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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Wed, Aug-09-2017, 09:21:30 PM   #1
NolliM3
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Default Differential leak

The other day I was backing out of my parking spot and noticed that there was a slight thump on the passenger side as the wheel makes the revolution as if a bearing tooth were missing...so I investigated yesterday. I discovered I had a leak by the output seal on the passenger side so, I searched the forum then, jack up the car and turn the wheel while I placed the uncomfortable mechanic stethoscope to listen...couldn't hear anything. Then, I wondered whether it's uneven surface of the apartment parking lot.

Now, my research revealed some refill the differential with 75w90 and add the Corvette limited slip additive; however, when I check Pelican to source parts, all they had were the 75w140...is that the new acceptable fluid?

Also, I wanted to replace the seal without dropping the differential; however, this diagram suggests that there's a lock ring at the end...research results wasn't clear on whether I can pull out the drive flange after disconnection to change the seal. This will be my first time working on any differential...so any tips are welcome.



Differential from the passenger side



the underside of differential



The drip overnight

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Old Thu, Aug-10-2017, 09:47:01 PM   #2
englishtom1596q
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Default Re: Differential leak

No problem doing it with the diff in. Undo the axle and move to one side. The flange pops out with a pry bar and looks just like the end of a regular CV joint. You can then pop the seal out and drive the new one in. Obviously you have to drain the fluid first or you'll have some spillage
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Old Fri, Aug-11-2017, 08:20:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Differential leak

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Originally Posted by englishtom1596q View Post
No problem doing it with the diff in. Undo the axle and move to one side. The flange pops out with a pry bar and looks just like the end of a regular CV joint. You can then pop the seal out and drive the new one in. Obviously you have to drain the fluid first or you'll have some spillage
Thank you Tom for responding...I had also found this thread where you and Nick shared cool insights: http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showt...ferential+leak

Also, I found this YouTube video so I share here for others:

I am surely glad that it's the passenger side; however, I shall do the drive side as well as change the input seal next month when I do the transmission overhaul. I must say I really appreciate BMW's clever design when I see how it all works.
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Old Sun, Aug-20-2017, 06:43:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Differential leak

Well, I was fired up to change out the differential seal and had gotten a 14mm socket allen wrench that Bentley recommended...then came the sadness...one cannot use the 14mm socket allen wrench because when one attaches the wrench, one discovers the wheel-well for the spare tire gets in the way. So, my dislike car emotions ran wild complaining that everything needs a special tool.

Then, I found Nick's thread and what he did...http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=304962 I ordered a long regular 14mm allen wrench from Home Depot (their online) to ship to the store. However, what I am not clear about is whether it's the 1inch piece used because that would create the same scenario as the socket Allen wrench...wouldn't it!
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Old Sun, Aug-20-2017, 09:28:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Differential leak

Cut a one inch piece off an Allen wrench or socket. Stick it in the drain or fill plug. Use a wrench on that. There are actually low profile Allen sockets made for this kind of work.
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Old Mon, Aug-21-2017, 03:35:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Differential leak

You trying to get the drain & fill plugs out?
There is a tool for this.
http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/...%37%20mm%20Box
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Old Mon, Aug-21-2017, 02:05:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Differential leak

Another thing to try is to knock the 14mm hexagonal stub out of a cheap socket, then there will be plenty of room to use the stub with a box-end wrench. IIRC, when I ran into the clearance issue between the differential fill plug and the spare tire well, that's what I did. I used a cheap harbor freight allen socket and the stub came out way easier than you might think - so this is one case where poorly-made tools can come in handy.
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Old Wed, Aug-23-2017, 12:53:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Differential leak

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Originally Posted by Jrrrrrrr View Post
Another thing to try is to knock the 14mm hexagonal stub out of a cheap socket, then there will be plenty of room to use the stub with a box-end wrench. IIRC, when I ran into the clearance issue between the differential fill plug and the spare tire well, that's what I did. I used a cheap harbor freight allen socket and the stub came out way easier than you might think - so this is one case where poorly-made tools can come in handy.
This.
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Old Wed, Aug-23-2017, 08:06:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Differential leak

$62.00 for the special tool ...my ass.
Drilled a hole in the spare tire well to access the fill plug...then foil tape to cover the hole back up
(on the race car).
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Old Thu, Aug-24-2017, 10:03:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Differential leak

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Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
Cut a one inch piece off an Allen wrench or socket. Stick it in the drain or fill plug. Use a wrench on that. There are actually low profile Allen sockets made for this kind of work.
Pbonsalb, is this what the low profile looks like? Home Depot won't deliver the regular long 14mm wrench until the end of the month, and here Home depot has what appears to be the low profile model; however, they don't have any measurement for me to compare and it's about $2 more...so I can cancel my previous order and order this one if it's the low profile. It needs a breaker-bar to crack that nut.

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Last edited by NolliM3; Thu, Aug-24-2017 at 10:34:33 PM.
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Discussing Differential leak in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)