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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 03-31-2005, 10:50 PM   #21
sycE46
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External Torx Sockets

Not a very common thing to have in your tool box.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:05 PM   #22
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Stock Sway Bar removal.

picture of endlink behind spring & picture of Sway bar mount tabs.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:17 PM   #23
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hey thanks! I've swapped coilovers into my car, but never touched the sway bars... hope everything goes well for me tomorrow
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Old 04-01-2005, 01:14 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycE46
Diffs are cheap. They contain the final gear ratio. Easier to just buy one and swap it, then to open up the diff and rebuild it.

I understand cheap, but a re-built diff is always going to outperform/last a junkyard diff. Also you can use a stronger spring in the diff for a more robust posi-type action, and have complete freedom in gear selection, and you can stuff in additional clutch packs and so forth.

I haven't personally done the swap in an E46, but likely access to the rear cover for a fluid swap is about all the space you need to get at the diff to rebuild it and replace gears. In otherwords, their will be less labor involved.

To each their own, of course.

For instance, rebuilding the diff in my ford 8.8 takes all of around 30 minutes to swap the spring/clutchpacks in the diff, and another 30 minutes to remove the gears and swap them and set the backlash.

I have never swapped a rear (brake lines, sway bars, parking brake cables, lower/upper control arms) in less than 4 hours (removing + re-installing) and that's with some serious motivation to.
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Last edited by stickaz; 04-01-2005 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 04-01-2005, 02:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickaz
I understand cheap, but a re-built diff is always going to outperform/last a junkyard diff. Also you can use a stronger spring in the diff for a more robust posi-type action, and have complete freedom in gear selection, and you can stuff in additional clutch packs and so forth.

I haven't personally done the swap in an E46, but likely access to the rear cover for a fluid swap is about all the space you need to get at the diff to rebuild it and replace gears. In otherwords, their will be less labor involved.

To each their own, of course.

For instance, rebuilding the diff in my ford 8.8 takes all of around 30 minutes to swap the spring/clutchpacks in the diff, and another 30 minutes to remove the gears and swap them and set the backlash.

I have never swapped a rear (brake lines, sway bars, parking brake cables, lower/upper control arms) in less than 4 hours (removing + re-installing) and that's with some serious motivation to.
I may be wrong, and not trying to make you look bad on this suggestion, but Ford diffs aren't as involved as BMW's. I've done diffs swaps in BMW several times, even had a Quaife on one. Having read up on the different diffs ratios and gears and such. I have found that it's always listed that BMW differentials are very tricky to rebuild and set-up properly. I have not tried on the E46, so it could be different. But Roundel, European Car, and BIMMER all strongly suggest only a very good specialized Differential shop rebuild, or else it'll go out in a short time. BMW only sells matching ring/pinion sets(engraved numbers on the sets)so that their tolerances are exact. I think that means it's gotta be very precisely installed and back lash set. But like I said, your suggestion may be very correct.
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Old 04-01-2005, 05:31 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Alex323Ci
But Roundel, European Car, and BIMMER all strongly suggest only a very good specialized Differential shop rebuild, or else it'll go out in a short time. BMW only sells matching ring/pinion sets(engraved numbers on the sets)so that their tolerances are exact. I think that means it's gotta be very precisely installed and back lash set. But like I said, your suggestion may be very correct.
Differential rebuilds are always like that. This isn't a water pump replacement procedure, a more appropriate analogy is replacing a rod. You don't just slap the rod in there, you have to make sure it's straight on several axis', it may need re-machining, and you may need to install oversized bearings if you had to machine some material off to bring the rod end back to spec.

In any event, a dial caliper is part of the procedure for any make I'm aware of so that might be why hobbyists are asked to pass on it unless they know what they're doing--- But I don't think that just because there is a propeller on the hood that the differential is more complicated than anyone else's.

I could be wrong, I've never had one apart. I should ask the shop that did my last rear if they ever work on BMW's. I'm betting they do.
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Old 04-11-2005, 02:43 AM   #27
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I revised my DIY swap. Also include is a lot of e46 final drive ratio information, effects on top speed, BMW part #s, and other random stuff.

http://www.bokchoys.com/differential/

enjoy. Let me know if there's something you want me to add.
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Old 04-16-2005, 02:22 PM   #28
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Stupid question, besides the actual 3.46 diff, what other parts do I need?

Also, I have a 04 6 Speed MT, I can put any old 3.46 diff from an E46 AT?
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:19 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sycE46
I revised my DIY swap. Also include is a lot of e46 final drive ratio information, effects on top speed, BMW part #s, and other random stuff.

http://www.bokchoys.com/differential/

enjoy. Let me know if there's something you want me to add.
I did the DIY swap in my 328i today and followed your directions. They were spot on. My buddy said the same thing. Thanks for taking the time to write it up, because it was really helpful.

I think it took my buddy and I about 5 hours of real work. I stopped for lunch and the Canadian Grand Prix in the middle of the job. Plus a trip to Sears for a 6" socket extension. This thing is worth it's weight in gold for the diff swap. Perhaps most other people already have one, but I didn't, and it was immediately obvious to me that having one would make the job far easier. And it did. I might add that to your recommended tools list, but again, most people probably already have one.

Thanks again.

And I agree with everyone else's post-install reviews. I like the car a lot with this gearing. It'll take me a while to get used to how short 3rd gear is, but it's worth it for me.
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Old 06-13-2005, 01:53 PM   #30
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how do you know which diff you have already?
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Old 06-13-2005, 03:08 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by 2K5 325i
how do you know which diff you have already?
I'm too lazy to look, but on page 1 someone laid out pretty nicely which differential comes with with model car (based on transmission type as well). I went from 2.93 to 3.46.
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:02 PM   #32
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Very good info, thanks........
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Old 06-14-2005, 02:11 PM   #33
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Question

Will a diff from a Xi work in my Ci????????
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Old 07-31-2005, 11:34 AM   #34
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Is there a DIY for a gear & pinion swap anywhere?
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:07 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2K5 325i
how do you know which diff you have already?
http://www.bokchoys.com/differential/GearRatios.htm

if you have a manual tranny, look at the "Final Drive" column. Otherwise, the auto tranny column.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:08 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by pwraudio1
Will a diff from a Xi work in my Ci????????
should work. Someone on the forum used an XI diff on his non-XI e46.
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Old 07-31-2005, 12:19 PM   #37
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damn, as soon as i get my wheels, i'll start saving for a diff.

this sounds so sweet.
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:21 PM   #38
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diff flange

how do you reinstall the diff flange? it came off and now i cant get it back on all the way?
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Old 12-28-2005, 10:24 PM   #39
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Thank you! Did the diff swap today and your write up was very helpful! Justin
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Old 12-31-2005, 02:39 PM   #40
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Thank you! Did the diff swap today and your write up was very helpful! Justin
I'm glad this write up has helped out a lot of people.
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