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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 05-04-2013, 12:17 PM   #1
ironhorsenl
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: NH
Posts: 8
My Ride: 2003 325xi
My lowered XI

I've seen all the debates on lowering an xi or not. Well screw what people say. I did it. My 2003 325xi is on vmaxx coilovers that are maxed out. The car drives fine. A little axle vibration, but you'll get used to it. Hey the worst thing that could happen is you replace an axle. No big deal. The average person with any mechanical ability can do this in the driveway. I'm posting this for all of you who are interested in lowering your xi but haven't found anyone on here who had actually done it. Well here you go, here's some pics. Il be more then happy to answer any questions about what I've done. Anyone else with lowered xi's post some pics, I'd love to see them
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:33 PM   #2
shadow 2
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
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Too low for my taste but your car.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:05 PM   #3
White_Knuckles
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington (the state)
Posts: 1,455
My Ride: 2003 325xi
Many who have done this have to roll their fender lips to prevent rubs at your height. Common problems occur because they didn't understand the fact that changing the suspension to stiffer components affects factory strut/shock mounting points. This often results in mushroomed strut towers and/or torn rear shock mount metal. There are aftermarket strut rings and rear shock plates to prevent this but most consider themselves smarter than factory engineers and ignore the properties of physics. That would be, increasing the striking forces wheels conduct when hitting bumps after adding stiff components, the energy will be transferred to the mounts.

For an extra bonus, camber is not properly adjustable without aftermarket camber plates as dropping below the engineered range. The car will eat the outer tire edges and not be in alignment.

Summary: Factory engineers are morons and most forum members are bold liars who make up scary stories to trick you. So, the non-informed seeing this post should follow this clever advise to "screw what people say" and have at it to prove all are clearly wrong. Remember, all future problems are "no big deal" once you get used to the "little vibration".

Really??
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:16 PM   #4
bmwporschefan
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Location: Tampa, FL
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My Ride: 2001 330xi
Just because the factory engineers did something, doesn't mean it's the only way to do it. Everything is a compromise. Not saying this guy will or will not have problems with his set up. It's his car and we learn by experience. This board is full of people with who just repeat what they read and have no real world experience. If his setup ends up not being what he wanted, he can go back. Not the end of the world here.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:29 PM   #5
Big Rick
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Maryland - Land of Taxes!
Posts: 1,410
My Ride: 325Xi
When I get new springs and shocks I plan on getting the Eibach and Koni deal.... Lowering it about an inch... That would be it for me. This one is too low in my opinion... But that is just me... YMMV
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
Pierce1
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: LaConner WA.
Posts: 283
My Ride: 03 330xi
My lowered XI

I lowered mine a few weeks ago with Koni yellows and H&R sports. I love it. It only lowered about an inch to RWD ride height which is exactly what I wanted.


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Old 05-04-2013, 04:41 PM   #7
White_Knuckles
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Well that's a valid point bmwporschefan, I failed to acknowledge that lowering can be done successively when all things are considered. My response was targeted to owners seeing a quick and dirty drop job and running with it. If they could see past the boot/axle debate for once and consider other needed reinforcement components, they might budget for doing it right and not having issues down the road.

I do not agree that going back is an easy option after metal damage has occurred. Go over to the General Forum and run search strings on "mushroomed towers" and "torn rear shock mounts". The preventative fixes are cheap and often overlooked. It's unfortunate the XI forum banters over the boot/axle thing and skips this subject. I have seen the results of mount damage from "real world" owners too many times after going with stiff coil overs. Just sayin', I would be paying attention to this. Turner Motorsports and ECS did.

Edit: The "conventional" lowering with large diameter springs and slightly stiffer shocks doesn't seem to have the damaging stress affect coil-overs do. The energy is distributed over a larger footprint (spring mounts) where coil-overs concentrate forces directly to the mount points. BMW issued a recall for rear shock mounts tearing away with the factory setup. Consider amplifying this force to what has been identified as a weak point.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:18 PM   #8
e46alfonso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironhorsenl View Post
The car drives fine. A little axle vibration, but you'll get used to it.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:14 PM   #9
bmwporschefan
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My Ride: 2001 330xi
Understand completely and wasn't thinking of the metal damage, more the axles and whatever. Just to add, when I installed my eibach pro springs and bilstein sports I did add some reinforcement plates that were about 1/4" thick for the rear shock mounts, I think I got them from ECS or might have been Turner. I did not however get anything for the struts and will look more into that to see if I need them.
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:19 PM   #10
bmwporschefan
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Damn, just noticed the front reinforcement plates on turner are only $20. Now I wish I saw those earlier, I would have added them for piece of mind. I guess it wouldn't be too hard to add them now.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:12 PM   #11
ironhorsenl
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: NH
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My Ride: 2003 325xi
My lowered XI

Not quite the responses I was expecting, but all good points here. Lowering anything for that matter poses pros and cons. My intent for posting this was to show you can in fact lower an xi and be able to drive it daily. I was told it couldn't be done, and I wanted to challenge that. It's sort of an experiment I guess. I actually didn't have to roll my fenders. I messed around with wheel offset and tire sizes until I got a combo that didn't rub. My alignment is in spec with camber plates in the front. I was unaware of these reinforcement issues. I do have a strut brace. I'm going to look into further reinforcement after reading your replies.


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Old 05-04-2013, 11:31 PM   #12
xi_chee
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looks good! the front could be a tad bit lower....but still looks good! =D
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:39 PM   #13
DavidDee
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Saratoga Springs New York
Posts: 329
My Ride: 2004 325xi
Loving the ride height! Keep us updated on the wear of the axle boots and other suspension related components. Can you describe the ride quality any better? Also where did you buy the coilovers from? I can't seem to find a site selling them. I'm planning on getting FK's for my car in a week or two.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:51 PM   #14
Kubica
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston
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My Ride: 2003 325xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwporschefan View Post
Damn, just noticed the front reinforcement plates on turner are only $20. Now I wish I saw those earlier, I would have added them for piece of mind. I guess it wouldn't be too hard to add them now.
Um...xi's come with them from the factory. They get stuck to the sheet metal.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:53 PM   #15
Kubica
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
Many who have done this have to roll their fender lips to prevent rubs at your height. Common problems occur because they didn't understand the fact that changing the suspension to stiffer components affects factory strut/shock mounting points. This often results in mushroomed strut towers and/or torn rear shock mount metal. There are aftermarket strut rings and rear shock plates to prevent this but most consider themselves smarter than factory engineers and ignore the properties of physics. That would be, increasing the striking forces wheels conduct when hitting bumps after adding stiff components, the energy will be transferred to the mounts.

For an extra bonus, camber is not properly adjustable without aftermarket camber plates as dropping below the engineered range. The car will eat the outer tire edges and not be in alignment.

Summary: Factory engineers are morons and most forum members are bold liars who make up scary stories to trick you. So, the non-informed seeing this post should follow this clever advise to "screw what people say" and have at it to prove all are clearly wrong. Remember, all future problems are "no big deal" once you get used to the "little vibration".

Really??
You mean inner edge of the tire. A drop increases negative camber.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:20 PM   #16
bmwporschefan
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My Ride: 2001 330xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Um...xi's come with them from the factory. They get stuck to the sheet metal.
Haha, I didn't even notice them there. Well then, I will just carry on.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:25 PM   #17
mq124
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: West Chester, PA
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My Ride: slow and sorta low
i am at the lowest setting on kw v1s on my xi. I have no axle vibration. If you have axle vibration it is because your axles are bad, and dont even consider aftermarket. I blew out a set of aftermarket axles in 2 weeks...
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:11 PM   #18
CK325
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
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My Ride: 323Ci, 325xi
looking good. personally I didn't want to lower my xi just to avoid any additional issues. however, after driving it for a while and taking it down some New Hope roads, I've decided to go about an inch lower or so with the typical xi-springs-struts combo.
Ride height looks good, but I'd maybe add some spacers in the front and a bit more camber. to avoid possible rubbing, but a small spacer would make it look perfect, I'd say.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:28 AM   #19
Tweeks802
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Vermont
Posts: 100
My Ride: 2004 325xi
My lowered XI

Anyone want to sell their rear Xi springs?


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Old 05-06-2013, 12:14 PM   #20
Tele
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Location: Norway
Posts: 233
My Ride: E46 330XIT MTech II
Mine with KW 1's on.
Also with:
TMS adjustable rear camber arms.
M3 rear lower trailing arm ball joint.
TMS rear trailing arm bushing limiter kit.
H&R adjustable rear sway bar.
TMS Rear adjustable length sway bar end links.
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