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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 09-30-2013, 02:33 PM
whitneyj whitneyj is offline
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330Xi front differential

I recently purchased a 2001 330Xi and while doing the full service on the car noticed a torn CV shaft. Since the car has 142K miles on it I decided to replace both CV's and the front differential output seals. When I dropped the oil I got a very little amount out-but it was still a decent golden brown color without a burnt smell. I replaced both shafts and seals and after I put in 75W90 Amswoil I watched it all pour out the PS differential seal. I have another seal on the way and I don't really want to take it all apart until I have another seal, but my concern is that the housing is cracked where the seal is pressed in. Has anyone else experienced this? The only reason I don't just sum this up as me potentially cutting the seal or it being defective on install is the differential had low fluid when I dropped it for servicing.
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2013, 06:36 PM
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16valex 16valex is offline
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Maybe there was a reason why you found low on fluid in the first place.

What brand of axle shaft did you replace yours with? Very important to get the right stuff or you will hate it.
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2013, 11:09 AM
whitneyj whitneyj is offline
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That's what I was saying with the low fluid, I'm just hoping it's not the housing. I wasn't sure if this was something common with these diff's or not.

I bought the DS shaft from Bavarian autosports and the PS one from O'Reilly's autoparts. I've had great experience with both of these parts dealers. O'Reillys was $40 cheaper and comes with a lifetime warranty, but the machining of the shaft looked very good. I'll mic the shaft when I pull it out and mic the ID of the output seal, maybe it could be something as simple as that, but at the rate the fluid came out I'd be willing to bet it's something else.
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  #4  
Old 10-01-2013, 12:29 PM
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16valex 16valex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitneyj View Post
That's what I was saying with the low fluid, I'm just hoping it's not the housing. I wasn't sure if this was something common with these diff's or not.

I bought the DS shaft from Bavarian autosports and the PS one from O'Reilly's autoparts. I've had great experience with both of these parts dealers. O'Reillys was $40 cheaper and comes with a lifetime warranty, but the machining of the shaft looked very good. I'll mic the shaft when I pull it out and mic the ID of the output seal, maybe it could be something as simple as that, but at the rate the fluid came out I'd be willing to bet it's something else.
It's not common for fluid to leak out of the axial seals, but one must replace the seal whenever servicing the axles.

I have an 01 330XI since 2007. I have tried a few different brands of axle shafts. My experience with them damn lifetime guarantee has been nothing but junk, they vibrate under load, if you are as picky as I'm then they turn into a career of axle shaft swapping and I hated this job very bad.

With all that said, when it comes to axle shaft go OEM or go home. Same goes with axial seals...Do it once and be done.
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  #5  
Old 10-01-2013, 12:56 PM
whitneyj whitneyj is offline
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It takes me 45 min to swap a CV shaft out, so if I can save a couple hundred dollars per shaft I will.

I replaced the seal when replaced the shaft.

I guess I'll find out if it's a defective seal (or I cut it when I installed it) or if the housing is cracked.
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2013, 01:18 PM
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16valex 16valex is offline
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Originally Posted by whitneyj View Post
It takes me 45 min to swap a CV shaft out, so if I can save a couple hundred dollars per shaft I will.

I replaced the seal when replaced the shaft.

I guess I'll find out if it's a defective seal (or I cut it when I installed it) or if the housing is cracked.
I hope you have better luck than me with lifetime axle shafts. I do shop around to save money. For instance...Instead of buying the axle shafts from BMW stealerships ripped off artists. I did some research and found the OEM manufactures then bought them through online vendor that carries them. I saved 50% this way. BTW, the manufacture's brand is Loebro

Last edited by 16valex; 10-01-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2013, 07:03 AM
whitneyj whitneyj is offline
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I'll research that if I have to replace another shaft, I appreciate the information!
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  #8  
Old 10-02-2013, 10:50 AM
Dave's325xi Dave's325xi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16valex View Post
I hope you have better luck than me with lifetime axle shafts. I do shop around to save money. For instance...Instead of buying the axle shafts from BMW stealerships ripped off artists. I did some research and found the OEM manufactures then bought them through online vendor that carries them. I saved 50% this way. BTW, the manufacture's brand is Loebro
Thanks for the tip. At how many miles do they usually go? Sould I just check for dry rot? Does anyone but anything on the boots to help preserve them? Does anyone sell a rebuild kit?

Dave
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2013, 11:20 AM
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charlesberry charlesberry is offline
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How many miles an axle can go is determined by the type of driving. I'm a commuter. I drive 50 miles to work in a straight line, and 50 miles home in a straight line.

I have one axle with 150,000 miles on it. The rubber boot on the outside joint is new, but the axle is old.
I have to imagine a car driven around town with lots of turns with stopping and going won't get high mileage on front axles.
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  #10  
Old 10-02-2013, 12:50 PM
Dave's325xi Dave's325xi is offline
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Originally Posted by charlesberry View Post
How many miles an axle can go is determined by the type of driving. I'm a commuter. I drive 50 miles to work in a straight line, and 50 miles home in a straight line.

I have one axle with 150,000 miles on it. The rubber boot on the outside joint is new, but the axle is old.
I have to imagine a car driven around town with lots of turns with stopping and going won't get high mileage on front axles.
I'm a long distance driver as well.

Thanks,
Dave
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  #11  
Old 10-07-2013, 07:30 AM
whitneyj whitneyj is offline
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Well I replaced the output seal once again, and dropped the car to near the ground on that side with the floor jack (wheel was off) to tilt the fluid to that side and let it sit for 2-3 hours. I didn't get a single drop of fluid out. I'm going to re-fill and drive it home tonight to verify it was just a bad seal.
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  #12  
Old 10-07-2013, 09:06 AM
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Scott ZHP Scott ZHP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesberry View Post
How many miles an axle can go is determined by the type of driving. I'm a commuter. I drive 50 miles to work in a straight line, and 50 miles home in a straight line.

I have one axle with 150,000 miles on it. The rubber boot on the outside joint is new, but the axle is old.
I have to imagine a car driven around town with lots of turns with stopping and going won't get high mileage on front axles.
+1 on this.

IMO, the other thing that kills the boots is turning the front wheels lock to lock (like alot of parallel parking).

The rear outers rarely wear out; the front outers seems to be good for about 70k miles for me. The inners on both axles seems to last forever.
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  #13  
Old 10-07-2013, 12:36 PM
Dave's325xi Dave's325xi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitneyj View Post
Well I replaced the output seal once again, and dropped the car to near the ground on that side with the floor jack (wheel was off) to tilt the fluid to that side and let it sit for 2-3 hours. I didn't get a single drop of fluid out. I'm going to re-fill and drive it home tonight to verify it was just a bad seal.
Well, lets hope for the best!

Dave
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