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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-28-2012, 01:58 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 BMW 528iT/5, S/C
Quaife LSD

I would first like to thank 2 gentlemen who gave me valuable advise during this process. One is Brett Anderson of Koala Motorsport and the other is Dan Fitzgerald of Diffsonline. Both these men gave me much info about geared vs. disc type LSDs, etc. They made the research part of this mod much easier. It really helped to have such knowledgeable men share their expertise.

During the Summer of 2011 I installed a supercharger on my 2000 528iT (30K miles). After I got everything running correctly, I found that I would get rear wheel spin after taking a turn onto a new road and accelerating hard. Then the traction control would intervene, cutting power and driving me nuts. Sometimes this would happen on the straight-no turns involved. Once I was getting on the Mass Pike (heading west) at the Auburn interchange. I looked and saw a semi coming but thought, I'll have no trouble getting out in front of him, out of his way. Well-guess what! The traction control kicked in and I was left "dead in the water." I can just imagine what that driver screamed about me and all BMW drivers. I felt like a complete jerk too

I know I can turn off the traction control, but I forget and I hate that yellow triangle staring at me at night. The secret traction setting (hold the DSC button in for about 10 seconds until the triangle goes out) does not seem to work on my car-the light goes out but the traction control still intervenes. I decided an LSD was needed.

Initially I wanted to install a Giken OS disc type LSD-an excellent performer and an easy DIY install. However, I found that I'd need the larger 208mm diff case-the I6 cars have a 188mm case. That meant more trouble and expense as I would have to source a case and install new bearings (I figured the bearings in my case had only 40K miles and were good). I also considered an M5 diff but modifying the drive shaft, output flanges/half shafts, etc. meant more expense, more sourcing and more install work.

After searching through eBay for ideas, etc., I came across a listing on the UK eBay for a Quaife LSD made for a 528, manual trans with the 188mm case. I liked the idea of a geared (they never wear out like disc types), torque sensing, brand new LSD that fit in my case. The more research and reading I did, the more I was convinced that Quaife was the way to go.

I ended up emailing and dealing with Rhys Elvins of Motorsport Tools UK LTD (www.motorsport-tools.com). I ordered the diff from them but I was very sure to confirm and reconfirm (sending and resending vin#, etc.) that they were sending me the correct diff for my car-did not want to have to send the wrong part back to England. The correct part is: 33468302-73 - Quaife BMW 525i/528i Manual E39 LSD Diff ATB Differential Kit.

This company was a pleasure to deal with. They also sent me a complete instruction on the install procedure:

http://www.birdsauto.com/sites/www.b...013n%2014n.pdf

The brand new Quaife LSD ABT Diff Kit cost me $1454.09 including shipping plus $45.15 U.S. Customs Duty. I thought that was a great price although with more research, perhaps you could get a better deal.

It took about 10 days to receive the diff from the UK. Once it arrived, I removed the diff from my car and gave it to a friend to install the Quaife in my case. Since I had never worked on the internals of a diff before, I thought it wise to let an experienced mechanic do the job. He charged me $200-again I thought that was very reasonable.

I then reinstalled the diff in the car. You must be careful to use a gear oil that has no limited slip additive-Red Line 75W90NS is the ticket since it has no friction modifiers. It is available from Amazon. Although it is not specifically recommended, I changed the oil after about 60 miles (went in golden and came out grey with much metal flake in it. Changed the oil again at about 400 miles-came out golden with just a bit of metal flake. I will change it again at 1000 more miles. All these oil changes are easy and cheap insurance.

Now the important part-the diff performs very well. The acceleration in a straight line is very sure footed-the car just seems to dig in and go. It also performs much better in wet weather and in sharp turns as in turning into a new road. If you put the accelerator on the floor, the traction control does cut in but MUCH less than before-I have to modulate the throttle but that was just about impossible before. During spirited drives on twisty roads, the car performs wonderfully. If I turn off the stereo and roll up all the windows, I can sometimes hear all those gears turning but not in a bad way. This noise seems to be getting less as the diff gets more miles on it. The noise is also louder when the diff is cold.

Sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to give as much info as possible. Would I do this again-you bet.:

BTW-Just remembered that the seals that came with the diff kit were wrong-too small. Bought 2 seals from the dealer (they came with the stub axle clips) for $31.06 total.
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Last edited by johnstern; 10-29-2012 at 07:42 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-28-2012, 03:26 PM
FUQTodd FUQTodd is offline
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Location: Wisconsin
 
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Mein Auto: 1998 540 DINAN/1997 528i
I'm not sure if the LSD was an "option" in 1998 for a 540 - but my car has one. It also has different gears as the speedometer is off, even with the factory wheels and tires on it. The speedo says it is going faster than the car actually is according to my GPS and the signs on the highway using radar. Anyone know how to cure this problem so my car doesn't rack up more miles than it actually travels? I did ask the Dealer who put the DINAN software in both the engine and the trans, and he had no answer.
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2012, 03:50 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 BMW 528iT/5, S/C
The speed of your car comes from the ABS wheel speed sensor and not the diff. As far as I know all our E39's speedos are about 5% optomistic-a built in hedge against speeding law suites.

No way to fix it. I just figure it in to my driving style-if I want to drive 50mph, I go 52.

The PO probably had a LSD installed as no E39, except the M5, came with a LSD.

Last edited by johnstern; 10-28-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-28-2012, 05:11 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Correct, all speedos read high.
I've met Dan F. a few times at his shop in Winchester, good guy.
I stuck the M5 LSD in my 540, I did look at Quaife but the M5 was much easier to get and less expensive. The DSC kicking in when you want to have some fun is a pain, usually I remember the shut it off.
As for the Redline for your Quaife, pretty sure you can get it at Turner Motorsport in Amesbury.
Got mine from him, it was a different weight (w/friction modifiers) than what you use.
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2012, 05:36 PM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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johnstern great write up! Does your cruise control still work with the new diff? I know Jim and some others have said their cruise control does not work so well since they installed an M5 diff. I think they said it only works intermittently and only at 80MPH or over.

Also what supercharger did you install? Sounds like you are enjoying it.
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E28 1987 535is: Manual, Bilstein HDs, 16" Style 5v2 (from e38)[Sold]
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  #6  
Old 10-28-2012, 05:41 PM
Schitzo Schitzo is offline
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Great review John. Glad you like the LSD.
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  #7  
Old 10-28-2012, 05:55 PM
FUQTodd FUQTodd is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 540 DINAN/1997 528i
I'm talking like 10% over. My 528i which is relatively stock is a little high - not nearly to the extent of my 540.
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  #8  
Old 10-28-2012, 06:34 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Correct, all speedos read high.
The DSC kicking in when you want to have some fun is a pain, usually I remember the shut it off.
As for the Redline for your Quaife, pretty sure you can get it at Turner Motorsport in Amesbury.
Got mine from him, it was a different weight (w/friction modifiers) than what you use.
Jim-I wish I could remember to shut it off every time. I guess I'll have to do some serious training. Ha,Ha.
I believe Turner has the NS gear oil. The thing is that Amazon also does and the shipping is free if you buy more than one quart.
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  #9  
Old 10-28-2012, 06:37 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
johnstern great write up! Does your cruise control still work with the new diff? I know Jim and some others have said their cruise control does not work so well since they installed an M5 diff. I think they said it only works intermittently and only at 80MPH or over.

Also what supercharger did you install? Sounds like you are enjoying it.
Thanks Solo12. Cruise works fine but remember I kept the same ring & pinion (3.07) so the car doesn't know the diff has been changed.

I installed. VF Engineering Kit. Had some problems with it but it's working fine now and the car goes great
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2012, 06:38 PM
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johnstern johnstern is offline
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Originally Posted by *****zo View Post
Great review John. Glad you like the LSD.
Thanks Robert. Your compliment means alot.

Last edited by johnstern; 10-29-2012 at 06:22 AM.
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  #11  
Old 10-29-2012, 04:08 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
johnstern great write up! Does your cruise control still work with the new diff? I know Jim and some others have said their cruise control does not work so well since they installed an M5 diff. I think they said it only works intermittently and only at 80MPH or over.
Cruise only seems to be a problem on the M62tu engine cars when changing ratios.
At or above 80 it works fine, below that it works until you hit a bump, crest a hill, or use the button on the wheel to drop the speed a few MPH.
Not sure if the I6's that have the tu drive by wire engine have this issue when the change diff ratios.
Guess if I really wanted to fix my cruise I could get a quaife and put it in my old 2.81 diff which I still have. It's not really a cost effective solution.
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  #12  
Old 10-29-2012, 07:19 AM
Solo12 Solo12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstern View Post
Thanks Solo12. Cruise works fine but remember I kept the same ring & pinion (3.07) so the car doesn't know the diff has been changed.

I installed. VF Engineering Kit. Had some problems with it but it's working fine now and the car goes great
Thanks for the info. LSD and supercharger (ESS) are on my wish list hopefully I'll be able to swing them one of these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Cruise only seems to be a problem on the M62tu engine cars when changing ratios.
At or above 80 it works fine, below that it works until you hit a bump, crest a hill, or use the button on the wheel to drop the speed a few MPH.
Not sure if the I6's that have the tu drive by wire engine have this issue when the change diff ratios.
Guess if I really wanted to fix my cruise I could get a quaife and put it in my old 2.81 diff which I still have. It's not really a cost effective solution.
Yeah that would definitely be cost prohibitive plus you'd lose the performance advantage of your current gearing all for something that may be a minor annoyance. Out of pure curiosity I wonder if there is a way with the GT1 (INPA, NCS or autologic) that you could reprogram the car to whatever gear ratio you want. I am not suggesting it is big deal or even necessary just kinda thinking out loud.
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  #13  
Old 10-29-2012, 11:30 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo12 View Post
Out of pure curiosity I wonder if there is a way with the GT1 (INPA, NCS or autologic) that you could reprogram the car to whatever gear ratio you want. I am not suggesting it is big deal or even necessary just kinda thinking out loud.
A few of us have been looking into this for the last 3 years, haven't found a solution yet.
I should have also mentioned this is only a 6 speed problem. The autos use a speed sensor in the tranny for cruise, the 6 speed uses the wheel sensors.
The DME thinks the clutch is slipping and kills the cruise. Apparently the limits are greater with an auto because of the torque converter.
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Last edited by JimLev; 10-29-2012 at 11:33 AM.
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2014, 04:15 PM
negev negev is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 E39 540i 6speed
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstern View Post
The speed of your car comes from the ABS wheel speed sensor and not the diff. As far as I know all our E39's speedos are about 5% optomistic-a built in hedge against speeding law suites.

No way to fix it.
Actually that's not true, I had the same annoyance with mine and had it fixed by a guy called Rudi (popular on UK bmw forums for fixing instrument clusters). Mine now reads near dead-on up to 60/70 and then starts to drift out a little after that. Much better than before where it was reading 33 at 30!
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  #15  
Old 04-04-2014, 05:05 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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dsc off.... learn to drift...

you must be one with power'ing outta the turns and staying in it...
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  #16  
Old 04-04-2014, 05:07 PM
negev negev is offline
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Yeah I was gonna get some drifting lessons at learn2drift but I might just get into the habit of turning off DSC before pulling out of sainsburys and mashing the pedal, bound to get the hang of it after a while
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