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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 07-13-2013, 06:19 PM   #1
vman88888
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Brookfield, CT
Posts: 111
My Ride: 2001 330Ci 5MT
very annoying belt squeal/squeak

when i start up my 01 330xi on a cold start it doesn't usually immediately start to squeak right then, but after about 1-3 mins of driving i get an awful sounding squeal form the belt that can be heard in china.

i have tried belt dressing spray with no success i am hoping that someone out there has manage to resolve an issue such as this because im seriously getting really annoyed with it

i have done a little research and have found that it might be the idler pulley or belt tensioner(also the belt is relatively new but the squeaking didnt start immediately after it was put on so i sorta ruled that out) also the belt seems quite snug but not too tight so i think its all good there correct me if im wrong

i did replace the alternator with a 120amp that i have noticed has slightly larger pulley than the original 90amp but i just dont want to jump to conclusions and start buying a bunch of stuff i might not need

plz help!
thanks in advance
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:42 AM   #2
Big Rick
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Location: On the Rappahannock River
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I would replace the idler pulleys. They can squeal upon startup and then quiet down over time. They are going bad and you don't want them to fail 100% when you are on the road! I would replace the belts too since you have sprayed them down with belt dressing. This is an easy job!
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:06 PM   #3
vman88888
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how many idler pulleys are there? and is it an easy diy job or hard? also the belt tensioner is that a hard job as well?
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:06 PM   #4
Big Rick
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There are 3 total... Two tensioners (one for the main belt and one for the AC) and one idler. It is an easy DIY and there are several posted here and on Google.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:53 PM   #5
e46alfonso
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: ct
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My Ride: 330xi, focus st
15-20 min if you know what you're doing.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:09 PM   #6
vandentr
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dorr, MI
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My Ride: 2004 325xi Auto
Chirping?

FYI, my 325xi would start "chirping" after it got warm and it wound up being the tensioner bearing (NOT the pully) for the power steering/alternator/waterpump belt loop. The spring-loaded pivot bearing had basically dried up and began complaining at annoying levels when idling.

For reference, it was this tensioner:
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:25 PM   #7
2002topasblueM3
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I had an 01 330i and had a similar issue. Except mine was the fan belt pulley and the actual bolt was bent so the pulley started to wobble, and that's what was making the noise. As long as you hear the noise you have time to fix it.... It's when the noise stops you gotta start worrying cuz then your engine overheats lol at least that's what almost happened to me. I was about 2 seconds from warping my head gasket, thank god I shut the car off before that happened
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #8
vman88888
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Location: Brookfield, CT
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My Ride: 2001 330Ci 5MT
i just asked my uncle who has a 2002 330ci about it and he said he had the same thing with his car and at a certain angle you can spray wd40 behind the tensioner pulley and it went away he said he did that maybe 3-4 times then it never came back

(im assuming the pivot bearing had dried just as vandentr said and the wd40 is starting to bring it back to life)

so unless this comes back, the problem seems to be solved thankfully

Last edited by vman88888; 07-15-2013 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:15 PM   #9
vandentr
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My Ride: 2004 325xi Auto
very annoying belt squeal/squeak

For the record, I tried that with a variety of lubricating sprays and nothing worked.

After a while my patience ultimately ran out and it just wasn't worth messing with anymore...


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