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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 09-24-2014, 09:32 PM   #1
erehtuo
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Morgantown WV
Posts: 20
My Ride: 2004 330XI
New to me 04' 330xi 6 speed

Hey Fanatics!

I just picked up a 2004 330xi with a six speed manual.

About 170k miles and it needs some love.

I'm in West Virginia, rust is pretty bad and this car has some, rear quarters, passenger front door (believe from prior accident with a curb) and door jamb on driver's. It had a love tap or two on the rear bumper as well as the front.

No rust underneath though, that is what I was concerned with. I don't plan on touching any rust until I get it smooth mechanically.



Mechanically, what is needed to bring this car into tip top shape?

I know water pumps are problems with these cars so I planned to do that as preventative maintenance.

After that, I was going to replace plugs, wires, give it some fresh oil and replace transmission oil. Any recommendation on type of parts these cars like? I'm coming from a Jeep so I have no idea.


Just bought new tires, Hankooks that were highly rated on Tirerack. I shook down the front end and think it might need tierods so thats on my list as well.


Any suggestions? Pictures posted from the craigslist ad the guy had up. I'll post some pictures of rust and such in the next few days.



Also, I am not sure the bushings in the car's shifter are up to par. This thing feels almost spongy. I'm coming from a 1995 Cherokee with a Hurst shifter and a 1992 Honda Prelude VTEC with a stage 2 clutch before that. I've read the e60 shifter is much better, true? or is there an aftermarket one that is even beyond that?

All help appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:45 PM   #2
Je357
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Yea bushings you can check by moving the wheel with your hands. And watch the control arm bushing. Mine had play. Shouldn't move easy. I had really bad steering wheel shimmy when on the highway. I went with poly urethane bushings and it stiffed up the front end. Also check for oil leaks. Valve cover and oil filter housing gaskets are infamous for rotting out. I usually buy my parts from Bavarian auto , turner motorsports, fcp euro...
Also check ur axle cv boots in front. Known on xi for rubber boot ripping. Welcome to bmw

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Old 09-25-2014, 06:49 PM   #3
Je357
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Yea changing the fluids is a given. I wouldn't mess with the tranny fluid just check it and add if needed.

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Old 09-26-2014, 11:24 AM   #4
erehtuo
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My Ride: 2004 330XI
Thanks for the tips.

Took the front wheels off yesterday

Tierods look good
Minor movement side to side though, maybe it is one of those bushings...

I think that will be on the back burner though. The driver front axle had a hole in the outer boot.

I defiantly have an oil leak from the valve cover gasket, oil filter gasket and the power steering reservoir.

And after doing a bit of reading, I think the vanos needs some love. I hear a rattle from there and it surges at 3000 ram.

Also hid bulb is out. Those little guys are expensive!

I think I will do tranny fluid just because it did wonders for my XJ. Ever use MT 90 in these cars?

Recommendation for an oil filter brand?

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Old 09-26-2014, 02:07 PM   #5
Apmcrx
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Car looks nice!

For the HID bulbs, if your OK with non-OE stuff... I have TheRetrofitSource bulbs/retrofit kit in mine... Love them! 6000k is very crisp/clear white.

Take care-
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:51 PM   #6
Je357
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I buy oem oil filters from bav. Along with the redline oil 5w30

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Old 09-26-2014, 03:04 PM   #7
Je357
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For the power steering reservoir just check the oring. Or make sure cap is on right and tight

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Old 09-26-2014, 03:36 PM   #8
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erehtuo View Post
Thanks for the tips.

Took the front wheels off yesterday

Tierods look good
Minor movement side to side though, maybe it is one of those bushings...

I think that will be on the back burner though. The driver front axle had a hole in the outer boot.

I defiantly have an oil leak from the valve cover gasket, oil filter gasket and the power steering reservoir. Normal, can do all of these in an afternoon. Plenty of threads on how to.

And after doing a bit of reading, I think the vanos needs some love. I hear a rattle from there and it surges at 3000 ram. Non ZHP VANOS units don't rattle so you're hearing something else. No anti-rattle kit needed when you do this.

Also hid bulb is out. Those little guys are expensive! Don't replace just one. If one is out, the other isn't far behind.

I think I will do tranny fluid just because it did wonders for my XJ. Ever use MT 90 in these cars? I used redline MTF

Recommendation for an oil filter brand? OEM, Amazon has them for $6.

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See above

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apmcrx View Post
Car looks nice!

For the HID bulbs, if your OK with non-OE stuff... I have TheRetrofitSource bulbs/retrofit kit in mine... Love them! 6000k is very crisp/clear white.

Take care-
No, use only Philips D2S bulbs. Can be bought from Amazon for ~$35 a bulb. I had the TRS ones, they suck compared to the real deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Je357 View Post
I buy oem oil filters from bav. Along with the redline oil 5w30

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No. Buy from Amazon. Redline 5w30 is not recommended for the car. Only M1 0W40, Castrol 0w30, or BMW 5w30 are the ones to use. There's one more too but it's not easy to find in the US. Of the three I listed, just find the one on sale at the time you need it and get that one. Usually ends up being the M1.
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:06 PM   #9
erehtuo
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Thanks for the input!

The Redline MT-90 is what I put in the Jeep, made it feel completely different at 250k miles. I'll put the MTL in this car.

I put some fuel system cleaner in a hose leading to the intake (idle air control valve?) and let it sit for a bit, then drove it and I had some good smoke coming out of the back. The car seems much more responsive in the low range just after that little bit. I just think the thing has been neglected for a little while.

For the rattle I thought was the VANOS, is the rattle distinctively different from that of a valve train? Or does it more sound like a bearing going bad, i had thought it was the water pump before I bought the car....

Thanks for the pointers on the Amazon bulbs, looks like i got some shopping to do.


Brand new Hankook's came today, off to Sam's Club to get them mounted.
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:13 PM   #10
SamDoe1
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Do more searching on the noise, I'm not sure but that's what I've read and been told. Another thing could be the DISA valve which sounds like a jar of marbles when it goes bad (which it does often). If you have no idea when the water pump was replaced I'd recommend doing that ASAP.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:35 PM   #11
erehtuo
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I searched the DISA valve, I'll have to check that sometime soon - getting it off seems easy enough. But the more I drive the car, the smoother it is. Maybe its just driver error....

Water pump purchased with thermostat. I'm going to put that in tomorrow and order the valve cover and oil filter gasket as well.

I'll have to get an alignment soon to take care of these new tires but the guy I bought the car from had given me some Bilstein shocks to go with it. I did some research on the part numbers, they are front shocks, the sport B8 series - the website says they are ideal for cars that are slightly lowered?

I have no intention or desire to lower the car. The West Viriginia potholes would destroy it if gone too far.

Is is ok to use the stock XI springs with these shocks? If so I'll put them in before aligning the car sometime next week. Seems like everyone had bad experiences with Bilstein shocks for the rear, any suggestions on what to use for those to maximize bang for your buck?
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Old 10-02-2014, 03:23 PM   #12
Busy
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My recommendation is OEM. I've a slow seep on one of my rears and recently picked up a pair of used ones.
I'd only do this for the rear, and only because they're a snap to replace, and because they'll fail several more times regardless.

Nice acquisition, and get ready for pretty impressive performance in the snow.
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Old 10-02-2014, 03:57 PM   #13
erehtuo
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Thanks, I actually called Bilstein and the guy told me to not install the sports because they were designed for lower cars. So I guess I'll be selling them soon.

I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to some snow. Had a Subaru Forester before that thing had no oomph to it. This should be much more fun.


I've almost got all parts I need to change the valve cover gasket and oil filter housing gasket. Have spark plugs in hand and new Vanos seals too, thanks to Besian systems.

Changed the water pump and thermostat and have some radiator flush stuff in there so i can make it nice and clean. Had to order a new water pump pulley as I chipped the plastic one taking it off, and got new hoses while I was at it.

Also ordered an aux cable for the business cd radio and mounted that last night. The thing was very easy to install.
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:11 PM   #14
Busy
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The wife has a legacy and the bimmer is noticeable superior. I like the subaru, and comparing them isn't fair, but you're going to love it.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:59 PM   #15
geronimoslp
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I got no tips for now, but i have to say your ride is gorgeous. I haven't seen this color combination so far, if you can get it fixed up, this would definitely be a keeper in my book. I usually don't look at them too much after 2001, but yours is stunning.


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Old 10-03-2014, 01:54 PM   #16
erehtuo
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Thanks! I liked the color too!

The rust on the car is pretty bad though. I attached some photos so you guys can see. That's going to need repaired and the car be repainted at some point. It has to be mechanically sound first though.

Had to buy a ballast for a headlight last night. Those suckers are expensive!
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:23 PM   #17
geronimoslp
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Any more work done? Did a few things myself.

Got a white CCFL AA kit with 2 ballasts today, wrong size. I think it'll fit yours, interested?
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:34 PM   #18
erehtuo
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Got an alignment done, finished valve cover gasket, new plugs, oil filter housing gasket and put new seals in the vanos. I can vouch for the vanos, made a huge difference in terms of low end torque.

Just inspected but need to replace outer cv joint still.


Is that for angel eyes? I would like to but need to stop the projects for a bit. Too much money spent on the car and the house needs attention...

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Old 10-22-2014, 10:37 PM   #19
geronimoslp
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sure. if you're interested let me know, it's a cheap kit i got off ebay for 30$. glows very bright, but is a little smaller than expected... now i'm stuck with it hopefully not for long
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Old 10-23-2014, 10:42 AM   #20
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Unless the PO did a full cooling system refresh, that's the first thing on your list to fix.
Then the bushings and what not.
Then cosmetics, we sell a good quality CCFL kit for $40 on eBay, but the better kits are available on our site - umnitza - umnitza.com
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