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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 12-30-2019, 08:22 PM   #1
will.chris78
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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My Ride: 2002 330xi
Year: 2002
Model: 330xi
Transmission: Manual 5 Speed
2002 330xi Acceleration Vibration

I need help with identifying the cause my acceleration vibration in my 2002 330xi with 99k miles; specifically under load. It feels like drivetrain vibration, but very difficult to pin down. The vibration existed previous to the following parts being installed, and still exists.

Replaced:
Motor Mounts
Front axles
Front Control Arms/Bushings
All Struts/Brakes/Springs
All Rotors/Brakes
Clutch/Flywheel
GUIBO
Center Support Bearing
Front and Rear Diff Fluid
Manual Transmission Fluid
Transfer Case Fluid
Alignment
New Tires/All Wheels balanced

The driveshafts appear to be in great shape with no slack in the U-joints. I only replaced the GUIBO and CSB because I had it apart; they were not bad. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by will.chris78; 12-30-2019 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:27 PM   #2
jmo69
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The only time I had a vibration under load it was the left front axle but you've replaced both. IDK if the T-case mount would cause any of that. Can you get it on a lift and try to duplicate the vibration, you might be able to better isolate the source.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:48 PM   #3
wfx32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
Can you get it on a lift and try to duplicate the vibration, you might be able to better isolate the source.
that's a good idea. i watched the local independent here diagnose a similar problem with his assistant running the car from up on the lift. they found a rear driveshaft problem in no time.
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:57 AM   #4
ti3int3rc3ptor
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My Ride: 2004 330xi 6MT
What is the condition of the driveshaft u joint?
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Old 12-31-2019, 09:57 AM   #5
will.chris78
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My Ride: 2002 330xi
Year: 2002
Model: 330xi
Transmission: Manual 5 Speed
I forgot to mention the transfer case mount was also replaced. I don't have access to a lift, but I'm thinking of setting up a camera under the car.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:02 AM   #6
77'911
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Is the vibration coming through the steering wheel or chassis?
regards
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:09 AM   #7
will.chris78
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My Ride: 2002 330xi
Year: 2002
Model: 330xi
Transmission: Manual 5 Speed
The vibration is in the chassis and is not felt in the steering wheel.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:09 AM   #8
MissileMech
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Dual Mass Flywheel failure? It is known to happen. ** nevermind, re-read your list. Driveshaft is all I can think of att.

Last edited by MissileMech; 12-31-2019 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:10 AM   #9
will.chris78
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My Ride: 2002 330xi
Year: 2002
Model: 330xi
Transmission: Manual 5 Speed
I have a new clutch and flywheel (single mass).
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:19 AM   #10
MissileMech
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The rear half-shafts could also be the culprit. I had that problem with my 540i but the mileage you have doesn't seem to support that theory. Have you had a compression check? You may have a weak cylinder that can cause a vibration under load.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:29 AM   #11
77'911
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will.chris78 View Post
The vibration is in the chassis and is not felt in the steering wheel.
The 3 culprits I'd look at:
1) drive shaft
2) front axles(yes, I know they were done. some after market units are not well balanced or go bad early on)
3) single mass flywheel (these cars were intended for the duel set up to reduce vibrations).
regards
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:23 PM   #12
will.chris78
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My Ride: 2002 330xi
Year: 2002
Model: 330xi
Transmission: Manual 5 Speed
As previously stated, this was happening prior to these parts being installed. All maintenance outlined above has been done in the past 60 days.
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Old 12-31-2019, 11:42 PM   #13
MissileMech
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My 330 had an acceleration vibration and we thought it was drive train, did everything you did, and it turned out to be a weak cylinder. I ran 50/50 high mileage synthetic and diesel oil for several thousand miles and it fixed the issue. Check the vacuum lines at the back of the intake, if leaking they can cause a lean condition in the rear cylinders causing the rings to coke up.
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:02 AM   #14
swissrock
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Year: 2004
Model: 330xi T., 330ci Cab.
Transmission: Manual
My 330xi also suffert from acceleration vibrations, the diagnosis was not easy and after changing lots of other parts it finally was the rear drive shaft.

For some unknown reasons the rear drive shafts of the xi's can get unbalanced, don't know why but it's kind of common.

To fix it you can either get yours re-balanced from a specialized shop or get a used one which is still balanced. This is what I did and it worked for me.
The old unbalanced driveshaft was still in an optical good condition, the u-joint was fine, but it was the cause of the vibrations during acceleration.
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Old 01-26-2020, 08:32 AM   #15
AKA
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Was the vibration there when you bought it or did it develop while you owned it and if so was it after some other work?
I ask because I made the mistake of putting my failing csb back in the way I found it. (The PO had put it in backwards). Also, if the driveshaft was split to replace the CSB, and the orientation of the halves were not marked, it could have been put back wrong and out of balance.

Last edited by AKA; 01-26-2020 at 01:13 PM.
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