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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 11-30-2015, 09:37 PM   #61
zander271
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Xi Lowering / Have Your Cake & Eat it Too

Griff post a picture?



I've got some boots on order that may solve this whole XI boot issue. After a few months of research I believe these are the answer. They are an ultra premium rubber that can take more abuse.



Groundshock and 76m2002 are you interested? I will have them in 30 days

Last edited by zander271; 12-01-2015 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:29 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
Griff post a picture?



I've got some boots on order that may solve this whole XI boot issue. After a few months of research I believe these are the answer. They are an ultra premium rubber that can take more abuse.



Groundcontrol and 76m2002 are you interested? I will have them in 30 days

I will tomorrow if it's not raining! I'm interested
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:42 PM   #63
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its raining here also
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:24 AM   #64
76m2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
Griff post a picture?

I've got some boots on order that may solve this whole XI boot issue. After a few months of research I believe these are the answer. They are an ultra premium rubber that can take more abuse.

Groundshock and 76m2002 are you interested? I will have them in 30 days

Yes, I'm interested in the boots. I'll still measure the cv joint angles if I can get the ride height for the H&R springs.
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Old 12-01-2015, 10:40 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Rob43 View Post
Do you need 2 boots or 4 boots ?
Outers only for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamliner330 View Post
Nothing...nothing, other than stock will provide a stock quality ride. I made the mistake of switching to H&R springs and selling my originals. I switched to Koni shocks and Eibach springs and I still wish I never touched my suspension.

Also, this thread completely ignores the angle the drop puts the CV joints at.
Well, that's an opinion not shared by everyone. Our Xi rode like, and sat like, a K5 Blazer. The Eibach springs put it down to OEM RWD height, nothing more. It's not like this thing is slammed. We had a rear spring break, and for the price of a replacement, we got an entire spring kit. The Eibachs vastly improved the cornering capabilities of the car without sacrificing a single stitch of driveability. The car rides better than other RWD E46s that I've driven. Might you have had a different experience with the H&R's? Possibly.

I'm entirely convinced that it's not the lowering of the car that is the main culprit in killing the CV boots on this car. Nearly all other Xi owners have experienced abnormal failure rate on on not only the boots, but the shafts as well, and the failures are almost always in the outer joint. My opinion is that the boots on the axles are too small (and of poor material in aftermarket pieces) to accomodate the extreme steering angles that the car is capable of, and that slow-speed parking lot maneuvering and sharp turns is what kills them. The boots tear prematurely, and the axle dries and fails in short order. Failure rates on aftermarket pieces are incredibly high, and it's almost always a dry outer joint, from what I've read and experienced. No other car that I know of eats axles like this one.

I think lowering may be accelerating the issue, but calling it the primary cause in situations like mine is short-sighted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
Griff post a picture?



I've got some boots on order that may solve this whole XI boot issue. After a few months of research I believe these are the answer. They are an ultra premium rubber that can take more abuse.



Groundshock and 76m2002 are you interested? I will have them in 30 days
Definitely interested. I may end up warrantying the axles on the car in the meantime anyway, since they're still covered, and have those boots installed at the same time. Keep me posted.
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Old 12-01-2015, 03:24 PM   #66
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Hi Rob, you probably get this question ask alot but your link for the drop hats seems to be for e90 +
http://www.supremepower.com/57573/68...perch-bmw.html
I imagine they fit on e46 as well ? I just ordered some bilstein HD all around and eibach for my 325xi and since front HD don't come with spring perch i might buy those drop hats.
Thanks
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Old 12-01-2015, 03:57 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by groundshock View Post
Outers only for me.
np

Quote:
Originally Posted by groundshock View Post
Well, that's an opinion not shared by everyone. Our Xi rode like, and sat like, a K5 Blazer. The Eibach springs put it down to OEM RWD height, nothing more. It's not like this thing is slammed. We had a rear spring break, and for the price of a replacement, we got an entire spring kit. The Eibachs vastly improved the cornering capabilities of the car without sacrificing a single stitch of driveability. The car rides better than other RWD E46s that I've driven. Might you have had a different experience with the H&R's? Possibly.
I have the Koni FSD Pro Kit (Eibach Springs) on my RWD and love them. So I have a good idea of what they would feel like.

The H&R's are about 10-15% stiffer, both are feel fine for DD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by groundshock View Post
I'm entirely convinced that it's not the lowering of the car that is the main culprit in killing the CV boots on this car. Nearly all other Xi owners have experienced abnormal failure rate on on not only the boots, but the shafts as well, and the failures are almost always in the outer joint. My opinion is that the boots on the axles are too small (and of poor material in aftermarket pieces) to accomodate the extreme steering angles that the car is capable of, and that slow-speed parking lot maneuvering and sharp turns is what kills them. The boots tear prematurely, and the axle dries and fails in short order. Failure rates on aftermarket pieces are incredibly high, and it's almost always a dry outer joint, from what I've read and experienced. No other car that I know of eats axles like this one.
You would be correct in the assertion that lowering the car is not the main culprit in the failure rate of the front CV boots. Lowering just added to the problem increasing the speed at which these axels fail. The axels are the right size, but the boot size and martial are the main problem. I've only had 1 outer boot rip and go dry. The other 3 I have had were all the inner boot.

Here is where my knowledge is lacking. When I bought my XI I was the 3rd owner and the guy before me installed H&R springs with the stock springs so I never had one purely stock. Prior to Eibach spring in the time that you have owned the car how often were you seeing boot tears? If anyone else wants to answer this questions too that would be great. What I see when the car is lowered

The inner CV boot is put at a funny angle just as the outer one is. Because of this the tears I have found are on the middles section of the boots near the top of the ribbing.
Causes
- Material
- constant pulling on the boot
- Rubbing (this happens when lowered)
- Heat on the passenger side may play a role do the exhaust on that side. that's where I have had the 2 failures.


Quote:
Originally Posted by groundshock View Post
I think lowering may be accelerating the issue, but calling it the primary cause in situations like mine is short-sighted.
again correct

Quote:
Originally Posted by groundshock View Post
Definitely interested. I may end up warrantying the axles on the car in the meantime anyway, since they're still covered, and have those boots installed at the same time. Keep me posted.
Mine are under warranty also...but putting these new boots on them should get you ALLOT more time. If I get more then a year I will be happy. Never tearing is not a option because stuff does wear out and fail. 3-4 years should prob be the normal rate of failure. If you are serious about the new boots and have life time warranties on the axels I would def give my boots a try once I get them in.

Do you do the install yourself or does a shop do it?

Last edited by zander271; 12-01-2015 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 12-01-2015, 04:08 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Xavo08 View Post
Hi Rob, you probably get this question ask alot but your link for the drop hats seems to be for e90 +
http://www.supremepower.com/57573/68...perch-bmw.html
I imagine they fit on e46 as well ? I just ordered some bilstein HD all around and eibach for my 325xi and since front HD don't come with spring perch i might buy those drop hats.
Thanks
The SP drop hats are a perfect fit on the E46 chassis & will help make the Eibach springs look/sit better, order them.

Realize that the drop hats are the Upper spring perches, Not the Lower perches. So if your new Billys don't come with the needed lower perches, you'll need to re-use your factory OE perches.



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Old 12-03-2015, 09:19 PM   #69
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Hi Rob, my current setup stock xi suspension with h&r sport springs and 5mm spring pad. Can I go any lower with another setup?

Last edited by gabriox; 12-03-2015 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:31 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by gabriox View Post
Hi Rob, my current setup stock xi suspension with h&r sport springs. Can I go any lower?

You can drop the front lower about 1/2 of an inch with the supreme power drop hats. Also on the rear by removing spring pads
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Old 12-04-2015, 11:41 AM   #71
zander271
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Hi Rob, my current setup stock xi suspension with h&r sport springs and 5mm spring pad. Can I go any lower with another setup?
you can get the front to go lower like grif said with the drop hats. I am currently running them.

Also my car was on H&R springs and stock suspension when I bought. Start saving some money because those stock struts and shocks are not going to last very long. If you want to go with Koni's all the way around check out my sig. I have brand new rears that have never been used for sale.
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:10 AM   #72
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Here is where my knowledge is lacking. When I bought my XI I was the 3rd owner and the guy before me installed H&R springs with the stock springs so I never had one purely stock. Prior to Eibach spring in the time that you have owned the car how often were you seeing boot tears?
Unfortunately I haven't owned the car long enough to answer that. What I can tell you is that I purchased it at 80K, and it already had aftermarket axles in it on both sides. Counting my current issues, I've had 3 boot failures in 25K, all outers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zander271 View Post
Do you do the install yourself or does a shop do it?
I do all my own work, but if it's only replacing the boots, I would pull the axles and take them to a mechanic to have the boots installed.
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:17 PM   #73
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the stock angle/geometery of the cv axle is what kills them. all of the boots will always touch to some degree at any height. stretch and be happy, think of it like yoga lol
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Old 12-09-2015, 04:41 PM   #74
zander271
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Unfortunately I haven't owned the car long enough to answer that. What I can tell you is that I purchased it at 80K, and it already had aftermarket axles in it on both sides. Counting my current issues, I've had 3 boot failures in 25K, all outers.



I do all my own work, but if it's only replacing the boots, I would pull the axles and take them to a mechanic to have the boots installed.
Lets chat about that, shoot me a PM with some info to get ahold you outside the boards.
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:02 AM   #75
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Hey Guys, this is a really intriguing thread. Any developments since December?

My Xi is in need of new struts, and I'm also curious about more durable boots for my relatively new axels. Since I recently replaced the rear shocks/springs with stock and the roads here are pretty harsh, I'm leaning toward stock for the front, but reading these reports has me tempted to consider Rob43's recommended setup.

Also, to JDUTHIE's point a few posts above, wouldn't larger boots rub and wear even more?
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:45 PM   #76
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Well, I took some pictures the other day after I replaced BOTH front axles for the second time due to leaky boots and not catching them in time. Here's what I found:

Level ground - Wheel turned all the way to the left - Eibach springs, no other suspension mods. First picture is straight on so you can see the CV angle. Second picture is from the ground up to illustrate the amount of deformation that the outer CV boot is potentially subject to. It's eye-opening.





Basically confirms my position that the crazy steering angles that are possible on the chassis are what is killing these boots. At full lock, the boot is both incredibly compressed and fully stretched. Now imagine this in motion. REALLY stresses the boot.

It also confirms JDUTHIE's suggestion that pulling the boot end out a bit may help solve the situation by mitigating how hard the boot compresses on the inside radius. I still think that there needs to be a physically longer boot, but at this point, this is what I've come up with.

Also, It seems to me that the actual lowering of the car really isn't adding a huge amount of angle to the axles. Lowering may accelerate the issue, but the pictures basically prove that lowering isn't the cause of the issue, it's simply a contributor to accelerated wear on an already inferior part.

Either way - the boots aren't ideal for the capabilities of the chassis. There needs to be something else done, or we will continue to deal with this issue for a long time.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:58 PM   #77
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I found similar results on my car comparing the angle of inner and outer cv joints with stock springs and eibach springs. I measured the height of the control arm when the car was level, then removed the wheel and jacked the control arm to same height. I manner a rough measurement using some aluminum welding rod to measure the angle of deflection at the inner and outer cv joint.

Outer, stock: 9 degrees; Inner, stock: 9 degrees
Outer, Eibach: 13 degrees; Inner, Eibach: 11 degrees


You can see from the picture that there is a little bit more rub with the modest drop of the Eibachs with the drophats. There is more contact in the outside boots in the stock position, which might explain why these seem to wear out more often. However, with the Eibachs the inner boots are now rubbing, so I would not be surprised to see these boots start to wear in lowered cars. My measurements were with the wheels straight ahead, and you are right the rub increases as you turn.

Last edited by 76m2002; 02-10-2016 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:10 PM   #78
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One option is to replace the cv boots with stronger boots. Zander271 found a flexible neoprene boot that should work, and I found a silicone boot made by CVJ Axles that should be more flexible and a little stronger than stock:

I didn't think the increased angle between stock and eibach was that big, but Steve at CVJ axles thought it was a significant increase compared to the normal range for street cv joints. I'm planning to try one of each on each outside axle, and see how they compare to stock. Unfortunately, the inner boots have an asymmetric attachment, and don't easily lend themselves to aftermarket replacements.

Last edited by 76m2002; 02-10-2016 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:23 PM   #79
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I guess I'd be interested to hear from someone like Steve whether or not he thinks that the 'significant' angle change is in any way detrimental to the joint if we were to solve the boot problem. In my mind, so long as the joints are properly greased and the boots are in good order, I wouldn't think that a 2-degree difference would warrant any worry. But that's an assumption.

I'm likely going to source some quality hose clamps and try JDUTHIE's suggestion of stretching the boots a bit and see if that helps mitigate the issue. My axles are both under warranty for 3 years, so I have time to experiment.
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:02 PM   #80
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I just installed a new suspension a few weeks ago on a car with the drop hats. While installing I found his inner boot had a tear in it also. His car was full stock and the inner only lasted a few months. Granted it was a cheaper one from O'REilly's, I'm going to think use his car as an experiment to see if I can work out a solution for the inner boot.
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