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E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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Old 12-04-2013, 11:08 AM
albinomidget albinomidget is offline
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Location: Rapid City, SD
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 31
Mein Auto: '98 E36 M3 Sedan
Where to find the cheapest drive shaft

So I thought the diff was going out and I bought a used one on my '98 E36 M3 sedan with a manual 5 speed tranny. Went to put it in and found that the U joint was out where the drive shaft attaches to the diff. It's ok though cause my old diff is getting worn and I want to see if I'm savy enough to rebuild it from a 3.23 to something lower (higher in number). Maybe a 3.64 or something similar. Car has 112,000 on it.

Anyway, question is why do you have to replace the whole drive shaft? How come BMW doesn't give out part numbers for the exact U-joint you need in late model E36s. I realize that you're suppose to dynamically balance it and all that but how come this is not required on American made vehicles?? Most US vehicles you can easily replace old U joints on the existing drive shaft and don't require a dynamic balance afterward.

I couldn't find anyone on the internet that has rebuilt their own BMW drive shaft or recommends a specific U joint to replace the existing ones for the manual E36 M3 drive line. One do it yourselfer on a forum tried it and said that when he went to press out the U joint there wasn't enough clearance in the coupling to get the assembly apart. The forum then ended and didn't give any other details. The point is, rebuilders are selling these online so there must be a way to get the assembly apart and a specific U joint that works outside of the need for a dynamic balance. Is there some secret drive shaft society that only exchanges information with each other?? I highly doubt it but someone has to know something about this somewhere.

Cheapest rebuild I've found for a manual E36 M3 was at wholesaleimportparts.com for $372.50 with an $80 core. I can't even find a cheaper rebuilt one on Ebay that will actually fit my car which is mind blowing. It seems that there are many available that fit the E36 M3 auto tranny but hardly any that fit the manual tranny. All other cheapies on Ebay are beat to hell used ones from Joe Blow which I'm not going to buy from.

Please help.

Last edited by albinomidget; 12-04-2013 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:53 PM
EE05063 EE05063 is offline
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Location: USA
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: M3
From what I gather, you can press out the ujoints and then replace them with either the same part and then some people have spot welded the caps to the yoke. Then get it balanced. Rockford Driveline sells a kit that allows you to replace the staked joint with an inner clip style joint since the yoke is not machined to accept clips on the outside. http://www.rockforddriveline.com/Staked%20Ujoints.PDF You can take measurements and figure out which part number you need, our specific application isn't listed. This is probably the route I am taking as I recently replaced mine with a good used shaft out of another M3 that I got for $175 used at a BMW pull a part type place. I plan to rebuild the ujoint and then in my case rebuild the cv joint that is at the differential end. (There were different shafts made, some used two ujoints, some used one ujoint and one cvjoint, six bolt shafts have the cv joint at the diff, 4 bolt shafts have to ujoint at the diff.)

I haven't attempted to rebuild my original shaft yet, just because I haven't needed to, but I plan to measure, press out the old joint, use the appropriate Rockford kit, and then get it balanced.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:49 PM
Snowxpert Snowxpert is offline
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Location: Michigan USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 81
Mein Auto: Bmw 325ix BMW M3
I would be happy with the $372.50 I just paid $1010.00 not including labor for mine two weeks ago. The car is smooth as silk now.

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