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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 12-21-2012, 02:34 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 31
My Ride: 2002 325xi 5spd
Front driver side noise -- axle?

Hi all,

My forum searches suggest my issue has to do with front axle, but I want to be sure I'm not missing something obvious. Any help/ideas much appreciated.

My '02 325xi 130,000 (got it CPO'd in '05 at 47,000) has a clicking/rubbing noise that comes from the driver side wheel well area. I started hearing it when I would hit a dip/bump, and when going downhill (steepish), and when going 28-32 mph even if flat or uphill. So loading on front seems to make it worse generally. Happens regardless of whether I have foot on the gas or whether I have clutch in. Car must be moving (no noise when idling). Doesn't matter where steering wheel is, still can hear it. It is a bit louder on colder mornings. Does not go away when car is warmed up. More recently it has been getting worse at low speeds. As I roll up to a stop sign I can hear it; sounds like it is following rotation of the wheels (in terms of the frequency) at very slow speeds. At higher speeds it a vrrrrr/clicking/rubbing sound. It is NOT tire noise.

Sound like an axle in need of replacement? Since I bought the car I have replaced CV boots on 3-4 occassions but never an axle. About a year ago driver side CV boot split and grease came out, but I quickly replace it (within 100 miles or so).

Any other ideas?

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