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Thread: Differential ZHP (E46) Oil Change doityourself

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    San Ramon, Calif. Bay Area
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    Differential ZHP (E46) Oil Change doityourself

    This is a DIY for a Differential Oil change for a 330i E46.

    Time: approx 30 minutes.
    Level: Easy

    Tools required: Floor Jack, 4 jack stands, (2) can be used, 1/2 Drive Ratchet 14mm Hex

    Socket, drip pan, rags, 2 bottles of Differential fluid and fluid pump (I used Redline 75w/90

    Diff/transaxle fluid)

    1. Jack rear end of car (safely) using jacking points and locate fill and drain plugs.
    Drain plug will be the lower plug facing Right Rear Tire, The Fill plug is the slightly higher and facing the sway bar.

    IMG_0687 by da94450, on Flickr

    IMG_0689 by da94450, on Flickr

    2. Loosen the Fill plug first, unsing you ratchet and 14mm hex socket, this will ensure that you will be able to fill after you drain the oil. (If you drain the oil first and your fill plug is stripped or stuck you will be SOL to refill oil and will not be able drive your vehicle)

    IMG_0686 by da94450, on Flickr

    IMG_0691 by da94450, on Flickr

    3. Place oil drip pan under the drain plug and remove the drain plug, while oil is draining you may remove the fill plug, (please do not mix the plugs, even though they are same plug I always return the plug to the same port it was removed from.)

    4. Lower car ensuring car is clear of tools and equipment are clear. Lowering will ensure all fluids are drained as car will be sitting at its natural stance. (Have a beer)
    Note: if using 4 jacks and keeping car level you can skip this step since car will be level already.

    5. Raise car and install drain plug and tighten 25Nm or 18 ft./lbs (if you don't have a torque wrench) tighten plug until you it is snug and add 1/4 turn (best estimate) Using a different drive will alter torque value (3/8 drive vs. 1/2 drive ex.) Torque =FxD, length of wrench will alter torque value.

    6. Filling oil, open one bottle of Diff fluid and place pump on the bottle, place fill tube in the fill port and place drip pan under fill port, start pumping the oil into the differential. (if space permits I lower car slightly just to ensure the angle of car is close to its natural stance.) Keep pumping fluid until oil starts coming out of fill port.

    IMG_0693 by da94450, on Flickr

    IMG_0692 by da94450, on Flickr

    7. Install Fill plug and torque to same specs as drain plug. wipe area clean and inspect.

    IMG_0689 by da94450, on Flickr
    8. Lower car (safely)

    ZHP and X5 IROTS by da94450, on Flickr
    9. Have another beer, you're done take her for a spin and one more inspection upon return (check for leaks)
    Last edited by imola red zhp; 12-13-2011 at 10:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice DIY thanks. I need to do this but I only got 48,000 on mine so I think I have some time. Btw love that X5!

  3. #3
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    Well done. Simple DIY but intimidating to those who haven't done it before. Great write up. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.

    Sent from my DROID3 using Tapatalk
    "No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of"

    09 135i Msport 6mt
    04 330i ZHP (sold)
    David

  4. #4
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    Great job IRZ. Thanks for the writeup.

    HTC Thunderbolt+TT
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by danewilson77 View Post
    Great job IRZ. Thanks for the writeup.

    HTC Thunderbolt+TT
    +1
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  6. #6
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    Thanks! Question: You mention that using a different drive will alter torque values? Are you talking about using an socket adapter? So, if my torque wrench is a 1/4" and I use an adapter to go to a 3/8" drive, my torque will be off? Which way and by how much?

    Thanks!

    Johnny
    2004 Imola Red over Black Leather. 6-MT, Navigation, Cold Weather Pkg (the wife loves them seat warmers!), 3.46 Diff, UUC Short-Shift Kit, Tranny Mounts, CDV Delete and iPod mount.

  7. #7
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    Good stuff, nice stable.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGraphic View Post
    Thanks! Question: You mention that using a different drive will alter torque values? Are you talking about using an socket adapter? So, if my torque wrench is a 1/4" and I use an adapter to go to a 3/8" drive, my torque will be off? Which way and by how much?

    Thanks!

    Johnny
    Torque will only be off if you change the length of the wrench or use a swivel that puts it at other than 90*

    HTC Thunderbolt+TT
    "Flame suit NOT REQUIRED!!!"
    Call Me Dane l 2/2004 330i ZHP l 18x8 ET45 BBS CK's wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+ @ 245-40-18 l KW V1 Coilovers in front l KW V1 springs w/ Bilstein B8 dampeners in rear l BMW Performance Rotors l UUC StrutBarbarian l Racing Dynamics Rear Strut Bar l Jim Conforti Shark Injector l Light Birch Interior Trim l Bimmian Celly Mount l M3 Trunk Mat l l e90 Performance E-Brake & Shift Knob l M3 Tri-Stitched Boots l AL Headlight Retrofit with ZKW Lenses l CobyWheel Wrap w/M3 Stitching l LCM sw 4.5 triple blink and rear fogs

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGraphic View Post
    Thanks! Question: You mention that using a different drive will alter torque values? Are you talking about using an socket adapter? So, if my torque wrench is a 1/4" and I use an adapter to go to a 3/8" drive, my torque will be off? Which way and by how much?

    Thanks!

    Johnny
    Johnny sorry for the confusion, I edited my post, DW right, the length of you ratchet will determine the value, 18ft./lbs is much, It's just a little past snug, in your case using a shorter 1/4 in. drive with 3/8 adapter maybe snug and 3/4 turn versus my 1/2 drive... Just don't over torque.
    Thanks

  10. #10
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    So, I saw a video on youtube about doing this and the guy recommended dropping your car off of the jack before putting the new fluid in. Is that something I need to worry about, I trust you guys a lot more than some guy on youtube, (although maybe he is on here and I'll have to wash my mouth out with soap...)

    Sorry, another dumb question:

    Is our differential limited slip or open? Does that make a difference in the type of oil we use?
    2003 Mystic Blue 330i ZHP 6 MT



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