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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 07-09-2019, 09:49 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 29
Possible failing rear differential or transfer case?

I opened a thread recently regarding vibrations coming from the rear of my car. I replaced the guibo and center support bearing thinking it was the driveshaft. That ended up not fixing it. The U joint didnít feel bad either so Iím not thinking itís the driveshaft.

Upon doing more research I think it may be the differential seeing as how the vibration goes away when I step on the gas.
Potentially could be the transfer case or a rear axle but is far as I have read it seems more likely to be the differential. I replaced my differential fluid and transfer case fluid today, the differential fluid didnít seem dark at all so it may have been a waste of time. The transfer case fluid was actually very dark. I was kind of expecting the differential fluid to be dark if it was going bad. But maybe it doesnít necessarily have to be dark in order for something to fail?

Anyhow just wondering if anyone has went through this as well and if anyone has an opinion regarding this. my main symptoms are vibrations from the rear of the car starting around 30 miles an hour mainly felt upon deceleration. The vibration gets worse when coming to a stop and really rattles before fully stopping. Really running out of time to troubleshoot this, wondering if anyone has insight. Sorry for the lengthy post!

Thank you guys

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Old 07-10-2019, 09:28 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 157
You might check:
1) rear rotors for true, caliper bushings
2) rear trailing arm bushings & diff carrier bushings
While in there you might check for a broken coil spring or loose shock(IE mount shot). We had a vibration (higher speed) when braking, but at the front. Turned out to be lower control arms, ball joints, and bushings. It took a bit to track it down as so much needed doing on our car.
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:38 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,789
My Ride: 03 325xi 98 328is
Year: 2003
Model: 325xi
Transmission: Steptronic
Have you checked the rear wheel bearings. My e36 had a bad one but it was more noise than vibration.

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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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