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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 06-17-2011, 07:16 PM
wil33562 wil33562 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2007 X3 / 2007 335i
2007 rear differential fluid change

I just changed the rear differential fluid on my 2007 X3 today at 77,000 miles.

I've noticed over the past several months from time to time I hear a clunking sound when coming to a stop below 20MPH. When I drained the fluid today, hardly any fluid started draining. I had to jack up the front so it was higher than the rear to really get it draining. I was able to get out about 13-14oz of fluid. I then pumped the new fluid in. To my amazement I was able to pump in about 23oz or so.

Questions:
May sound stupid, but there is only one fill/drain plug on a 2007 X3 rear differential, right? I looked on realoem and it appears to only show one for a X3 dated in 05/2007.

I've never noticed any leaks around the rear differential. What could cause there to be so little fluid in there? To my knowledge the differential fluid has never been changed. I've owned it since 20,000 miles.

Thanks,
-w
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2011, 08:22 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 X3 2.5i
Quote:
Originally Posted by wil33562 View Post
...... only one fill/drain plug on a 2007 X3 rear differential, right?

I've never noticed any leaks around the rear differential. What could cause there to be so little fluid in there?
My 2004 has just a fill plug. Meant to be an indicator that it has a "lifetime" fill, I guess.

However, some other X3 owners appear to have both a drain and a fill plug.

Might depend on the whim of the supplier for the differentials.

There have been a few reports of a failed rear differential seal, at the prop. shaft or axle, so might be hard to notice a leak.
That heavy gear oil might not drip like motor oil, just get flung onto the undercarriage by the prop. shaft.

That might be worth checking more closely.

There are only 2 other possibilities.

One is that they received an incomplete fill at the factory. Some owners have theorized that is the case.

The other is that the "fill hole" is not used in the conventional way.
That is, the diff. is designed to have a particular amount of oil in it - not filled until it comes out of the fill hole.

The leaking seal sounds the most plausible to me.

Let us know what you find.
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  #3  
Old 06-18-2011, 04:09 AM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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My 2004 X3 3.0i has both a drain plug and a fill plug on the front and rear differentials. Build date is 4/2004

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  #4  
Old 03-08-2012, 05:21 PM
jrapo jrapo is online now
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I went to change the rear diff fluid today on my 2007 X3 and noticed there is no drain plug, there is only a fill plug. I included a picture. In the picture are 3 bolts that appear to keep the housing together. The 4th (top right) appears to be the fill plug. I had the car on a lift and looked all around on all sides and I just do not see a drain plug. Does anyone know how you can replace the fluid in this diff?
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2012, 06:41 PM
Gee3 Gee3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrapo View Post
I went to change the rear diff fluid today on my 2007 X3 and noticed there is no drain plug, there is only a fill plug. I included a picture. In the picture are 3 bolts that appear to keep the housing together. The 4th (top right) appears to be the fill plug. I had the car on a lift and looked all around on all sides and I just do not see a drain plug. Does anyone know how you can replace the fluid in this diff?
You'll need a pump to, one, remove the old fluid, and two, to pump in the fresh fluid. Any auto store should have them. I have a 2004 X3 and I only had one plug as well. The front, on the other hand, had both a drain and a fill plug. And the transfer case had a drain and fill plug.

Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 03-08-2012, 07:06 PM
jrapo jrapo is online now
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Sorry for a dumb question, but how does the pump work and how can it extract fluid that is below the plug level?
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2012, 07:49 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrapo View Post
Sorry for a dumb question, but how does the pump work and how can it extract fluid that is below the plug level?
An inexpensive pump gets a siphon action going, so that as long as you have the inlet tubing positioned in the oil at the bottom,
and the outlet tube below that level, it will fairly quickly pull nearly all the oil out without you having to continue pumping.

A more expensive pump is not dependent on a siphon action and you can have the collection pan sitting anywhere you want. May require manual pumping or use an electric pump.
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  #8  
Old 03-09-2012, 06:11 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrapo View Post
I went to change the rear diff fluid today on my 2007 X3 and noticed there is no drain plug, there is only a fill plug. I included a picture. In the picture are 3 bolts that appear to keep the housing together. The 4th (top right) appears to be the fill plug. I had the car on a lift and looked all around on all sides and I just do not see a drain plug. Does anyone know how you can replace the fluid in this diff?
You have to suck it out. I have a power vacuum pump that I used which makes it easier to "fish around" to get most of the old oil out. I love BMW's but this is just plain stupid.



Google "vacuum fluid extractor" there are many choices.

Last edited by usaret; 03-09-2012 at 06:17 AM. Reason: add info
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2012, 04:54 PM
08X3si 08X3si is offline
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I have a 2008 x3 and all I can see is the one 14mm plug. It looks so low on the housing like it could only be a drain plug. Regardless I can't find a fill plug thus the actual fluid level must stay fairly low in the rear diff. Any other 08' guy do this change? I have no problems pumping out what remains but it looks like it could only be a couple of inches. Thanks
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  #10  
Old 03-09-2012, 05:55 PM
noego noego is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usaret View Post
You have to suck it out. I have a power vacuum pump that I used which makes it easier to "fish around" to get most of the old oil out. I love BMW's but this is just plain stupid.



Google "vacuum fluid extractor" there are many choices.
i've looked at lots of differentials and have never seen one with a drain and a separate fill -- if that is what you meant by "....plain stupid."
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  #11  
Old 03-09-2012, 07:24 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08X3si View Post
I have a 2008 x3 and all I can see is the one 14mm plug. It looks so low on the housing like it could only be a drain plug.
You either have a drain plug and a fill plug, or, just a fill plug (from which oil can also be drained).

If you have two plugs, they are not necessarily on the same part of the casing.

See:
http://www.bokchoys.com/differential...%20Diagram.jpg

Which does yours look more like? As you can see, they are both quite close to the bottom of the casing, but the fill plug is clearly higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
i've looked at lots of differentials and have never seen one with a drain and a separate fill -- if that is what you meant by "....plain stupid."
Because BMW does not make diffs. themselves, and they may come from more than one supplier, there will not be uniformity even within an X3 model year for which have both a drain and a fill plug and which only have one.
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  #12  
Old 03-10-2012, 11:02 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
i've looked at lots of differentials and have never seen one with a drain and a separate fill -- if that is what you meant by "....plain stupid."
Obviously not enough:







Last edited by usaret; 03-10-2012 at 11:10 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-10-2012, 05:56 PM
noego noego is offline
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well i'll be doggone!

i've built a couple of cars to run at the drag strip and the diff housing only had a fill bung and the fluid was either extracted or the diff plate would be removed to completely drain the pumpkin. that was a few years ago -- times change.
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2012, 01:08 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noego View Post
well i'll be doggone!

i've built a couple of cars to run at the drag strip and the diff housing only had a fill bung and the fluid was either extracted or the diff plate would be removed to completely drain the pumpkin. that was a few years ago -- times change.
X3's used to have both plugs on the cover but eliminated the drain plug when they went to "lifetime" fluid. In the picture you can see where the drain plug used to be. If you could just pull the cover to drain it I wouldn't have such a problem with it.
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