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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 02-27-2008, 03:03 PM   #61
drbworld
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i just got back from the shop and found the problem. the diff bushing needs to be tighten with an air gun. everything is perfect now. No noise at all. but the subframe bushing looks pretty bad, should have to replace that soon if it makes noise again. btw. if your going to remove the differential, you might as well reinforce the subframe mounting points with tuner motorsports reinforcement kit. sooner or later, all pre2000 model will have ripped subframes. the kit is like a 150 bucks with some professional welder charging a few hundred dollars.
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Old 02-27-2008, 03:16 PM   #62
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i just got back from the shop and found the problem. the diff bushing needs to be tighten with an air gun. everything is perfect now. No noise at all. but the subframe bushing looks pretty bad, should have to replace that soon if it makes noise again. btw. if your going to remove the differential, you might as well reinforce the subframe mounting points with tuner motorsports reinforcement kit. sooner or later, all pre2000 model will have ripped subframes. the kit is like a 150 bucks with some professional welder charging a few hundred dollars.
dude, you dont have to remove the subframe to to replace the bushing, or drop the diff.
the diff sits in the subframe, and all thew suspension stuff is attached to the subframe, and that is attached to the body.
i didnt even remove my wheels, to drop the diff. hell the front diff bushings were great, i didnt touch em.

the only might as well that goes with this is changing the differential fluid, and i did that. it was still very clear for !46k miles, and 9 years.
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Old 02-27-2008, 03:25 PM   #63
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To Snikwad: It is not better to "use professionals", because local shops would never do it better than you. Why? I have friends in multiple shops in my area, they fix european imports and all kinds of expensive automobiles. I went around to ask their opinions on bushing removal, and I was shocked to hear their answers!!! None of them have the tool, and they all have similar ways to get them out - use a torch to burn rubber down, use sheet-metal-cutting airtool to destroy outer casing and knock the thing out with bruteforce. After that just pound the new one in as good as you can (yes, damaging it with excessive force).

To Snikwad about bushing installation: This is the part where you have to be careful and precise. If it starts going in on an angle, you will bend it and ruin it, and worst of all it could get stuck there really bad. The trick is to take a little hammer and go around the casing, just slightly tapping on it in even circles. Slowly, but surely it will start to slide in (might take you hours though).

And yes, I hear you all about the time spent doing this job. As I said before, I didn't have a car for two weeks. It was inconvenient and stressful as I couldn't find a way to get the bushing out (the whole rear end being apart and car sitting on jack stands).

About replacing all bushings: Yes, I think it is a very good idea to replace as much as you can, since you already doing a hell of a job removing the differential, etc. Two front bushings are only about $20 each.
man, im done fukin with bushings bro.. waaaay too much stress, for me and my help.
as i said, i ended up greasing the fuker and driving it in, we tried taping the casing with a hammer to get it straight, wasnt happening, it was almost as if the bushing was the wrong size.
we greased it, and drove it it, it was a little crooked initially, but we said to hell with it, we still drove it through, it straightened up and went home.
man i dont smoke, but i had to burn one with my mans after we got that bad boy in. Your thread helped a lot tho, and i think we would have been there 2 weeks if it wasnt for you.
you Pioneer you, hahah
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Old 02-27-2008, 03:26 PM   #64
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lol, i know you don't have to remove the subframe to get to the bushing, but you need to drop the diff if your reinforceing the subframe. i said if your doing the diff, you might as well save some time and labour by doing the subframe at the same time.
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Old 02-27-2008, 03:30 PM   #65
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lol, i know you don't have to remove the subframe to get to the bushing, but you need to drop the diff if your reinforceing the subframe. i said if your doing the diff, you might as well save some time and labour by doing the subframe at the same time.
yes ands i am saying its going to cost a crap load more time and labour to do the subframe. with a proper bushing press, for that particular bushing, its about a 4hr job. start to finish. removing the subframe would probably take that long
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Old 02-27-2008, 03:37 PM   #66
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any professionally can take that bushing out in minutes. if your dropping the differential, all you have to do is unscrew a few more bolts and tow it to a professional welder. it wont cost a crap more if your doing most of the work. i think is highly worth it. if down the road you do need to replace the subframe and can't get bmw to cover it, it would cost over 1k.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:41 PM   #67
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My manual 330i developed the thump at a 135000 miles and at 140000 the diff failed, a mess of oil under the car and metal on metal grinding. Dealer replaced diff (and bushes they say). At 150000 miles the thump has returned. Dealer now says it is the side drive shaft splines that are worn and need to replace both shafts for $1500. And then the main drive shaft may also have to be replaced... does not make sense to me??
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:23 AM   #68
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Drb, have you ever replaced your diff bushing?
With the subframe, don't you have to take out the interior too (seats and trunk), and remove all that sound dampening material before you can weld. Then you have to replace it?
Isn't that just too much trouble for something that simply isn't gauranteed to fail. Regardless of what you may think, the large majority of pre 01 cars DO NOT have failing subframes. Most people won't even be keeping their cars that long, so why go through the trouble?
In my case, my ENTIRE trunk is dynamatted. I'm not reinforcing sh1t if I don't have to. And if it ever fails, ill part it out and go get another BMW. That's if the insurance company doesn't total it after I bring em a quote.

Whatson, take your car to an indy shop. Dealer don't know what the fuk they're talking about most times. If you indeed need those parts, clicky my siggy, and save hundreds. It seems that they did something wong if suddenly after they swap the diff, all the axles attached to it go bad.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:10 PM   #69
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snikwad, i don't want to be rude, but you seem to be arguing everything. first, you only need to take out the trunk interior which should only take 10 minutes (that is if your really slow), and cut the top part of where the subframe mounts too. like a 3 by 3" cut. that way you can weld the weak lower frame to the top weak upper frame. if you can place a metal cover while cutting, you don't even need to take out the trunk interior. Any yes, i just replaced my differential bushing thank you. as for the dampering material, you don't have to rip everything out, just cut a little bit out from where your working at. and FYI, a majority of pre01's will have this problem sooner or later, weather you believe it or not. you might be able to prevent it if your make sure you , 1) change bushing when needed 2) make sure tranny and diff is running smooth to prevent hard knocking on bushing/subframe ( that means fluid changes too) 3) drive an automatic which would make a difference since people with manual tend to shift hard from first to second 4) drive like a grand parent. If you don't want to reinforce your subframe, by all means go ahead. I'm not going to push you, i just wouldn't want to buy YOUR car since it seems you don't care that much abouts condition. Personally, if i wasn't happy with my car now, i would probablly buy another bmw too. most likely another e46. and if you can pull off an insurance claim, great, i thought about that too, i was thinking of telling them i hit a big pot hole. lol
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:54 PM   #70
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The majority of pre 01 cars will have this problem huh?

Can you prove this.
Matter a fact, can you prove that the majority have had this problem?

Do a thread with a yes/no poll. Then let me know the who is the majority.
Do this on every BMW forum you can find.

What makes you so sure they will have this problem eventually, are you psychic?
You're just throwing out statements about this, with no real proof. Find out the number of E46 cars ever made, for each year, and find out how many have had subframe failure. DO NOT include race cars, or cars frequently tracked.

You don't have to buy my car, that's just fine with me. Plus I'm not ready to let it go yet.

I just love it when people on forums, find a problem that's unique to a particular vehicle, that some have had, and go around saying the MAJORITY have the problem, or better yet. The majority will have said problem in the future.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:59 PM   #71
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And I'm not argueing "everything" I'm argueing what you said about, if you're changing the diff bushing, you "might as well" drop your subframe and weld in reinforcement plates.

Since not many of us have skills with a welding torch, or have hookups for cheap labor, this is a very expensive, and inconvenient "might as well"

Its not like, oh my water pump is shot, I might as well order some pulleys. That's a "might as well"

Dropping a subframe to weld in plates, because u have a worn diff bushing, isn't a "might as well" that's a fukin operation in itself. The diff bushing, is a "might as well"

That's what I'm argueing. That's my point.
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:20 PM   #72
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Great DIY info. Thx
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:01 PM   #73
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My clunking noise is still there.. and it makes me crazy!!.. please help me.. i have replaced my bushing twice but no improvement. I have it almost 2 year and i hate it. Flex disc also changed.. transmission fluid changed. from first gear i hear a loud bang sound back on the rear end subframe not cracked. The sound is also noticable wen i release the clutch.
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:07 PM   #74
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Why did u replace the diff bushing a 2nd time, was it shot?

Go back a page or 2, you'll see a post about another possible source of the noise.

As I have said before, a shot diff bushing doesn't go "CLUNK" but more like a "THUMB" a clunk is like something slipping then catching, a thunb is like a heavy but light tap.

If u ever hear a subwoofer being unplugged after being turned up loud, that thumb is makes as it goes dead, that the sound of a shot diff bushing, it does not "clunk" if you have a distinct "clunk" sound, I wouldn't look at the bushing, I'd look at the differential itself, or maybe the half shafts.
Are u 100% sure the noise is from behind the backseat?
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:52 PM   #75
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thank you for your input. yes you are right.. something is slipping and bang catching his grip. Maybe the diff i do not know.. how can i check it..?
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Old 03-09-2008, 06:38 PM   #76
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thank you for your input. yes you are right.. something is slipping and bang catching his grip. Maybe the diff i do not know.. how can i check it..?

beats me, check that guys post a few pages back on the other possible source of the noise
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:13 AM   #77
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thefoxkazan, great write up man! I have a question, however.

I have a 5spd and my emergency brakes don't work right now due to my BBK kit in the rear. Will I be able to still fix it the rear diff. bushings?
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Old 04-04-2008, 03:12 PM   #78
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What is the out come for not replacing the bushing?
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Old 04-04-2008, 08:03 PM   #79
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If you don't replace - nothing will happen! =)

My car has been like that for 2 years and 25000 miles... no mechanic can find anything wrong with it, except for the inconvenience of having a sound while working the clutch!
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Old 04-04-2008, 08:21 PM   #80
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DBLAZE, at last I think I found the reason for that clunk. I get the noise when I am around 20 ~ 25 mph and right after I let go the gas pedal, I get the clunk noise. Anyway, it seems like a difficult DIY and the dealer will charge a lot. I was just wondering what happens if you don't fix that? Anyway, the noise is not that noticeable.
I prefer to spend that money somewhere else.
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