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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 06-06-2019, 04:31 AM   #1
swissrock
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Location: Emmental, Switzerland
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Model: 330xi Touring
Transmission: Manual
Drivetrain Clunk

I'm a proud owner of a 2004 330xi Touring with the 6-speed manual transmission.
It has about 265'000 km currently and after spending lots of time and money in parts everything works like it should except this one:

I have a clunking sound in the drivetrain when I shift up or down, although the clunk is very noticable I seem not able to find out the cause of it.

During the last few months I have been replacing the following parts:

- all the rear-axle bushings including the rear-diff bushing
- motor-mounts
- front axles
- rear drive shaft (had vibrations when accelarating)
- rear CSB and rear Guibo disc
- front guibo disc
- transfercase (found a used part with only 56'000 km)
- transfercase bearing
- all springs and shock absorbers (Eibach/Bilstein Pro-Kit)
- fresh oil in all the diffs, TC and manual-transmission

When inspecting the drivetrain I determined some play on the front axle/Transfer Case, It seems that this is normal and all/most XI's have this, not sure about that...

There is little play in the front diff and almost no play in the rear diff.
The rubber-bushings on the front axle seem to be fine as well, everything is tight and I have no noises coming from there.

I can reproduce the Clunk noise by letting the clutch go when in gear.

While in the car, the noise seems to come from the rear differential, from outside it seems the noise comes from the transfercase.

Although I have already replaced my transfercase with a low-mileage one from the junkyard there is certainly some play in there which seems to be the cause at first sight, do all TC's have some amount of play in it (without causing a clunk noise) ?

What else beside of all the parts already changed could it be ? Maybe the dual-mass-flywheel ?

Any suggestions on how to get rid of this clunk ?

Last edited by swissrock; 06-06-2019 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:00 AM   #2
EvaJuli
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You are going down the deep & endless rabbit hole that is aging XI drive line clunking.
Do a quick search and you will see you are not alone.


Seems you have replaced most of the suspect items though. CSB, axles, bushings. Not sure what else is left!
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:44 PM   #3
swissrock
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Yes I know that I'm not alone, I did a lot of research on this problem but I didn't find a solution except to change the parts I already have changed.

So does every higher mileage XI has this Clunk problem then ?

At least I would like to localize it, I'm still not sure if the Transfercase is responsible for this phenomena...

If there are any XI Owners out here without this issue, could you please check and report it you have play on your front drive shaft (from Transfercase to Frontdifferential) ?

And what about the Dual-Mass-Flywheel, anyone ever changed it with a positive result considering this problem ?
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:50 AM   #4
TopCityBMW
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OP: did you correctly pre-load the csb and use butyl tape?

Otherwise, I think you have done all that there is to be done.


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Old 06-10-2019, 12:16 PM   #5
swissrock
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I did pre-load the CSB but I did not use Butyl-tape.

I cannot imagine to get rid of the clunk by using Butyl-tape on the CSB though, please explain when I'm wrong.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:23 PM   #6
TopCityBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swissrock View Post
I did pre-load the CSB but I did not use Butyl-tape.

I cannot imagine to get rid of the clunk by using Butyl-tape on the CSB though, please explain when I'm wrong.

I donít know a definitive reason. But in my case, Iíve done as you have except that the butyl tape seemed to help hold the CSB in place firmly and provides some insulation between the drive and the chassis.



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Old 06-10-2019, 01:33 PM   #7
EvaJuli
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maybe make a video of the noise?
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:33 PM   #8
swissrock
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Ok, thanks for your suggestion, I think it will lower the clunk-noise to some extend but will not solve the issue.
Where exactly does the Butyl-Tape needs to be placed ?

I might try that when I'm down there again.

@TopCity
Does your XI has play in the TC ?
Does your car has the Clunk ?

Last edited by swissrock; 06-10-2019 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:39 PM   #9
TopCityBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swissrock View Post
Ok, thanks for your suggestion, I think it will lower the clunk-noise to some extend but will not solve the issue.

I might try that when I'm down there again.

@TopCity
Does your XI has play in the TC ?
Does your car has the Clunk ?

No play in the TC. I have automatic transmission and replaced the single bushing/mount.

No clunking now.

Otherwise, I donít think thereís anything else you could do.


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Old 06-10-2019, 02:40 PM   #10
swissrock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopCityBMW View Post
No play in the TC.
What is the mileage?
Did you fix/replace anything on the TC ?
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:58 PM   #11
EvaJuli
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like this?





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Old 06-11-2019, 03:48 PM   #12
swissrock
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Yes, on my car it's pretty much the same as on the videos above.

Is this the way it should be ?
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:27 PM   #13
TopCityBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swissrock View Post
Yes, on my car it's pretty much the same as on the videos above.

Is this the way it should be ?


What gear is this in?


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Old 06-12-2019, 11:41 AM   #14
swissrock
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In 1st gear with no tension on the drivetrain.

Normal or not ?
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:48 AM   #15
TopCityBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swissrock View Post
In 1st gear with no tension on the drivetrain.

Normal or not ?

I donít know if thatís normal. I can say however that thereís no play in mine.


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Old 06-12-2019, 01:08 PM   #16
xDLXSFx
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Havent read through ALL the replies, but I had a clunk in mine when letting the clutch out; it turned out to be the transfer case BUSHING that was ripped and it solved the problem.
Could also be tranny mounts...
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:03 PM   #17
EvaJuli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xDLXSFx View Post
Havent read through ALL the replies, but I had a clunk in mine when letting the clutch out; it turned out to be the transfer case BUSHING that was ripped and it solved the problem.
Could also be tranny mounts...
There are no trans mounts on the Xi, it is only the TC mount.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:33 PM   #18
swissrock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xDLXSFx View Post
Havent read through ALL the replies, but I had a clunk in mine when letting the clutch out; it turned out to be the transfer case BUSHING that was ripped and it solved the problem.
Could also be tranny mounts...
Transfercase bushing is already done and as already written there are no tranny mounts.

@EvaJuly
Do you have the same play in the TC as in the videos you posted ?
Is this the reason for the clunking ?
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:54 AM   #19
EvaJuli
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well yes...2 of those videos were my car.

What fixed my clunk was welding the ring & sun gears together inside the TC convert to RWD....no more clunk for me, but that essentially confirmed the clunk was coming from 1 of the following: TC, Front DS, F diff, F L/R axles.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:46 PM   #20
swissrock
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Model: 330xi Touring
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I've read the thread about the AWD to RWD conversion by welding the gears inside the TC.
How is the experience with your RWD-XI so far ?
Does it drive like an original RWD ? Any issues with DSC or other downsides ?

I still have my old TC which I could use for it ...

Last edited by swissrock; 06-17-2019 at 03:46 PM.
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