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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 05-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #1
DKTim
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 148
My Ride: 2000 323i 5MT
My diff only took 1 liter of fluid?!

2000 323i 5speed 170,000km

Today I did spark plugs (NGK) and Diff Fluid (Redline) and threw in a magnaflow resonator.

Here is an album
http://imgur.com/a/GsEBT

The Diff Fluid:

I drained the fluid, only about 1 liter came out, there was no metal shavings, but the fluid was dark. It was still very clean, but dark. When I filled the diff back up I was only able to fit one liter (one bottle) before it started coming back out. My car was not perfectly level. The rear end was a couple of inches higher than the front end. So theoretically I might have overfilled it, but I was only about to fit one liter in. I drove the car for about 20km without issue.
My repair manual says I should be able to fit 1.73 liters.
The pictures will show you exactly how much came out...
Should I be worried?

Also I took some other random pics of my car, and noticed a power steering fluid leak which I will work on soon.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:23 PM   #2
DKTim
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anyone?
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
Alex323Ci
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that's about right. people often buy two quarts so they can use a hand pump on the bottle neck to fill up. so one is left with a little in the first bottle(because you can't get it all out) then swapped over to the 2nd bottle to fill the rest of the way.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:44 AM   #4
DKTim
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The repair manual states 1.73L that is what is freaking me out.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:59 AM   #5
kd7iwp
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I used about 1.5 L in my differential on a 2001 325i 5 speed. You've got the car completely level, the rear-end isn't higher than the front?
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:25 PM   #6
ChicagoRY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKTim View Post
2000 323i 5speed 170,000km

Today I did spark plugs (NGK) and Diff Fluid (Redline) and threw in a magnaflow resonator.

Here is an album
http://imgur.com/a/GsEBT

The Diff Fluid:

I drained the fluid, only about 1 liter came out, there was no metal shavings, but the fluid was dark. It was still very clean, but dark. When I filled the diff back up I was only able to fit one liter (one bottle) before it started coming back out. My car was not perfectly level. The rear end was a couple of inches higher than the front end. So theoretically I might have overfilled it, but I was only about to fit one liter in. I drove the car for about 20km without issue.
My repair manual says I should be able to fit 1.73 liters.
The pictures will show you exactly how much came out...
Should I be worried?

Also I took some other random pics of my car, and noticed a power steering fluid leak which I will work on soon.
First - it's a diff, not an engine that goes through a combustion process - so unless there is a leak of the fluid you shouldn't be depleting fluid over time. It's not going to evaporate. So what you take out, should be what you put in. If there is a big discrepancy, you probably have a leak.

And I think it's normal for fluids used for lubrication of metal to turn brownish over time. Occasionally someone that has a lot of experience can smell a problem with engine oil (i.e. coolant in it) but, those skills aren't necessary for DIY, mainly just party tricks.

And I think your service manual is incorrect or you're looking at the wrong fluid. This is what my Bentley says:



PS - listed "capacity" will always be a little more than what you can actually fill it with, since there will always be some left in whatever you're draining (still adhering to metal, etc.).

hth

Last edited by ChicagoRY; 05-09-2012 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
lab rat
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Your manual is wrong. About 1L is normal.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #8
DKTim
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I used a haynes manual, and it states 1.73. Darn, I shouldn't have cheaped out on the manual ahah.

maybe 1.73 is the total displacement of the differential housing.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
SD 328I
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Mine was 1.0L, but you never get it all out unless you remove the differential cover completely.

If you fill to the point it's dripping out of the fill hole, then you are fine.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
ChicagoRY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKTim View Post
I used a haynes manual, and it states 1.73. Darn, I shouldn't have cheaped out on the manual ahah.

maybe 1.73 is the total displacement of the differential housing.
Ya you're right, I have the Haynes too and it does say 1.73.

Speaking of service manuals, am I the only person that would pay double if the photos were in color?

And man would I love for these to be on the ipad or kindle some day, that would be handy. I hate having my whole laptop in the garage.
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