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Do the sixteen e-12 torx nuts need to be replaced when doing this job?
 

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You don***8217;t need to replace, but I think a good idea to have some new ones on hand in case you damage any of the torx ribs removing. I replaced all my axel bolts.
 

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I would check local junk yards. I doubt that’s a high-demand part and if there’s an E46 in the yard it might still be attached.

Edit: or any thread for an E46 that’s parting out.

Sent from my iPhone using E46Fanatics
 

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Well, today I took the plunge. I'm half way through this DIY. Thanks to all who post their experience and wisdom in this thread. Invaluable.

Let me start off by saying this is a tough job. It definitely helps if you have a helper and lots of tools.

I'll keep this short. I just wanted to add a couple of things that held me up and could have caused me to fail.

1. The E Torx set I bought is 3/8 drive. Great. I have a 3/8 ratchet. Not enough torque. Ok, use a extension bar. Too much play. Bottom line: be sure to have a 1/2" E12 torx or a 1/2" to 3/8" adapter and a nice size 1/2" breaking bar to get the torx off the axles and drive shaft. Had to send my assistant to Harbor Freight for the adapter.

2. The torx bolts on the drive shaft flange are really on there good. Be prepared with the above.


3. When attaching the diff to the 2 front bushings: For the love of all that is holy do not insert the easier of the two front bushing bolts first - I think it's the driver side, iirc. One goes in super easy but makes the other impossible to line up. Instead Insert the driver side (next to the exhaust) first. Then insert the passenger side. I spent 2 hours trying to get that sucker in. (It's ok to laugh)

I went with Poly from ECS tuning. I'm glad I did so I will never have to do this again.

Tomorrow I put everything back together. Thanks to Drummr8 for renting me the Koch tools. Old bushing came right out and the new poly ones went in like butter with the provided silicone lube.

Edit: I almost forgot - before you do any of this take the car to a diy car wash and blast all the dirt and grime off the underside. You’ll be glad you did.

Edit edit: if you’re by yourself I found an easy way to put the diff back in

Rotate it 90 degrees relative to the car.

lift it all the way up with the jack. Then Rotate the front of the diff onto the support and push it forward a little.

Then Slide the jack a bit and raise it all the way so the diff is level.

Finally I didn’t mark the axles or drive shaft. No problems driving around the block. I will update if any vibrations develop.

Edit x 3: holy cow. This makes the car drive like new. It tracks straight and doesn’t wander at high speed. I thought I needed new RTABs but now the steering is like new. I turn the wheel and I don’t have to fight under-steer then fight over-steer after changing lanes. It goes where I point it when I point it.

Wish I had done it sooner.

Edit 4: after a few days of driving I’m glad to report that the 3-2 downshift clunk is less but still there.
 

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I know this is not a smart question and I did not read thru all 17 pages but let me try my luck pls.
Can you loosen the bushing bolt and jack the differential as up as possible to get clearance to remove the bushing.... without taking apart everything and dropping the diff?
 

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I know this is not a smart question and I did not read thru all 17 pages but let me try my luck pls.
Can you loosen the bushing bolt and jack the differential as up as possible to get clearance to remove the bushing.... without taking apart everything and dropping the diff?
Nope. The diff is a very tight fit in the subframe and you have maybe 10mm of clearance to lift it up. This pic doesn't show how tight the fit is but it's all I have handy and it does show the two subframe tubes above the diff that would keep you from going up.

 

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Did this over the weekend. After 235k, the original front and rear bushings were completely shot, I could poke a screwdriver through the rear one. With the right tools, it was actually a pretty fun job. Used the BAVAuto front tool, and MIS rear tool. Bushings were out and back in within 10mins. Also replaced the gasket cover and oil on the diff while it was out.
Most frustrating part was getting the darn sway bar out of there!

For those who don't have all the tools yet, a set of goose neck and offset box wrenches were time/life savers. Also regular 17, 18, 19mm sockets. I only had long impact ones, wasted lots of time where they didn't fit.

Other advice, you'll want 3+ ft of extensions so you can get a nice fit on the torx bolts on the axles. The boot gets in the way when trying to go from underneath, so I used the breaker bar at the wheel well. Even so I stripped one, glad I had ordered a few extra. Also replaced the rear mounting bolt + crush nut, mine was all mucked up.
 

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As im getting ready to do this soon - the original post seems to have some broken embeds, so took the time and compiled them into this PDF w/ OP's instructions - attached.

Quick question though! I'm getting ready to do this job shortly, and am trying to figure out what axle screws to buy as a backup in case I knock them up. Putting my VIN into realOEM brings up two different axles, with different screws fastening them.
RealOEM.com - Online BMW Parts Catalog and RealOEM.com - Online BMW Parts Catalog

I believe it's the latter, but am not 100 percent sure. The two different screws are:

I'd ASSUME that it's the axle bolt, but any insight's helpful - The car's a 2002 325i auto sedan. Non-sports package, if that matters.

EDIT: Quick side note, I just came across this video where rather than dropping the diff, he removes the diff cover to make room... is this a thing?!
 

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As im getting ready to do this soon - the original post seems to have some broken embeds, so took the time and compiled them into this PDF w/ OP's instructions - attached.

Quick question though! I'm getting ready to do this job shortly, and am trying to figure out what axle screws to buy as a backup in case I knock them up. Putting my VIN into realOEM brings up two different axles, with different screws fastening them.
RealOEM.com - Online BMW Parts Catalog and RealOEM.com - Online BMW Parts Catalog

I believe it's the latter, but am not 100 percent sure. The two different screws are:

I'd ASSUME that it's the axle bolt, but any insight's helpful - The car's a 2002 325i auto sedan. Non-sports package, if that matters.

EDIT: Quick side note, I just came across this video where rather than dropping the diff, he removes the diff cover to make room... is this a thing?!
Get a couple of both. 1 size for the diff to axles, the other is for the driveshaft to diff connection. The driveshaft-to-diff aren't as prone to breaking b/c you have much more room to work, but it's good insurance.

As for the removal of the diff cover... I'd rather drink the gear oil than do it that way (also I don't think that you can do the front bushings unless you drop the diff).
Your diff is 18 years old, the gasket is probably stuck on there and needs to be scraped off (mine did). Applying a new RTV and getting it set properly at that angle sucks too. IMO It's wayyy easier to just pull the diff.

I've got the tools for rent or sale if you want. I just havent put up the ad yet. Shoot me a pm if you need 'em.
 
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