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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 03-10-2019, 05:25 PM   #1
WilloCO
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My Ride: '05 330xi 6 speed
Game time: WTH did that pothole do to my suspension this morning.

OK, I was heading down one of my usual frozen dirt roads this morning and hit a wicked pot hole along the way with the right front wheel. My perfectly aligned steering now requires the wheel to be turned left about 5-7 degrees to drive in a straight line.

My current theory is that the strut bearing slipped. The alignment shop popped the pins out when the adjusted them last time. It looks like one of the nuts changed position a bit.

It'll be a few days before I jack it up and take a look. Meanwhile I'm open t guesses.

Bent strut? maybe. It's a bilstein B8 up there that I think has been making noise on rough roads.
Maybe the strut gave out a little...
Mushroomed strut tower? dunno. It's already a little odd.
The XI control arms are cast iron, I figure they'd shatter before bending.
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I bedded my pads when I switched from ceramic to my PDF-Z pads. They actually caught fire during bed in.
05 330xi 6 speed
RIP: 86 e30 w/E36 M3 suspension build

Last edited by WilloCO; 03-10-2019 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 03-10-2019, 05:59 PM   #2
jmo69
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My Ride: 03 325xi 98 328is
Year: 2003
Model: 325xi
Transmission: Steptronic
Wouldn't the strut bearing moving change camber or caster? A bent tie rod would effectively shorten it causing the wheel to toe in and pull left? I think the arms might be cast steel and that might bend? The strut bent back slightly might cause the pull to the right.
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Alternative to expensive xi control arm bushings https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1231503

Bad outer xi ball joint? https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1127077


2003 325xi auto Stahlgrau

1998328is 5sp
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:19 AM   #3
77'911
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You probably bent something. Going to need to pull the wheel and inspect.
regards
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:49 PM   #4
WilloCO
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Location: Colorado
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My Ride: '05 330xi 6 speed
Finally had a chance to look.
The winner: The drivers side inner ball joint!

Seems like the bolts were loose and that hit popped the joint off the mount.
Geometrically, this makes sense. The control arm would have been further out on the drivers side, causing the left wheel to turn inward a bit. Turning the steering wheel left just a bit corrected the steering.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoitsTmac View Post
I bedded my pads when I switched from ceramic to my PDF-Z pads. They actually caught fire during bed in.
05 330xi 6 speed
RIP: 86 e30 w/E36 M3 suspension build
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Old 03-19-2019, 04:49 PM   #5
WilloCO
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Colorado
Posts: 646
My Ride: '05 330xi 6 speed
Finally had a chance to look.
The winner: The drivers side inner ball joint!

Seems like the bolts were loose and that hit popped the joint off the mount.
Geometrically, this makes sense. The control arm would have been further out on the drivers side, causing the left wheel to turn inward a bit. Turning the steering wheel left just a bit corrected the steering.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoitsTmac View Post
I bedded my pads when I switched from ceramic to my PDF-Z pads. They actually caught fire during bed in.
05 330xi 6 speed
RIP: 86 e30 w/E36 M3 suspension build
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:14 PM   #6
jmo69
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My Ride: 03 325xi 98 328is
Year: 2003
Model: 325xi
Transmission: Steptronic
Glad to hear it was something easy to fix without new parts or another alignment.
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Alternative to expensive xi control arm bushings https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1231503

Bad outer xi ball joint? https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1127077


2003 325xi auto Stahlgrau

1998328is 5sp
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Old 03-30-2019, 07:45 PM   #7
WilloCO
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My Ride: '05 330xi 6 speed
Yeah, after that adventure, I'm gonna keep my eye out for a spare subframe. I'm suspecting that mine could have issues.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoitsTmac View Post
I bedded my pads when I switched from ceramic to my PDF-Z pads. They actually caught fire during bed in.
05 330xi 6 speed
RIP: 86 e30 w/E36 M3 suspension build
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:20 PM   #8
SaberLily
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My Ride: E46 xi
Year: 2001
Model: 325xi
Transmission: MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilloCO View Post
Finally had a chance to look.
The winner: The drivers side inner ball joint!

Seems like the bolts were loose and that hit popped the joint off the mount.
Geometrically, this makes sense. The control arm would have been further out on the drivers side, causing the left wheel to turn inward a bit. Turning the steering wheel left just a bit corrected the steering.
If your bolts worked loose you need something like Nord-Lock washers to prevent them coming loose again.
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:18 AM   #9
jmo69
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My Ride: 03 325xi 98 328is
Year: 2003
Model: 325xi
Transmission: Steptronic
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaberLily View Post
If your bolts worked loose you need something like Nord-Lock washers to prevent them coming loose again.
Could be the ball joint wasn't seated properly on the locating points and the pothole knocked it loose even with the bolts tight.
__________________
Alternative to expensive xi control arm bushings https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1231503

Bad outer xi ball joint? https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1127077


2003 325xi auto Stahlgrau

1998328is 5sp
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