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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 05-06-2013, 10:37 PM   #1
White_Knuckles
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XI Facts, Fiction and what-nots

I purchased my XI six years ago. However, it took another couple years reading to identify differences between these and non-XI's. Especially for new XI owners landing here, an overview of what's - what, may be useful?

Chime in with comments, corrections and additions. Try to keep the points general to what is different and not items based from your personal modifications.
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1) CV boots. The boots can tear or clamps may loosen causing loss of lube leading to CV failure. The boots should be inspected every oil change.

2) Lowering. They can be lowered and many claim success. The amount to drop and methods vary. XI specific aftermarket kits are offered. This is subjective, but some report axle/CV or boot wear issues after lowering. The drive angle goes from a downward tilt to aiming horizontal or upward. Some suggest changing this drive angle was never factory engineered and may create premature failure.

3) CAB. The front control arms and bushings including other front end components are different from rear-wheel drive cars. The XI CAB's are not as prone to wear as quickly as our non-XI friends. The aftermarket offers stiffer flavors with XI part numbers.

4) Exhaust. You have a butterfly valve in one of the muffler tips. Remove and plug the vacuum line at the muffler vac. actuator to open up the flapper and enjoy a throatier exhaust tone. There are very few cat-back systems to be found due to XI specific tail-pipe routing but you can swap the muffler. Most non-M, E46 aftermarket mufflers should work.

5) Steptronic. The XI auto-trans is made by GM. The proper fluid specification is critical. Reverse failure often posted is not common to these. BMW used two transmission suppliers (ZF) being more common to rear wheel drive cars.

6) Subframe. Reported XI percentage of failure (tearing metal per BMW recall) is low. I spoke with BMWNA who indicated 2001 and later XI's really do not experiance this issue.

7) Oil. These have larger capacity oil pans 7.5 - 8 quarts.

8) Wheels and Tires. Non-XI sizing will work for ranging in on your rim and tire choice. The fender gap is the only difference, sizes and offset are the same. Four wheel drive may have some considerations. Some do not recommend wider wheels on the rear than front. This "staggered" setup where sizing exceeds the recommended circumference may introduce stress under turning where drive components may be affected. Something also occurring with tire shops: if you have worn tires and damage one, they have to replace all four tires. Installing one new tire with the remaining three being worn may damage drive components or make ABS unsafe from the slight diameter difference.

9) XI floor mats and carpet fitment is different. The factory carpet mat on the drivers side rides up on the trans tunnel. OEM rubber mats for XI's will lay down in the footwell not riding up, leaving an exposed carpet retainer hole.

10) Springs and suspension. The XI requires specific parts where it is recommended to research all part numbers before ordering. Coil-over systems are also XI part specific.

11) Strut tower reinforcement rings are factory installed on the XI. These plates are located under the strut hat tower and are identified on the towers by two black rivets holding the plates secure below. Note: these also are installed with the rough-road package option.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:00 PM   #2
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7.
Are you sure? I thought the oil pan was only different for certain years of the XI
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:17 AM   #3
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Very nice F.Y.I. !!
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Koffinb View Post
7.
Are you sure? I thought the oil pan was only different for certain years of the XI
Changes from the standard drive version are:
A specially designed body pan with a widened transmission tunnel and modifications on
the driver's side to accept the transfer case.
Modified oil pan and engine mounts to provide access for the front axles.
A completely new front engine carrier.
Re-reinforcements for the front strut bearings.
A compact new transfer case (NV 124).
New transmission cross-member.
Bosch DSC III 5.7

PDF below with more
Attached Files
File Type: pdf E46xi.pdf (195.2 KB, 342 views)

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Old 05-07-2013, 06:00 PM   #5
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But think about it..just because there is a different oil pan doesnt mean the engine holds more oil/ The oil pan is just where the oil sits when the engine is not running.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:54 AM   #6
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As a new XI owner, I thank you!
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Koffinb View Post
But think about it..just because there is a different oil pan doesnt mean the engine holds more oil/ The oil pan is just where the oil sits when the engine is not running.
In my owners manual it say it holds 8. When I do an oil change, it is not full until I put 8 quarts in.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:24 PM   #8
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In my owners manual it say it holds 8. When I do an oil change, it is not full until I put 8 quarts in.
Mine holds 7ish. The newer models have smaller oil pans or so it seems.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:17 PM   #9
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I bought 8 qts for an oil change on my 2003 325xi and 7 filled it. Build date of 10/2002 if that matters.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:31 AM   #10
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XI Facts, Fiction and what-nots

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Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post

11) Strut tower reinforcement rings are factory installed on the XI.
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What does this mean? I'm curious


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Old 05-10-2013, 06:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post

3) CAB. The front control arms and bushings including other front end components are different from rear-wheel drive cars. The XI CAB's are not as prone to wear as quickly as our non-XI friends. The aftermarket offers stiffer flavors with XI part numbers.
I swear somewhere I read that the FCABS on XIs are the same as E36 RWDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koffinb View Post
But think about it..just because there is a different oil pan doesnt mean the engine holds more oil/ The oil pan is just where the oil sits when the engine is not running.
It does hold more oil. I've topped mine off with 8 quarts before. The oil pan on XIs is totally different the front axels run through it.

[QUOTE=TR4G-;15412385]What does this mean? I'm curious

These-> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&g...51%3B798%3B450

Stut tower mushrooming is common on E46s/E36s
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Shes not your average grocery getter. This 2.5L of fury doesnt mess around.

E21<E30>E36>E46>E90>F30

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5TFUUU, If one more person tells me to sell my car and buy an ///M Im going to light their family on fire and make them watch.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:18 AM   #12
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My strut towers do not have reinforcing rings.


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Old 05-10-2013, 01:11 PM   #13
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Ah gotcha. Mine have those. Noticed for the first time the other day. Does anyone ever install extra reinforcement places over those?


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Old 05-10-2013, 09:56 PM   #14
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Hmmm, about those strut rings.

Recently, Kubica pointed out the XI came with them from the factory. The discussion was, if you lower your car with stiff struts or coil-overs, the additional force may mushroom the strut towers. I pointed out the aftermarket has reinforcement rings to prevent this. Others replied they already have the rings or they thought there was extra sheetmetal added for this.

So, let's find out what the deal is. I looked at my car and agree, I can't see additional support rings. The metal looks pretty beefy but have no clue what the I's may have. Mine is an '03.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White_Knuckles View Post
Hmmm, about those strut rings.

So, let's find out what the deal is. I looked at my car and agree, I can't see additional support rings. The metal looks pretty beefy but have no clue what the I's may have. Mine is an '03.
Mine is an 04 (03/04 build date) and doesn't have the rings.


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Old 05-11-2013, 12:17 AM   #16
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I have an 01 (prod 11/2000) I also have my car lowered on KW V1s.

Are there extra reinforcement plate I can add in addition to the xi stock ones?


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Old 05-11-2013, 12:30 PM   #17
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^^ I'm going to post another thread to get this question resolved. I've seen the rings offered by Turner and ECS and of course strut tie- bars binding the towers together which have mounting rings that would beef them up. Those products indicate they fit all E46 cars.

I've also seen pics where the affect of mushrooming has the strut bolts pointing in different angled directions. One thread discussed how to hammer the metal back down in order to fit the ring over the bolts. Yikes!
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:59 PM   #18
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XI Facts, Fiction and what-nots

I have a good one - while they carry a different P/N, 330xi and 330i cats/headers are dimensionally identical. Set with O2's is from an xi, the other is from a 330i.

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Old 05-13-2013, 09:13 PM   #19
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^^ That is a good one. I'll collect some more and add them.

Our exhaust systems still look alien too me. Germans, geez, why didn't they simply make a header? 2 Cats on an in-line 6? Really? What are they doin' over there?
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:57 AM   #20
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What are they doin' over there?
Schnapps

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