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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > All-Wheel-Drive (Xi / xDrive) Talk > Front Differential - Change your fluid !



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      05-28-2011, 08:28 AM   #1
E36graduate
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Front Differential - Change your fluid !

Just an FYI.....I've been chasing down a humming noise from my front drivers side wheel area for about 10,000 miles (heard from the inside). The noise is getting worse and is driving me crazy.

Decided to get under the car and check out a few things. Noticed that the plastic and metal pan below the front differential was quite dirty/oily. Noticed some oil around the seals on the output seal on the front diff....not a good feeling.

Opened up the fill plug on the front diff...stuck my finger in there....nothing....not a good feeling.

Opened up the drain plug on the front diff......abot 1/4 quart came out....OMG. No metal came out....sigh.

Refilled with about a quart of 75/140...heavier oil.....put everything back together after cleaning the dirty areas. Took for a ride.....noise still there.

Thinking the front diff was toast....started shopping around....only 11 front diffs are available.....and they are in Germany. None in the states. $1600 + shipping.

Started looking at used....only 2 cars in the country are available, I am told. $1300 shipped. These were wrecked cars that were parting out.

Couple of local guys think they could rebuild the differential.....nothing in stone yet.

Bottom line.....stay on top of your fluid changes underneath!!

After putting my car on a lift yesterday and driving it in the air at about 2000 rpms in 4th gear...my mechanic with his stethescope pin pointed that my passenger side front wheel bearing was pretty bad. Just an FYI...my mechanic and I both thought it was the front drivers bearing.

I hope this is the problem seeing that the availability of front diffs are rare/expensive! We listend to the front differential and my mechanic said it sounded fine.
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      05-28-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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Front diff isn't too hard to change (if you need to eventually replace it), but does take some work. Lots of wrench turning, but if you are a decent backyard mechanic, you can do it. Weird thing on our cars is that the front axles go THROUGH the oil pan. Odd. Diff attaches to oil pan. You don't need to remove oil pan, though.

If you need a front diff, there is this car on ebay (listing is for transfer case, which is pretty cheap BTW) and he may have front diff. Just ask him. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...K%3AMEWAX%3AIT The lsiting says it's for an 06 325, but the car is a 07 328xi with 33k miles (see VIN tag in listing pics).
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      05-31-2011, 09:38 PM   #3
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Bearings don't seem to last as long as they used to on older cars.
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      06-02-2011, 07:58 AM   #4
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Changed the passenger front bearing and car is quiet as a mouse now! Very odd that the humming noise sounded like it was coming from the drivers side......oh well, both front wheels have new bearings and my car is quiet again.
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      07-06-2012, 06:04 PM   #5
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front differential bearing

my outer shaft bearing on a 2009 328Xdrive is burned out. The car is out of warranty. Too bad, the dealer told me the bearing is not available as a single part and I have to buy a whole new diff ($2050). Can have a salvage differential from a junk yard for $700. Would prefer to get a sole bearing but I can't find it. Who's your mechanic and where may I find the specs of this outer shaft bearing?

Many thanks from Quebec
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      07-07-2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36graduate View Post
Changed the passenger front bearing and car is quiet as a mouse now! Very odd that the humming noise sounded like it was coming from the drivers side......oh well, both front wheels have new bearings and my car is quiet again.
Where did you get the bearings and for how much, if you don't mind sharing?

I think my car is needing wheel bearings soon, because its not very quite anymore, its kinda sounds like noisy tires/road noise, but the noise didn't change at all when I put new tires on 6 months ago and Ive got 60k on the car now
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      07-07-2012, 06:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackw
my outer shaft bearing on a 2009 328Xdrive is burned out. The car is out of warranty. Too bad, the dealer told me the bearing is not available as a single part and I have to buy a whole new diff ($2050). Can have a salvage differential from a junk yard for $700. Would prefer to get a sole bearing but I can't find it. Who's your mechanic and where may I find the specs of this outer shaft bearing?

Many thanks from Quebec
Darn, I tought dealers are rip-offs only in Bulgaria! xD Like OP said, you can change only the bearings. If your car is not under warranty just do it at a trusted local service. You will have absolutely no problem.
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      07-14-2012, 01:45 PM   #8
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Sorry for not following up, been neglecting the 335xi qnd playing with dirt bikes for a year. Made about $3500in profit and going to dump some money into the bmw!

Not only were the wheel bearings bad, but q lot of noise was coming through the shot coil overs. New h+r springs and bilsteins made her smooth and quiet.
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