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Thread: Diff replacement ?s

  1. #1

    Diff replacement ?s

    Given drivetrain noises that eluded diagnosis so far from multiple shops, I was thinking a new (used) diff might solve the problem. It looks like a few hundred on ebay will buy one. I'm thinking install is about 2 hours?

    May as well take this opportunity to shorten of the final drive ratio a bit. I've seen some threads about complications about with non-M e46 diffs relating to drive shaft length, 4 vs. 6 bolt flanges, etc. What e46 diffs are shorter ratio vs. my stock ZHP and truly plug and play?

  2. #2
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    3.38 direct bolt in
    3.46 will require to swap flanges

    His - 2004 Imola Red / Alcantara 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

    Her's - 2005 Black Sapphire Metallic / Black Leather 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

  3. #3
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    yo I got a 3.46 in the garage that I'm not gonna use if you feel brave enough to swap input flanges

  4. #4
    Very tempting. How easy/complex is the flange swap?

    Install time ~2 hours for 3.38 swap?

  5. #5
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    50sKid did a great video on this. Look starting at 22:30 in the video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0W5YOQTT2o
    - Pete


  6. #6
    So do I have this right?
    -ZHP w/ 6 speed: 3.07
    -ZHP w/ automatic: 3.64
    -e46 330 (non-ZHP) w/ automatic: 3.38
    -e46 323 and 325 w/ automatic: 3.46

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedro2u View Post
    50sKid did a great video on this. Look starting at 22:30 in the video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0W5YOQTT2o
    yeah output flanges are cake. input flanges require some care and precision.

    Quote Originally Posted by nsk040 View Post
    So do I have this right?
    -ZHP w/ 6 speed: 3.07
    -ZHP w/ automatic: 3.64
    -e46 330 (non-ZHP) w/ automatic: 3.38
    -e46 323 and 325 w/ automatic: 3.46
    u got it homie

    http://www.bokchoys.com/differential...calculator.htm

  8. #8
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    I just installed a 3.38 MFactory limited slip diff, and I LOVE it! I had a 3.38 open diff on before, and that was great but now, even with traction control on, the e-nanny isn't kicking on, and I have excellent traction control using the throttle and clutch instead. It makes for a much more pleasant (i.e., FUN!) driving experience, and I'm no racer. I'm also delighted to report no clunks.

  9. #9
    Reasoned - I'm tempted by the MFactory option, but as the car already has a lot of grip relative to how much power it has I'm not sure how much I'd notice it. I also don't live where it snows, which may have been a consideration for you.

    As it sounds like you had the 3.38 before putting the LSD in, I'd be curious to hear a little more about the benefits you see in the LSD irrespective of the ratio change. I'm guessing a lot of people do LSD and ratio change at the same time and so it's tough to parse through their reviews to figure out how much they like the new ratio vs. how much they like the LSD.

    Thanks

  10. #10
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    I LOVE the 3.38 on my car. To me, it seems to make every gear better and more flexible (given the extra torque). The only possible reason BMW doesn't sell the cars this way is to hit some mpg target--it sure ain't road performance. In fact, I would've gone even shorter, but that wasn't feasible for MFactory. Having said that, 3.38 (or 3.46) is probably the best "compromise".

    As for the LSD part of the equation, I was sick to death of having the traction control kill my power at every moderately aggressive launch at a turn--so much so that I actually preferred the ground grabbing behavior of my xi to my ZHP (sacrilege, I know). It doesn't do that now and, even though the light will still come on sometimes, it doesn't kill the power like it did, and I can reliably keep the tires on the verge of slipping during launches--CHIRP, CHIRP, CHIRP... DAMN, THAT's FUN!

    I'd say the shorter ratio is 2/3 of the benefit at 1/6 the cost of the LSD but, if you can spare the cash, the LSD completes the differential performance picture wonderfully.
    Last edited by Reasoned1; 05-09-2018 at 01:46 AM.

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