Had not seen full “how to” for diff swap, so here you go.
Simple job. Well, simple on a car that gets its diff swapped a lot. No promises on a diff that has been in a car for 40 years…
What you need:
Two 17mm combo wrenches
19mm combo wrench
6mm hex socket (for 2002 cv joints)
8mm hex socket (if you have 320 cv joints)
First, get the car up on jackstands.
Lock e-brake and put car in gear
Loosen the 4 nuts connecting drive shaft to diff (17mm). you will need to get at them from the right side of diff and will have to rotate the drive shaft and re-lock once.
Loosen the 24 hex bolts that hold the half shafts to the diff and wheel hubs. 6mm hex for 2002 cv joints, 8mm hex for 320i joints. You could get away with just doing the inner ones, but gives you more room to work if you just take them all the way out.
Creative use of a combo wrench applied to a short hex key if that is all you have.
Or use hex socket and drive
Halfshafts out. Good time to check cv joints and refresh if needed.
Now get a jack under the subframe to support it. without the diff attached, the subframe will sag. Not good for the mounts.
Remove hanger bracket. I just a tranny jack under the diff to support. Or you can have a buddy bench press it.
17mm combo wrenches on the bracket, 17mm socket on the nuts holding diff to bracket.
remove the 4 bolts holding the diff to the subframe. 19mm combo wrench on top, 19mm socket on bottom. impact gun is wonderfull thing here.
Lower back of diff first. When clear of tank, slide out.
If swapping in a 320 3.91, you will need to use the 2002 diff cover. Good time to check the innards and reseal the cover anyway.
Remove cover with 17mm socket and scrape the old gasket/goo off cover and diff.
Bmw specifies a paper gasket on the cover, but I have never used one in the dozens of diff covers I have sealed. Never had a leak. I use permatex ultra black sealant instead.
Apply a bead around diff
Replace cover gently. Screw bolts in until just snug by hand. You should see just a little ultra black ooze out. Let diff sit for an hour or two for goo to set.
Once goo has set, torque cover to 32ftlbs.
Get new crush seals for fill and drain plugs….these are on use items. Do not reuse.
Now is the good time to refill the diff with oil. I use redline 75w90 for street diffs. Redlilne lightweight shockproof oil for track diffs.
Assembly is reverse of the above process…..but when I put mine back together I will add detail to this.
much easier to fill diff like this than when it is in the car. takes 1.1 qts
fill to here
diff plugs get 41ftlbs