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Old 03-24-2008, 10:48 AM   #1
Jacko
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Upgrading to 3.38 diff from 3.23 diff

I currently have a 3.23 diff on my car. I m thinking about upgrading to 3.38, is it worth it and how much do these diff usually go for????
I saw some selling before for around 700-800.
Does anyone have one their car????
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:17 PM   #2
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I just sold one for $800. They can go for a little less, or a little more, depending on condition and mileage.
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:42 PM   #3
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I've have one in my car now for a couple years, I love it.
I paid $600US for it.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:49 PM   #4
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I guess I should mention the one I sold was my spare. There's NO way I'd give up the one in my car. Like Nelson said.... I love it.
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:35 PM   #5
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What did you have before. I m just wondering if its worth paying the 600-800, if I already have a 3.23. Will it make that much of a difference???
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Old 03-24-2008, 02:51 PM   #6
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I went from a 2.93 open to the 3.38 LSD. It may not be worth it to you as the difference from the 3.23 will be fairly small. With that said, you can sell your 3.23 for around $400 and make up the extra $400 for the 3.38. If you have to have someone do the labour for you, obviously the overall cost will be more. I swapped mine myself a few times, so labour wasn't an issues for me. All it took was some of my time...
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacko View Post
I currently have a 3.23 diff on my car. I m thinking about upgrading to 3.38, is it worth it and how much do these diff usually go for????
I saw some selling before for around 700-800.
Does anyone have one their car????
What transmission does your car have? If you have an overdrive why not get some 3:46's or 3:64 gears, depending on what type of driving you do. I have a six speed manual tranny and 3:64 gears. They are perfect. 3000rpm in sixth gear at 120km/h, and the acceleration is awesome.

I think if I lived in an area that is relatively flat and travelled on the highway the majority of the time (GTA or similar) I would put in 3:46's.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:14 PM   #8
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3.46 and 3.64 ratios are NOT factory diffs for the e36. He'd have to go with a custom unit and that'll cost way more... the 3.38 is the closest thing available to those two that came stock in auto M3s, and that is why they are $$$$$ compared to say a 3.23
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:19 PM   #9
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Tx for all the info. I m gonna start looking for one. Will let you know how it come about.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:37 PM   #10
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could you not use a 3:45 LSD from a 318? They're probably a dime a dozen!
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
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could you not use a 3:45 LSD from a 318? They're probably a dime a dozen!
The actual gears are smaller (type 168 vs. type 188) and not recommended for higher loads a 325, 328 or M3 would put out.
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:48 AM   #12
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will the 3.23 or 3.38 fit without any modifications on my 96 328IS?? and how hard is it to swap it myself?thx
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:45 AM   #13
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you'll have to swap the output shafts ( really easy to do) and possibly the input shaft (not so easy to do). The actual removal/installation is straight forward, but it's not a 10 minute job. It depends on your skills/confidence level...
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:51 AM   #14
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As mentioned, there are two parts that can be different.

- The part of the differential that connects to the two axles leading to the wheels are called output flanges, the diff output flanges on an M3 are larger diameter than a normal e36, these are very easy to swap out and don't requires any real prep, you just pull out the old ones and insert the new ones. I was able to do this without any tools once the diff was out of the car, just with a quick tug on the output flange.
- The part of the differential that connects to the driveshaft leading to the transmission is called the input flange, generally M3's have a 6-bolt input flange, non-m's have a 4-bolt input flange. If the 3.38 you buy has a 4-bolt, then you're ready to go. If it's 6-bolt, you'll need to remove the 4-bolt flange from your existing differential and install it on the 3.38. You'll need an impact tool with appropriately sized socket and a gear puller.

The actual mounting of the diff in the subframe is pretty straight forward, it's just three bolts, but it's heavy, and it'll feel even heavier when the car is just 2 feet in the air and you're under it. I had my diff pretty much roll onto my gut when I wasn't expecting it. If any of the diff mounting bolts are bent, do not reinstall them, especially the single front diff bolt, it's pretty long and has a tendancy to bend. The bolts are just normal hex sockets.

Do yourself a favour and replace the 12 axleshaft bolts as well, they're cheap, and will give you peace of mind that they won't break (like mine did). These bolts are torx sockets. Becareful you don't tear the rubber CV boot when removing/installing the bolts. Non-permanent Loctite on these bolts isn't a bad idea either.

It's not a very hard job, the only semi-tight sport for me was removing the axle bolts on the exhaust side, if you're doing everything by hand (without air tools) you're looking at about an hour for your first time. I don't remember if I had to undo the rear swaybar mounts at the subframe for more clearance or not, but if you do, it's just another couple bolts, not a big deal.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
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The actual gears are smaller (type 168 vs. type 188) and not recommended for higher loads a 325, 328 or M3 would put out.
maybe a touch OT, but if you were going to boost a 1.8 for shits & giggles would it then be a safe assumption that the stock 3.45 would need to be swapped out for a 3.28/3.38 from a 6 cyl?
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