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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > All-Wheel-Drive (Xi / xDrive) Talk > E90 Xi Vs E46 Xi



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      06-24-2013, 01:44 AM   #1
koffinb
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E90 Xi Vs E46 Xi

I currently have an 04 330xi 6 speed..I was wondering if the awd system on the e90s are identical to the e46s and if they have the same failing points? (axles cv joints etc). Are there two differentials also or is this the electronic system?
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      06-25-2013, 10:05 AM   #2
dsjr2006
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The AWD system is all new in the E90 and an AWD system cannot exist on a car without having two differentials so there are two. That being said an AWD system is more complex than 2WD so many of the same issues can occur.
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      01-09-2015, 02:03 AM   #3
Asianoak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffinb
I currently have an 04 330xi 6 speed..I was wondering if the awd system on the e90s are identical to the e46s and if they have the same failing points? (axles cv joints etc). Are there two differentials also or is this the electronic system?
So refreshing a very old thread.... I just got an 07 328xi coupe and similar to you I upgraded from an E46 with awd.

I do have some of the same questions though... Obviously there are two differentials, the transfer case is all new but the big question is what potential or unique issues do new Xi owners need to be aware of? For the E46 the cv axles were notorious for failing so I think that's why the op asked. I haven't seen anything really mentioning them as a weak point so far. Is there anything else to be aware of? Seems like quite a few front differentials seem to fail and the worm gear thingy in the transfer case. Anything Else?
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      01-09-2015, 07:30 AM   #4
ajsalida
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To be more precise there are 2 diffs and one transfer case. There have been a few isolated instances of failure of the plastic worm gear on the TC motor, some front diffs, a CV joint here and there but by and large the AWD system seems to be pretty robust. Lot of other things to worry about before this, esp on a 335 vs 328.

I won't say it's bullet proof but there are a large number folks who have put a great deal of power & TQ though the AWD (like way more than double stock 335), hard launches, many miles, without any issues. Also quite a few folks running lowered cars, slammed even, without issues.

I think where you get problems is cars that have been modded and beat on, neglected, and/or wrecked/curbed. But it seems this is a giant step forward as far as reliability vs the quirky older BMW AWD systems. As these cars age and head north of 100k miles, it is amazing to me, esp with all the massive amounts of power being run in many cases, we don't see more then a handful of failures. Since you got a 328 you won't even be close to putting those levels of stresses on the system.

Last edited by ajsalida; 01-09-2015 at 07:41 AM.
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      01-09-2015, 09:39 AM   #5
AdamN52
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From what I see there are very few issues with the xi system. When I was buying my car I was weary of going to awd because I figured it was more stuff to break (that said, I was weary of going to a BMW for that reason too lol)... but I had a hard time finding many cases of awd issues. Mostly the issues I saw were people who modded like crazy, so certainly not typical failures.

The awd components seem to be pretty solid. Just change your fluids every now and then.

EDIT: Also keep in mind that forums like this tend to highlight issues since no one comes on here to announce that their water pump *hasn't* failed. It becomes easy to start thinking that because 30 people on here have an issue that it means it's "common". It's a hugely skewed sample of people on here; people who mod are more likely to have issues, and people don't generally find a forum to announce everything is running fine.

Last edited by AdamN52; 01-09-2015 at 09:45 AM.
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      01-09-2015, 10:44 AM   #6
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Appreciate the insight everybody and certainly understand the skewed perspective the forums can give regarding reliability.

I was just leary of the awd given my experience with the E46's system... Replaced three front cv axles in two years on mine and it wasn't even lowered. So sounds like BMW has improved some of the design elements over time. Has lowering caused any of the cv axle issues like on the E46? And not extreme stance lowering... Just like a modest 1-1.5" drop? Seems like many more E9xs are lowered than the E46s so that's a good sign... I was petrified to lower my E46 considering how many cv axles I was going through at stock height with stock wheels.
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      01-09-2015, 10:51 AM   #7
Asianoak
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BTW... I'm certainly not new to the world of BMW... I should probably have looked for a new member introductions section. This is actually my fourth Bimmer. I've been the proud owner of two E46s, one rwd and one awd. I also currently own an '07 Z4 3.0SI coupe along with the '07 328xi coupe which replaced the'01 325xi as my daily driver. Huge fan of the N52 which is why I stayed with the E9X generation when looking for a new daily driver. I know it's less power than the 335 but with the Z4 I really didn't need mid 5 second 0-60 since I already have that engaging driving experience. Plus I've owned a turbo cars in the past and long term maintenance gets expensive... That's reality.
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      01-09-2015, 12:08 PM   #8
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I think the short answer is the AWD on e9x cars benefits from 2 things: one it was designed for 335 power levels and beyond. And then by the time it came out BMW had already gotten good at X3 and X5 systems.

If you recall there was no e36 based AWD system, and so only the very limited production 325ix e30 AWD car prior to e46 coming out. One might say the e46 is where BMW cut its teeth learning, and under pressure partly due to the rising popularity of Audi, VW, Subaru and others already established there. In typical fashion at least on the e9x cars they appear to have overbuilt it, and WAY over built it for 328 power levels. In some sense sort of the way they way overbuilt the N54 internals, where people are now getting 800+ WHP out of them with dead stock motors otherwise. In that case the N54 was BMW's first volume turbo gas motor, so they made sure they nailed it, and nail it they did.

The only thing I wish they had done with AWD is a more flexible TC, like that could be locked or set by driver, and a true rear LSD. You can add a rear LSD fairly easy but the TC we are stuck with. Still for as relatively simple as the system is, it is very robust and performs well. And frankly not many TC's are breaking even on tuned cars so really no pressure for anyone aftermarket to develop an upgrade.

Last edited by ajsalida; 01-09-2015 at 12:14 PM.
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      01-09-2015, 07:01 PM   #9
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You're definately right there... although compared to the E46 it's lightyears ahead in complexity. I swear, that system was so shockingly simple. fairly bullet proof as well except for the CV axles and of course the front CAB and rear TAB... but that's BMW in general.

I suppose you're right, with this being the third generation they've had time to tweak and perfect it.

With that being said I get the feeling the car overheard me and decided to throw a fit... confirmed today that a rear wheel bearing is shot and the tranny software needs to be upgraded. At least my Indy is great to work with.
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      01-22-2015, 09:49 AM   #10
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E90 is actually 4th generation.. there was also an E34 525ix. it was pretty quirky, it used an electromagnet to lock the transfercase and had some sort of hydraulic pump for the rear diff.

the layout of BMW AWD systems is actually still basically the same as the E30. the main difference is the type of transfercase used.
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      01-22-2015, 11:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine
E90 is actually 4th generation.. there was also an E34 525ix. it was pretty quirky, it used an electromagnet to lock the transfercase and had some sort of hydraulic pump for the rear diff.

the layout of BMW AWD systems is actually still basically the same as the E30. the main difference is the type of transfercase used.
Wonders never cease... Always learning something new on here. So fourth generation awd system for bmw and third generation on the 3 series... Good to know.
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      01-22-2015, 02:54 PM   #12
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I'd like to announce that neither my TC nor water pump has failed

That being said, I did have some TC whining at the end of 2013 so I had them replace the fluid. I also had them do it again in fall of 2014 (cheap insurance). Noise is pretty much gone or was simply the tires as the one shop said. I don't baby it either, I have 111k miles on the clock and enjoy redlining daily
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      01-23-2015, 12:06 AM   #13
Asianoak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccraig13
I'd like to announce that neither my TC nor water pump has failed

That being said, I did have some TC whining at the end of 2013 so I had them replace the fluid. I also had them do it again in fall of 2014 (cheap insurance). Noise is pretty much gone or was simply the tires as the one shop said. I don't baby it either, I have 111k miles on the clock and enjoy redlining daily
Transfer case I'm not too surprised about based on my research. Seems as though they are fairly reliable as long as you keep up on routine fluid changes.

Water pump... Well that's a whole different story. You must enjoy living life dangerously. I've always preventatively changed my water pumps and thermostats on all of my BMWs.
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      01-23-2015, 11:22 PM   #14
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Not to beat a dead horse but took the car into my Indy today and while they had it on the rack I took the opportunity to ask the mechanic a few questions and check out the cars undercarriage. Everything was very clean and solid, so much so that the mechanic commented on how impressed he was. He also explained that BMW changed the CAB design on the E90s to be much stronger than the older design and therefore they typically last longer.

Interesting tidbit, he said VW started using a design similar to BMWs old design and are seeing a huge increase in failures.
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