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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 03-31-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
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LSD Install Prices

I've been trying to wade through the search results for some time now, and I think I'll just ask: What has everyone been paying for labor to install a LSD unit into their differential housings, and does that include labor to remove the differential housing from the car and reinstall as well?
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:05 AM   #2
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$3,000
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
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i would say $500-700 labor if everything is a direct swap. I went the e46m3 subframe route which has cost me $2000+ so far and my car is still on a lift. Most shops wont resize or balance a BMW driveshaft which make anything custom a costly option.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:21 PM   #4
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:26 PM   #5
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$0. Diy
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:37 PM   #6
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$3,000
Let me clarify: labor to install a LSD into the differential housing, once you already have a LSD unit

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Originally Posted by Snipez4664 View Post
i would say $500-700 labor if everything is a direct swap.
thanks. I've gotten quotes from some semi-local shops from $350 to as high as $1000. They're all over the chart, not sure why. So it makes me curious what others ended up paying in the end so I have a better idea what to expect.

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$0. Diy
Don't you need special tools to set backlash and fit shims, swap bearings and such? From what I've read it doesnt really sound like a DIY job.... Got a link?
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:20 PM   #7
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On a serious note you need at ask yourself if your a diyer or not but I'm assuming not.. Your best bet is to build a relationship with a guy at a local BMW shop or do d a mechanic here on the forum in your area to help you out. I helped my buddy and he did it for 150 it takes 3-4 hours for just diff swap shops will say 5-7 hours which is prob in the $600 range .. While your in there you will prob wanna do diff bushing but that's a bitch to press out maybe tack on another 100-150 for that...? More on top of all this if your doing the m3 rear end swap.. First step for you is to call some shops and get some quotes .. Comeback and we will say yay or nay.. Best of luck
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:22 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=Don't you need special tools to set backlash and fit shims, swap bearings and such? From what I've read it doesnt really sound like a DIY job.... Got a link?[/QUOTE]
Very easy DIY.. Now you need to explain what your doing but back lash would mean swapping flanges like from 330 to 328 or the other way around what LSD are you installing more info needed
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #9
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It is easy to do but TIME COMSUMMING!
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:24 PM   #10
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It's a pain to do correctly and you do need a set of enormous snap-ring pliers (Snap-on and Cornwell both sell them and I have a set... they're not cheap) and a dial gauge to check the backlash.

Getting the bearings off of the stock open diff is difficult without damaging them, and the bearings are impossible to find. If you get the bearings off and successfully press them onto the LSD and swap the ring gear over, you still need to check the backlash and adjust it with differing shim thicknesses. The gear setup should follow the gears but the LSD is not always perfectly dimensioned as compared to the stock unit. You can't buy the shims from BMW, so you do what diff builders do and buy up a bunch of stock differentials to harvest the shims. I have a huge collection of them and still had to have two of them surface ground at a machine shop to get the right backlash when I swapped ratios last year.

Some guys will get away with just swapping in the LSD and not bother checking any of that and they'll get lucky. Or they won't get lucky and the R+P will eat itself after 5,000 miles. I personally wouldn't take the chance... too much hassle just getting the diff in and out of the car.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...282&highlight= - shows the snap ring pliers you need to get the shims out.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:34 PM   #11
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Very easy DIY.. Now you need to explain what your doing but back lash would mean swapping flanges like from 330 to 328 or the other way around what LSD are you installing more info needed
I appreciate you trying to help but you're either not reading what I'm telling you or you know nothing on this subject.

This is what I need to do:



EXCEPT he doesn't check or set backlash, and he didnt have to swap bearings, which i understand are pressed on in our cars and have to be carefully removed so they can be reinstalled on the new LS unit.

So this is a bit beyond a DIY that I would normally undertake (and I've swapped motors before...)

And if you would you would see that I already obtained quotes for this work but they seem to vary significantly




SO.

Looking to see what everyone else has paid for install of a LS unit into their differential housings and into the car.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:39 PM   #12
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It's a pain to do correctly and you do need a set of enormous snap-ring pliers (Snap-on and Cornwell both sell them and I have a set... they're not cheap) and a dial gauge to check the backlash.

Getting the bearings off of the stock open diff is difficult without damaging them, and the bearings are impossible to find. If you get the bearings off and successfully press them onto the LSD and swap the ring gear over, you still need to check the backlash and adjust it with differing shim thicknesses. The gear setup should follow the gears but the LSD is not always perfectly dimensioned as compared to the stock unit. You can't buy the shims from BMW, so you do what diff builders do and buy up a bunch of stock differentials to harvest the shims. I have a huge collection of them and still had to have two of them surface ground at a machine shop to get the right backlash when I swapped ratios last year.

Some guys will get away with just swapping in the LSD and not bother checking any of that and they'll get lucky. Or they won't get lucky and the R+P will eat itself after 5,000 miles. I personally wouldn't take the chance... too much hassle just getting the diff in and out of the car.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...282&highlight= - shows the snap ring pliers you need to get the shims out.
Thank you Solo, great info, and on par with what I'm gathering from my research. Makes me somewhat nervous using a local shop (I live in northern michigan where there are no dedicated BMW indy shops) install this for me. What are the odds that any random transmission shop would have a collection of proper-sized shims they could use to aid the install if I'm not lucky enough to have proper backlash at first crack of the install?
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
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Also, if installing just the LSD and not changing the gear ratio, doesn't that mean the shop won't have to remove and reinstall the pinion?

And if I might ask, how does this look for a parts list for when I drop the car off:

* Oil seals
* New bolts for ring gear
* New diff bushings

Anything else?
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
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Correct, they will not remove and reinstall the pinion. So the pinion depth and torque don't need to be checked.

The only reason I did what I did was I had an installed LSD that was already properly set up, but I wanted a different gear ratio. The BMW shims may very well be used in other cars... but I doubt it. So I would not expect a shop to have them.

I didn't replace the ring gear bolts. My diff bushing was fine so I didn't touch it. You will need new oil seals, the old ones don't come out easily.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:28 PM   #15
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I think I paid about $300. That was just to install the gears. Taking the diff out is pretty easy DIY.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:41 AM   #16
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I would budget 1 days labour
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:59 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snipez4664 View Post
i would say $500-700 labor if everything is a direct swap. I went the e46m3 subframe route which has cost me $2000+ so far and my car is still on a lift. Most shops wont resize or balance a BMW driveshaft which make anything custom a costly option.
OT...cough...96-99 M3 5sp driveshaft...cough...
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:24 AM   #18
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I heard that it wasn't that easy. Can't remember why. Maybe the output shaft size?

EDIT: nevermind. I misunderstood. I thought you were suggesting e36 diff swap.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:38 AM   #19
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I heard that it wasn't that easy. Can't remember why. Maybe the output shaft size?

EDIT: nevermind. I misunderstood. I thought you were suggesting e36 diff swap.
Going OT...but the E46 330 used the same ZF320 gearbox in a US Spec E36 M3. An E46 M3 5sp swap...you swap in the ZF320 and the E36 M3 (96-99) US SPEC driveshaft.

I believe the 328 uses the Getrag 250...same size as the ZF320 I think. So it might work or at least be close.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:42 AM   #20
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Thank you Solo, great info, and on par with what I'm gathering from my research. Makes me somewhat nervous using a local shop (I live in northern michigan where there are no dedicated BMW indy shops) install this for me. What are the odds that any random transmission shop would have a collection of proper-sized shims they could use to aid the install if I'm not lucky enough to have proper backlash at first crack of the install?
Chances of a random transmission shop having the proper sized thickness C clip for a E46 non-m transmission??? 0% chance.

BMW does not sell these shims. they come only in a very small range; 3.3mm-3.8mm thickness.

BMW also does not sell the axel bearings; no bearing supplier will sell them either- BMW controls this on purpose- 2007+ newer cars have plastic ball bearings instead of the metal ones- the plastic units are not designed to be removed at all. Metal units can be extracted with precise perfect tools - If the shop doing your bearing removal does not have the perfect tooling...........you may not have any bearings/diff to use.

SKF, FAG, Koyo all make them for BMW OEM but OEM BMW supply only.

I Custom precision grind to exact needed thickness when building these units- the race floats in the e46 case and is not an easy chore to setup.

I use Giant German C clip pliers - Not the cheapest/common tool to find.

Which LSD unit are you going to use? Almost all of them require milling/clearance of case to install.

there is no OEM bmw LSD for e46 non-m that will directly install.
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