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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 11-04-2012, 01:25 AM   #1
CrazyHarry
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How to test you AWD system?

So I own a 04 325xi and winter is coming. I'm having doubts that the awd is working correctly. How do I test it?

I also own a 90 325iX. I am used to performing a jack test. Is this possible on a E46.

Also Which is best in snow conditions. Having the DSC on? or off?
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:06 AM   #2
Arnezie
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Dsc on and why do you have doubts?

Last edited by Arnezie; 11-04-2012 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:04 AM   #3
peytonracer4
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Yeah just put it on jack stands. Or wait till it snows and see how it handles. You should easily be able to tell if its awd by going to a parking lot and messing around.
Dsc on for sure!! Unless you get stuck and need to get out. Then turn it off.
Dsc is a pretty good traction control. It will use each brake individually to keep you on the correct path
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:01 AM   #4
CrazyHarry
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I have doubts because I just did a transmission fluid change, and while the car was up in the air (it was on a shop lift) we put it in to drive and only the rear wheels moved.

I lived in Tahoe for many years where it can really snow. I was always told that in conditions where there was 4"+ on the ground to turn DSC off, so as to make the car 4x4.

My E30 325iX does not have a traction control system, and performs very well in the snow. So that is why I'm questioning the DSC on my E46
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyHarry View Post
I have doubts because I just did a transmission fluid change, and while the car was up in the air (it was on a shop lift) we put it in to drive and only the rear wheels moved.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:42 PM   #6
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transfer case sent all power to rear wheels. ("weak" part of our awd system, since you can't lock it and force power to all 4 wheels)
while on the lift, pull the parking brake gently and the fronts should start spinning...
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Old 11-04-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
latitude39
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transfer case sent all power to rear wheels. ...
while on the lift, pull the parking brake gently and the fronts should start spinning...
I concur with theviking.

DSC makes a big difference in my car on snow-pack. When it's on (dash light not illuminated) the ride is stable. But when off the car doesn't handle so well. It's very noticeable, at least with my all-season tires. DSC impresses me as a good system. Doughnuts in the snow-covered parking lot is impossible with DSC. Just click it off when you want to play.

Testing with the wheels hanging in space seems to work without ill effect on the E46 but on the E60 (2004+ 5-series) "xi" models the front axles make an alarming thumping sound, with a corresponding alarming physical sensation, when the front wheels turn. I think this is the inboard CV joints flexing beyond normal range and being forced to turn while in that contorted angle. I don't think it's a good thing to do on E60 vehicles. CV half-shaft re-builders warn against spinning free-hanging wheels with CV joints. Our E46 systems seem to be forgiving.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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you dont need to test it. if ANY of the axles is disconnected, your car will be undrivable.
its not like the E90's where there is a clutch in the middle so it still drives with the front disconnected. your old E46 AWD system has a diff in the middle so if any of the axles is disconnected, it will not move.
as for DSC, it actually corrects understeering and oversteering by applying brakes individually so I would leave it on.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:32 PM   #9
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^ This. The system is entirely geared with no belts/clutches/whatever in between (other than your trans clutch if you have one that is). If your AWD isn't working, you'll know it in the rather concerning sound of gears grinding and metal chunks breaking off. Should be pretty obvious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyHarry View Post
I lived in Tahoe for many years where it can really snow. I was always told that in conditions where there was 4"+ on the ground to turn DSC off, so as to make the car 4x4.
DSC only goes off when you either want to play or have a metric sh!t ton of snow to go through. 4" is nothing and the car should handle that with ease. Once you get up to 10"+ is when you turn the DSC off and floor it. Funny thing is that if you truly get stuck, try to get out with the DSC on at least a couple times. It helps to spin the wheels that need to spin.

Last edited by SamDoe1; 11-05-2012 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:52 PM   #10
CrazyHarry
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Thank you all, tested the system using theviking method. Working out great thank you everyone!
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:31 AM   #11
Sammy325xi
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Always had the same question I always leave the dsc on but I recently took my car to balance and my tires are no good so I will get new tires this season and see how it drives can't wait for it to snow
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:29 AM   #12
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:12 AM   #13
s1am
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Glad to hear the xi is working. I own several E30 iXs and a pair of E46xi wagons. The E46 DSC is good at keeping you going where you want and the car will make good traction up to a point. Definitely do not expect it to be the traction monster that your E30iX is though. We have a really steep driveway and routinely get 12" plus snow storms. The only time I have ever gotten stuck in the iX was when there was so much snow that the car got belly hung. I can start at the bottom of my steep driveway covered in a foot of snow with the iX and just claw my way up every time. The xi on the other hand sometimes requires several runs on the driveway (even with DSC off). Don't get me wrong, the E46 is a real nice car and the awd system is much more refined than that of the E30. It will do a lot of work for you that the E30 will not. Obviously, I like it or I wouldn't own two. Just set your raw traction expectations differently.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:49 AM   #14
jasonbimmer
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the reason why I say keep your DSC on is because it utilizes brakes to shift power front to back and side to side. without it, you just sending the power to the wheel that has the lease amount of grip. thats why you get stuck without DSC on.
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