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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 07-13-2016, 12:51 PM   #1
zander271
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,010
My Ride: 6spd ZHP/5sp XI
Ball Joint Seperator

Does anyone know of a ball joint separator that will work on an XI? There is not enough room to use the standard ones that work on RWD cards. The axle is in the way.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

^ this is what I have. Worked great on ZHP. Doesn't fit on a XI

Don't say pickle fork because I use one and a 10 pound sedge hammer and this thing won't move. The pickle fork is destroyed now.
__________________

ZHP Mods: JB Lightweight fly wheel (10.5 pounds), Koni FSD ProKit, Supreme Power Drop Hats, Hotchkis front(30.2mm)/rear(25.4mm) sway bars, Sprint Booster, AFE Stage 1 Intake, Morimoto EvoX-R Headlights, Orion V4 Angel Eyes, Satin Black 18x9 ET42 APEX ARC-8 Wheel

330xi Mods:Front Koni Yellow Struts and Rob43 Rear 9 Way adjustable Rear Dampers,H&R Sport Springs,Supreme Power Drop Hats,ZHP 5 speed shift knob

Last edited by zander271; 07-13-2016 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:43 PM   #2
BUDGET76
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Hartford
Posts: 122
My Ride: 03' M3 & 95' 330TI
Quote:
Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
Does anyone know of a ball joint separator that will work on an XI? There is not enough room to use the standard ones that work on RWD cards. The axle is in the way.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

^ this is what I have. Worked great on ZHP. Doesn't fit on a XI

Don't say pickle fork because I use one and a 10 pound sedge hammer and this thing won't move. The pickle fork is destroyed now.
Pickle fork! Sorry, no experience on separators but .02 on forks below.

I just did mine yesterday, so my thinking is fresh on this. My pickle fork is also worse for the wear, but DID do the job with a 5lb sledge and a lot of banging. I had to beat it enough that it dug grooves into the fork, and also bent the forks open. I actually had to pop the fork back off, then hammer it closed again. Make sure you've got the lollipop and inner ball joint bolted on, or all your force goes into the looseness of the joints.

Don't know if spraying some PB Blaster or similar would help at all since it's such a tight fit.

A suggestion that I've had mixed success with in the past is to beat the pickle fork in so it's applying a bunch of pressure, then bang on the knuckle near the hole and it will pop the joint right out. I've had success this way on some other cars, but it didn't work for me yesterday. May have helped break it loose though.

I've never used one of the separators, but cant imagine that it would work if the pickle fork didn't. I'd expect it to bend/break. Could be wrong, but I've had bad luck with similar tools bending or the threads stripping out.

last thought: you know there are different sized pickle forks correct? Wondering if you've got one too wide, that just opens up even further instead of acting as a wedge. Think I picked mine up from Harbor Freight for like $10 a while back.

Good luck, they can be a pain.
__________________
'03 M3. Titanium Silver/Black. Bilstein PSS10, 19" VMR 710, UUC SSK, UUC LWT clutch/flywheel, UUC catback, ///Avin Avant2.
'02 330XI daily
SOLD'95 S50 TI, bad weather beater, tow rig

Last edited by BUDGET76; 07-13-2016 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:53 PM   #3
zander271
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,010
My Ride: 6spd ZHP/5sp XI
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUDGET76 View Post
Pickle fork! Sorry, no experience on separators but .02 on forks below.

I just did mine yesterday, so my thinking is fresh on this. My pickle fork is also worse for the wear, but DID do the job with a 5lb sledge and a lot of banging. I had to beat it enough that it dug grooves into the fork, and also bent the forks open. I actually had to pop the fork back off, then hammer it closed again. Make sure you've got the lollipop and inner ball joint bolted on, or all your force goes into the looseness of the joints.

Don't know if spraying some PB Blaster or similar would help at all since it's such a tight fit.

A suggestion that I've had mixed success with in the past is to beat the pickle fork in so it's applying a bunch of pressure, then bang on the knuckle near the hole and it will pop the joint right out. I've had success this way on some other cars, but it didn't work for me yesterday. May have helped break it loose though.

I've never used one of the separators, but cant imagine that it would work if the pickle fork didn't. I'd expect it to bend/break. Could be wrong, but I've had bad luck with similar tools bending or the threads stripping out.

last thought: you know there are different sized pickle forks correct? Wondering if you've got one too wide, that just opens up even further instead of acting as a wedge. Think I picked mine up from Harbor Freight for like $10 a while back.

Good luck, they can be a pain.
I'll try another pickle fork, I completely broke one the smaller and and larger one just became bent. Both are Harbor Freight
__________________

ZHP Mods: JB Lightweight fly wheel (10.5 pounds), Koni FSD ProKit, Supreme Power Drop Hats, Hotchkis front(30.2mm)/rear(25.4mm) sway bars, Sprint Booster, AFE Stage 1 Intake, Morimoto EvoX-R Headlights, Orion V4 Angel Eyes, Satin Black 18x9 ET42 APEX ARC-8 Wheel

330xi Mods:Front Koni Yellow Struts and Rob43 Rear 9 Way adjustable Rear Dampers,H&R Sport Springs,Supreme Power Drop Hats,ZHP 5 speed shift knob

Last edited by zander271; 07-13-2016 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:12 PM   #4
zander271
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,010
My Ride: 6spd ZHP/5sp XI
Broke it free, I did break a 2nd pickle fork . Broke it and separated on the last whack.
__________________

ZHP Mods: JB Lightweight fly wheel (10.5 pounds), Koni FSD ProKit, Supreme Power Drop Hats, Hotchkis front(30.2mm)/rear(25.4mm) sway bars, Sprint Booster, AFE Stage 1 Intake, Morimoto EvoX-R Headlights, Orion V4 Angel Eyes, Satin Black 18x9 ET42 APEX ARC-8 Wheel

330xi Mods:Front Koni Yellow Struts and Rob43 Rear 9 Way adjustable Rear Dampers,H&R Sport Springs,Supreme Power Drop Hats,ZHP 5 speed shift knob
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:08 AM   #5
jim9418
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Cincinnati OH
Posts: 264
My Ride: 2003 330xi Automatic
When I did mine I knew I had an old pickle fork somewhere but like to never found it. I was in Harbor Freight and almost bought one. I eventually found mine in a box in my storage building. I noticed a difference between it and the cheap HF one. The HF one seemed to have a greater angle on the fork. Mine is longer and tapers at a lesser angel. Make sense? The HF one needs a huge hammer and a lot of force all at once, while mine works its way in slower separating slower. Kind of difficult to describe. I attached a pic of what I'm trying to say. My joints were easy enough to get loose. Maybe it was pickle angel?
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:36 AM   #6
BUDGET76
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Hartford
Posts: 122
My Ride: 03' M3 & 95' 330TI
Quote:
Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
Broke it free, I did break a 2nd pickle fork . Broke it and separated on the last whack.
congrats! seeing everything finally pop loose after a bunch of wailing is a great sight, isn't it? Making me decide I should pick up a spare next time I'm at HF. Hate running out in the middle of a job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim9418 View Post
When I did mine I knew I had an old pickle fork somewhere but like to never found it. I was in Harbor Freight and almost bought one. I eventually found mine in a box in my storage building. I noticed a difference between it and the cheap HF one. The HF one seemed to have a greater angle on the fork. Mine is longer and tapers at a lesser angel. Make sense? The HF one needs a huge hammer and a lot of force all at once, while mine works its way in slower separating slower. Kind of difficult to describe. I attached a pic of what I'm trying to say. My joints were easy enough to get loose. Maybe it was pickle angel?
This makes sense, and is interesting. I'll have to look at the couple dad has sitting around vs. my cheap one and see if they're similar. I know he's got a couple different sizes
__________________
'03 M3. Titanium Silver/Black. Bilstein PSS10, 19" VMR 710, UUC SSK, UUC LWT clutch/flywheel, UUC catback, ///Avin Avant2.
'02 330XI daily
SOLD'95 S50 TI, bad weather beater, tow rig
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