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Old 01-04-2019, 11:27 AM   #1
Seph
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advice on diff replacement

I currently have what I believe to be a small case 4.10 open diff in my 91 318i. It started making noise and the shop has been looking for a replacement but no luck so far. Are there other maintenance items I should consider while they are in there? The guibowas replaced a bit ago when I had the clutch redone.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:42 PM   #2
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91, 318 should be a medium case. The only small case diffs belong on the early m10 cars.
I would suggest the center support replaced, double check your rear axles and rear brake lines. Im sure someone else can chime in and add some more.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:54 PM   #3
Todd Black 88
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Pretty sure M42 e30 cars all came with small case.

That said, look for a medium case e30 diff. They are interchangeable
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:03 PM   #4
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Another thing that makes installing the new diff a lot easier is converting to studs. I used the condor speed shop ones and it really cut down on install time, as the factory bolts are a pain to get aligned into the rear subframe.
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mtech325 View Post
Another thing that makes installing the new diff a lot easier is converting to studs. I used the condor speed shop ones and it really cut down on install time, as the factory bolts are a pain to get aligned into the rear subframe.

+^. If you can't find one, try to rebuild it. Since my first rebuild, I hoarded few diffs just for winter pass times. Probably the most satisfying builds.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:10 PM   #6
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The shop just called and said to pick it up since they can't find one. Welp, wish me luck driving on a noisy one until I can get it replaced. If anyone knows a reputable seller let me know! I am in north georgia.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:23 PM   #7
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Put thick oil on it and start searching the 'bay.

They can be horrifically noisy and go for a loooooonngggg time.

I have found several good diff deals on ePay- you just have
to be patient. Also, looking for different gear ratios (3.91, etc)
sometimes pays dividends.

You can also use any small case gear in your housing, so taking the diff
to a proper diff shop with a better gearset usually ends well.\

And yes, you can use any E30 diff, but if you change sizes, you'll need the output flanges
as well.

hth

t
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:08 PM   #8
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I picked up a ring and pinion set that matches my current one so hopefully that will help out in the rebuild process. I had thought I had a 4.44 because of high ass revs on highway and speedo being about 10mph off but the shop said 4.10, but when I picked it up the tech commented he looked for a long time to find his 4.44 and wished me luck. They didn't pull it apart but diagnosed by drive so I don't know how bad it is inside. I'll keep sharing as I go along. https://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E30-168...72.m2749.l2649
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:40 PM   #9
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I've had a 4.44 in my mostly stock 318i for about four years now, it's perfectly fine unless all you ever do is drive on the highway. However, even if it's only a highway car you will at least be able to pass without downshifting.

Also consider looking for Z3 or 318ti differentials, specifically from automatic cars. In the former case you can find torsen diffs in at least 4.27 and 4.44. In ti land the only useful one would be a 4.44 IIRC, and you are unlikely to find a locker.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:58 AM   #10
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R&P gears rarely go bad, so if the shop you're dealing with suggested that was your issue without taking the diff apart, you might look into finding another shop.
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would be in depending on tip slant and tube size
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:05 AM   #11
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They didn't. I am just starting to horde parts to build a diff while I drive mine around.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:33 AM   #12
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would be in depending on tip slant and tube size
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:00 PM   #13
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I drove 60 miles on a 4.44 once just to make sure it was OK.

I never wanted that short a diff ever again.

I mean, 3 out of 5 gears in the box became kinda useless...


t
likes a 3.91, thanks.
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