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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2001 330CI, 135K miles

Rear differential cover was leaking. More of a nuisance than an immediate problem to solve but it did leak oil on the ground. Tightening the accessible bolts didn't help. Shop wanted $1000 to fix the leaking cover.

I saw a video of how to replace the diff cover without removing the differential from the car. Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to get to the two last bolts with the differential in the car.

So, I decided to go all in. I moved the boat out of the garage and brought in the E46.

I removed the exhaust, driveshaft, shifter and differential. I am replacing the guibo, driveshaft center bearing, transmission mounts and refreshing the shift mechanism. I am putting in new bushings for the differential and using black Permatex to seal the diff cover.

I am 1/2 way done-new stuff is going back in/on. The worst part was the exhaust systems bolts. I broke 3 of 4 off. They didn't stand a chance being 21 years old and really corroded.

All of this really wasn't that hard. I take my time and take a break when I get frustrated. Videos, Real OEM website and the Bently manual are really helpful.

It's funny how a leaking differential cover led to a complete driveline refresh.
 

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2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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26,156 Posts
kudos on the maintenance and fixes. sometimes “while you’re in there” expands greatly what parts are done.
 

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2002 325xi
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Nice. Well I hope you get to enjoy a smoother Bimmer after this! A tip on exhaust nuts is to buy a torch so you can get them red hot. They often come right off - even when they're just shapeless lumps of rust. It's amazing and since I got a torch I have never snapped a fastener despite restoring several old cars over the years. Best.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice. Well I hope you get to enjoy a smoother Bimmer after this! A tip on exhaust nuts is to buy a torch so you can get them red hot. They often come right off - even when they're just shapeless lumps of rust. It's amazing and since I got a torch I have never snapped a fastener despite restoring several old cars over the years. Best.
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Update....
Changing the diff bushings was a pain. You need the right tools. I went to a local muffler shop and he torched out the broken exhaust studs which was worth every penny i gave him. I found a video that drilled out the studs. It took 4 hours per stud.

Got everything back together with the help of my son. I torqued everything to spec, waited a day, and checked it again.

What a difference everything made. Diff cover leak is gone, clunking from bad diff bushings is gone, shifting is 100% improved. It's sort of like having a "new" 2001 BMW.

.
 
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