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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 05-31-2012, 07:28 AM   #1
poopfacekillah
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: DC burbs
Posts: 56
My Ride: 11 X5 35D, 02 330XI
Not your average front end clunk/buckling noise

Ok, vehicle is an 02 330XI with ~128k on it.

When driving slowly (<30MPH), I can hear a clunking that sounds like it it is coming from front left side. It almost sounds like metal buckling similar to the dreaded sub-frame damage. It is not that as the XIs have the reinforced sub-frame.

I notice that it sometimes occurs when I let off on the accelerator as well as bumps in the road.

I have replaced: FCABs, control arms, inner ball joints, sway bar end links, CV axles, RTABs, rear shock mounts

Any ideas? I am thinking maybe motor mounts?
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:22 AM   #2
SamDoe1
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Minnesnowta
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My Ride: Clubs baby seals
Front upper strut mounts, front struts, sway bar bushings, wheel bearings.

Also, make sure the sway bar end link nuts are FULLY tightened on the ball joint. Even an eighth of a turn loose will cause noise.

To really diagnose, put the car in the air (safely), get under it (safely), and start shaking stuff. Should become obvious pretty quick what's bad.
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:06 AM   #3
poopfacekillah
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Location: DC burbs
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My Ride: 11 X5 35D, 02 330XI
Gotcha, thanks. I know it is not the sway bar end links. I really put some @ss on those nuts.

I tried making the suspension travel with the vehicle parked and was unable to recreate any odd noises.

Hopefully I can get her up on the rack this afternoon to check on the struts/mounts, bushings, and bearings. It is driving me bonkers.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:02 AM   #4
Kubica
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston
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My Ride: 2003 325xi
Check brake backing plate.
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Old 06-01-2012, 05:04 AM   #5
poopfacekillah
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Location: DC burbs
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My Ride: 11 X5 35D, 02 330XI
Thanks folks,
I believe that I determined the root cause of the strange sound. As it turns out, my suspension work was sound and not the culprit. It turned out to be the secondary air pump had broken all of the little plastic threaded feet and was moving around in my engine bay causing the noise. It just goes to show how anal I am with my vehicles...

Right now it is zip tied since I couldn't find my plastic epoxy last night.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:16 AM   #6
Busy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poopfacekillah View Post
Thanks folks,
I believe that I determined the root cause of the strange sound. As it turns out, my suspension work was sound and not the culprit. It turned out to be the secondary air pump had broken all of the little plastic threaded feet and was moving around in my engine bay causing the noise. It just goes to show how anal I am with my vehicles...

Right now it is zip tied since I couldn't find my plastic epoxy last night.
Glad you got that sorted!

When you said the noise was from the left side, did you mean left as it appears from in front of the car, or from the driver's seat? The pump is on the right side of the engine, so I just wanted to clarify.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:26 PM   #7
biglittledog
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My Ride: 2002 325xiT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poopfacekillah View Post
Thanks folks,
I believe that I determined the root cause of the strange sound. As it turns out, my suspension work was sound and not the culprit. It turned out to be the secondary air pump had broken all of the little plastic threaded feet and was moving around in my engine bay causing the noise. It just goes to show how anal I am with my vehicles...

Right now it is zip tied since I couldn't find my plastic epoxy last night.
Been there too. Those 3 stupid threaded feet with a rubber baby buggy bouncer in-between and after 2 break the thing kangaroo's around on every bump. Good job on the diagnosis!

PS- I got three aftermarket feet pretty cheaply and they worked fine. ECS has them for 4 bucks each:

http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-325...ons/ES2534428/

I tried epoxy first and the thing came loose in 2 days...
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Steve in the foothills of the Rockies
1991 325iC
2002 325xiT
1967 Jaguar 420G
2003 Moto Guzzi 1100
1989 Honda XR600r
1968 BSA Shooting Star

Last edited by biglittledog; 01-14-2014 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:41 AM   #8
longtallsally
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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My Ride: '02 325xi
Ooh!!!!!!!!!!!!! You may have found my new clunk!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, I'm going to be the idiot and ask what/where the secondary air pump is?

I have gone batchit crazy under the car trying to find this. I've checked:
strut bearings, control arm bushings (replaced), CVs (replaced), wheel bearings (one replaced), sway bar links at the control arms (tight), control arm ball joints (checked when the bushings were done), steering rack end links (tight). AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! Operation is perfect and do not feel anything in the chassis, steering, suspension action, etc.

Please point me in the right direction as it's driving my wife nuts.

Thanks!

EDIT: Just found a tech article on Pelican detailing it. I'm not sure this would be it, but might explain a cold running howl we get...

Last edited by longtallsally; 01-17-2014 at 10:45 AM. Reason: I'm lazy and didn't use google before posting
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