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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 08-06-2009, 10:42 AM   #1
TiAg2247
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3.62 LSD/M3 rear drivetrain Installed!

Finally got the car back after the rear drivetrain conversion. This included everything from the diff backwards, including hubs/brakes/arms/subframe - everything. While the whole swap is a straight bolt-on, there is a serious issue for 5spd owners. I had to have my 5spd driveshaft modified to fit with my existing 5spd transmission and the larger 3.62 LSD, which was a nasty surprise that cost another couple hundred. Simply using the M3's 6spd driveshaft wouldn't work either. However, this is NOT an issue if you have a 6spd car.

Initial impressions

Wow! First few gears pull like CRAZY! The car feels noticeably quicker, and the response is so much better. Ie. Before, at low speeds in 2nd gear it would take a while for the revs to hit the powerband and feel the acceleration. Now, just stomp the gas and it reaches the powerband MUCH quicker.

At 70mph I'm still just below 3500RPM. I was worried about excessive fuel consumption due to revving higher at highway speeds but I honestly have not seen a significant reduction. Yes, it will be lower but not anything that outweighs the pros of having the shorter geared diff.

I haven't had a chance to try the best feature of the LSD yet: sideways action. Still waiting on my tires to come in before I can safely exercise that

Update (AUG 28, 2009):

I LOVE the LSD! Holy ****, the car is so predictable when sliding it around! No more snap counter-actions as with the open diff.
Also, the fuel economy isn't much lower. Previously I would get 550-570km/tank, now I get 490-510/tank. This is with the same driving habits as before (maybe even more aggressive now lol), mixture of city/hwy. So to all you pansies *****ing about the fuel economy by changing your diffs to a 3.46, shutup and do it!
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Last edited by TiAg2247; 08-28-2009 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbworld4k View Post
Finally got the car back after the rear drivetrain conversion. This included everything from the diff backwards, including hubs/brakes/arms/subframe - everything. While the whole swap is a straight bolt-on, there is a serious issue for 5spd owners. I had to have my 5spd driveshaft modified to fit with my existing 5spd transmission and the larger 3.62 LSD, which was a nasty surprise that cost another couple hundred. Simply using the M3's 6spd driveshaft wouldn't work either. However, this is NOT an issue if you have a 6spd car.

Initial impressions

Wow! First few gears pull like CRAZY! The car feels noticeably quicker, and the response is so much better. Ie. Before, at low speeds in 2nd gear it would take a while for the revs to hit the powerband and feel the acceleration. Now, just stomp the gas and it reaches the powerband MUCH quicker.

At 70mph I'm still just below 3500RPM. I was worried about excessive fuel consumption due to revving higher at highway speeds but I honestly have not seen a significant reduction. Yes, it will be lower but not anything that outweighs the pros of having the shorter geared diff.

I haven't had a chance to try the best feature of the LSD yet: sideways action. Still waiting on my tires to come in before I can safely exercise that
Thats great. I'll be working on this swap, building the carrier and all the goodies in my garage until its ready to put in my car. Will be a slow, over time build. I was considering using the E39 M5 diff, since its 3.15:1, but now I'm seriously considering the M3 diff instead.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:10 PM   #3
DanFromTucson
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Is the e39 M5 diff a direct swap with the e46 M3 diff?
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:22 PM   #4
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Is the e39 M5 diff a direct swap with the e46 M3 diff?
Yes, same design.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:25 PM   #5
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dbworld4k: Awesome!! Why didn't you want to do it yourself? How much did it cost to install (without the driveshaft mod)

Hey AdamBath: what do you mean you will be building your carrier? reinforcing?
I have all the parts in my house waiting to be installed...
can't wait
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:28 PM   #6
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dbworld4k: Awesome!! Why didn't you want to do it yourself? How much did it cost to install (without the driveshaft mod)

Hey AdamBath: what do you mean you will be building your carrier? reinforcing?
I have all the parts in my house waiting to be installed...
can't wait
Gonna build it outside of the car, from the carrier up, as much as I can, as bolt on as possible.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:30 PM   #7
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I see! You're doing it on jackstands or do you have access to a lift?
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:47 PM   #8
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I see! You're doing it on jackstands or do you have access to a lift?
Probably jack stands or some other kind of improvised stand.
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kraimer View Post
dbworld4k: Awesome!! Why didn't you want to do it yourself? How much did it cost to install (without the driveshaft mod)

Hey AdamBath: what do you mean you will be building your carrier? reinforcing?
I have all the parts in my house waiting to be installed...
can't wait
I have no tools whatsoever, and the install cost me ~500 CAD. Worth every penny though!
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:39 PM   #10
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Including labour, what was the total cost of the project?
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:43 PM   #11
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Including labour, what was the total cost of the project?
+1 Very interested how much the parts cost you. I'mk thinking about doing the same swap on my zhp
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:44 PM   #12
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maybe now its time for FI..FIrst time ive seen it transplanted without additional power mods like a s54 swap or FI..congrats!
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Many330i View Post
Including labour, what was the total cost of the project?
Quote:
Originally Posted by john36 View Post
+1 Very interested how much the parts cost you. I'mk thinking about doing the same swap on my zhp
I sourced the parts locally for $1200 CAD. The swap and labor total was around $1800 CAD, plus $480 CAD for the custom driveshaft (only applies to 5spd cars).
Quote:
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maybe now its time for FI..FIrst time ive seen it transplanted without additional power mods like a s54 swap or FI..congrats!
I wish!
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:14 AM   #14
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1200CDN seems pretty good, I'm stoked to start this up. I could probably get the driveshaft done for a bit less, but we'll see. Another reason I'm doing this is the rear brakes. Right now my car has 325 rear brakes(because of a 325 rear subframe, previous owner did it for some reason, probably an accident), and I'd love to have the bigger brakes of a 330, but even moreso I'd love to have the bigger brakes of an M3.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:17 AM   #15
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I don't think it should've been more than 200-300... I think you have to change the u-joint too. It's a bit more than just modifying the length.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:50 AM   #16
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I don't think it should've been more than 200-300... I think you have to change the u-joint too. It's a bit more than just modifying the length.
Yeah, I know, I have a pretty good mechanic who does any customizing work I need, and he's very fair.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:46 PM   #17
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This is awesome! I had dreams of doing something similar, and I'm glad to see someone had the cajones to actually do it. My car was getting ready for a supercharger install (ESS TS2+) right before I got into an accident, and I was collecting parts to install a Fluidyne radiator, Cams, Active Autowerke Headers, hi-flow cats, UUC TSE3 exhaust, and new valves/valve-springs/retainers/etc. I cried when my car was wrecked. It was like my child; I loved it.
Although I had already reinforced the rear subframe, differential mounts, and upgraded the rear brakes, I love the M-Differential and this would have been the same price, or maybe cheaper, than having a custom Quaife LSD made.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:58 PM   #18
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Nice work, seems as the M3s become more extinct we see more of these being done. I'm sure it's tons of fun compared to before.
I couldn't do a 3.62 on my highway driven 5 speed, it be a bit much.

I have to wonder if $2300CAD for a used diff might still be too close to being much better/cheaper by going the other route and adding a new LS unit to a better matched geared diff?
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:00 AM   #19
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I absolutely love the 3.62. I think I would be disappointed with a 3.23/3.46 now that I've been spoiled with this one. I think the cost is especially worth the conversion for a BMW limited-slip AND shorter geared diff that can go to full lock vs. the 2-3k involved in an aftermarket setup.

PS. My car is mostly highway driven, too
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:08 AM   #20
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congradulations, unfortunatly theres still no cheap way 2 get an lsd into these cars
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