" down the drive train which I would have swore was coming from the center universal. The lower "outer" boot was actually broken open but that joint was no where near as bad as the one with the intact boot....go figure. My bearing was just starting to make a noise so I decided to change it. However my tech said with that many miles, (250K) the race was no doubt worn and it made sense to replace both the hub and both bearings. Expensive, but the car rides almost like new.
Last, like Woody Allen said in one of his sick films regarding the female anatomy, these things travel in "2's". Which means, I will no doubt have to replace the other axel probably in the next 10-15K miles. I may give that one a try because the labor and parts mark up was over $1,700 of the $2,400. May be worth the risk.
The message here is with these cars, don't avoid the real issues. I am amazed at how many threads have trial and error solutions that end up costing the owners a lot of dough and not fixing the issue. The most valuable thing a BMW owner can find for their ride is a good EXPERIENCED tech to either work on the problem issues or at the very least give good advice based on "on the job" experience
Now on to replacing my drivers side window regulator!
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40-60km, rear centre, vibration

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