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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-16-2008, 07:04 PM
irrogical irrogical is offline
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differential output shaft seal replacement?

i did 'inspection ii' yesterday afternoon, and found that i need a new differential output shaft seal. (there is dripping on the bottom of the differential between the case and the dust shields on the output shaft.) anyone have experience pulling these apart? how likely is it i have scored the shaft? there is no puddle on the garage floor, so i am a bit surprised i found any evidence of dripping.

i am not sure if i want to do this myself, or send it out to someone. conferring with mr bentley gives me the impression its a fair amount of work (331-9). unfortunately the leak is on the left side, so the exhaust is in the way too. some items that concern me:
- pulling the output shaft by prying with a wooden dowel
- the seal puller, which looks more like a bearing puller
- the seal drift
- on shaft installation, how do i know the snap ring has engaged?

on removing/ installing the shaft, how difficult is this really? the installation instructions only say to push in by hand. what is the snap ring (dis) engaging? is there obvious feedback when the ring comes out? and goes back in? should i rotate the output shaft to pry at different locations around the circle? if rotating is ok, can i use the other wheel to do the rotating?

in the book, the seal puller looks like a regular gear puller. whats the difference? tischer's catalog does not have seem to have the tools.

the seal drift looks like a bell with piece of pipe in the middle. im guessing the pipe in the center is for alignment. any comments or cautions about using the old seal with a piece of wood across it to hammer the new seal in place?

any guidance the brain trust can offer is appreciated
--roger
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  #2  
Old 11-16-2008, 07:14 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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I paid my mechanic to swap mine and make sure the seals were all good. It's a heavy part to deal with solo and the couple hours of labor I paid for saved me tons of hassle. But, if you're up for reading more to decide, here you go...

You will need to pull the diff to do this work...
http://www.bokchoys.com/differential/diy_diff.htm

There's a huge thread at Fanatics on diff stuff...
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...t=46+diff+swap

And here's a thread about swapping a 3.46, which includes info about flange swap...
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...t=46+diff+swap
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2008, 07:14 PM
irrogical irrogical is offline
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oh yeah, what size are those nuts on the drive axle? e-10? e-12?
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  #4  
Old 12-02-2008, 02:44 PM
irrogical irrogical is offline
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lessons learned -

those are e-12 heads on the drive axle bolts;
the muffler is a royal nuisance, probably should have removed it;
i did remove the anti-sway bar, its an 18mm head on the bolt you can not see without a mirror (use a deep socket or short extension);
you must have a transfer pump to fill the diff with oil;
it is possible to do the change with the diff still installed (contrary to implication of post 2's references);
the seal has a metal core, and an embedded spring to hold the center closed onto the shaft part of the output shaft;
i could not find a simple way to use a puller on the seal, so levered it out (which is how i learned about the spring after it hit me);
using the old seal as a drift for installation seemed to work ok;
i needed a long lever to extract the output shaft (24" bar);
i needed a hammer to get the output shaft back in (and a block of wood)

not specifically related to the diff, but those inverted torx bolts are a nuisance

--roger
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2008, 09:40 AM
blucaller blucaller is offline
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I've been looking to do this since I swapped my diff to a 3.46. I've already decided just to pay to get it done.

Is this the part you purchased?

Differential Output Flange Seals
33-10-7-505-604-M104
Differential Output Flange Seal, BMW E46 3 Series, All Except M3 (1999-05), Each
Brand: CFW-Freudenberg

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/cata...pg4.htm#item25
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2008, 09:09 AM
irrogical irrogical is offline
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i got the seal's part number from real oem off the diagram. i do not have it (the part number) handy now. will try to remember to look when i go home tonight.

it took me ~5 hours. if you have a friend to help you, it will go much quicker. i spent a bucketfull of my time crawling out from under the car to look for a socket or whatever else i put down and could not see anymore. the other time sink is brakes on/ torque/ brakes off/ rotate repeated 12 times. just having a friend to work the brake and hold tools would be a great help.

do this in the daylight, or have some lamps around to light up the work area. it is dark underneath the car. the right side should be far far easier than the left since there is no muffler in way.

--roger
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2008, 03:44 PM
blucaller blucaller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irrogical View Post
i got the seal's part number from real oem off the diagram. i do not have it (the part number) handy now. will try to remember to look when i go home tonight.

it took me ~5 hours. if you have a friend to help you, it will go much quicker. i spent a bucketfull of my time crawling out from under the car to look for a socket or whatever else i put down and could not see anymore. the other time sink is brakes on/ torque/ brakes off/ rotate repeated 12 times. just having a friend to work the brake and hold tools would be a great help.

do this in the daylight, or have some lamps around to light up the work area. it is dark underneath the car. the right side should be far far easier than the left since there is no muffler in way.

--roger
Yeah, I swapped to the 3.46 diff myself, so I know how crazy it gets under there. I was going to have the shop do this, but I misheard their quote. I think I'll try this.

What did you mean when you couldn't use the seal puller and "levered" it out?
What did you actually use to pull the seal?
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  #8  
Old 12-23-2008, 11:27 AM
irrogical irrogical is offline
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for a 2003 325i with automatic (i do not know my gear ratio), the bmw part number - 33 10 7 505 604

i ended up using a pry bar to lever out the seal. there was enough room to go around a portion of the rim levering against the edge of the case with the tip of the pry bar under the seal. it was a pain, but without the special tool i figured that was my best choice. you, having pulled the diff once, have the advantage of knowing whats inside there. i could not see down the hole left by the output shaft. if there is something inside the diff which could be pressed against, a regular gear puller should do the trick removing the seal since the seal has a metal core.

--roger
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