E46Fanatics - View Single Post - 3.38 Diff Installed, 4 hours my ass.... 1 hour install
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Old 08-28-2009, 12:35 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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My Ride: BMW
3.38 Diff Installed, 4 hours my ass.... 1 hour install

Hi all.... just put a 3.38 in tonight and I gotta say, we did a lot of work and it wasn't difficult at all. So for anyone who can put their car on a lift, go for it, this was as easy as putting an exhaust on.......

K for starters, I used this DIY


Perfect 10/10...... no roadblocks, no surprises (surprisingly lol), very straight forward, and thats that

In a nutshell... did a couple things different...

1. I have a TSE3, so rather than letting the exhaust hang, I simply removed the last two sections... made it very easy

2. Car was on a lift, left in neutral

3. Remove the clips on the sway bar, however didn't take it out, we just pivoted it down all the way, it gave more than enough room for the diff to clear when we took it out

4. Removed the rear suspension reinforcment bar..... took 1 minute, 6 bolts

5. Removed the 6 bolts per axle, took about a minute per side with the air gun... you can rotate the tires pretty easily rather than trying to maneuver around the axle

6. Removed the 6 bolts for the driveshaft.... took a few minutes since its a little less space to work in and a little harder to rotate

7. 2 bolts in the front and 1 bolt in the back holding the diff up, removed those in within a few minutes, then had to pry the diff off the driveshaft while we lowered it out of the car...

Diff off the car

Banged out the flanges, took a minute per side if that.... swapped them. Yes the 3.38 has a different flange....

-The 3.38 flange had 6 holes equally dispersed... so a normal 6 star pattern (think of a rim...)

-The 2.93 flange (on my 6spd 330ci) had 6 holes, but it was designed more like a split 3 rim... so, 2 were next to eachother, another 2 were next to eachother, and another 2....

No big deal, bang em out with a hammer, and bang the others back in

In the meantime with the diff off the car, we removed the back of the diff, cleaned all the sh*t out of the inside, sealed it, bolted it, and filled it up with oil. I used the 75w90 Royal Purple, one bottle will do the trick

Reversed everything and thats it...... install was very straight forward. Took about 15 minutes total to put the diff on the car, bolt everything back up, and take the car off the lift.

For all of you "thinking" about doing this, don't hesitate... there really isn't any hard part if you have the right tools... however I'm fortunate that a buddy of mine is a mechanic with a lift, so I give you credit to tackling this on jack stands

First Impressions

Right of the bat, the car felt lighter putting it in reverse and backing out of the garage....

When I am WOT at low RPMs, I feel like i'm in the gear lower...... so gunning it at 30mph in 4th gear feels like what 3rd gear gave me.

I didn't really notice too big a difference with the RPMs.. still drove at 35mph in 4th gear, however the car is comfortable in 5th gear at that speed as well. Of course the big difference is when I am going faster, so we'll see how I like going 70-80mph in 6th...

1st gear is very noticable, however definitely not neck snapping

I haven't done a highway run yet so no info on that

The most impressive is the 1st to 2nd pull when you really get on it.... 2nd gear is REALLY strong, so it feels good shifting and still having those g's pulling hard

I'll do a good sprint tomorrow on the highway

Oh and please check out www.car-part.com
This mod costs me a hundred bucks Found a local place that had the diff, had 70k miles on it, and wanted $100... When we opened up the diff, the gears still looked brand new. Coming out of an automatic, it would be pretty difficult to fvck up a differential so 70k for that is still nothing.

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