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      09-15-2021, 09:35 PM   #1
Nick.B
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Rant about working on a rusty x-drive from Montreal

So, after moving to Calgary, we needed something a little more capable than our two RWD sport manuals. After months of searching, found a good looking, reasonably priced M-sport 335xi, lemans Blue on Oyster, manual. Perfect. Flew out and bought it with cash. It had a few issued, but hey, it's a 10 year old car with 130k on it. I've done this before, or so i thought.

It's got a leaky oil pan gasket, and some sloppy front end parts. It went into the garage and up on jack stands at the beginning of August to address these all together. I figured it'd be easier to just remove the whole subframe and front end to do the OP gasket, since I was planning to change all those things anyways.

<RANT>
Control arm bolts won't come out. Nuts come off, but the bolts are stuck. Subrame is rusty AF. OK, I'll find a clean subframe at the wrecker. I'll cut the arms when it comes to that.

Tie rod ends won't budge. They're stuck to the rods. F it, use the grinder on them too.

I make a special tool for pressing out the axle shafts. WOW those were tight.

Cut the arms and the tie rods, the passenger spindle/strut fall from the car, even though the mount is still bolted to the car. The upper spring mount is filled with sand/dirt, the drain holes are plugged, the bearing has seized, and cracked the outer race, and separated from the aluminum casting.

Strut pinch bolts are stuck, as are the balljoints. Guess I'm getting wrecker spindles too.

First subframe bolt I try to remove snaps off just below the head. The others come out ok, but are rusty.

Cut the broken bolt off about 12mm from the frame. Drill it through with a small bit. Larger, larger, larger. It's a thin shell now. Get the dremel, slit the shell of the bolt. Pull it out piece by piece with pliers and tweezers. Chase it with a tap. It should be OK now.

Oil pan gasket goes unevenfully. Things start going back together, but I'm waiting on a few parts, so..

I start on moving the springs over to the new struts. Have difficulty compressing the spring enough to rlease tension. Eventually I figure it out.I get the split mount bearing off and find the bearing seal destroyed, and the washer under it rusted to a knife edge. OK. order more parts.

Parts showed up today. Open the box. Inside the baggie for the bearing dust seals are.... M14 NUTS? WTF?? The part number is correct, and the description is correct. OK, go to the dealer. They have them. Just 2. Finally I can get something done.

NOPE!

The strut mounts I have are wrong. They're too tall. This car is in a special group that uses a strut mount only used for about 8 months for one model year. I didn't see any differentiation between base and x-drive on Rockauto when I ordered these because it seems the entire aftermarket supply of these things has dried up, and they only show what's in stock. Can't get one anywhere, except genuine BMW parts from the dealer, FCPeuro, etc. Dealer is a bit more expensive, but comes sooner, and I don't have to worry about getting an M14 NUT in place of the part I want, so ordered a pair at $140 %$% dollars a piece.
</RANT>

So that's where I'm at. I'm hoping to continue making progress Monday or Tuesday, and get it back on the ground before we get snow out here.

I think I feel a bit better after ranting about it.

Anyone else had a similar experience?

Last edited by Nick.B; 09-15-2021 at 09:45 PM.. Reason: Spelling/grammar.
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      09-16-2021, 01:24 PM   #2
neilvan
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There's a reason many enthusiasts avoid Quebec and northern ontario cars (much more snow = way more salt).

Even for both my my never winter driven/low mileage cars the tie rod ends were still seized. Needed a propane torch and lots of patience.

For the front mounts there are 3 versions, Sport, non-sport and x-drive: Sport is 5mm shorter than non sport and x-drive is 13mm shorter than non-sport.
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      09-16-2021, 06:11 PM   #3
Nick.B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
There's a reason many enthusiasts avoid Quebec and northern ontario cars (much more snow = way more salt).
Yeah, I'm aware, but given the boxes I was trying to tick on the wish list, I couldn't be too picky about that. Interestingly, snow level is high here, but salt level low. Some gravel gets spread, and it never gets plowed. Big change from what I'm used to in Toronto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
Even for both my my never winter driven/low mileage cars the tie rod ends were still seized. Needed a propane torch and lots of patience.

For the front mounts there are 3 versions, Sport, non-sport and x-drive: Sport is 5mm shorter than non sport and x-drive is 13mm shorter than non-sport.
There's a 4th mount also, X-drive built after 2010/02. I'm not sure what the difference is. If I knew, and it was only a mm or two, I'd just use the older ones at much reduced cost.
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      09-16-2021, 06:46 PM   #4
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I wouldn't worry too much about the variations in the top mounts. They're all similar and they all collapse with age anyway but I definitely understand the frustration. Hopefully it will be worth it in the end! It's not as common for this type of car as it is on box frame vehicles like trucks but I LOVE fluid film. It's gross but it WILL keep your newly refreshed front end rust-free.
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      09-16-2021, 08:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by whyzee125 View Post
I wouldn't worry too much about the variations in the top mounts. They're all similar and they all collapse with age anyway but I definitely understand the frustration. Hopefully it will be worth it in the end! It's not as common for this type of car as it is on box frame vehicles like trucks but I LOVE fluid film. It's gross but it WILL keep your newly refreshed front end rust-free.
Looking at it that way, a 13mm lift would help a bit with snow clearance. I did get beached on the snow a couple times last year. Maybe add a small spacer under the mount while I'm at it?

Please provide more info re: Fluid film?

I'm planning to put a little silicone on some places to try keep various joints free from future corrosion to make this job easier if I have to do it again in 10-12 years.
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      09-18-2021, 11:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick.B View Post
Looking at it that way, a 13mm lift would help a bit with snow clearance. I did get beached on the snow a couple times last year. Maybe add a small spacer under the mount while I'm at it?

Please provide more info re: Fluid film?

I'm planning to put a little silicone on some places to try keep various joints free from future corrosion to make this job easier if I have to do it again in 10-12 years.
Fluid film is a flowing, oily undercarriage coating designed to inhibit rust. It's really the most effective way and the only thing I've found that completely stops it although cosmolene works well too.

It's great bc it creeps and attracts dirt and provides a nice protective layer. For trucks and anythnig with a box frame it's the only way to go. Since BMWs are leak prone, people generally like to keep them clean to monitor leak status but in a super salty area, I think it could be a great way to keep the rust at bay.

There are some videos on youtube of 1 year follow ups, etc. and the results are simply impressive.
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      09-20-2021, 07:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick.B View Post
There's a 4th mount also, X-drive built after 2010/02. I'm not sure what the difference is. If I knew, and it was only a mm or two, I'd just use the older ones at much reduced cost.
Ya the LCI x-drive ones are the same but with shorter studs in the top. Some early cars had a spacer so they had longer studs to accomodate; Those were phased out.

Edit to add oil undercoating (Krown etc) is a big help; I do it on all my winter driven cars too
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      09-21-2021, 05:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick.B View Post
Anyone else had a similar experience?
Yes, I have been there. You must soldier on. There will be more pain but it's worth it in the end.

Here is a link to my journey doing a full under carriage refresh and corrosion remediation on my 2009 335d.
https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1702354

Heat from the yellow bottle and multiple cans of WD40 penetrating lube where critical in un-fusing. Still, I sheared a subframe bolt, a few other random shears and a bastage of a time getting the rear axle nuts off.

Shoot me questions if you have any or if you just need to vent.

Last edited by TheBigSwede; 09-21-2021 at 05:16 PM..
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      09-26-2021, 06:36 PM   #9
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2011 335i X Brake Job

I feel your pain. I just bought a 2011 335i xdrive (113,000kms) Deep Sea Blue with Saddle Brown interior. Always wanted a BMW so I sold my Harley and I'm making this my summer toy.

I swore to myself that I wouldn't do any work on the car until October and work on it during the winter but I couldn't help myself. Reading on these forums gets a guy buying parts quickly.

This car came from Edmonton, and was obviously winter driven. I'm doing a full brake job on it right now. Zimmermann drilled rotors, Akebono pads, stainless braided brake lines etc.

Well Holy s#it are parts rusty on this car. Paint is good but my god the small brake components were rusty. The rotors and pads went well but the brake line removal is proving to be a real pain in the a$$. All the nuts on the hard line brake pipes are extremely corroded. I was able to remove the front ones after using a lot of WD40 and a torch. Turning the nuts back and forth until they finally broke lose from the pipe.

The rears is another story. I could not get the nuts to spin freely from the pipe. I broke one brake line and I kinked the other side. Can't drive the car now. Waiting for BMW to open Monday morning to order two new brake lines.

Also, there are two inner brake lines that are rubber that should be replaced with this Stop Tech stainless braided brake line kit. They are in the most impossible spot to reach and if those nuts are corroded like the other nuts, there is no way in hell I'm going to get those off. So I'm probably going to skip those two lines or wait until I drop the rear subframe.

I feel your pain. I think I'm going to by a Texas or California car next time.

Good luck with the rest of your project.

Michael
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      09-27-2021, 08:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
Ya the LCI x-drive ones are the same but with shorter studs in the top....
Edit to add oil undercoating (Krown etc) is a big help; I do it on all my winter driven cars too
Wish I knew that last week. Would have saved me ~$200. Oh well..

Some parts will be oil undercoated on this car before the winter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBigSwede View Post
Yes, I have been there. You must soldier on. There will be more pain but it's worth it in the end.

Here is a link to my journey doing a full under carriage refresh and corrosion remediation on my 2009 335d....
Once the parts came in it all went together in a few hours. I'm laser cuttig new strut mount gaskets tomorrow and it'll be back on the ground in the afternoon.

You did a lot of work on that thing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhh335 View Post
I feel your pain. I just bought a 2011 335i xdrive (113,000kms) Deep Sea Blue with Saddle Brown interior........ Paint is good but my god the small brake components were rusty........The rears is another story. I could not get the nuts to spin freely from the pipe. I broke one brake line and I kinked the other side. Can't drive the car now. Waiting for BMW to open Monday morning to order two new brake lines. ........Good luck with the rest of your project.

Michael
Sea Blue and Saddle Brown, nice.

Stuck hydraulic fittings are rough.

When I did the wife's clutch master and slave last winter, the fitting for the slave was siezed to the pipe. I straightened (bent) the pipe enough that I could spin the slave off the pipe.

Her previous car ('05 Focus Wagon) actually got scrapped because it's market value was less than the amount of effort that would have been required to get the brake lines to pass an actual safety inspection.

Her '05 built 330 has twice the mileage and a lot less rust than that Ford.

Last edited by Nick.B; 09-27-2021 at 08:49 PM..
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      09-30-2021, 11:14 PM   #11
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When I bought my first e90 I took a look at it and thought it was ok, paid and drove it home. Turns out the thing had every problem in the book and the previous seller didn't disclose anything. Almost went through with a lawsuit
but that guy got lucky cause I found a seller that wanted it (after disclosing all the problems I found). Following the sale I set off on an 8 month search to find one in absolutely pristine condition. I paid for a PPI, then spent close to double what I paid for the first one, and I have been enjoying it everyday going on 5 months now. Zero issues, and pretty much like a brand new car.

This is still an option for you, and its what I would recommend. Too often we find cheap, molested examples of these cars and then our love for them makes us act dumb and think we can rectify all the torture that someone put the car through. Maybe we can, but will our wallets survive it?
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      10-01-2021, 04:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fiasco View Post
This is still an option for you, and its what I would recommend.
Nah, I'm ok with the condition for the price paid, considering all the boxes it ticked on the checklist, and that it's the winter beater. Front end is all done. Will do the rear next summer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiasco View Post
Too often we find cheap, molested examples of these cars and then our love for them makes us act dumb and think we can rectify all the torture that someone put the car through. Maybe we can, but will our wallets survive it?
My wife's car is a great example of a cheap molested example.

It's an '06 330I Sport, Black on Lemon, RWD Manual, 189k. It was covered with BMW fanboi $hit, had a completely blown rear shock, and had numerous warning messages including the airbag system. It had been on the trader for 6 months because of this. Talked to all the computers, figured out the exact problems, paid $4k cash and took it home. Had it all fixed and cleaned up in under 24 hours without spending a dollar. (I had the spare light bulbs, and rear shocks on the shelf already)
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      10-01-2021, 10:09 PM   #13
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With that gumption and ability to rejuv/restore you get to enjoy the sense of accomplishment and peace of mind knowing how much life is left in each component. Keep it going!
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      10-01-2021, 10:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick.B View Post
Nah, I'm ok with the condition for the price paid, considering all the boxes it ticked on the checklist, and that it's the winter beater. Front end is all done. Will do the rear next summer.

My wife's car is a great example of a cheap molested example.

It's an '06 330I Sport, Black on Lemon, RWD Manual, 189k. It was covered with BMW fanboi $hit, had a completely blown rear shock, and had numerous warning messages including the airbag system. It had been on the trader for 6 months because of this. Talked to all the computers, figured out the exact problems, paid $4k cash and took it home. Had it all fixed and cleaned up in under 24 hours without spending a dollar. (I had the spare light bulbs, and rear shocks on the shelf already)
Wasn't that molested if you could have it fixed in 24 hours. Either that or it isn't all fixed.
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      10-02-2021, 09:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiasco View Post
Wasn't that molested if you could have it fixed in 24 hours. Either that or it isn't all fixed.
Wife helped me pull the rear spoiler off she didn't like. She then removed the residue from the spoiler mounting tape, then the headlight vinyl, some stickers, and the Roundel vinyl on the steering wheel, hood, and trunk, and the seatbelt "pads".

Corded rear snows were replaced with a full set of wheels/tires I had on hand.

Both rear shocks were replaced.

Wheel speed sensor was replaced to correct the tire pressure error and the stability control error.

Battery pyro charge connector was crimped tightly to solve the airbag/SRS light.

A couple tailight bulbs were replaced.

It's only needed regular maintenance and typical things for an E90 of it's age and mileagd since.

Maybe I'm more like the guy you sold your car to, than I am like you.

Last edited by Nick.B; 10-02-2021 at 09:38 PM.. Reason: Typos/ 'spelling'
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      10-02-2021, 09:31 PM   #16
Nick.B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBigSwede View Post
With that gumption and ability to rejuv/restore you get to enjoy the sense of accomplishment and peace of mind knowing how much life is left in each component. Keep it going!
Given the km our 'winter car/canoe hauler's have gotten for the past couple years, this one should last us 8-12 years. I'm OK with that.

I need to start looking for suitable replacements soon, as they have all been built already, since BMW stopped offering a manual in anything but an M, and the wife insists (as do I) on that third pedal.
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