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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 10-04-2011, 11:02 AM   #1
phellk17
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Exclamation Front Dif possible Leak? HELP!

hello all,

i have a 325xi and ive noticed a lot of oil sludge and build up around and on the front dif. has anyone had any issues with this? could it be the seals have gone bad? anything will help.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:26 AM   #2
TiAgXi
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Clean up the oily mess perfectly and then it'll be easier to source the leak.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:59 AM   #3
BLAU III
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check the pedistal on the pass side. how many miles? have you replaced your cv shafts?
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:28 PM   #4
Kubica
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Probably an oil filter housing gasket leak if the sludge is built up on top of the diff and in the metal heat baffles above where it mounts to the pan.
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Old 10-04-2011, 02:06 PM   #5
phellk17
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thanks everyone for the quick responses..i have replaced one of my cv shafts and im doing the other one tmro (didnt have time to finish yesterday LOL) i have about 129k on her now..i will check the oil filter housing for leaks and i will clean it up nice so i can pin point where the leak is coming from...has anyone else had this issue before?
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:52 PM   #6
GCoop
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Originally Posted by phellk17 View Post
thanks everyone for the quick responses..i have replaced one of my cv shafts and im doing the other one tmro (didnt have time to finish yesterday LOL) i have about 129k on her now..i will check the oil filter housing for leaks and i will clean it up nice so i can pin point where the leak is coming from...has anyone else had this issue before?
Yes I have that exact issue going on as well with oil residue on the pedestal and bottom of diff. It "appears" to be gear oil in my case and I dont have anything on the sides of the engine or on the top of the diff as Kubrica pointed out could be related to the oil filter housing gasket.

What I understand from some of the folks that work on these quite often is that leaky front diffs are quite common. The video I posted in the Lemforder control arm thread shows an XI with oil residue on the front diff that is very similar to what I have. (7:00 minute mark)
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:20 PM   #7
Kubica
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^So it looks like a small diff oil weep in the video from the driver's side seal. I wouldn't worry about a weep like that- I wouldn't consider it a "leak".

Some food for thought- I noticed a small weep on the passenger side axle seal recently. I actually had the car on a lift this time and when I checked the front diff fluid level, it was actually a bit high- about 2 or 3 ounces poured out when I opened it up. It was filled in May while the car was on 4 jack stands of equal height. I think I slightly overfilled the diff in May and caused the slight weep- I think we need to measure the ground clearance of the front and rear jack points on an xi with stock suspension to figure out if the front of the car is maybe being raised a bit too much allowing a slightly over-filled diff. Maybe it's level (and should be filled to capacity) when it's on a lift.

Either way, my diff fluid wasn't low, and I'm not planning on replacing the weeping seal until I need another axle.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:16 PM   #8
markusvt
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^So it looks like a small diff oil weep in the video

Either way, my diff fluid wasn't low, and I'm not planning on replacing the weeping seal until I need another axle.

It is your axle. Now with OEM in mine, not 1 drop leaks out, I love it.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:15 PM   #9
phellk17
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thanks everyone this is all a great help im hoping when i replace the other axle and cv shaft the leaks will stop
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