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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Wed, Jan-10-2018, 04:26:29 PM   #1
wolffbimmer
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Default Axle or Differential Play?

I have a 2002 M3 and I have some nice clunks sometimes from the rear end when shifting. The car has had the subframe reinforced so that should be ruled out. Underneath the car I was looking around and the right side (passenger) rear axle has a lot of slop and I believe it's causing my clunk. I can also recreate the clunk by going on and off the throttle abruptly.

See video below
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Old Wed, Jan-10-2018, 04:51:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

Most likely it could be your one front diff bolt not being torqued down enough. You may also want to check your two rear diff bolts too.

I had my car Vincebar and skinzíed recently and after driving bolts may come loose so you need to retorque just like you would do wheel bolts.

I was able to recreate diff knock on abrupt throttle. Now my car is silent!
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Old Wed, Jan-10-2018, 05:00:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

I've checked the differential bolts on the rear and the front one as I read those are common "come loose" bolts. They are good. It's not the differential that is moving as a whole in the video. It's just the rear axle/CV/output shaft of the differential. I have new axles to replace the old ones but I'm concerned it may be something worn inside the actual differential. I plan on popping out the entire output shafts and doing the inner/outer seal and slip ring.
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Old Wed, Jan-10-2018, 05:02:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

Probably a combination of everything under there. M variable lsd wear, CV wear, bushing wear etc. these cars can be quiet, but often are found to have this wear. Hold the hub and see if you have radial wear in the CV too.

My Imola 02 clunked horribly, replaced the diff with a different unit and fixed 70% of it I’d say. My 04 is clunk free. Also had an 02 very that was clunk free.
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Old Wed, Jan-10-2018, 05:28:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

normal movement imo, if that front bolt is not fully torqued down it will clunk abnormally
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Old Wed, Jan-10-2018, 06:02:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

It's crazy to think that play is normal but I've seen that now several places for just the right side. Is it possible to change the side bearings on the differential while it is on the car still? Maybe that is a bit worn too.
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Old Wed, Jan-10-2018, 07:41:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

Not really sure what would be considered a positive maintenance move unless itís leaking fluid. I had a severe clunk that I was sure must be the diff, turned out my front bolt was just slightly loose and the clunk was brutal. Tightened that back down and all is good


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Old Thu, Jan-11-2018, 04:05:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

I decided to go with the masses here and I ordered two updated/revised rear differential bolts and washers and one front differential bolt from BMW. Will be in Friday so I'll install that evening and report back. I'm getting a lot of different torque specs on the forums and various places. The rear bolts I'm seeing at 60/61 ft/lbs plus a 90 degree turn, then I saw on this forum 15 ft/lbs and a 90 degree turn. The front bolt I'm seeing 148 ft/lbs 128/ft lbs etc. Does anyone have a definitive answer?
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Old Thu, Jan-11-2018, 04:14:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

http://sawashie.free.fr/M3/TorqueSpe...SPECS%20LR.pdf
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Old Thu, Jan-11-2018, 04:25:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Axle or Differential Play?

Thanks a million. Saving that to my phone. There's a big thread on here for the DIY on these bolts and he had 61 ft/lbs. That's a big difference. Hope people didn't break bolts.
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Discussing Axle or Differential Play? in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)