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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 03-17-2014, 06:49 PM   #21
Bit Flip
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I've been driving mine short distance without the troubling heavy vibrations however I can also still feel it every so slightly. It's almost cyclic, like every few seconds or so. I'm not quite sure what it could be besides something in the Transfer Case or Driveshaft or somewherein the drivetrain. It's not felt at all in the steering wheel just in the floorboards. I'm not leaning towards axles solving my problem because I don't feel it in the wheel at all.

EDIT:

@tttomttt
Are your looming vibrations cyclic or do they happen just here and there/very randomly? The subtle vibrations I'm experiencing before the car warms up (approx 1hr of highway driving) are definitely cyclic and seem to be throttle position dependent. I'm thinking I'm going to change my transfer case fluid when I change my oil here soon (when the weather is nice) and report back after this. Hopefully someone else can chime in with a more conclusive answer.

Last edited by Bit Flip; 03-18-2014 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:37 PM   #22
tttomttt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bit Flip View Post
I've been driving mine short distance without the troubling heavy vibrations however I can also still feel it every so slightly. It's almost cyclic, like every few seconds or so. I'm not quite sure what it could be besides something in the Transfer Case or Driveshaft or somewherein the drivetrain. It's not felt at all in the steering wheel just in the floorboards. I'm not leaning towards axles solving my problem because I don't feel it in the wheel at all.

EDIT:

@tttomttt
Are your looming vibrations cyclic or do they happen just here and there/very randomly? The subtle vibrations I'm experiencing before the car warms up (approx 1hr of highway driving) are definitely cyclic and seem to be throttle position dependent. I'm thinking I'm going to change my transfer case fluid when I change my oil here soon (when the weather is nice) and report back after this. Hopefully someone else can chime in with a more conclusive answer.
The vibration I have occurs @ 2300 rpm. I still am experiencing this same vibration albeit very faintly now. I am awaiting further comments on that diff output roller bearing possible issue.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:01 PM   #23
Bit Flip
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Originally Posted by tttomttt View Post
The vibration I have occurs @ 2300 rpm. I still am experiencing this same vibration albeit very faintly now. I am awaiting further comments on that diff output roller bearing possible issue.
What about at higher RPM? I'm not 100% that we're looking at the same issue here but I really appreciate you keeping this thread on top. I feel like this vibration issue is going to be something big but hopefully not.

Have you had your GUIBO go out before? It seems like it HAS to be drivetrain related on mine. Vibrations never occur in the steering wheel but I feel it in the floorboards/pedals bigtime (when this ghostly condition arises).

Keep in mind all - this is my first AWD vehicle/vehicle that has a driveshaft at all so my troubleshooting is limited to FWD.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:32 PM   #24
tttomttt
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Originally Posted by Bit Flip View Post
What about at higher RPM? I'm not 100% that we're looking at the same issue here but I really appreciate you keeping this thread on top. I feel like this vibration issue is going to be something big but hopefully not.

Have you had your GUIBO go out before? It seems like it HAS to be drivetrain related on mine. Vibrations never occur in the steering wheel but I feel it in the floorboards/pedals bigtime (when this ghostly condition arises).

Keep in mind all - this is my first AWD vehicle/vehicle that has a driveshaft at all so my troubleshooting is limited to FWD.
Even at its worst my vibration would dissipate at higher rpm's. If you read all my posts related to this issue I replaced giubo, csb, tx case fluid and mount. I would have sworn it was rear driveshaft related yet the only thing that made it improve was the cv axles. I used a1 cardone remans. from Napa and was very thankful they looked exactly the same as what was removed and not some Chinese manufactured crap. My old cv's were not leaking any grease or had a torn boot or any other such issue. I guess just 150k just was enough make them start to vibrate. I probably could have repacked them but I did not feel like dealing with the possibility of still having an issue after a repack.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:50 AM   #25
Mowg
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Originally Posted by Bit Flip View Post
I've been driving mine short distance without the troubling heavy vibrations however I can also still feel it every so slightly. It's almost cyclic, like every few seconds or so. I'm not quite sure what it could be besides something in the Transfer Case or Driveshaft or somewherein the drivetrain. It's not felt at all in the steering wheel just in the floorboards. I'm not leaning towards axles solving my problem because I don't feel it in the wheel at all.
Hi Guys,

I'm experiencing something quite similar on my 330XD in Europe. I have a pretty annoying vibration under load, as well as a cyclic vibration on the highway in the range 80-100MPh (I have not really tried beyond 100MPh). That cyclic vibration is modulated with a period of 2 to 3 seconds approximately. It really feels like something not spinning correctly.

I've noticed some lateral play in my TC output flange to front wheels, as did 325xittt in the other post related to that topic. But I have a smaller play than 325xittt, around 1mm. It does not seems normal to me, but it's very hard to say if it's the root of the vibrations or not. It's a pretty tricky subject because there are many parts that could vibrate and provoque such vibrations, especially with our AWD E46's ...

I'll let you know if I find anything interesting to solve that issue. And I'll follow carefully that post to check if someone finds the solution .

Sorry if my wording is not perfect, I'm not a native English-talker .
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:29 PM   #26
jrtsrt
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I've had the same exact issues with my 2004 325xi. Replaced the passenger side axle due to a ripped boot and still had the issue. Only vibrated after about 1 hr of highway driving. I could drive it forever around town short trips daily without any issues, only on the highway upon acceleration after an hour or so would it appear. Especially uphill on acceleration. Couldn't feel it too much in the steering but the whole car shook. Inspected the motor mounts, ball joints, FCAB's (which had been done at the dealer anyway), and guibo disc with a mirror. Everything seemed good. Then I noticed a tear in the drivers side axle boot so replaced it, took it on a 2 hour highway trip and no violent vibration issues. The car does vibrate slightly between 66 to 72 or so, but I believe that to be a tire issue. I used the nkg axles from Pelican.
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:35 PM   #27
fiv216
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I had the exactly same issue, I would get vibration after 1-2hours of highway driving. But, not just vibrating, it'd shake the s@#$ out of the whole car. Just installed a new axle & FCAB's (if you're thinking of doing these HIGHLY recommend powerflex.) and so far no vibrations.

Awkwardly enough, I also have issues between 70-80mph with a slight vibration and pull to the left that I think may be tire related also.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:53 AM   #28
lgb240
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I had my car on a lift today. After a lot of dissassembly, it looks ad though the rear driveshaft hanger bearing is shot. I'm going to replace the guibo and transfer case mount while everything is accessable. Hopfully this solves the issue.

Any thoughts on which vendor has the best quality and price for these parts?

Last edited by lgb240; 03-24-2014 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:19 AM   #29
eso123
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Just went through a front end vibration quest myself. 2003 330xi. It happened after the car warmed up and was driven for a while. Worse in the rain, too, as far as I could tell. It ended up being the right front drive axle. The main symptom was vibration under load, not while coasting, around 40+ mph, after being driven for a while, not so bad when cold. I was convinced it the vibration was coming from the left front, but it wasn't I later found. I had immediately assumed it was the LF drive axle, because one of the boots had been throwing grease, and replaced the left front drive axle first--no improvement. Found a few ball joints loose on the left front. Replaced the left lower control arm/outer ball joint assembly because I saw play--no improvement. Replaced the left inner and outer steering tie rod ends, which had some play--no improvement. Replaced the inner LF ball joint, it had play--no improvement.
I thought, well maybe it is from the right front, because there's nothing left over in this side except maybe the bearing and hub and that's not fun. So I replaced the right front axle, which solved the problem. (The boots looked good by the way, though I do remember replacing of those boots on the right front 3 years ago.)

Last edited by eso123; 03-29-2014 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:00 PM   #30
tomoyer
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The causes for this type of vibration have already been stated here; front CV Axles with bad inner cv joints or the rear drive shaft guibo/center bearing. In either case, you really don't want to drive the car until it is corrected. Why? If a Front CV Axle comes apart, in most cases you'll be dead in the water and hopefully when it does fly apart there is no other damage as the axle shaft spins uncontrolled until stopping. With the case of the rear drive shaft, if the guibo/center bearing tears apart, the drive shaft will continue to turn until you stop and more than likely not will be damaged and then at that point, if you put a new center bearing on a damaged shaft, in no time flat you'll be replacing it again as a damaged drive shaft will tear the new center bearing right up in a few hundred miles. So, in that case, you will have to spring for a New or a Re-Manufactured complete drive shaft which will include the center bearing.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:11 PM   #31
lgb240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgb240 View Post
I had my car on a lift today. After a lot of dissassembly, it looks ad though the rear driveshaft hanger bearing is shot. I'm going to replace the guibo and transfer case mount while everything is accessable. Hopfully this solves the issue.

Any thoughts on which vendor has the best quality and price for these parts?
I finally had a chance to get under the car and do the repairs. I ended up doing quite a bit of 'while your are in there with everything apart' and replaced a number of wear items...

After a big push on Sunday, here's what was completed:

-Front control arm bushings (Powerflex) old ones were OK, just did it for preventative purposes
-Transmission mount (inner webs were torn) car is a 5 speed manual
-Engine mounts - originals didn't look horrible, just did them because of the condition of the trans mount
-short shifter (not vibration related, just did it because I had access)
-rear drive shaft -guibo and centre hanger bearing (original wasn't in great shape - I suspect that this was the cause of the vibrations)
-changed fluids in transmission, transfer case and front and rear diff (redline full synthetic products)
-rear emergency brake shoe adjusters (not vibration related, just needed to be done)

All went fairly well. The biggest battle was separating the exhaust from the down pipe. Lots of heat and hammering was required (it's a Southern Ontario car so this connection was rust-welded together) Once this was apart, everything else was fairly straight forward.

After all that, the problem isn't fixed. Same vibration issues. Car does feel tighter with the powerflex bushings and the shifts are great with the short shifter, but the vibration still exists. All replacement parts were quality German products.

So, since the front passenger side axel was recently replaced, I'm thinking the driver's side axel might be suspect. The boots look fine. I have the history on the car - boots were replaced about 4 years ago, but it looks as though the axels themselves were never done. The car has 205,000km.

I guess I'm doing the front driver's axel now ......
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:09 AM   #32
SamDoe1
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I'm going to ask a dumb question. Have you all looked into getting your wheels balanced and tried different rims/tires to take those out of the equation?
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:46 PM   #33
Bit Flip
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I'm going to have my tires looked at this weekend and I grabbed the parts to do the GUIBO, Transfer Case Mount, driveshaft bearing, and axles/seals. Hopefully I'll have access to a lift this weekend otherwise it's going to be a long one haha. We'll see what's up though...my highway speed shaking has gotten far worse with the warmer weather moving in.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:36 PM   #34
lgb240
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I'm going to ask a dumb question. Have you all looked into getting your wheels balanced and tried different rims/tires to take those out of the equation?
No, not a dumb question...

My situation is the same with my winter rims (OEM 16" aluminum with 1 season old tires) and my summer rims (OEM 17" with older, but OK tires)
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:39 PM   #35
Bit Flip
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I found this article as well which may help you out - It mentions that the guide bushing for the driveshaft should be replaced at the same time the flex disc is done. Did you omit that by chance?

http://blog.bavauto.com/14113/bmw-ho...ex-disc-giubo/
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:42 PM   #36
lgb240
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Originally Posted by Bit Flip View Post
I'm going to have my tires looked at this weekend and I grabbed the parts to do the GUIBO, Transfer Case Mount, driveshaft bearing, and axles/seals. Hopefully I'll have access to a lift this weekend otherwise it's going to be a long one haha. We'll see what's up though...my highway speed shaking has gotten far worse with the warmer weather moving in.
A lift will definitely make your life easier.

Don't forget to get exhaust gaskets for the down pipe when you remove the exhaust.

Also mark the driveshaft so you get it back in the exact same position that it came out.

Good luck ...
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:21 PM   #37
lgb240
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Originally Posted by Bit Flip View Post
I found this article as well which may help you out - It mentions that the guide bushing for the driveshaft should be replaced at the same time the flex disc is done. Did you omit that by chance?

http://blog.bavauto.com/14113/bmw-ho...ex-disc-giubo/
No, I didn't do this bushing. Probably should have.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:05 PM   #38
lgb240
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So....

I replaced to Left front axle over the weekend. The axle in the car wasn't in horrible shape, but the boots were dry and had evidence of cracking. There was a small 1/4" tear starting, enough that there was some rusty brown moisture in the grease at the inner joint. Not in horrible shape, but definitely on it's way out. New axle installed.

And ... the vibration is still there!!!

Not sure where to turn next, but the frustration level is quite high at this point. I've replaced a lot of worn parts, that appeared to be near the end of their service life. I'm not too upset about that since they are maintenance items. I would have expected one of the many things replaced to have fixed the vibration.

I'm going back to the driveshaft once I have access to a lift again and see if something I did there isn't right.

(I'm ignoring my inner voice that's telling me that I should have bought a 2 wheel drive wagon instead)

Last edited by lgb240; 04-14-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:40 PM   #39
SamDoe1
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Originally Posted by tttomttt View Post
The vibration I have occurs @ 2300 rpm. I still am experiencing this same vibration albeit very faintly now. I am awaiting further comments on that diff output roller bearing possible issue.
Are your vibrations ONLY at 2300rpm? As in they just come and go or do the vibrations continue throughout the rev range?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lgb240 View Post
And ... the vibration is still there!!!
Put car in neutral and rev the engine. Do you still get a vibration? Other thing to consider might be the rear trailing arm bushings. They usually manifest in a shimmy rather than a vibration but you never know. What about brake rotors? If you have one that's out of balance it could cause what you're seeing too.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:00 PM   #40
Bit Flip
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Originally Posted by lgb240 View Post
So....

I replaced to Left front axle over the weekend. The axle in the car wasn't in horrible shape, but the boots were dry and had evidence of cracking. There was a small 1/4" tear starting, enough that there was some rusty brown moisture in the grease at the inner joint. Not in horrible shape, but definitely on it's way out. New axle installed.

And ... the vibration is still there!!!

Not sure where to turn next, but the frustration level is quite high at this point. I've replaced a lot of worn parts, that appeared to be near the end of their service life. I'm not too upset about that since they are maintenance items. I would have expected one of the many things replaced to have fixed the vibration.

I'm going back to the driveshaft once I have access to a lift again and see if something I did there isn't right.

(I'm ignoring my inner voice that's telling me that I should have bought a 2 wheel drive wagon instead)
This weekend I saw the drivers side axle was throwing grease when I was intending to do the flex disc and center support bearing. I worked on my front passenger side axle and got it replaced, but this didn't address the vibration problem.

I spoke with a local shop here in Cincinnati and they were saying with my mileage (~150k) that the driveshaft should be replaced. They're wanting 1050 to do it which includes parts so I'm figuring instead of screwing with it again, I'm just going to bite the bullet and take it in...

With everything that people had issues with in this thread (both axles, CSB, GUIBO + supporting parts) that it could certainly be the issue. Maybe I'm but I'm over here

Edit - also I went ahead and popped the hood to see if the motor mounts may be bad and the motor wasnt moving much at all so I also doubt its motor mounts.

Last edited by Bit Flip; 04-14-2014 at 05:35 PM.
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