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Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
06-05-2011, 08:34 PM (This post was last modified: 06-05-2011 08:35 PM by frikkieh.)
Post: #1
Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Fanatics, I am in need for some technical expertise please -

Got this terrible whoowhoowhoo originating at the back of the car Cursin . Several indications makes me think it is the diff. When I put foot on an uphill drive (such as driving from Atterbury road to Rigel ave), it is most noticeable when the load on vehicle is high. Let go of the accelerator = less noise. This only happens from say 100/110km/h upwards.

I tried turning up the radio Bluebiggrin, but I can lightly feel the vibration too.
Our bimmer expert recons it is my new rear tyres, but surely the noise would then always be there at the afore mentioned speed.

I had a complete suspension overhaul with a prop shaft / center bearing job done.

When I look @ Gizmo's post

Gizmo's diff tutorial

I see ratio changes etc. and having fun with different types of diffs there.
Therefore I would like to know
1.) Can this type of noise be properly diagnosed before swapping part until the actual trouble is found?
2.) If the differential ratio changes, surely there will be a performance / fuel consumption impact - how good / bad is this?
3.) How difficult is it to remove and re-install the diff - e.g. what is the possibility of a Saturday afternoon DIY?
4.) To swap out or to re-built? Which is the most viable solution.
5.) What is the life expectancy of a differential under normal driving conditions?

From what I have heard, a diff can whine for a long time before it packs up.

According to Real OEM the standard ratios are 3.07 or 3,46 for my vehicle (used the VIN to search):

Differential of e46 323i 2000 on REALOEM.COM

Any advice / guidance / assistance please Thumbsup2

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06-05-2011, 09:44 PM
Post: #2
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Str8pimp
If the noise gets too bad I can ask my mother in law to fly you around on her broom... Icon9

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06-05-2011, 10:26 PM
Post: #3
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
have you checked your rear diff bush? when it collapses you get a whining noise...

changing ratio will give you a big gain in performance but will also push fuel consumption up Sad thats why i changed to a 6 speed when i changed ratio

ive got my diff swap down to 2 hours now Bluebiggrin 1st time took me a morning
if you need a diff i have a 3.07 on a shelf if you want to keep your ratio...

i would check the bushes 1st they quite cheap but you will need to get a puller/pusher made i can give you dimensions if you need them

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07-05-2011, 12:22 AM
Post: #4
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Not to hijack the thread, but what would cause a fairly noticeable "thud" sound from the rear when engaging a gear and/or between not so perfect gear changes? The drivetrain also seems to have a sort of "elastic" feel about it - when cold the clutch shudders ever so slightly. Gear selector is also a bit sloppy which I was expecting, but will have to also have looked at.

This is of course the E46 320i I am talking about. When I had the lower control arm bushes done they inspected all other bushes and mountings under the car including the guibo (flexible disk coupler) - everything seemed to be fine according to the tech. Could it be gearbox mounts or bushes, diff? Prop-shaft?

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07-05-2011, 07:53 AM
Post: #5
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
@coisman - let's keep your mamma out of this for a while Bluebiggrin - If you have time we can take my broom for a spin to see If you think it is the diff too.

@Moranor - According to our service expert the the suspension / mountings are fine now after some were replaced. I spend 12k replacing suspension parts - mostly the rubber components, such as the engine, gearbox mountings. The Propshaft universal coupling and center bearing was also replaced.
I need to be sure that the diff that is causing this, but our service expert recons it is the rear tyres. I inspected both of them and see no anomalies there. All the balancing weights are in place, inflation is correct (230kPa).

I would be very interested in an original ratio diff if this is the cause.

@ Philip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzLZkJPJsbs
shows some knock knock from rear bushes. I experienced the same before - We did the handbrake test and the sound was consistent.
Since I had all bushes replaced, the noticeable "thud" sound from the rear is gone.

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07-05-2011, 08:16 AM
Post: #6
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Str8pimp
Frikkie, maybe you forgot to let the hooker out the boot, and now she is kicking and making whining noises to get out... Icon9

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07-05-2011, 08:16 AM
Post: #7
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
if its collapsed you will be able to see it easily... i had a whine from the back of my car not so long ago and i found metal shavings in the diff Cursin luckily i had another 3.38 diff so i just swapped them Bluebiggrin im not sure what is wrong with the 3.38 i took off ill probably only find out when i get a lsd fitted into it...

the whine you describe sounds the same as what i had, but im hoping its something cheaper in your case Bluebiggrin the 3.07 i have was working 100% in my car, but i would change the seals incase the are cracked now from being dry...

you should also check you CVs and universal i think they can make similar noises Iono

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07-05-2011, 09:03 AM
Post: #8
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
(07-05-2011 08:16 AM)Coisman Wrote:  Str8pimp
Frikkie, maybe you forgot to let the hooker out the boot, and now she is kicking and making whining noises to get out... Icon9

I am not sure if woman play Rugby Coisman. There is no hooker in the boot, perhaps a right wing.

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07-05-2011, 09:06 AM
Post: #9
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Spit You got me!!! Clap

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07-05-2011, 10:15 AM (This post was last modified: 07-05-2011 10:15 AM by moranor@axis.)
Post: #10
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
have you ever changed your diff oil? if the bushes look good then change it... when the oil is out stick your finger in a try see if you can scrape some filings out...

if you find filings its best to swap out the diff because its cheaper than fixing in most cases...


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07-05-2011, 09:48 PM
Post: #11
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
(07-05-2011 07:53 AM)frikkieh Wrote:  @ Philip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzLZkJPJsbs
shows some knock knock from rear bushes. I experienced the same before - We did the handbrake test and the sound was consistent.
Since I had all bushes replaced, the noticeable "thud" sound from the rear is gone.

Thanks! Had a look at that vid - looks quite scary to be honest. Well I am going to have to get a second opinion compared to the tech that looked at the car when the lower control arm bushes were done. I was under the car observing as he checked the various bushes, and everything (apart from the lower control arm bushes) appeared to be tight. Maybe he wasn't applying enough force to reveal faulty bushes - was using a hefty standard screw driver to leaver the various bushes and rubbers...

Maybe a case of also doing the handbrake test with my camera underneath to catch the action! Thumbsup2

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08-05-2011, 01:20 AM (This post was last modified: 08-05-2011 01:20 AM by ZED1.)
Post: #12
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
@ frikkieh- is it like a howling sound in the background? And a type of fine grating vibration on pedals? I have the same type of background howl. The car drives perfect but have been spending thousands replacing parts which I suspect it to be and its stil there! Never suspected the diff tho, could it be? Btw I have 2001 323i

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08-05-2011, 09:20 AM
Post: #13
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
when my diff went the noise was soft at 1st but after a day it got so loud i stopped driving the car because i was worried it might explode Bluebiggrin

the diff i have in now does whine a little but i think its fine... i have read about a retro fit where they put an insulating strip on the drive shaft bearing to stop a whining noise from the back...

did your noise start after you replaced your center bearing? maybe they took this strip off?

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08-05-2011, 02:32 PM
Post: #14
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
well if anyone is looking for a 3.38 diff then pm meThumb it's a e46 320 diff...
hijack overBluebiggrin

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08-05-2011, 10:04 PM (This post was last modified: 08-05-2011 10:10 PM by frikkieh.)
Post: #15
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
(08-05-2011 09:20 AM)moranor Wrote:  when my diff went the noise was soft at 1st but after a day it got so loud i stopped driving the car because i was worried it might explode Bluebiggrin

the diff i have in now does whine a little but i think its fine... i have read about a retro fit where they put an insulating strip on the drive shaft bearing to stop a whining noise from the back...

did your noise start after you replaced your center bearing? maybe they took this strip off?

Could be. It actually got worse after the CB replacement. Donno if that job is the cause of this. I will definitely change the gear oil and do the metal shavings test soon. Will keep you posted.
(08-05-2011 01:20 AM)ZED1 Wrote:  @ frikkieh- is it like a howling sound in the background? And a type of fine grating vibration on pedals? I have the same type of background howl. The car drives perfect but have been spending thousands replacing parts which I suspect it to be and its stil there! Never suspected the diff tho, could it be? Btw I have 2001 323i

I would say it's a howling sound on the background. Don't feel it on the pedals though, the vibration is at the gear shifter. Car has got 256 000 km's, so mechenically my head tells me it's time to look @ that diff. The gear oil was never replaced before....Thinkerg
(08-05-2011 02:32 PM)speeddemon Wrote:  well if anyone is looking for a 3.38 diff then pm meThumb it's a e46 320 diff...
hijack overBluebiggrin

Will do thanks.

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09-05-2011, 07:59 AM
Post: #16
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
if it got worse after the CB replacement then they probably did Sad as far as i can tell its just a rubber strip that sits between the CB and the body... do the oil change because its probably about time you did it anyway then if the noise is still there look at the CB...

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16-06-2011, 10:29 PM
Post: #17
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Linked from http://www.bmwfanatics.co.za/showthread.php?tid=20920

The time has come - feels like this is now falling apart. Coisman and Sankekur offered assistance (and brains). I will move the furniture out of the garage this weekend to ensure there is enough space to work. I plan to make a write-up of our findings in the DIY section for future reference.
But we will need to testdrive first. And work from there.

The mission is to get the unit out and inspect it for wear.

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16-06-2011, 10:42 PM
Post: #18
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Cool, just let me know when.

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17-06-2011, 06:38 PM
Post: #19
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
Frikkie,

If I can perhaps give you an idea to try first.

Liqui Moly does a brilliant gear oil (I am led to believe)

Use this
http://www.liqui-moly.de/liquimoly/web.n...guide.html

Find out what oil you need for your car, drain it with new oil at hand.

If you do have shavings or other issues in the diff, replace it with another from a scrapyard (as I indicated they are usually about 1,200 or something from a scrapyard because there are not items that usually fail)

Swap it out, test it.... if thats the issue, then just put in the new oil.

Alternatively, I would contact somebody like Gizmo who know's the diffs well, but your welcome to still pop past on saturday, I just dont want to waste your time...

By the way, changing out a center portion is really easy, provided nothing is stripped or you dont strip anything

I will be on the other side if anybody needs me Bluebiggrin
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17-06-2011, 07:14 PM (This post was last modified: 17-06-2011 07:26 PM by moranor@axis.)
Post: #20
RE: Differential whine DIY - possible causes???
you have to stick your finger into the whole to try scrape the fillings out... when i drained the oil out of mine no fillings came out... only when i took the back off did i see all the fillings...

the e46 diff is not easy to take the centre out... unless you have a gear puller...
this is the one you need:
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