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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 02-15-2016, 11:59 AM   #1
dutchhome
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Front half shafts failing after less than a year? Also grinding on aggesive starts.

2004 330xi 6-speed manual

I had my front half shafts replaced by a reputable shop about 6 months ago or so. (I bought the GKN Loebro shafts from Pelican Parts but chickened out and had my shop install them).

Before replacing them, my old shaft boots were completely ripped apart and had been for several years. Once I had the boots replaced and repacked, but these things just don't want to last. I did used to have the problem with the clicking/soft griding when turning the wheels full left/right when backing up. I'm not having that now.

I am finding that very aggressive starts when turning left (accelerating aggressively left from a side street onto a busy road) will occasionally produce a loud grinding sound. I'm not sure if this is in the half shafts/diff or if it is something bad with the clutch position. If I had to guess I'd say the griding sound is coming from the front center, or maybe slightly left of center. Doesn't seem to be coming from the corners, but it has only happened twice so it is hard to be precise.

Anyway, is there a design flaw with these shafts/boots? Or is there something else that can cause these to prematurely fail? My son took the car to school today to put it up on the lift and said the boots are cracking almost to the point of tearing and they are sucked in instead of sitting in their normal accordion shape. I live in Deleware and it has seen a little bit of cold and snow+salt, but not that much this season.

His instructor recommended replacing them again. Is this just a simple warranty replacement? My guess is something else is causing this and throwing more half shafts at it is likely a waste of money until the real culprit is found.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by dutchhome; 02-15-2016 at 12:28 PM. Reason: missing word in title
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:47 PM   #2
dutchhome
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I'm seeing a few posts that suggests failing engine mounts can cause the engine to bottom out and cause the grinding noise under acceleration while turning. Could this also cause the half shaft boots to fail prematurely? Or are these separate issues?
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Old 02-15-2016, 01:59 PM   #3
Kubica
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Bad motor mounts kill axles.
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Old 02-16-2016, 03:46 PM   #4
zander271
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I'm on new motor mounts H&R springs + Koni yellow fronts with new OEM axels. I've still had inner boots tear. This sounds a bit strange to say motor mounts would cause that.
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Old 02-16-2016, 03:55 PM   #5
dutchhome
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Pelican parts are going to help replace them under warranty. I either have to buy new axles and get store credit when I return these or send them in and wait for replacements. Needless to say I will have some store credit I will need to figure out how to use. I can't justify leaving the job half finished for over a week.

I also ordered new motor mounts and a harbor freight engine support bar and will swap them out this weekend. It is supposed to get up to 60-ish. Sometimes this global warming thing can be good :-)

If these boots keep tearing is there a more permanent fix? Aftermarket boots that are larger and don't get as much stress or maybe something to condition the rubber on a regular basis?
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:48 PM   #6
zander271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchhome View Post
Pelican parts are going to help replace them under warranty. I either have to buy new axles and get store credit when I return these or send them in and wait for replacements. Needless to say I will have some store credit I will need to figure out how to use. I can't justify leaving the job half finished for over a week.

I also ordered new motor mounts and a harbor freight engine support bar and will swap them out this weekend. It is supposed to get up to 60-ish. Sometimes this global warming thing can be good :-)

If these boots keep tearing is there a more permanent fix? Aftermarket boots that are larger and don't get as much stress or maybe something to condition the rubber on a regular basis?
I think I have the answer for the outer boot's but the inner boot poses its own challenges. Its more a test and see type thing ATM.
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