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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 02-20-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
Cloudbase
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Holy Pain in the A$$ - Replacing XI Transfer Case Bushing (Homemade Tool Content)

Hey everyone. I got back into an E46 XI wagon last summer and it has become out road trip machine / gear hauler. 2003 (10/02 build) XI, Cold Wx Package, GM Auto (first auto BMW ever ), presently 95,000 miles. We've taken 3 road trips to very remote areas and suffered 2 catastrophic breakdowns.

I love the car.



At 90K miles I completely overhauled the entire cooling system, belts, tensioners, spark plugs, oil change, diff's & transfer case oil, brake fluid, Dice Simplicity, for a road trip over New Years. Coming home the fuel pump failed at the top of Trout Creek Pass in Southern Colorado. Coasted 9 miles back into town and got a $$$$$$$ 130 mile tow home.

At the end of January we rallied to UT for a snowboarding trip. On the way home, in one of the most remote parts of Utah between Price and Green River the pax side motor mount failed. It put the fan into the radiator (that I had literally just preventatively replaced). I was passing a truck at redline and heard an ominous sound, but didn't know what happened till the low coolant light came on about 10 miles later. I was able to limp it in to a gas station in Green River (coasting the last mile because the temp started climbing).





I JB welded the radiator enough to get it the remaining 250 miles home.



The motor mounts weren't too hard to replace once I dropped the front subframe. New and old pax side motor mount.



I figured I better do the tranny mounts too while I was in there. Here is where the real drama began. The XI has a single giant pressed-in bushing in the transfer case similar to a subframe bushing. The automatic gearbox drain pan gives about 2" of space on the front side of the mount. The exhaust gives about the same on the back. My exhaust studs are corrosion welded together at the down pipe and front of the exhaust. There wass not way for me to break it, even with copious amounts of heat. Cutting and replacing the studs with bolts without pulling headers in my garage was not an option. I was left with having to somehow pushing the bushing out in the confines of the space between the exhaust and the gearbox.

XI Transfer Case Bushing (instead of traditional tranny mounts).





Heat wasn't an option because once the bushing started burning it would burn into the transfer case and bottom of the car. Banging on it with an 8' bar didn't even phase it. I could drop the transfer case, but then I'd have to disconnect the drive shaft, which would mean dropping the exhaust. A special tool was the only option. BMW makes a special tool that is also used on the X5, but it's $500 and a week's shipping. I had to make my own.

Here's what I started with.



Here was the finished product (many many hours later). The principle is the same as the homemade subframe bushing tools out there.



Tool in action.





It took about 3 hours to get the tool assembled above the tight confines of the exhaust and push the bushing out. It got it about 3/4s of the way before I ran out of space, but I was able to pry it out the rest of the way with a 3/8" ratchet handle.

New and old bushings.



Now I had to get the new bushing in. Soapy water and forcing it in with hands and pri bars didn't phase it. A new tool would have to be made. I borrowed a piece from my homemade subframe bushing tool and JB welded (I need a welder so bad) a back plate that would press against the irregular surface of the transfer case so I could press the bushing in perpendicular and not at an angle. Here's the tool in action.







The bushing went in a lot quicker than the old one came out. Finally done after investing 2 days of my life. I cannot wait to get a 4 post lift and a welder.



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Old 02-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #2
SamDoe1
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So when I can we all borrow your tool?

Also, pics of the M Coupe.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
jeepo23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post


So when I can we all borrow your tool?

Also, pics of the M Coupe.
I call dibs on the tool as I already msged him

But sweet work on that, I plan on doing mine in a couple of months.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:40 PM   #4
Cloudbase
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Jeepo23, got your PM, but figured I'd respond here to minimize the repetition.

Unfortunately, the threads on my tool got a little damaged on the extraction and I don't have time to make another one. Plus I drilled my center hole slightly crooked, which made it suck in lining it up. I'm still trying to solve the creaking up front and I have an M Roadster track car that needs lots of attention before the season begins.

Here's what you need to make one:

3/8" All thread. I used a 2' length with quite a bit left over.
Grade 8 3/8" washers. Lots of them.
Grade 8 washer's of varying diameters. I found a 2.5" one that worked perfect. A cast iron pipe end will work too if you drill a hole in it. You can use a larger cast iron pipe end to push the new bushing in.
Steel plates.
5/16 drill, use WD-40 to lube it when you drill the metal.
3/8" tap.

I couldn't drop my exhaust, but I would recommend it if possible. The time you'll save is worth the expenditure. I disconnected mine from the car at the rear hangers and lowered it (supporting it with a jack). Once you drop the carrier, measure your holes with a sharpie and it should work. The pics should help too. I didn't have the room to cut out the old bushing and was nervous I would nick the hole it goes into in the transfer case.

M Coupe Pics...







W/ KW V3's compared to stock ride in Sig



With it's convertible twin

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Old 02-22-2013, 10:11 AM   #5
SamDoe1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudbase View Post
M Coupe Pics...


Any reason why you track the roadster and not the other way around?
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
Cloudbase
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I track them both, but the M Roady is much more dedicated. The Coupe is a much better platform and the S54 sings on the on track, but it is #498 out of 690 S54 M Coupes and would be hard to replace if I shunted it. I was looking at E30 and E36 track cars, but came across a local S52 M roadster that was already built. I DD an E30, so the suspension commonality between all 3 cars and parts interchangeability made it a no-brainer. Also, I actually prefer the S52 on the track even though it doesn't have the S54's top end. The S52 throttle cable vs S54 throttle by wire makes a huge difference in shifting for me. Both cars are nearly even (within 3 seconds) at my home track. I'm thinking with a M50 manifold and more aero on the Roady it will be faster.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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i did mine today, came out pretty quick with a sawzall and a hammer :-D
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbull 325is View Post
i did mine today, came out pretty quick with a sawzall and a hammer :-D
How did you get the new one in?

What sort of symptoms where you seeing and what was the improvement now with this bushing?
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:58 AM   #9
hatetolovee46
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Bump for anyone that has done this and has tips i will be tackling it here when bushing comes in(2 day shipped it)

To answer jeepo's 3 year old question of symptoms:

Bought a 325xi for cheap, test drove it without any clunks, check all bushing in rear prepurchase had all been replaced(diff subframe, control and trailing arms all done).
Day after purchase notice a dull thud on non optimal shifts. Recheck everything figuring it was guibo or trans mounts(had checked engine mounts pre purchase too)
Guibo had been replaced and great shape, was this bushing. And the metal bracket that goes from tran to exhaust(?!?) is sheared. If any1 can find that bracket let me know i can weld it but prefer to replace. The thud was the tran

http://i.imgur.com/V5hbf4I.jpg

^ is the failed bushing.

Will be rechecking engine mounts as i presume they were carrying extra load for this duration, can tell the bushing is still somewhat weight bearing so hopefully is in time before any real damage.

Moral of this story is don't baby a car in a test drive

Car is safely on 4 jacks with solid clearance, will be making the tool in next day or so while i wait for bushing to come in.

I unlike this author will likely drop the exhaust despite the posts not having been done. I've drilled and bolted once before but swore i would not do it again(took 10 drill bits and alot of time/effort is prob one for the shop, might carefully drive it to local shop to do it but don't really want to move car. I may cut the posts drop the line and then reattach exhaust their with small c clips when done just to take down to local muffle shop and have them drill it.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1100456
^ is my thread for it if any1 wants to sub/comment if they've done this job
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Old 03-25-2016, 02:35 PM   #10
hatetolovee46
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To follow up: this job sucked

I got the old bushing out in 1-2hrs(1hr prep for jacking lights tools ect)

I used a hacksaw i assembled in the bushing to cut through the metal band around circumference of bushing.
Then used proper size flat heads to start caving it in on itself. After about 90 mins i just took an air chissel as it was bent in enough where i could w.o damaging the housing but was not neccisary flat heads and hammer would have done it.

Once it got out i got complacent. I said oh well that should be the hard part, sand it and lube it enough and new one should pop right in! Pretty bad presumption. The dish soap i used to lubricate dried out rapidly and bushing was already half way in at this point. The puller tool i assembled did not fit the metal band of bushing right so i stopped using it as it would have likely pushing the rubber to break point.
I used 3 c-clamps space out around it on metal band and slowly pushed it in. It refused to nudge 1mm from the finish line(think metal lip in bushing the cclamps pushed from bent in a bit is why)

Im now stuck with the new bushing in 1mm short of where its supposed to be, causing the xfer case brace screw holes to not fit without distorting bushing(i can distort bushing 1mm and get them in but im not going to as leaving the bushing under strain permanently is not a good idea)

I now have the choice of drill pressing my xfer case brace screw holes 1mm to thr side or removing it making a proper puller and doing it all over again. I think im going to drill press xfer case brace i am fully confident the bushing is structurelly sound and not going anywhere, and if not under strain will do its job, i could just strain it and get bolts in but dont like that idea. Probably will widen the screw holes on brace 1mm but damn this was a pain in the ass. Some things i went wrong on here are 1)sand the **** out of the housing, i did but wish i had done a lot more. Use a rubber safe lubricant that doesnt quickly dry up. A puller tool can be made as in this thread but you cannot cut corners with it, it must fit the circumference of bushing sobit pushes on metal band and not rubber.

Dropping exhasut and letting it hang from headers wa require to remove bolt at least for me. I also removed the manual transmission hanger to exhaust for more room. Dropping entire exhaust line is advised if the header flange is not corrosion welded posts, and may be advised even if it is(clamp them back on just to drive to shop for that job imo if you do that, drilling 4 holes in the header flange is a pain in the ass diy, shop can probably do it in 30 mins.

Edit: I do believe drilling xfer case brace would be viable the holes abutting chasis are already larger than bolts a bit. But due to my indifference at this point i just distortet bushing, which may lead to its premature failure, i do a full underbody inspection once or twice a year anyway so will just keep tabs on it and replace it the right way if it does. Here is pic new bushing in can tell its 1-1.5mm from where it should be.

http://imgur.com/mMOYYBX

Learn from my lessons here

Old failed bushing for comparison:
http://imgur.com/V5hbf4I

Last edited by hatetolovee46; 03-25-2016 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 05-15-2016, 03:17 PM   #11
koach
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pelican's instructions

I used Pelican's instructions/pics and while they were very helpful, I read them twice before attempting, but they were a bit misleading aided by some oversight on my part.

I replaced the transfer case bushing yesterday and what a huge pain in the arse! 3 hours is definitely doable if you have the right tools... but going by their checklist I did NOT complete in three hours. Here's a list of observations using their instructions:
- their pics and description are of a manual tranny. something I didn't notice until the project was well underway. my automatic severely hindered bushing removal access.
- 18mm socket and wrench mentioned in their tools needed section: 18mm box end worked fine. The socket on the other hand... 1/2" drive too long, 3/8" too short. had to remove tension from the under tranny jack and allow the tranny to almost hang freely (dangle) so that i could get a socket in there. my exhaust fasteners are way too corroded to attempt removal.
- prybar and hammer around the perimeter were NOT enough for my car (automatics don't allow such access). after revisiting their pics i realized why they had so much more room- manual trans without a pan blocking access.
- after nearly two hours of tapping and prying i ended up going to my dads and fabricating some 'press' tools using online pics of BMW tools as a template. took 2-3 minutes to remove the bushing using these tools. i can post pics if necessary. they're crude but effective!
- reviewing the process prior to attempting on various forums revealed that installation was supposedly much harder than removal so i used an air drill with sanding flapper wheel to clean the area thoroughly prior to attempting install.
- their instructions state to use a rubber safe lubricant but don't provide an example. after much research online i ended up using the same lube that i purchased at Lowe's and have used on rubber seals during plumbing installations (sinks/faucets). i had read elsewhere that the dish soap had dried to quickly.
- with the aid of homemade tooling the installation was just as easy as the 2nd attempt at removal.

Reassembly was pretty much straightforward and without issue.

NOTE- due to spacial constraints I went ahead and flushed/filled the transfer case twice before reinstalling the mounting bracket. This made the filler hole much more accessible.

Hope this helps and feel free to PM me for additional tips/tricks/pics.

Keith
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:21 AM   #12
squidzilla
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I am thinking about putting this off until I do my tranny swap. Hopefully this will be 100 times easier while the new transfer case and tranny are off the car.
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Last edited by squidzilla; 05-25-2016 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:07 PM   #13
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Posting this in one or two of the more popular threads since I just did my bushing last night. I've had some NIGHTMARE jobs, and thankfully this one was relatively simple. Auto Tranny, so I had less access than the lucky manual people. Replaced with a Mahle bushing, $34 shipped from FCPEuro and on my doorstep a day after I ordered.

Highlights that may help out:

Preparation/Initial Setup
-Rear of the car on ramps, passenger front on a jack stand nice and high under the front subframe out of my way.
-Piece of wood between the subframe cross brace and front of the tranny to support when loosening the xfer case mount. Do this instead of a jack under the tranny pan, it gives you more space
-loosen rubber mount bolt/nut first, leaving bolt in but no remove the nut. then loosen the 4 bolts securing the metal tranny tunnel mount, making sure your wood is still in place as you loosen the bolts
-remove the bolt & pull out the metal mount. set aside, wash it if you have more time than I did.
***The exhaust does not need to be loosened to remove the bolt. twist the bushing to angle the bolt, and push it thru with a screwdriver or something if necessary****


Bushing Removal
OK, some people suffer. This was very easy for me
-from the fwd side using a long flathead and hammer, wedge/pry the screwdriver in between the diff & bushing to bend the bushing inward at 3:00 and 9:00. This gives you a good sturdy spot to then put your screwdriver/metal rod without slipping as you knock the bushing out.
-Using this method, removal took me about 5 minutes. If I had this plan of attack initially, it probably would have taken 2
-use some sandpaper/degreaser to clean out the case opening. I used simple green to remove the old grease in the area, then some 120grit to scuff up the opening and remove any nicks from my screwdriver

Bushing install tooling
OK, here's where most people experience the 'pain'. I wasted some time here trying to avoid running to the store.
***SPEND THE $4 ON SOME 3/8"ALLTHREAD(about 8" I think), NUTS, AND WASHERS. I HAVE TONS OF OTHER TOOLS, NO OTHER SETUP WORKED AND I HAD TO RUN OUT AND GRAB SOME ALLTHREAD****
-A long bolt will not work, you'll have to cut it out once installed. C clamps don't have access. Pushing with all your might using your foot and holding onto the rear tranny supports will not work, just hurt your hands. Pry bars will not work. Allthread WILL work with very, very little effort.
-you will also need some sort of plate for the fwd side to pull against, and something on the backside to keep even pressure on the bushing. I used a sleeve from a bushing removal/installation tool. the pipe cap would work, but I'd recommend a piece of PVC or something that slides tightly into the ID of the aft side of the bushing like my sleeve, that way it pushes on the internal metal sleeve of the bushing and not just on the rubber.

Bushing Installation:
-you've got your allthread, fwd block, rear sleeve/cap/something, and some nuts and bolts. Mock it all up and ready to tighten, which may take a couple trials to get the assy into the small space.
-when it's all mocked up loose, coat the bushing and case opening in dish soap for lube. More dish soap never hurt, go ahead and add a little more.
-Push the bushing in as far as you can by hand, tighten down your nuts by hand, then start cranking with your ratchet wrench until it's fully seated.
- remove all the tooling. it'll come out. you may need to flex the bushing to get it to clear the exhaust

Mount Install:
Where I've seen some reports of trouble is not being able to get the bolt in with the exhaust installed. it WILL go in, I did it. YOU DO NOT NEED TO REMOVE THE EXHAUST. My exhaust is now 1-piece thanks to rust, it was never an option to remove it
-install the metal tranny-mount over the rubber bushing, aligning the holes. don't put any of the 4 side bolts on at this time
-start trying to get the rear bolt thru, then realize the exhaust won't let it slide right in.
-using the metal mount, "twist" the inside part of the bushing so the rear hole is upward and away from the driveshaft. You'll then be able to slide the bolt in from the passenger-side of the exhaust, from above the exhaust. It may take a little finagling, but it WILL go in.
-re-bolt up the rest, using a jack to lift up the tranny if need be. Tighten everything up gootentight and you're good to go.

Done. You did it. Not so bad right? Go for a drive and see if that annoying vibration is gone, or if you've got more bushings to replace
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