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Old 03-25-2010, 09:20 PM   #1
tdubb1234
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rear differential leaking

I took my car to fremont bmw and took a look at the underside. The mechanic said there is a rear differential leak and need to take it apart and replace the parts etc... here is the pic I saw under the car.

the parts and labor is like $1300. I am not seeing any leak where I park my car. but it is definitely showing a leak there.

any advice?
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:23 PM   #2
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i cant tell the source of the leak but it looks like the front seal where the diff connects to it. Wouldn't be an easy diy
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:25 PM   #3
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the mechanic said he has to take it apart and replace seals. about 5 hours labor or something like that.
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:26 PM   #4
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honestly...sounds about right.
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:33 PM   #5
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Looks like a leak from the input shaft(as the output shafts look very clean), probably a bad input bearing or a seal.
Anyway, $1300 is WAAAAYYYY to much money for this. A brand new diff isnt even that much.
If you dont have much time to spare, you should just buy a used but good diff, even on this board, for like 300-450 and replace it, then look into the old one. If you have lotsa time to spare, you should take it out and replace the bearing yourself. See for yourself, but whatever you do, DO NOT pay$1300 to anyone for that job.
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:40 PM   #6
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couldnt that just be a diff seal? $350 done?
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:52 PM   #7
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who can do this other than dealer?
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:01 PM   #8
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Anybody but the dealership, especially out of warranty.

Find a local BMW Indy shop in your area and get a quote from them. As an example, my local Indy shop only works on BMWs, offers me superior service and at half the price of my dealership.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:29 PM   #9
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www.bimrs.org look there for a good local indy shop. It shouldn't cost nearly that much. You should NEVER, NEVER NEVER NEVER take your car to get worked on at the stealership if you're outside of warranty.

And that thing looks like it's leaking quite a bit, I can't believe you didn't notice any oil stains...
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:31 PM   #10
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you could buy a used diff from a junk yard for about $1000 less.. then find a place to install or diy
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:11 AM   #11
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I have a 3.23 diff for sale if you are looking for a nice upgrade. Has about 75K miles on it. Can get it out to CA for around $400.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:42 PM   #12
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Don't pay over $300 for a used diff!
Do yourself a favour, and grab a 3.46
http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=e46...&_sop=15&_sc=1
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:25 PM   #13
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yes looks like the front input shaft seal. this isn't that easy. but like you've heard the whole diff needs to be taken out and then put back in after the seal changed. but for 5hrs of labor x $120 hr that's only $600. so where this dealer is charging you another $500 for parts is

you have a zhp and from the cover it appears to be a manual so a 3.07 ratio. you might if you want more performance consider a used lower diff ratio(higher number) which on a 6 speed works well. it will be much cheaper overall and most indy shops can do it for around 3-4hrs labor.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:39 PM   #14
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This is why people don't buy these cars because they pay these retarded prices for sh!t. You have a ZHP and hopefully it's a 6spd. Do yourself a favor and buy a used diff (3.38 or 3.46) and DIY. It isn't hard. I did mine (3.38) in 4-5hours. Total cost with my trade in of the old diff to the junkyard.........................$75!!!!! And it is faster and more responsive. Just DIY and tell them no thanks.
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:37 PM   #15
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where can i get a used differential? or new? how much is it?
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:37 PM   #16
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just check ebay. Just do a search for bmw 3.46 or bmw 3.38 and they will pop up. I found mine on ebay but realized the shop selling it was 10 miles from my place (doh) so I went there and was able to buy it for $175 and then return my 2.93 unit for a $100 credit. Now that was luck of course but you should be able to get one shipped to you for under $300. BTW the difference in acceleration and response is nice.
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:20 PM   #17
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdubb1234 View Post
where can i get a used differential? or new? how much is it?
member Countdownbmw has a listing for some in the Classifieds-'Engine & Performance' section. He ships at a low cost too. The 3.38 will have the larger flanges so you don't need to swap anything.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:44 PM   #19
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It def. looks like the pinion seal (input seal, whatever you want to call it). I replaced this on my M3 about 4-5 months ago, the seal its self was like 43 dollars. It took me about 6-7 hours to do the job and that was with a lift. If you are not mechanically inclined at all, or are only just beginning to do D.I.Y. work do not attempt to do this as you will have to drop sections 1 &2 of the exhaust, the heat shields and the driveshaft and if you dont tighten the big 36mm bolt in the diff that goes on top of the seal (I can't remember for the life of me what it is called) just right it will f everything up in there. Otherwise, take it to a good indy shop and have them do it. Option 2 is pretty simple, just leave it be and get under there like once a month and top off the fluid in the diff as long as it stays a nice slow leak (not leaving anything on the ground).
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 330ciandr6 View Post
i cant tell the source of the leak but it looks like the front seal where the diff connects to it. Wouldn't be an easy diy
Are u talking about the Pinion Seal? That will require remove of the Ring Gear and the Carrier.

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