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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 11-13-2009, 08:26 AM   #21
Rickna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark M View Post
My car currently has 97,500 miles on it. The prior owner had the right side CV halfshaft replaced at about 65,000 miles. The left side is still all original from what I can tell, still has the BMW sticker on it.

I wanted an XI for the versatility of use all winter long as a daily driver...but I absolutely hated the 4x4 stance. I wanted it to have the stance of a stock 330ZHP. AKA not slammed, but a tasteful lowering.

My two cents - lowering will not cause your CV halfshafts to fail, but it will cause a change in geometry which may loosen some boot clamps that otherwise would have not had issue. Gone unchecked, this would lead to dry joints and a failed halfshaft which would feed the myth that lowering the XI kills halfshafts. Further, halfshafts are a common wear item that do need replacing...even on non-lowered cars.

Ever since lowering this car I peak underneath at the boots every two weeks just to be proactive. With the new clamp on now, she seems to be staying dry and clean - no leaks. But I will keep a close eye on it now.
Agreed.
My mechanic (specializes in BMW's & Audi's) had told me that the front axles are a common item needing replacement. Lowered or not.
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:25 PM   #22
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I'm in mid-replacement and am running into a weird problem. When putting the new axle in, when pushed as far as it will go into the differential (passenger side), it pushes flush against the differential radial seal and wall on PART of the axle...if I twist the axle by hand, part is about 1/8" short. Almost like it's in crooked....but there is no movement. Thoughts?

I re-used the clip from the original axle, but never really heard a "click" when putting the new one in.... Help!
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:26 AM   #23
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How does it compare to the original part you removed? Are the dims the same? Any noticable differences in length, circumfrence, spline count, etc? What brand of shaft are you using for replacement?
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:17 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by MileHiXi View Post
I'm not sure I agree. The people who have said they had early failure on their CV boots also had their cars lowered. I know it's not rock solid evidence, but why do boots typically last 90 or 100k miles and then you have these random people saying they had to replace at 50k? I've had A LOT of AWD cars over the years: four audi quattros, 4 runner, range rover, x5 and this 330xi and each of them had CV's that lasted over 100k miles.

I think there is a reason BMW sold these cars with such ridiculous wheel gap. I don't think it was by mistake.
I had my boots replaced on left side at 40k, which was 10k before it got dropped. The argument that lowering it would cause damage would hold some water if, when you lowered it, you also raised the height that the suspension traveled, but you don't. It was designed to work from fully extended to fully compressed stock. While reliability factors would certainly change at the extreme angles, the drops we are doing aren't extreme.

Comparing one brand of vehicles particulars to another isn't a good comparision for that argument either. I've had more reliable cars than my e46, but I also never drove them like the e46.
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Old 03-12-2010, 04:54 PM   #25
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This looks like another weekend project for me...my boots are torn as well...i might as well do the cab's while im down there.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:13 PM   #26
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I had rh the outer boot on the right fail at about 55k non lowered. Now that both rear springs have cracked I'm going to be relpacing the suspension. As for springs, I'm going with H&R sports. Shocks, Bilstein.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:37 PM   #27
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Talking

here is my 2cents about axles. FCP Groton axles are made in china. how do i know this? this is my second set of front axles from them, and it is print on the box. lol. the first set of axle from them started leaking cv grease out from the outer cv boot with 7-8 months after installation. sent them because it was covered under lifetime warranty,and this was in september 2009. now it is march 2010 and my inner boots are torn and grease is splattered everywhere again. time to replace them again, but not getting it from FCP Groton this time; rather pay for the new oem axle.

been doin some serches and found the cheapest OEM axle assembly at Bavoauto. i talked to one of the guy on the phone and he said those are oem, made from gkn (which makes the oem axles for all the bimmers and X's line bimmer). and to make sure, i checked realoem.com and called bmw for the part # for a match, and it guess what, perfect match. local bmw were going to charge me $350.00 per axle as bavauto was goin to charge $199.00 per axle.

to finish it up. Dont get FCP Groton axles; its cheap stuff, a lot of people on the forum told me not to install them and to return it but i didnt listen. i guess i learn the hard way. you could ask Botaman. lol. he was the one who gave me the heads up on that.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:01 AM   #28
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Good work Mr_xi

Good work Mr_xi on the axles from Bavauto, I have to remember this when it's time for me.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:25 AM   #29
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no problem botaman. also for got to mention, if you buy it from bavauto there's no sale tax because they're from NH. plus free shipping over $150.00.
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:45 AM   #30
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VERY good video for the DIYer. The only thing I did differently was to disconnect the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle. That eliminates disconnecting the tie rod and the disassembly of the knuckle from the strut. Otherwise a GREAT video on how to do a front axle change on an xi.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:29 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by ChasCan View Post
VERY good video for the DIYer. The only thing I did differently was to disconnect the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle. That eliminates disconnecting the tie rod and the disassembly of the knuckle from the strut. Otherwise a GREAT video on how to do a front axle change on an xi.
I think it's a lot easier to drop the knuckle from the strut- it's only one bolt. I don't have a good tool to disconnect the outer ball joint from the knuckle without ruining the ball joint.

One question- did you guys replace the seal on the passenger's side too? I was just checking out realoem and noticed there's a second seal over there which is the same as the driver's side.

#7: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...68&hg=31&fg=15
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:18 PM   #32
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^^probably a good idea to replace both axle seals.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:48 PM   #33
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Mark was curious too about the drop effecting your cv joints as I followed that you just recently did this. Have been considering going with the H&R but have of course heard about the problems that come with too much of a drop w/ our xi's.
Measure. If the wheel hub centers are closer to the ground then the diff flange centers, a drop will DECREASE the working angle of the halfshaft CV joints and therefore REDUCE wear. If wheel hub center to ground measurement is greater than the diff flange center to ground distance, you will INCREASE the working angle and cause INCREASED wear!
An interesting aspect of driveshafts/halfshafts is that they WILL NOT, under load, go from a positive working angle to a negative working angle without producing vibrations/harmonics!!! Put in simple terms, if your drop causes the halfshaft to to be near level, as the suspension travels up and down, the halfshaft will be subject to transitions between the hub being below AND above the diff flange. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS CONDITION UNLESS YOU ENJOY DRIVELINE VIBRATION!!! I learned this the hard way on a worked Audi Coupe GT Quattro in the late '80s.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:14 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by 330I6SPD View Post
Measure. If the wheel hub centers are closer to the ground then the diff flange centers, a drop will DECREASE the working angle of the halfshaft CV joints and therefore REDUCE wear. If wheel hub center to ground measurement is greater than the diff flange center to ground distance, you will INCREASE the working angle and cause INCREASED wear!
An interesting aspect of driveshafts/halfshafts is that they WILL NOT, under load, go from a positive working angle to a negative working angle without producing vibrations/harmonics!!! Put in simple terms, if your drop causes the halfshaft to to be near level, as the suspension travels up and down, the halfshaft will be subject to transitions between the hub being below AND above the diff flange. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS CONDITION UNLESS YOU ENJOY DRIVELINE VIBRATION!!! I learned this the hard way on a worked Audi Coupe GT Quattro in the late '80s.
Not bad for a NON-XI owner. For your info any drop on these XI will increase the angle of operation of the half shaft. I did not measure center to center of both hub to ground vs diff flange to ground but just from observation, it appears that hub to ground is higher base on stock set up.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:17 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
I think it's a lot easier to drop the knuckle from the strut- it's only one bolt. I don't have a good tool to disconnect the outer ball joint from the knuckle without ruining the ball joint.

One question- did you guys replace the seal on the passenger's side too? I was just checking out realoem and noticed there's a second seal over there which is the same as the driver's side.

#7: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...68&hg=31&fg=15
Always replace seal, and take good care of the seal during installation follow the instruction that came with the seal. And yes number 7 is the correct part.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:26 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by botaman View Post
Not bad for a NON-XI owner. For your info any drop on these XI will increase the angle of operation of the half shaft. I did not measure center to center of both hub to ground vs diff flange to ground but just from observation, it appears that hub to ground is higher base on stock set up.
Thanks. So a drop will slightly increase wear. The Audi was the same way, diff flanges lower than hubs.
My vibration issue was caused by RAISING my Quattro just over two inches in the winter.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:19 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by botaman View Post
Always replace seal, and take good care of the seal during installation follow the instruction that came with the seal. And yes number 7 is the correct part.
Does the diff fluid make it all the way to the passenger side seal?

I replaced the driver's side seal, so the diff fluid would stay put (obviously). Didn't think the passenger side was crucial. Scheisse.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:21 PM   #38
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Does the diff fluid make it all the way to the passenger side seal?

I replaced the driver's side seal, so the diff fluid would stay put (obviously). Didn't think the passenger side was crucial. Scheisse.
I would have to assume so.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:14 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by mr_xi View Post
here is my 2cents about axles. FCP Groton axles are made in china. how do i know this? this is my second set of front axles from them, and it is print on the box. lol. the first set of axle from them started leaking cv grease out from the outer cv boot with 7-8 months after installation. sent them because it was covered under lifetime warranty,and this was in september 2009. now it is march 2010 and my inner boots are torn and grease is splattered everywhere again. time to replace them again, but not getting it from FCP Groton this time; rather pay for the new oem axle.

been doin some serches and found the cheapest OEM axle assembly at Bavoauto. i talked to one of the guy on the phone and he said those are oem, made from gkn (which makes the oem axles for all the bimmers and X's line bimmer). and to make sure, i checked realoem.com and called bmw for the part # for a match, and it guess what, perfect match. local bmw were going to charge me $350.00 per axle as bavauto was goin to charge $199.00 per axle.

to finish it up. Dont get FCP Groton axles; its cheap stuff, a lot of people on the forum told me not to install them and to return it but i didnt listen. i guess i learn the hard way. you could ask Botaman. lol. he was the one who gave me the heads up on that.
Who was the manufacturer on the axle that you had trouble with? We sell a variety of brands from inexpensive to OEM - all depends on what the customer requests. We also sell GKN and Genuine BMW axles along with FEQ, Wong and DSS.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:22 PM   #40
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this is great! i had stock suspension (6" lift, haha) and i had to replace my fronts after 46k miles. i always turned my wheel to the left or right every time i parked my car, whether flat or uphill. Dealer replaced mine and i have 99k with no worries. they told me to turn my wheels straight so it doesn't put extra stress on the rubber. worked so far
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