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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 01-11-2019, 09:37 PM   #1
wfx32
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strut brace / tower stabilizer

hello what is the consensus on adding a strut brace for 2004-5 330xi?

today i showed the dealer and one of the race mechanics working there this BMW original strut brace (http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=03_1859)

they said it's appropriate in non M cars like mine but used mostly in germany and rare in USA because too stiff.. for non track car they suggested would be better to go with a 'Dinan' that would give a better ride. or how about the 'rogue engineering' model mentioned in this bimmerworld article (http://news.bimmerworld.com/is-a-strut-brace-worth-it/)?

i am still trying to figure out why the 2004 drives so much better than the 2005. across the board in every aspect except acceleration from speed (torque?) and cosmetic appearance. cornering at speed in 2005 i would say is a bit sloppy.

first i am trying the same 225-45-17 michelin pilot tires as the 2004 to see if that's it.. or maybe the struts, bump stops, control arms, tie rods are all so new (2017) and need some time to 'break in'?

Last edited by wfx32; 01-11-2019 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:33 PM   #2
EvaJuli
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Front sway should be the last upgrade, not the first.
Also, debatable if there is any advantage on an XI anyways.

https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=762492
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:04 PM   #3
wfx32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvaJuli View Post
Front sway should be the last upgrade, not the first
thanks for that. yes understeer (loose front) is definitely the issue. so assuming that the new tires and alignment don't do the trick, what should i try next?

is there a bmw part for rear sway bar? i don't see it on the dinan site either (https://www.dinancars.com/products/?...model=&engine=) .. maybe it is this rear subframe reinforcement kit (https://www.bimmerworld.com/Suspensi...ent-Kit_2.html) ?

Last edited by wfx32; 01-12-2019 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:32 PM   #4
jmo69
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Year: 2003
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The BMW carbon fiber strut braces can go for thousands of dollars if you can find one, just get a Mason Engineering one, it's only an xi.
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:37 AM   #5
mtnbimmer
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Strut brace "too stiff"? First time I've heard that...
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:42 AM   #6
wfx32
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Originally Posted by mtnbimmer View Post
Strut brace "too stiff"? First time I've heard that...
yeah i was surprised by that also. maybe too stiff compared to the dinan they were recommending would give a better ride.

but i am wary of the front brace now.. reading in multiple places that it may exacerbate the understeer problem.

so better to start with rear brace and/or reinforcement? i want to try something to make the 2005 as fun to drive as the 2004.
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:48 AM   #7
Hrvat
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As mentioned, other things should be upgraded first.

Doubt strut brace does anything. Heck, my M3 doesn't even have one lol
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:49 AM   #8
Hrvat
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As mentioned, other things should be upgraded first.

Doubt strut brace does anything. Heck, my M3 doesn't even have one lol
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Originally Posted by roronoah View Post
so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:26 AM   #9
mtnbimmer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfx32 View Post
but i am wary of the front brace now.. reading in multiple places that it may exacerbate the understeer problem..
You're confusing the strut brace with the swaybar. Strut brace has nothing to do with understeer.
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:45 PM   #10
IdahoDoug
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There is so much confusion in this thread I almost did not get involved. But here goes.

What basis do you have to say the 05 330ZXi does not handle as well as the 04? What the heck are you talking about here? Do you have an 04 and 05 330Xi and are comparing two cars you own? And then your problem with the 04 is defined only as "sloppy" and the 04 "drives so much better." Eh? What is that supposed to mean?

So asking if a strut brace will fix this problem without really telling us what the problem is, is kind of a waste of time.

Additionally, whomever at the dealership told you a strut brace would make your car ride harsher is not able to give you quality advice. The strut brace will not deteriorate your ride.

Then, in your 3rd post you start asking if a REAR brace or rear reinforcement will "fix your problem" and you mention understeer.

Look. The quality of advice you get here is directly related to the quality of information you provide on a problem. You have not defined a problem with enough clarity for anyone here to offer a suggestion that would come to bear on it. So I suggest you literally delete this thread and start a new one CLEARLY defining what is wrong with your 04 and why you think it is a problem. Then ask if anyone here can help you resolve that problem. At this point, it is a rambling, vague thread that is getting you random advice that will cost you money but will not likely fix the problem. Hope this is helpful to resolving the problem.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:55 AM   #11
wfx32
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Originally Posted by IdahoDoug View Post
So asking if a strut brace will fix this problem without really telling us what the problem is, is kind of a waste of time.
sorry about that. was not my intent to be imprecise. the specific problem is that the front end loses grip. accelerating hard on a slight left bend.

first i am trying the wider tires (225 instead of 205) and proper alignment. it seems the right front wheel was badly out. i was just looking for advice on what to try next.

i did find a guy down here that is willing to work with me on figuring out the differences between the two cars. maybe a bit of suspension tuning will do the trick.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:21 PM   #12
IdahoDoug
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Ah. So without knowing what speed you are at, it would be hard to know if that is normal front lift understeer from low gear acceleration (1st/2nd gears) or higher speed understeer that would point to an alignment issue. Definitely have it aligned, and also have a mechanic verify that the many front end bushings are in good shape. If your front suspension is allowed to slop around then you could easily have understeer resulting from front parts getting dramatically out of alignment from cornering and/or acceleration forces. If there is slop then the alignment will do only a little to resolve this issue. That's simply because an alignment must be performed to fractions of degrees accuracy. However, that's sitting still on a rack. If slop while driving then allows things to move around, there will be FAR more misalignment (like 5 degrees which is huge) while driving that that. So it would be a waste to align a car with sloppy front end bushings.

I would not spend money adding things to your car if this is your issue. I would spend that money ensuring the car's suspension and steering are tight as they were from the factory. The car certainly did not behave like that from the factory - the 3 series is considered one of the best overall handling sedans ever built. Spend your hard earned money wisely. That includes your intent to put new 225 tires on it. There are few ways to screw up a sweet car's handling more quickly than putting needlessly wide tires on it. It was built, tested, spec'd, and the alignment settings were exhaustively determined for a 205 tire. Putting a wider tire on a car with loose bushings will most likely exaggerate the effect the loose bits have on the handling. And it will add further stress to the suspension for a variety of reasons. Fix the basic problem first and you'll likely be delighted at the crisp, light handling of a well engineered German sedan.
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Last edited by IdahoDoug; 01-15-2019 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:36 PM   #13
jmo69
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When was the last time the rubber parts were replaced or upgraded along with ball joints, tie rods and end links?
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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 06-02-2019, 07:54 PM   #14
wfx32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfx32 View Post
i did find a guy down here that is willing to work with me on figuring out the differences between the two cars. maybe a bit of suspension tuning will do the trick.
the problem got much worse a few weeks ago.. but thankfully the track mechanic here finally isolated the problem. the bottom coil on one of the springs was cracked. he replaced the spring and now the cars handle the same.
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