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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 07-18-2013, 09:23 PM   #1
xi-xi
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 31
My Ride: 2002 330xi
LCA Replacement...something wrong here

So I replaced the left front axle and both lower control arms recently on my XI. I reused the lower control arm bushings because they were perfect when I pulled them off. I put those bushings on the new control arms in the exact same clocking, exact same depth as before. But when I lowered the car off the jackstands the ride height is now 3 inches too high. Seriously, about 27.5 inches instead of the 24.44" spec. What did I do wrong? Does it need to settle...like for a month? Perhaps letting it sit for a couple of days on the jackstands with the front wheel hubs hanging and putting no weight on the bushings let them freeze in a too low position? I don't know.

Another thing I noticed: the front tires no longer look parallel--excessive tow out. I suppose this could be caused by the excessive ride height, but it has me worried. There's no point in trying to have an alignment done while it's riding 3 inches too high. I hate to take it apart again, but I will if I have to. Any suggestions?

Last edited by xi-xi; 07-18-2013 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:11 PM   #2
CK325
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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My Ride: 323Ci, 325xi
does the car go down under load?
toe out is almost definitely from the height. anything blocking it from going lower? did you forget something?
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:34 PM   #3
xi-xi
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Under load? Well, I haven't driven it yet. I can push/bounce it down a couple of inches, but not where it's supposed to be. Tomorrow I'm going to have to at least take it down the street for a hundred yards and see if lowers things. I don't really know what I could've forgotten. The only thing I can see I did was letting it sit with the hubs hanging, or maybe I didn't clock the bushings on the control arm correctly. I'm mystified. I know I didn't measure the distance from the end of the bushing as the Bentley manual says, but I had it the same as it was before. I'll post an update after I try moving it tomorrow.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:50 AM   #4
dgknight
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Bay Area, CA
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My Ride: 02 325xi 5sp 120k
So you let it down off the jack and have not moved it since?

It could just be riding high/toe out because the extended struts (from being jacked up) will lead to the outside of the tire hitting the ground first, and with a good bit of grip. If the parking brake is on then it will sit like this as nothing can move to a happier position.

If you rock the car gently back and forth a little in neutral with the parking brake off, it should resume a more natural posture. Not sure this would give you 3" but worth a try. You'll hear the tires slip as they move to their normal position.

Last edited by dgknight; 07-19-2013 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:36 AM   #5
Kubica
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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My Ride: 2003 325xi
Make sure the struts are all the way in the knuckles and go for a ride. It will settle.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
chilone
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 138
My Ride: 04 330xi, 97 Miata
Also when you let it down, you have to move it some to allow the the suspension to assume it's un-jacked up orientation. The tires will hold it in the wrong position 'till it is rolled some.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:37 AM   #7
ixtoxi
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My Ride: 02 330xi, 88 325iX
Did you use any lubricant on the bushings when you installed them onto the control arms? You are supposed to lower the car immediately after installing the bushings (with BMW-specified lube or similar) and let the car sit until the lube dries. If you had the car up in the air for a long time after installing the bushings, the car will sit high because the bushings were allowed to set in an "unloaded" position while in the air.
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:19 PM   #8
xi-xi
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My Ride: 2002 330xi
Update.... I did use lubricant on the bushings (dish soap, hope that's ok) but it wasn't possible to drop the car right away after I had everything together. Working evenings after work, doing one side then the other, it took a few days until everything was together, and it sat for a couple days after the bushing were on until I lowered it. Well, I drove it yesterday, and again today, and everything has settled. dgknight I'm pretty sure was right that it sat high because the suspension was extended upon lowering and the outside of the tires touched the ground first. moving the car put everything back to where it's supposed to be, more or less.

ixtoxi, I hope I didn't damage the bushings by letting it so long up in the air. I guess the only way to find out is to drive it. It felt really good today. No squirrellyness. Had to watch out for cops because it's not inspected (Penna.) Put new rotors and pads on too besides the LCAs and the axle. A big chore but I saved bundle of bucks by not taking it to the dealer.

Thanks for all your input everybody.
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:20 PM   #9
markho
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:43 PM   #10
ixtoxi
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My Ride: 02 330xi, 88 325iX
If it settled and feels good, then probably no lasting harm done. Good to hear.
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