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Old 10-21-2014, 01:53 PM   #1
BimmerDriver
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E36 M3 Broken Diff... again!



Hey guys,

A few years back I got a manual gearbox conversion on my 99 M3 and I kept the diff that comes with the automatic gearbox which I believe is a 3.38.

Right off the bat I noticed that with the 5spd manual gearbox the first gear has quite a bit of torque and on the highway the revs are pretty high at 120 km/h (between 4000-4500 RPM).

So around 3 years ago my diff's gears went and I got another 3.38 which just went today (pinion gears making a horrible noise).

Question: would you think that a diff with a lower gear ratio would be more reliable and less prone to breaking on a daily driver with occasional "spirited" driving? Or no matter which diff you get, it's still fairly breakable depending on your driving habits?

Cheers

Last edited by BimmerDriver; 10-21-2014 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:17 PM   #2
TSI
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4000-4500 is quite high for sustained driving--although it is an M3 diff, I think that probably partly caused the problem. What kind of fluid were you using?

I think both Fil and Rocco have some.
http://maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127903

Failing that, I'll check around, and tell M. tomorrow at work for you.
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Old 10-21-2014, 03:53 PM   #3
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Hey TSI,

I already checked in with Fil nd he doesn't have it

I was using BMW diff fluid that I bought at the dealer last time I had to change diffs.
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:00 PM   #4
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I remember someone that had a 323 and put in a 330 engine .. his diff went twice most likely because of the torque. My guess is that you might be having a similar issue. The RPM's do seem a bit high for 120km .. should be closer to 3k RPM
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:08 PM   #5
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Sounds like you had some bad luck with used diffs.

I used to track and autocross my e36m3 with stock 3.23 diff, never had an issue. I know some guys ran 3.38, even 3.91 diffs when upgrading but never heard of an issue, E36 diffs are fairly strong so unless you are running alot more power than stock with a s/c or turbo I doubt the problem is the diff ratio.

Do you still have your old 3.38 diff?
Why not have it rebuilt with new bearings instead of taking a gamble on another used diff? If you plan to keep the car, it should be the most reliable.
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:29 PM   #6
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Hey T.Dot_E30, do you know anyone that does that? (rebuilds diffs). I heard that would be really expensive (like half the price of a brand new diff shipped in from Germany)
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:32 PM   #7
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Also, if I currently got a 3.38, I would possibly have to change the drive shaft to get a 3.23 in, no?
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Old 10-21-2014, 04:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerDriver View Post
Hey T.Dot_E30, do you know anyone that does that? (rebuilds diffs). I heard that would be really expensive (like half the price of a brand new diff shipped in from Germany)
The one place I know of is Halton Transmission, but I don't know if they would do an LSD.


http://haltontransmission.com/

Cardanic in North York might be able to help too, but again, LSD might be out of their range.
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:23 PM   #9
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I installed a 3.38 in my e36 like 10 years ago. It is the diff that comes paired to 96-99 automatic M3's, it does rev high on the highway but it hasn't affected my fuel mileage at all. I've used Redline 75W90 in the diff since the day I installed it, still no issues, although this thread is a good reminder to swap the fluid out.

You shouldn't need to swap driveshafts, at worst you'll need to swap the input flange on the differential if it doesn't match up with what is currently installed.
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:34 PM   #10
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If you were reving that high at 120 km/h it wasn't a 3:38 . Im thinking more a 3:90
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:47 PM   #11
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The following is a quick breakdown of rpm per diff ratio at 120km/h in 5th gear, assuming 235/40/17 tires:

2.93 - 3000
3.15 - 3250
3.23 - 3300
3.38 - 3500
3.46 - 3550
3.91 - 4000
4.44 - 4600
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