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The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 09-19-2013, 03:42 AM   #1
steven808
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Loud "thunk", now running horrible, 2 days after routine maintenance

I need help figuring out what's wrong with my car. The nearest BMW dealership is 100 miles away and I don't trust the other mechanics around me. I live in Hawaii, on an island. So my options are very limited. I'm asking the experts here to help me diagnose my car.

I have a 2006 m3 w/ smg, I purchased 3 years ago and it's run great since I got it. I purchased it with 35k, and immediately did the inspection I maintenance with oil changes every year. This weekend, I took it in for more maintenance. No problems before it went into the shop.

So I took it in and got an oil change, Coolant flush, brake flush, power steering flush, transmission flush, differential flush, fuel filter change, a engined engine air filter change. I have 52k miles and did all of this purely to prevent any problems.

We'll I got it back 2 days ago and it hasn't been running well. The first "minor" thing I noticed was that at slower speeds, when I released my foot off the gas to coast, it would make a rough thud feeling, very brief and only once or twice immediately after I would release my foot from the gas. Did some searching and reset my smg doing the 40mph paddle technique.

That was yesterday. Today a "major" problem is happening. I made a u-turn and when I was accelerating back into traffic, I felt and heard a loud thud in the rear of the car. It felt like I had hit something, it shook the entire car even.

Immediately following that, the car ran horrible! I never tried to leave 2nd gear once that happened. I drove it 1 more mile and it's now parked. That 1 mile that I drove the cars running loud, like I have an open exhaust. But when I throw it in neutral, the noise goes away. I can Rev the engine in neutral and it sounds fine. But the second I throw it in gear, it runs rough, so rough it shakes the car as it drives, like a misfire. Shuddering when I press the gas.

I'm hoping this description will help you, help me.

I don't want to point the finger at the mechanic. But is there anything that could be related to the maintenance I got that could have caused all these problems? I don't want to go blaming them, but this is way too coincidental for it not to be related.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:33 AM   #2
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Just a few guesses....
Did they use the correct diff fluid? Did they refill the diff at all?
I'd check that first since you said that's where the noise originated.

You had a transmission flush? Was it just the transmission fluid or was it the SMG fluid?
If they drained the SMG fluid, did they bleed it?

Definitely driveline related if the car is fine until you put it in gear.
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:26 AM   #3
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Definitely driveline related if the car is fine until you put it in gear.
x2

A good reputable shop should be able to help. You don't need a BMW shop to narrow where in the driveline the problem is, yet you may need one if the SMG tranny has a problem.
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:34 AM   #4
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My immediate thought is the differential. I wonder if they refilled it.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:04 PM   #5
steven808
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Re: Loud "thunk", now running horrible, 2 days after routine maintenance

Unfortunately, these are all questions I don't have the answer to. There's no way for me to know what they did or didn't do.
I know just enough about cars to know when I don't know enough, haha.

I'll check the differential fluid now and post my findings.

How can I tell if they did vs didn't do any other the other things? I mean, I have no idea what fluids they used or didn't use.

Thanks guys, keep the suggestions coming. I'm glad you're all able to at least help me narrow it down to a drive train issue.

Is it OK to drive it to a shop or should I get it towed? Nearest shop is about 4 miles away.

Thanks!
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:06 PM   #6
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My first step would be to call the shop raising hell.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:08 PM   #7
steven808
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Re: Loud "thunk", now running horrible, 2 days after routine maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by XIinSC View Post
Just a few guesses....
Did they use the correct diff fluid? I have to assume so.

Did they refill the diff at all? I'll check now and repost.

I'd check that first since you said that's where the noise originated.

You had a transmission flush? Yes.

Was it just the transmission fluid or was it the SMG fluid? Just the transmission fluid.

If they drained the SMG fluid, did they bleed it? N/a

Definitely driveline related if the car is fine until you put it in gear.
Answers above.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Re: Loud "thunk", now running horrible, 2 days after routine maintenance

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My first step would be to call the shop raising hell.


The shop is over 100 miles away, not sure what raising hell will do to help my situation.

But if what their work did cause all these problems, that resulted in damage to my car. Legally, would they be responsible to fix it?
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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Re: Loud "thunk", now running horrible, 2 days after routine maintenance

You need to bring the car back to the shop that did the work. The end.

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Old 09-19-2013, 01:37 PM   #10
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But if what their work did cause all these problems, that resulted in damage to my car. Legally, would they be responsible to fix it?
ROT: If it sounds broken, don't drive it. A tow is much cheaper than any damage you can do.

I'd start with the shop that did the work, yet cause it is so far away tow it to a local reputable shop.

If it is found the shop did something wrong you could hold them legally responsible, yet that is going to cost time and money if they don't own up to it. A shop will be even less likely to own up once another shop touches it, and likely to blame the next shop. I'd focus less on who's fault right now and more on finding the problem and fixing it properly.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #11
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Re: Loud "thunk", now running horrible, 2 days after routine maintenance

Yeah, I just want it fixed and don't want it damaged. So please continue with mechanical advice! Thanks!
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Old 09-19-2013, 02:10 PM   #12
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Its going to be hard for someone here to pinpoint exactly what the problem is but it sounds drivetrain related, just wrecker it to a reputable shop and have them check it.
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Old 09-19-2013, 02:21 PM   #13
steven808
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Re: Loud "thunk", now running horrible, 2 days after routine maintenance

Yeah, I'm gonna get it towed somewhere. I did take a couple pics, one was from the driver rear, looks like there a bolt missing. And the other is of the differential from the passenger rear, looks like it's not leaking or anything and they use new bolts, so that's good.
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Old 09-19-2013, 02:58 PM   #14
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Welp, that's a problem. One of your differential bolts is flat out missing.

Now, I can't think of any reason they would have even messed with it. However, the old design bolts do have a tendency to sheer or back out. It may just be coincidence that it happened after you had the car serviced. Read this thread:

http://m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=345096

However, I don't know what other damage could have occurred. Sounds like something else may have happened as a result. Probably best to just take it to a shop, but I wouldn't be too quick to blame it on the service you just had done.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:31 PM   #15
steven808
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Could that missing bolt be the cause all of my "symptoms"? And will replacing it fix it? And what problems resulting from this could this possibly have caused? Would a missing bolt, make the fluid leak?

Sorry, I know very little about my car. All I know is I love it, haha.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:40 PM   #16
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Could that missing bolt be the cause all of my "symptoms"? And will replacing it fix it? And what problems resulting from this could this possibly have caused? Would a missing bolt, make the fluid leak?

Sorry, I know very little about my car. All I know is I love it, haha.
I would say yes that bolt is a cause of your issues. Without further inspection we cannot rule out other factors.

Without that bolt the differential shifts around under load definitely causing a clunking sound. There's not a lot of room for the diff to shift around, so I doubt the angle of the diff would cause any problems with the axles... yet the axles may have rubbed on the exhaust/subframe and should be inspected for damage.

Replacing this bolt is easy if it backed out (MUCH harder if it snapped) so I'd start there. If you cannot handle this, grab a friend that can. Once the diff is secured you could drive it to a shop to inspect for further damage. I would not drive it as is. If the other diff bolts snap off you're in for $1K+ to pull the subframe.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:48 PM   #17
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I drove it 1 more mile and it's now parked. That 1 mile that I drove the cars running loud, like I have an open exhaust. But when I throw it in neutral, the noise goes away.


I can Rev the engine in neutral and it sounds fine. But the second I throw it in gear, it runs rough, so rough it shakes the car as it drives, like a misfire. Shuddering when I press the gas.

Thanks in advance!
Is the "open exhaust" noise you described accompanied by the shake, like an actual note coming from your muffler, or is the shake/vibration that is making the sound? I assume it is the latter.

For the second paragraph, you say "the second" you put it in gear it shakes. I'm assuming you don't mean the second you start driving, but actually as soon as you put your gear selector into gear. Does it do it in reverse as well?

If the car isn't moving, and it vibrates as soon as you put it in gear, I'd say it has more so to do with the trans. than the diff. but you DID say the "thud" came from the rear. With the bolt missing in your diff. it MAY have shifted the casing, although I don't think it would be enough to actually interfere with the gear itself. If only 1 bolt is missing, I can't see just that issue alone causing your problem. I'm not a differential guru by any means, but as long as the others are properly torqued it should be "ok" so to speak. Again just my opinion.

Last edited by Firstboost; 09-19-2013 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:55 PM   #18
steven808
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Is the "open exhaust" noise you described accompanied by the shake, like an actual note coming from your muffler, or is the shake/vibration that is making the sound? I assume it is the latter.

For the second paragraph, you say "the second" you put it in gear it shakes. I'm assuming you don't mean the second you start driving, but actually as soon as you put your gear selector into gear. Does it do it in reverse as well?

If the car isn't moving, and it vibrates as soon as you put it in gear, I'd say it has more so to do with the trans. than the diff. but you DID say the "thud" came from the rear. With the bolt missing in your diff. it MAY have shifted the casing, although I don't think it would be enough to actually interfere with the gear itself. If only 1 bolt is missing, I can't see just that issue alone causing your problem. I'm not a differential guru by any means, but as long as the others are properly torqued it should be "ok" so to speak. Again just my opinion.
I don't think its actually the exhaust, I'm just saying that it "sounds" like it. I'm 95% sure it's the shake/vibration that is make the noise. Similar (but not exactly) to the shaking you'd get if exhaust bolts were to come out and you hear rattling and it's extra loud.

Yes, the THUD 100% came from the rear. It doesn't vibrate when in gear, it vibrates when gas is applied, aka moving. Not in neutral, if I apply gas in neutral, it just rev's smoothly. I hardly rev the engine, so I'm not sure if this is abnormal or not. But I did notice that there is slight hesitation when reving in neutral. Meaning, the rpm's drop about 150-200 rpm's before it goes up.

I'm giving you all the information I have, I'm sorry if some are unrelated or not. I'm not a mechanic, so I can't tell what is useful and useless information.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:01 PM   #19
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I don't think its actually the exhaust, I'm just saying that it "sounds" like it. I'm 95% sure it's the shake/vibration that is make the noise. Similar (but not exactly) to the shaking you'd get if exhaust bolts were to come out and you hear rattling and it's extra loud.

Yes, the THUD 100% came from the rear. It doesn't vibrate when in gear, it vibrates when gas is applied, aka moving. Not in neutral, if I apply gas in neutral, it just rev's smoothly. I hardly rev the engine, so I'm not sure if this is abnormal or not. But I did notice that there is slight hesitation when reving in neutral. Meaning, the rpm's drop about 150-200 rpm's before it goes up.

I'm giving you all the information I have, I'm sorry if some are unrelated or not. I'm not a mechanic, so I can't tell what is useful and useless information.

Thanks again!
You're actually a lot more informative with your issue than about 90% of people on auto enthusiast forums. Glad to have a clearer picture now.

I would also say it DEFINTELY has something to do with your differential or driveline. Sorry, I wish I could give you more help, but I don't recommend driving the car until you get this diagnosed properly.

Do you have the ability to drain the differential, take the diff. casing face off and have someone help you spin the wheels to identify any notchiness/chipping/broken pieces on the gear itself?

Good luck bud!

Last edited by Firstboost; 09-19-2013 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:43 PM   #20
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...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firstboost View Post
...
Why are we still discussing this? Stop posting, go replace the bolt on the diff! If you cannot do it, find someone who can or tow it to a shop.

Cross your fingers the bolt backed out. Otherwise you'll probably need to drop the subframe to extract the broken bolt.
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