In this tech
article, we will focus on replacing the differential oil in the BMW E36 3
Series differential. When was the last time you checked the fluid level in
the diff? Never? Well this article will show you the simple steps involved
in changing the fluid. Usually, a noisy diff is an indication that the fluid
level is low. Keep in mind that this tech article is specific to the BMW E36
3 series cars, however this article applies to pretty much all cars in
first step is to drive the car around the block a few times to heat up the
differential oil. This will make it easier to drain out. Cold oil doesnt
flow as smoothly as warm oil.
Next, put on a pair
of work gloves and jack up the rear of the car. Be sure to use quality jack
stands and chock the front wheels. Failure to do so can result in the car
falling on you! For more info, check out Waynes article on jacking up the
the car is up in the air, and firmly supported,
look under the car, you will see the differential in the center. Now
look under the diff, you will see a hex-head plug. This is the differential
drain plug. In order to drain the old oil, we will need to remove this plug.
Slide a drain tray under this plug. Now,
look at the back of the diff. You will see a similar plug on the rear
face of the differential.. This plug is the fill port for the new
remove the fill plug first. Use a 14mm Allen key or socket to remove the two
plugs. This will help relieve any vacuum built up inside the diff and make
it easier to drain the old fluid out. Next, remove the drain plug from the
differential oil will pour out. It should take a few minutes for all the
fluid to drain out.
all the old fluid is out, re-install the drain plug
and tighten. Next you will want to measure out the correct amount of
fluid for the differential. For 4 cylinder cars, you will want to measure
out 1.2 quarts of oil. For 6 Cylinder models, you will want to measure out
1.8 quarts of oil. BMW recommends you use BMW SAF-XO Synthetic Oil for
differentials without limited slip, or use BMW SAF-XLS Synthetic Oil for
differentials with limited slip.
use a siphon or pump to get the new fluid into the fill port on the rear of
the differential. When the fluid starts to pour out of the top of the fill
port, the differential is full. Remove the pump/siphon, and re-install the
fill port plug and tighten using a 14mm Allen key.
Well, there you have it - it's
really not too difficult at all. If you would like
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