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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 04-23-2015, 08:22 PM   #1
S.A. Singer
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Yet Another xi Vibration Issue

I just bought a 330xi with quite a few problems, I've fixed the CSB/flex disc, new rear shocks, also new brake discs and new pads all around, + a bunch of little things for inspection.

When I put the car in gear and release the clutch I hear a low pitched clunk as the drivetrain engages. When I'm shifting from first to second and second to third I hear the clunk when I push in the clutch pedal and again when I let it out. Sometimes when I'm stopped I can't put it in first easily so I have to start putting it in second, then it goes into first fine.

Sometimes when I am engine braking I hear a noise that sounds similar to a bent brake rotor. This noise only occurs when I am decelerating or accelerating in gear. Silent when in neutral. It sounds like it's coming from the rear right of the car, possibly under it. (Diff mounts?)

Lastly, when I accelerate hard or put the engine under load the whole car vibrates. The steering wheel shakes, and I can feel it in the seat. But once I take my foot off the gas, the car behaves fine - no shakes or anything. This happens regardless of speed, but is more evident on the highway.

I am going to bring the car to the mechanic for inspection soon and I'd like a heads up on what could be wrong so I don't end up replacing everything from the windshield wipers to the catalytic converters.

Some ideas I had were motor/transmission/diff mounts (the sub frame is fine, it was checked when I bought the car)... and I also hear the front axles and CV joints can cause this? My CV boots are fine though.

Anything input would be appreciated. I am leaving for Germany in a few weeks and will be gone for a few months and I would like to have this squared away so the person who drives my car while I'm gone won't have it fall apart!
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:25 PM   #2
Kubica
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Were these symptoms present before the CSB job? An out of balance driveshaft can take out the CSB. I'm guessing driveshaft or transfer case problems. Hopefully it's just a rear wheel bearing and/or diff mount.

Let us know what the mechanic had to say.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:05 PM   #3
S.A. Singer
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I don't think the driveshaft is out of balance for a few reasons. The driveshaft has an alignment marking painted on by the previous owner/mechanic, which means the orientation of the driveshaft was taken seriously. The second is that the driveshaft should be vibrating constantly at high RPMs regardless of what the engine is doing since it is connected directly to the wheels. If I take my foot off the gas, the car calms down even when the driveshaft is still spinning at engine RPM*5th gear ratio ~2,000 RPM.

The big clue is that the vibration is not related to road speed, only engine load. This makes me think the problem is some mount(s) somewhere along the drivetrain, and I'm hoping it's something that I can replace without taking apart too much.

When I got the car the CSB was completely destroyed - no bearings left, and about an inch of play. I'm wondering if the car was driven in that state, the vibrations would rattle all the mounts too much and cause damage to them.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:02 AM   #4
Jbrakes
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My wagon presents every one of those symptoms except the engine braking noise. It's at the body shop getting some door rust fixed this week but when I get it back I intend to dig into this and see if I can isolate the problem.

All I know about the car's previous repairs that may be related is that the r/f axle was rebooted a couple months before I bought it, but I think that was because it was leaking, not making noise.

Keep us posted on what you find and I'll do the same!
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:35 PM   #5
S.A. Singer
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I will upload a post with the specific symptom list I've typed up for the mechanic, and the diagnosis given by the mechanic when I have it inspected.

I was reading the Subaru forums and a guy there had the same problem, it turned out to be the half shafts. Try this - turn your steering wheel side to side and if it clicks or clunks then you might have an issue with the outer CV joint near the steering assembly. Sometimes the inner can fail and apparently it will not always make this noise.

My prediction is some kind of CV issue in combination with a bad mount(s) somewhere in the driveline.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:35 PM   #6
djdonis
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Check your Transfer Case. It is a known problem in Xi where TC output shaft bearing(s) go bad and allow for lateral movement of output shaft. It also causes some slop between the gears in the TC which would explain the clunk when engaging and disengaging the drive (releasing and depressing the clutch on MT).

Go under your car (raise the front), grab your front driveshaft and turn it both ways. If you have excessive play then you may have a problem.
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Last edited by djdonis; 04-28-2015 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:38 PM   #7
S.A. Singer
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The front output shaft is just the driveshaft that goes to the front wheels, correct?
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:41 PM   #8
djdonis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S.A. Singer View Post
The front output shaft is just the driveshaft that goes to the front wheels, correct?
IT's the one that goes to front differential.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:58 PM   #9
Rwalk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djdonis View Post
Check your Transfer Case. It is a known problem in Xi where TC output shaft bearing(s) go bad and allow for lateral movement of output shaft. It also causes some slop between the gears in the TC which would explain the clunk when engaging and disengaging the drive (releasing and depressing the clutch on MT).

Go under your car (raise the front), grab your front driveshaft and turn it both ways. If you have excessive play then you may have a problem.

Djdonis, how is this repaired? Mine doesn't have lateral movement but there is a lot of play when I turn it in each direction. Is there a kit?
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:07 PM   #10
djdonis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwalk View Post
Djdonis, how is this repaired? Mine doesn't have lateral movement but there is a lot of play when I turn it in each direction. Is there a kit?
No kit is available and no service parts are sold either. There are several bearings that COULD be obtained from ***. The easiest is to get a used TC in decent shape.
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:08 PM   #11
djdonis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwalk View Post
Djdonis, how is this repaired? Mine doesn't have lateral movement but there is a lot of play when I turn it in each direction. Is there a kit?
No kit is available and no service parts are sold either. There are several bearings that COULD be obtained from ***_Bearings. The easiest is to get a used TC in decent shape.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:25 PM   #12
S.A. Singer
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Small update in regards to the transfer case - there is a very slight looseness to it (if I really shake it I can hear the rattling, but it's not enough to see the movement). Axially there is no movement. The drive shaft can turn less than 10 degrees before engaging a gear in either.
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:22 PM   #13
S.A. Singer
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Update: Motor mounts have been replaced. The shaking under acceleration is gone, and the thumping in between gears is minimized. I can still hear what sounds like the transfer case engaging the front end. I noticed a rip in the front right CV boot and the alternator died... bad news. This will be dealt with when I get back from Germany. I hope this info can help some other xi drivers out there, I'll do my best to answer any questions.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:28 AM   #14
Statik330
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This is very encouraging for me, I have the exact same vibration issue as you (only under engine load) and have a new set of mounts sitting in the garage waiting to go in.
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:38 PM   #15
Statik330
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Well I did my mounts as well and all that vibration is completely gone, no longer need to be in neutral at red lights haha. But the flip side is that it's highlighted how bad my suspension truly is...
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:29 AM   #16
S.A. Singer
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I replaced my rear schocks for roughly $60 total and they work great so far. They probably won't last as long as the stuff one could get from Turner or Bavarian but they were like $23 per shock and they are so easy to replace I don't mind doing it more often.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:01 PM   #17
Jbrakes
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I discovered my transfer case is missing a decent chunk of material right where the mounting bushing is...will be replacing with a used one and I'll let you all know how that affects my clunking noise and vibration, if at all
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:01 PM   #18
Scuzone
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A new set of tires may cure the vibration while moving. It workrked for me.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:45 PM   #19
S.A. Singer
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Update:

I replaced the front right axle and rotated the tires. That got rid of the clunking during gear engagement.
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:24 PM   #20
GMTBend
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been running across failed dual mass flywheels. Xi's esp.
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