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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 02-03-2017, 04:55 PM   #1
WilloCO
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WTF front diff flange

So I finally got the stupid cheap axle out of the front diff today and pulled the diff itself.
My replacement diff is identical (aside from gear ratios) with the exception of the input flange.
The flange of the diff from the car is smaller and looks like a freakin X5 flange.
The flange on my new diff looks like every other 330xi diff I could find a picture of.

Any thoughts here? The old guibo is slightly smaller in diameter than the flange holes of my 330xi auto diff. I'm thinking it may be easier to find another front axle to match with the front diff.

Effing wierd.

Last edited by WilloCO; 02-03-2017 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 04:58 PM   #2
zander271
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Can you swap the input flange?


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Old 02-03-2017, 05:03 PM   #3
WilloCO
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Yeah, it's a pain to keep preload the same. Probably have to buy an analog torque wrench to do that.
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Old 02-03-2017, 06:56 PM   #4
Mariner05
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Are we talking about front drive shaft and how it connects to the front diff input flange ?

There was a change at some point, and early xi's did not have a Guibo at the front end of the front drive shaft (see Bentley manual section 260) where it attaches to the front diff input. Bentley only shows the early version without Guibo - did not match my '05 325xi, which has one. If you source a used driveshaft from an earlier car to match the diff, then be careful of possible balance issues as well as the diff input preload.

Wish I could be of more help,

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Old 02-03-2017, 08:46 PM   #5
GCoop
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My '04 does not have a front dive shaft GUIBO. Was it just the '05s?

Build date 11/03

Last edited by GCoop; 02-03-2017 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 11:01 PM   #6
Swiff
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Go to realoem.com and put in the last 7 of your VIN and then go to front axle and scroll down to the differential picture and get the part number. Then google the number and see who sells it. It may have been from another vehicle model (E90 for example). The 330xi have seen some different front differential part #s and different length front drive shaft for the 6 speed models.
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Old 02-04-2017, 09:13 AM   #7
WilloCO
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I called some diff shops and was pretty disappointed by them. They're all afraid of imports.

I've ordered a new small torque wrench so I can measure preload. My concern now is that the original diff has a shaft that sticks out to align the drive shaft. My new diff doesn't have that shaft...

Here's an example:

Last edited by WilloCO; 02-04-2017 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:17 AM   #8
WilloCO
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Yup, after looking at this a bit more I think the best option is to buy the older style drive shaft. I will crawl under and verify that the output flange on my transfer case is 4 bolt.

From some parts diagrams, there are two styles of the shaft. The 4 bolt was used on most of the cars, while the three bolt/guibo version was used on a subset. I suspect it was limited to manual transmissions. My new diff was from a 2005 automatic...
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:41 PM   #9
GCoop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilloCO View Post
Yup, after looking at this a bit more I think the best option is to buy the older style drive shaft. I will crawl under and verify that the output flange on my transfer case is 4 bolt.

From some parts diagrams, there are two styles of the shaft. The 4 bolt was used on most of the cars, while the three bolt/guibo version was used on a subset. I suspect it was limited to manual transmissions. My new diff was from a 2005 automatic...
I bet you are right about the guibo on the front drive shaft and corresponding output flange being for manual XIs. Know that you say that it seems to ring a bell. Mine is an automatic and is the same as what you have described.
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:57 PM   #10
WilloCO
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Yeah, parts compatibility checking seems to prove out the manual vs auto idea. I think I'll be ok switching to the old style since they did use it on them for a while.
Crawled under and verified, the transfer case does use the regular 4 bolt mount.
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Old 02-05-2017, 03:51 PM   #11
zander271
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WTF front diff flange

Weird, wonder why they used different designs on the diffs. What doesn't change is the AT front diff from 01-05.



03/2003 from



http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=31_0568



02/2003 up to



http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=31_0568



Regarding the different front drive shaft design. Looking at realoem the change was made in 03/2003 but this only applies to manual gear boxes.



03/2003 from



http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=26_0181



02/2003 up to



http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=26_0181

Last edited by zander271; 10-27-2017 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 08-04-2019, 08:37 PM   #12
wfx32
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Transmission: auto


mechanic here says this bolt is missing (above) .. this is the front differential flange, right? i am confused about the front drive shaft and differential flange on the 05 .. it doesn't seem to match realoem Front diff., components, all-wheel (31_0568)



it looks very much like the flange from this rmeuropean diy (above), but maybe i have a different type of front drive shaft?
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:03 AM   #13
Mariner05
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Yes, you are indeed missing a bolt. The rest of the parts scenario is rather complex, as you can see from the thread so far.

My first thought is to match the other flange bolts, reassemble, torque properly, and see if it fixes your problem (replacing Guibo, if present). These cars are now older, so without complete maintenance records your car might have parts cross-fitted - things that fit, but were not original.

I see my last post to this thread was 2.5 years back. I still drive the car, and it's running well at 205K miles. I hope to drive it another 2 years or so and get it to 250K.

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Old 08-05-2019, 02:52 PM   #14
wfx32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariner05 View Post
Yes, you are indeed missing a bolt. The rest of the parts scenario is rather complex, as you can see from the thread so far.

My first thought is to match the other flange bolts, reassemble, torque properly, and see if it fixes your problem (replacing Guibo, if present). These cars are now older, so without complete maintenance records your car might have parts cross-fitted - things that fit, but were not original.
thanks, that was my thought as well. i have all of the records from the second owner (bmw fairfax) but nothing from the first owner (bmw sterling). they must have replaced the front diff or front driveshaft and forgot one of the bolts. realoem is no help here, so i will have to try to match the other bolts.
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Old 08-11-2019, 04:30 PM   #15
WilloCO
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You have an automatic front diff, dunno what trans you have, but that's the auto. The Manual is different - thus this thread to begin with.
I would just pull one, go get a temporary metric for now, and order up the replacement in the meantime.
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