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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 11-05-2016, 09:52 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: CT, USA
Posts: 2
My Ride: 330xi
330xi Front Driveshaft (A/T) came loose - Centering Bush?

Need some help regarding the centering bushing shown on the Realoem parts breakdown.

Recently my 330xi front driveshaft separated from the front differential flange while driving. Apparently all 4 bolts worked their way out and axle just came apart. No clunking, no warning, nothing. None of the bolt holes are stripped, so don't know how this could ever happen without some warning beforehand. Luckily happened at parking lot speeds, so damage was minimal compared to what it could have been.

Ft. driveshaft ended up taking out both oil lines ($280 for both! - BMW only, no aftermarket!), 4 bolts were MIA, and the front axle punched a small hole through the bellhousing (which "shouldn't" be a problem, I hope).

Anyway, while removing the front driveshaft (#1) to gain access to the oil lines, I noticed one of the rear driveshaft bolts (#3) and a subframe bolt were only finger tight as well, so leads me to believe someone had worked on this car before and didn't tighten up everything. Have only owned for 8K mi.

** Anyway, on the rear flange on the front diff, there is a Securing Plate (#5) shown to keep the flange nut from spinning and a Centering Bush (#6), neither of which are fitted to my car. I ordered the Securing Plate and going to pick up today. However, I do NOT see where the centering bush would go, or how it would even fit between the driveshaft flange and the differential flange.

06 Centering bush 1 31521211090

The BMW parts diagram shows the bush "outside" of the diff. flange, not inside the differential. Can someone tell me where this goes, or how it fits, and if it is necessary on an A/T car. I have an A/T, and the parts listing on Realoem does not say it's for M/T only. Has anyone had their ft. driveshaft apart and seen this part, or have pictures on where it goes?

Seems to me that the Centering Bush might be for M/T drive shaft only, but BMW parts manual does not say so. Any assistance/clarification would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Last edited by KenB; 11-05-2016 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 11-05-2016, 06:07 PM   #2
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: MN
Posts: 75
My Ride: 2005 325xi
Sorry, but I have a late model 325xi and a manual transmission - my drive shaft looks like #2. I can say that if your drive shaft looks like #1 in the lower diagram, not #2, then you should not have the centering bushing - beyond that I don't know. There are posts on how important it is to get the preload just right on the diff input bearing - and it makes sense that you need the locking ring.

Hope others can help.
Mariner05 is offline   Reply With Quote

330xi, centering bush, drive shaft, ft differential, ft driveshaft

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