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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 02-11-2013, 09:51 PM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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Rear Differential inter-change between 323i and other e46 model??

My 99' 323i e46 might be needing a new rear differential. Would you know if any other make model like the 325i or 328i within the e46 family would be compatible with my 323i 46?

Where can I find this info?

Thanks,

Jay
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2013, 03:41 AM
mr_bean mr_bean is offline
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IIRC, the E46 325 & 330 diffs have a six bolt input flange and the 323/328 diffs have a four bolt flange. Incompatible unless you switch out the drive shaft too.
The gear ratio is different between the 323 and 328. You could use a 328 diff in your 323 but your final drive ratio will be lower. This might not be a bad thing if you do a lot of highway driving and want the engine to spin slower.
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  #3  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:49 AM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 02-12-2013, 06:08 AM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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So, it would be best if I can get one from a 99' or 00' 323i, right? Where could I get one that's decent and not burned up like mine?

Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:09 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jat007 View Post
My 99' 323i e46 might be needing a new rear differential. Would you know if any other make model like the 325i or 328i within the e46 family would be compatible with my 323i 46?

Where can I find this info?

Thanks,

Jay
Right here: http://www.bokchoys.com/differential/GearRatios.htm Also info on DIY. Available at salvage yards everywhere, also e-bay. They have the ratio printed on a sticker on the top of the dif.

Although I can't seem to find it now, I believe it was Turner Motorsports webpage that explained how all North America E46s got the same "large" size dif housing. So don't let someone tell you that some cars in this country have a "small" size dif. Racers do import the small dif to use because of it's lighter weight, but it was never installed at the factory for this region.
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  #6  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:36 PM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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Great info - Thank you!

Would you know how many quarts of Differential fluid does it hold??
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  #7  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:50 PM
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smolck smolck is online now
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Actually, even if you got the 330 diff, you merely have to swap your input and output flanges. My 330 ZHP has the 3.46 out of my old 323. My 323 had the 3.07 out of a 330 ZHP. I did a youtube video on the subject. See my links below.

Diff holds 1.1 liters of 75w90 synthetic gear oil.

More plentiful will be the 325 diffs. I have a buddy with a salvage yard, he can help if you want. PM me.
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Last edited by smolck; 02-12-2013 at 02:52 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-12-2013, 04:03 PM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Originally Posted by mr_bean View Post
IIRC, the E46 325 & 330 diffs have a six bolt input flange and the 323/328 diffs have a four bolt flange. Incompatible unless you switch out the drive shaft too.
The gear ratio is different between the 323 and 328. You could use a 328 diff in your 323 but your final drive ratio will be lower. This might not be a bad thing if you do a lot of highway driving and want the engine to spin slower.
I swapped the 3.46 for a 3.07 in our 325it to get the highway revs down a bit. It's a nicer cruise now, although MPG didn't seem to budge. Now would be the time to make a ratio change (up or down), if the OP is so inclined.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:16 PM
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smolck smolck is online now
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Originally Posted by JKRIT View Post
Now would be the time to make a ratio change (up or down), if the OP is so inclined.
And he should change the rear diff bushing while he is in there.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #10  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:36 AM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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I just going to stick with the original ratio if I can. I will be hunting down a rear differential from a 99-00' 323i...

JKRIT - Can your buddy help me with this??

Thanks,

Jay
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  #11  
Old 02-13-2013, 07:47 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jat007 View Post
I just going to stick with the original ratio if I can. I will be hunting down a rear differential from a 99-00' 323i...

JKRIT - Can your buddy help me with this??

Thanks,

Jay
It was smolck that offered help through a buddy. There is a big BMW salvage yard in Alabama, so that's probably who he is talking about. I found the dif I was looking for on e-bay, but these used difs are pretty easy to find. car-parts.com has listings for many salvage yards across the country.
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2013, 12:15 PM
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smolck smolck is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKRIT View Post
It was smolck that offered help through a buddy. There is a big BMW salvage yard in Alabama, so that's probably who he is talking about. I found the dif I was looking for on e-bay, but these used difs are pretty easy to find. car-parts.com has listings for many salvage yards across the country.
Only difference between eBay and the one my buddy offers is I can personally check it out for you ahead of time and ensure you get a good diff and they offer s warranty. No risk

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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #13  
Old 02-14-2013, 06:47 AM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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I will keep that in mind and let you know once I attempt for the very last time Differential fluid flushed.

Thanks,
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