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Thread: How long do E46 differentials last?

                  
   
  1. #1
    Senior Member Zchild's Avatar
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    Angry How long do E46 differentials last?

    I can finally ask and answer that particular question. Yesterday on the way to church the answer became crystal clear. 281,503 miles of driving which includes changing differential fluid every 60,000 miles my differential decided that it no longer wanted to be a part of this world and went to wherever it is that differentials go to die. The car is barely driveable but the strong smell of fluid plus the smoke from the worn out differential tell me its time to shop for a replacement part. I found one with the help of the guys at Convenience Car Care for $425.00 and will be back on the road headed for 300,000 miles by the end of the week. Just my two and a half cents worth. Happy Motoring...
    V/R Zachary Pullins Sr.
    Florida Suncoast Chapter BMWCCA
    2006 E90 325Xi & 1999 E39 540i M-Sport
    " Vision without resources is just hallucination"

  2. #2
    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
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    Surprised you didn't replace your diff fluid at shorter intervals.
    When in MD I replaced it ever year. Haven't changed it in a couple years but plan to next month.

    The reason I say this is because a few years ago I noticed my fluid was gray and gritty.
    That bought me some time to get the diff replaced.
    ...steven
    BMW CCA #146825

    318ti.org | bmwcca.org/forum

  3. #3
    Senior Member John in VA's Avatar
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    Zach,
    What fluid did you run in the diff? We have 60K on the '00 and I plan to change it, along with the auto tranny fluid (GM unit, takes the Texaco juice) and fuel filter.
    John in VA

    '74 2002tii
    '85 535i
    '86 535i
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    '06 330ci ZHP
    '15 228i M Sport

  4. #4
    Senior Member Zchild's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by John in VA View Post
    Zach,
    What fluid did you run in the diff? We have 60K on the '00 and I plan to change it, along with the auto tranny fluid (GM unit, takes the Texaco juice) and fuel filter.
    Mobil 1 75W-90 was my fluid of choice in both my differential and transmission. It was recommended by Convenience Car Care. I should of changed my differential seals a bit sooner. I did have a slight leak coming from my differential that I was going to change next month. On the bonus side I'm getting a sweet 3.46 323i differential for my redhead. Happy Motoring...
    V/R Zachary Pullins Sr.
    Florida Suncoast Chapter BMWCCA
    2006 E90 325Xi & 1999 E39 540i M-Sport
    " Vision without resources is just hallucination"

  5. #5
    Zach,

    Sorry to hear.

    On the other side of the coin, replacing every 250k doesn't seem that bad. Just think, you'll have to get to over 500k before the next one.

  6. #6
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    I replaced my diff fluid every year with Redline and when I sold my E30325i it had 235K+ miles on it with no problems. The LSD still worked.

    I had about 30K on it and when we changed the diff fluid it smelled burnt etc. Since the car was still under warranty took it back to the dealer to have them check it out. They said everything was normal. I kept waiting for it to fail so I could put a Quaiffe in it.

    If you are doing schools or auto x every year maybe a better option.

    In my E I change the rear diff fluid every 25K or so and use the Honda fluid.

    Dave Apker and the collies

  7. #7
    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zchild View Post
    Mobil 1 75W-90 was my fluid of choice in both my differential and transmission. It was recommended by Convenience Car Care. I should of changed my differential seals a bit sooner. I did have a slight leak coming from my differential that I was going to change next month. On the bonus side I'm getting a sweet 3.46 323i differential for my redhead. Happy Motoring...
    I didn't think transmissions used the same weight. Maybe I never noticed. I use Red Line D4 or BG SyncroShift II.

    No getting around the seals. Diffs and transmissions seep fluid. That's pretty standard it seems.

    A Quaife is great on dry surfaces but I think a clutch pack LSD is better on wet.
    ...steven
    BMW CCA #146825

    318ti.org | bmwcca.org/forum

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