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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-15-2009, 05:17 PM
FIGFIST FIGFIST is offline
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2002 330xi transfer case clunk?

Hi guys, im new here and didnt know where else to turn. I have a 2002 330xi that i bought used it had 92000 miles on it. It has had a clunk in the rear since i bought it, im a mechanic myself and looked hard for it, i took it to a repituable tech that works on bmw and he didnt know. Got fed up took it to bmw they said that all the bushings in the rear were gettng loose and it happens, i got so mad because its a manual and it is realy hard to drive i have to give it lots of gas or it stalls out (not fun to drive). I finnaly took it to a lift and made someone get in it and make the noise i found out that the transfer case has about half to a full revolution of play in it. This was where all the noise was comming from and wondering if it sound right with you guys. I cant drive this thing anymore without doing something i looked at all the suspention bushings and all looked good also almost everything in the front end has been replaced also. At wits ends thanks paul
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2009, 03:21 PM
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Gryphon Gryphon is online now
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Got it myself. It's cheap on parts, but a pain in labor. From what I've read it's the wear of the bushings supporting the rear drivetrain.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...+bushing+clunk
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2009, 04:55 PM
FIGFIST FIGFIST is offline
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i dont know

Ya thats what everyone else tells me too but when the car is in the air and the dealer and other shops have looked at it there is no play in the bushings, and when i get the car to make the sound it is definatly comming from the transfer case area i was just wishing there was a way to tighten them up
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:04 PM
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Gryphon Gryphon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIGFIST View Post
Ya thats what everyone else tells me too but when the car is in the air and the dealer and other shops have looked at it there is no play in the bushings, and when i get the car to make the sound it is definatly comming from the transfer case area i was just wishing there was a way to tighten them up
I'm just thinking that the torque that the drivetrain puts on those bushings can't be replicated by hand, but that's just me. There are other bushings along the driveshaft as well as the guibo. Can't help you more than that. Let us know what you find.
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2009, 11:29 PM
FIGFIST FIGFIST is offline
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yep

Thanks for the input, i have replaced the weebo joint, the center support bearing, front c.v axles, front lower controll arms, front bearings, front sway bar links, and rear parking brakes, and about the torque thats what i thought so I layed on the ground and had someone in the car putting torque to the ground and yes the front bushing moved a little, but nothing compared to the case noise, thats why im at a loss im a a-grade mechanic and it just agrivates me. Bmw said it was a normal noise <<>> bmws should be fun to drive this makes me never want a bimmer again
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:31 AM
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Gryphon Gryphon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIGFIST View Post
Thanks for the input, i have replaced the weebo joint, the center support bearing, front c.v axles, front lower controll arms, front bearings, front sway bar links, and rear parking brakes, and about the torque thats what i thought so I layed on the ground and had someone in the car putting torque to the ground and yes the front bushing moved a little, but nothing compared to the case noise, thats why im at a loss im a a-grade mechanic and it just agrivates me. Bmw said it was a normal noise <<>> bmws should be fun to drive this makes me never want a bimmer again
Here's an idea for you as well as a manual owner, search and remove the CDV, your shift may become a bit less abrupt. It's one of the easiest mods for those with a manual transmission.
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2009, 11:15 PM
zebazeba zebazeba is offline
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Did you ever find anything out about your clunk. I may have simular symtoms - more of a loud thump sound from the drivers seat when I let out the clutch in any gear, but not difficult to drive, I would say just miserable to drive. I really have to baby it to prevent it from just sounding wrong. I've been under it while on 4 jackstands and had others let the clutch out fast using e-brake / brake / shifting into different gears etc, always a loud bang / thud as soon as the clutch is release. I originally thought from all the other threads that it was the rear diff bushings, but it doesnt look to be so. I don't think its the CDV. I'm beginning to think it may be a build up of tolerances in all the bushings along with drivetrain slop, it appears to all come to a head mainly in the transfercase. It's hard to nail down -Let us know if you ever get something resolved - mine is still on stands and I will try to let you know my resolution if I can isolate a specific problem, if not I may have isolataed it to a fusion or a gti, but that a differnt problem. Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2010, 09:03 PM
punisher9245 punisher9245 is offline
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did anybody solve this i got same problem and i changed the transfere case but same thing still clunk i got a 5 speed manual all wheel drive 330xi
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2010, 07:14 AM
zebazeba zebazeba is offline
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I gave up after going thru everything in my drive train. (checked all rear diff bushings, ring & pinion slack, shocks mounts, guibo, ujoints, I have new axles in front and repacked the rears, new redline fluids everywhere) only 60k and everything looks good under the car, except the rear springs which are broke in normal spot) I now really think its a characteristic of an xi. My theory is that all the excess drivetrain slack comes to a head in th transfercase causing the bang when the clutch is let out even a tad bit fast (normal for any other car) I used a long screwdriver against my ear and probed may places, and that seemed to be where the noise was eminating from the loudest. It's my wifes car and she lets the clutch out nice and easy ... so we live with it.
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2010, 07:37 PM
punisher9245 punisher9245 is offline
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well i bought new tranny and cluch set so i will see what happens and let u know i hate this noise its annoying makes me never get a bmw again but ill let u know what happens next thanks for response
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  #11  
Old 08-06-2010, 06:56 AM
zebazeba zebazeba is offline
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Thanks, and please do remember to repost after the clutch change, I'm really curious if that will make any difference.
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  #12  
Old 08-06-2010, 10:02 PM
LX-biker LX-biker is offline
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This clank is common for 4x4 truck world. But most of those more happy because many have option to switch to RWD. If switching to RWD mode helps, it mean front drive shaft U-joint gone for example. In our case more guessing.
I got suggestion about some vibrations after 30 minutes of driving which also present in some extend in idle with A/C on. Motor and transmission mounts need to be replaced. Clank can be last stage of shot mount when metal touch metal...
Just another idea if you wish.
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  #13  
Old 08-07-2010, 08:44 PM
punisher9245 punisher9245 is offline
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ok i put the new tranny new cluch set i still got that clunk when i let off the cluch everytime it is an 2001 bmw 330xi AWD with 5 speed manual transmission so far i tryed the transfercase and cluch set and a different tranny nothing still same **** i tryed some bushings and mounts same only left with the differentials i dont know if i want to do that now if someone fixed this problem please let me know but its not the transfercase or tranny or cluch

Last edited by punisher9245; 08-07-2010 at 08:47 PM.
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  #14  
Old 08-07-2010, 08:57 PM
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marinekilz marinekilz is offline
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Whern I first got my veh it did the same clinking when putting a load on the drivetrain. Mine was just the guibo, lifting my 325xi I had to drop the exhaust and the heat shields to even see the guibo, let alone see the bolt face of the guibo to watch the bolts rotate without moving the driveshaft
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Last edited by marinekilz; 08-07-2010 at 09:00 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-08-2010, 06:37 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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maybe its the way ur clutching? when i was new to the car, mine made the noise too. now it doesnt do it.
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  #16  
Old 08-08-2010, 07:32 AM
punisher9245 punisher9245 is offline
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guibo is brand new too and the carrier bearing is brand new
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  #17  
Old 08-08-2010, 08:26 AM
LX-biker LX-biker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punisher9245 View Post
* i tryed some bushings and mounts same only left with the differentials i dont know if i want to do that now if someone fixed this problem please let me know but its not the transfercase or tranny or clutch
As I know all bushing must be changed at the same time-left and right, otherwise it will not fix the problem and you'll probably keep changing left, than right, than...
Engine bushing is oil filled and if it crack and oil gone you got vibrations first mostly on high torque situations and than possibly clunks.
However guibo and U-joint have to be inspected first. For example on mine car I don't like freeplay on front drive shaft U-joint, but don't have a clunk yet.

Last edited by LX-biker; 08-08-2010 at 08:29 AM.
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  #18  
Old 08-12-2010, 07:26 PM
punisher9245 punisher9245 is offline
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all the bushings are changed its not true that you have to change all of them at once and i know the re oil filled
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  #19  
Old 01-05-2011, 07:39 PM
touringIsBetter touringIsBetter is offline
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FIGFIST, punisher - Have either of you two made any headway finding the cause of the clunk and fixing it ?

I have the same issue with my 2002 325xit (152,000 km). When applying power from dead stop a dull thud comes from the rear of the car. It can also be heard, more faintly, from the transmission/transfer case area. I had a real BMW mechanic check the car out and he said that he couldn't pin point any one component that was the obvious cause. He found a little slack in all the drive train components but said the transfer case seemed to have the most and that this was pretty common for the xi's. He also said all the subframe and diff bushings were fine. I have had the car up on axle stands and the differentials seems to be pretty tight, but the transfer case has a lot of play in it. I had planed on replacing the transfer case to fix the clunk, but it doesn't sound like it has worked for other people in this thread.
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:41 PM
schjason schjason is offline
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Originally Posted by touringIsBetter View Post
FIGFIST, punisher - Have either of you two made any headway finding the cause of the clunk and fixing it ?

I have the same issue with my 2002 325xit (152,000 km). When applying power from dead stop a dull thud comes from the rear of the car. It can also be heard, more faintly, from the transmission/transfer case area. I had a real BMW mechanic check the car out and he said that he couldn't pin point any one component that was the obvious cause. He found a little slack in all the drive train components but said the transfer case seemed to have the most and that this was pretty common for the xi's. He also said all the subframe and diff bushings were fine. I have had the car up on axle stands and the differentials seems to be pretty tight, but the transfer case has a lot of play in it. I had planed on replacing the transfer case to fix the clunk, but it doesn't sound like it has worked for other people in this thread.

Since no one wants to do it I'm going to take out the t-case tonight and have an answer by mid next week. I have the exact same issue of clunking coming from the t-case when engaging the clutch. My local BMW tech also believes it to be in the t-case and I just replaced both front axle shafts which fixed nothing. With the CV's out of the way I'm narrowing it down to front drive shaft or more likely the t-case. I'll let you know what I find next week. I believe the t-case is chain driven so the chain could easily have stretched after the 130k miles that have been put on it. I also have a really annoying vibration that oscillates unlike the common "tire out of balance" vibration. It seems to be more pronounced when there is no load on the drive line. I'm hoping that this beat up t-case is the source of all these problems. Like I said, I'll post my findings in several days.
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  #21  
Old 03-17-2011, 06:27 PM
touringIsBetter touringIsBetter is offline
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What model do you have ? e46 3-series use a gear-only transfer case from New Venture Industries. Usually it's the planetary gears that go (the gears responsible for torque splitting). Please let me know what you find. I have a used t-case on order but I think the rear diff also has a bit too much play.
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  #22  
Old 03-18-2011, 08:49 AM
schjason schjason is offline
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I have a 2001 330xi with a new process NV124. I have it on the bench right now and will be opening it up soon. I'll take some pictures of the internals for your reference. When I took it out last night the front differential seemed to have about as much play as the t-case did (we'll call it 1/4 turn of slop). The front drive shaft u-joints seemed to still be tight but the t-case output spline for the front drive shaft had way too much movement (not spline engagement but bad locating bearings, I'll know how bad they are shortly).

I checked the rear diff for play and found none, it feels like a freshly built rear end, very tight. All rear drive shaft joints feel rock solid as well.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:37 AM
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Gryphon Gryphon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schjason View Post
I have a 2001 330xi with a new process NV124. I have it on the bench right now and will be opening it up soon. I'll take some pictures of the internals for your reference. When I took it out last night the front differential seemed to have about as much play as the t-case did (we'll call it 1/4 turn of slop). The front drive shaft u-joints seemed to still be tight but the t-case output spline for the front drive shaft had way too much movement (not spline engagement but bad locating bearings, I'll know how bad they are shortly).

I checked the rear diff for play and found none, it feels like a freshly built rear end, very tight. All rear drive shaft joints feel rock solid as well.
This interests me greatly as I look towards a driveline refresh on the Xi as it approaches 100k. Wife's been driving it since I got the ZHP and getting info out of her in terms of sounds/indicators when she's driving is like pulling teeth.

Also on deck for 100k : new auto-dim mirror, headlight lenses, cooling system( ). I'm interested in seeing what all new bushings need to be done and how it feels afterwards.
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  #24  
Old 03-18-2011, 11:37 AM
schjason schjason is offline
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Below are links to the pictures I took of t-case. The slop is extremely hard to identify now that I don't have the case rigidly mounted with the drive shafts on it. I'm going to try and put it in a vise to recreate the slop but as of now their or no evident failures (broken gears or bearings). There are needle bearings in the cover that locate each gear shaft and I have a feeling that the front drive shaft output bearings could be failing due to the wobble I was able to create by hand when the t-case was in the car. My BMW tech is out today so it'll be next week before I can get their two cents. They want to get another 330xi up on the lift to check how much slop was designed into this assembly by BMW but once again I won't get that feedback until next week sometime.

Keep posted as I will be solving this problem . . . there's no way I'm going to drive this car with it acting the way it is. Don't give up on bimmer, get it fixed! These are amazing cars as long as they are tight.

http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/...0747-Small.jpg

http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/...0746-Small.jpg

http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/...0745-Small.jpg
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  #25  
Old 03-22-2011, 11:47 AM
schjason schjason is offline
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After spending some time with each component of the powertrain (tranny, t-case, drive shafts, front and rear differential, and CV axles) I've found the following.

Transmission - Tranny is in the car and attached to engine. With it in gear there is almost no slop between where the input shaft couples with the engine (clutch/flywheel), through the tranny, and measuring from the output shaft of the tranny. - Good

Transfer case - T-case is out of the car. By clamping the output flange in a vise and concentrating on the slop between the input splines and the front drive shaft output flange I found little to no slop in this assembly. I did come across what seems to be a slight amount of slop between the t-case front end output splines and the mating splined flange. After taking a closer look at the output flange's splines I noticed there is some deformation. The picture below shows how the forward drive side of the gear has deformed slightly which could be causing some of the "clunk" along with the vibration. If this flange doesn't seat tightly in the t-case's internal splines then the drive shaft could possibly be wobbling reaching a harmonic at the speeds that the vibration is most noticeable. Why it would be an oscillating vibration is a mystery to me but I'll at least change out this flange to see what if the symptoms stop. I checked the internal splines of the t-case to ensure there was no deformation there and to my delight there was none.

Drive shafts - All of the U-joints were tight on the front and rear drive shafts.

Rear differential - The rear differential has a tight engagement within the ring and pinion and the interface between the differential and the two axle shafts are tight as well.

Front differential - The front differential seems to have some slop in it. I checked each CV joint (I just installed brand new front CV axles on both sides) and there seemed to be a slight amount of slop in each joint. I'm guessing this is acceptable since they only have a couple hundred miles on them. I will further investigate these CV joints and front differential when I put the t-case back in.

At this point I am focusing on the front end power delivery. With the new t-case flange for the front axle coming in I will put the car together and give it a test drive. I'm extremely skeptical that this will fix both the "clunk" and the vibrations but I'll know by the end of the week.

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