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BMW E30 3 Series Limited Slip Differential Swap

Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E30 3 Series Limited Slip Differential Swap

Jared Fenton


4-5 hours






Floor jack, three jack stands (one for differential), two wheel chocks, lug wrench, safety glasses, torque wrench, brake cleaner, WD-40, torque wrench, breaker bar, metric socket set, metric wrench set, M8 or M10 Torx, 14mm Allen, large drain pan, siphon or pump

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)

Parts Required:

Limited slip differential, BMW SAF-XLS Synthetic oil or Swepco (if not still under warranty)

Performance Gain:

Better cornering capabilities for your E30

Complementary Modification:

Install new shocks and springs on all four corners

Want to get some more cornering acceleration out of your BMW? Do you want to add a limited slip differential to your car? In both cases, the differential must be replaced. In this article I will go over the steps involved in swapping out differentials in the BMW E30 3 Series from 1984-91. Keep in mind that this tech article covers all 3 series models, including the BMW E36 318ti from 1995-99, as it uses the same rear end setup.

What's a limited slip differential? Simply put, a limited slip differential or L.S.D. is a differential that distributes power evenly to both rear wheels. Regular differentials only distribute power to one wheel. The real advantage of an L.S.D. is felt during cornering, as power distribution is split between both wheels. Basically, the wheel with less resistance will receive more power then the other. A good way to explain this is when a car goes into a turn; the outboard wheel will be spinning faster than the inboard wheel. More resistance is placed on the inboard wheel, making it spin slower. Though a series of clutches or weights, the L.S.D. mechanically sends less power to the inboard wheel and more power to the outboard wheels. This helps to increase the stability of the car when coming out of turns at high speed, such as freeway on ramps or that high-banked turn at the track.

The BMW E30 3 Series cars have an excellent reputation for handling and control, however if you wanted to go one step further, you would get an "is" model. The "is" models featured the L.S.D. as well as other handling upgrades. The nice thing about the design of these cars is that the L.S.D. can be easily swapped into cars that did not originally come with it.

The first step is to get a hold of a L.S.D. These can usually be picked up on eBay in good shape for around $250-300. I would be cautious if buying off eBay, as there is no guarantee of the age or condition of the diff. Your best bet might be going to the junkyard to find one. Most major junkyards offer a limited warranty on items such as engines, transmissions and rear ends. So you have a little piece of mind. They are easy to spot, as there is a large "S" stamped on the outside cover. (For all of you out there interested in doing this, and you are not sure if it's L.S.D. or not, I can always check part numbers for you). If you are looking to have your current differential upgraded to an L.S.D., there are several companies out there, such as Quaife, that can convert your standard differential into an L.S.D. many times with custom lock-up rates far beyond what was offered stock on the "is" models. While these are great for track use, they don't apply very much for the street. So, in this article we will be assuming that the unit in question is a low-mile, stock used unit picked up from the local junkyard.

Now, let's jack the car up. First, chock the front wheels to keep them from rolling while you have the rear wheels jacked up. Next, loosen (but do not remove) the rear lug bolts. Now, use a floor jack and jack up the rear of the car. Be sure to jack the car up on a re-inforced part of the body, such as a crossmember or chassis beam. Be sure not to jack the car up on any other part, as you could put a hole right through the bottom of the car. I have seen Porsches in the past where jacks have punctured the floorboards. A handy reference is Wayne's article on jacking up your BMW. This article is specific to the E36 series, however, the same principles apply to the E30 as well.

Once the car is firmly secured on jack stands, the next step is to remove the lug bolts on the rear wheels and take the wheels off. Now, look at where the drive axles are bolted onto the differential. We will need to separate the axle shafts from the differential in order to remove the differential. There are six internal Allen head bolts that hold each axle to the differential. Before you remove them, it's a really good idea to clean them off to get any dirt of grease out of the bolt heads. Any good brake cleaner should work perfectly. We don't have to get them spotless, however just enough to where we won't have the Allen key from popping out. It's also a good idea to hit the bolts with WD-40 or good penetrating oil. Typically, I like to let the spray sit overnight, to let the oil work itself into the threads. This will make it much easier to remove the bolts, not to mention preventing stripping and seizing when you hit them with the wrench. Put the car in gear if it's a manual gearbox. This will lock the rear end and allow you to loosen the bolts. Now remove all the bolts. The drive axles will now be free of the differential. Use a piece of rope or stiff wire to hang the drive axles to the car and keep them from crashing downward.

Now look at the front of the differential. You will see the mounting flange for the driveshaft. There are four bolts that hold the driveshaft to the mounting flange. Put the car in gear to lock the driveshaft in place, and then use and open-end wrench to hold the nut on the end of each bolt. Now remove the bolt. Put the car in neutral and rotate the driveshaft so that you have enough clearance to remove the next bolt. Now put the car in gear again and repeat the procedure. Repeat these steps until all the bolts are removed. Now use some wire or rope to suspend the driveshaft in place to prevent stress on the centering bearing.

Now move towards the rear of the differential and remove the electrical connector from the speedometer sensor. I forgot to do this one time and ended up ripping the wires off the ends of the connector. Nothing was damaged to badly, but I did end up having to splice the wires back together.

Now we have to remove the mounting bolts for the differential. I've found that using WD-40 or another good penetrant spray on the bolt will help loosen things up. I'd recommend that you spray it on all the differential mounting bolts and let it sit overnight to soak in. The next morning, it should be a lot easier to get these loose. I have found that in some cases, using a torch to heat up the bolts also helps to get the bolts turning. If you decide to do this, use EXTREME caution as you are directly in front of the fuel tank. Gas vapors and a torch = explosion. Just use enough flame to heat the bolt up slightly. This will cause the threads inside to expand and free up.

Next, put a jack under the differential to support it's weight. Trust me, you don't want the differential falling on you while you are under the car. Now we have to remove the two rear upper mounting bolts. These are located at the top of the differential. You will need to use an open end wrench to get these off. You may also need to use a "cheater bar" to loosen the bolts. A cheater bar is essentially a large piece of pipe fitted over the wrench. The extended length of the wrench provides you more leverage. Just like you learned in basic physics. A longer lever equals less force required to move it.

Now remove the two front mounting bolts. They are located at the very front of the differential on either side of the driveshaft. Once again, you may have to use the cheater bar in order to get them loose. Now remove these bolts. Lastly, remove the nut and bolt for the rubber mounting bushing. Use an open-end wrench on the nut to hold it in place while you loosen the bolt.

Now we will be able to lower and remove the differential. Keep in mind that the differential is very heavy, so use caution and while pulling the differential back, lower the jack. The differential will come out of the car.

Once out, take the old differential off the jack and place the new L.S.D. differential on the jack. Now position the new diff in roughly the position it would fit in the car, but slightly to the rear. We will need to do this in order to angle the diff into position. Now start to raise the jack. As you bring the diff into position, push it slightly forward to line the driveshaft up with the input flange on the front of the differential. Once, there, slide a bolt through to hold it in place.

Now, use the jack to carefully lift or lower the diff until the mounting holes line up. This may take a few tries, as the diff is very heavy. Once you have it correctly positioned, slide the front mounting bolts through the mounting holes and torque the bolts to 59ft/lbs. each. Now re-install the rear upper mounting bolts and torque them to 59 ft./lbs.

We now need to re-install the driveshaft mounting bolts. Take the car out of gear and rotate the driveshaft until the mounting holes line up. Now re-install the rest of the bolts. It's a good idea to use new self-locking nuts on the ends of these bolts. These nuts will not come off once torqued. Use an open-end wrench to hold the nut in place and torque all the mounting bolts to 53ft./lbs. Now attach the sender for the speedometer on the rear of the diff.

Now we need to re-install the axle shafts to the new differential. Before you start, make sure to clean the mounting bolts. They must be clean and free of grease before you install them. Now, make sure the car is out of gear and rotate the flanges on the side of the differential until the bolt holes line up with the ends of the drive axles. Thread the 6 bolts into the flanges and put the car back in gear. Having the car in gear will lock the diff and help you torque the mounting bolts. There are two different sizes of bolts used on these cars, M8 and M10 Torx. If you have M8 bolts, torque them to 47 ft./lbs. If you have M10 bolts, torque them to 74 ft./lbs.

It's a good idea to change the diff oil while you are under the car. 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 differential oil.

Now, 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 bottom.

Immediately, the differential oil will pour out. It should take a few minutes for all the fluid to drain out.

Once 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. In my personal experience, I have found that Swepco Lubricants work equally as well in the differential. However I would use BMW recommended fluids in cars still under warranty.

Now, 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.

Lastly, re-mount the tires and snug up the lug bolts. Now lower the car and tighten the lug bolts using a criss-cross pattern.

Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all. If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Comments and Suggestions:
Fred Comments: I have a 1999 BMW e36 328i convertible and would like to put a limited slip diff, what year make model BMW LSD should I get? And what gear ratio is best for take off and high speed, Thanks
December 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Look for the M3 model 3.23 diff for your year range. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Alan Comments: have a 5-spd 1985 325e w/a 2.73 gear and installed a Turner chip 5300 rpm nowand would really like to swap out the rear for a 3.91 to rallycross. I have access to a 95' E-36 diff, and they 'look' very similar except for the rear cover-- E-30 -one ear, E-36 -two ears. Can the covers just be swapped allowing the later diff to be used in this application?
July 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think so. The bolt pattern is likely different. Only way to know for sure is to line up the two to see if they pattern matches. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pete Comments: Hi there, I'm just trying to identify the ratios on a LSD case - the tag reads 1041A4960S. I'm hoping this is a 4.1 ratio to go into my 318is. Is there any way to confirm this? Thanks
July 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think it means 10 and 41 teeth, so 4:1. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony Comments: I have a 3.73 from an E30 and would like to replace the internals of my '92 325i 3.15 which has an S because the rear end makes that clunking sound as I shift to 1st gear or as I'm rolling on 1st or 2nd gear. Both 3.73 from the E30 and the 3.15 from the E36 have one side can be spun and the other side of the axle doesn't. Please advice.
July 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think you will have to get an entire diff. Just look for similar options for the same vehicle you have. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
s50e30 Comments: Car: 1991 318is
Current Diff: S4.10
Question: what tools are required to remove differential?
additional info: I would like to remove my diff with as little cost as possible.
June 3, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You'll need a metric socket set, some Torx sockets, likely an external Torx for the axle. A jack for lifting the diff and prybars to move it around.

We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799.- Nick at Pelican Parts
RB325i Comments: I have a bmw 325i 1992 manual with an open diff and i am lookin for making it go sideways. can i fit a 3.23 lsd from an m3 e36 will it work?? And does it have same effect of a welded diff
April 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Welded diff is not the same as LSD.

The M3 diff should go in with little issue. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Connor Comments: hi just wondering what i have to do to install a lsd medium case out of a e30 m3 into my e30 318i?
April 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may need to modify the mount. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Gama Comments: Recently I convected my e36 318is to manual. My problem now is gear ratio. I would like to know if a e30 318i differential will be compatible with the e36 318is.
January 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have heard of guys getting late E30 diffs into E36s. Should be able to pull it off. DO search of our forums. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
318tifanny Comments: Hello, i got a 98 318ti and want drift out of it. I fpund a drivetrain differential out of a 88-89 325i and wanting to put it in. So will it be a good differential ratio and will be also be a bolt on for my 318ti too? Thanks a lot
January 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good question. I don't have any experience with that swap. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
saneesh8 Comments: My car is 2000 z3 2.5 Auto. I think the differential ratio is 4.27 it is the OEM. Can i swap it with the differential from the Manual transmission 2.8 car ? It is 3.15 ?? ratio. I know i will loose some torque. Please see the backlash at

I have the famous clunk because of this backlash and it is too loose inside. Don't know how much it costs to rebuild it. Asked so many online venodors/people and no one even want to respond. So thought of replacing it with a used working one.
October 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A used one is fine if it bolts up. Just be prepared for the ratio change if you do not use a unit from your vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dusxpress Comments: What happens with the speedometer if a LSD was replaced by a standard one Volvo 760? Does the speedometer sensor needs to be changed? I got a car where this was according to the previous owner done, and after that the readings on its electronic speedometer are approximately 1/4 i.e. the car goes 80, speedometer points 20?
October 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There likely has to be a calibration done using a scan tool. To tell the control module the rear end was changed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
shotgunwilliams Comments: Hey guys, I was just wondering if it is possible to bolt a 325i lsd straight onto my 318i

October 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Snitts Comments: I have a 2009 335XI 6 spd manual with 22k miles 2nd owner. I've notice a bit of front differential noise while letting off the gas, coasting/slowing down. It is more noticeable at highway speeds. Can the backlash be adjusted and/or lubricate changed to eliminate this. It occurs while going straight and only when coasting or off the gas. If I give it just a little gas the noise goes away...any thoughts, comments or suggestions???
July 27, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can try a fluid service. I am not aware of any adjustments that are able to be done. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
nick toon Comments: thanks for replying is there a specifically good lsd to fit ?
May 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I like Quaife diffs. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
nick toon Comments: hey ,love the article i have recently blew my diff in my e30 320i and now i think its time to upgrade to a lsd i was curious how hard and which diff to put in without costing to much to upgrade to a lsd
May 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Kurt Comments: good day , i have a ford escort fitted with a BMW E30 suspension the escort is powered a 2.0 16valve FE Mazda Engine , whenever the car is launched and i snap change to second gear it explodes the driver side cv joint outter and inner , can you perhaps give me any advice on how to go about not letting this happen again , any suggestions
April 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Without seeing the vehicle it is hard. But - I would assume the transmission or suspension is moving too much, causing the CV to pull apart. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pogimabus Comments: Just swapped a 4.44 diff for a 2.93 LSD in a 1995 318ti using this article. The flanges that connect to the axles on the new LSD didn't match the old ones, but I simply pulled the old flanges off of the 4.44 literally just pried them off with a screw driver, very easy and popped them into the new diff and the car is running great now. I also had to swap the speedo plugs, but that was also very simple.
April 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: NICE. Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Drew Comments: I have an 84 325e. Not sure what is on it right now. probably a 2.73 LSD if they used LSDs that year but, I would like to put on a used 3.73 LSD. I am not sure which LSD can fit on my 325e. Does the 3 series have a 3.73 LSD from different years that is compatible with my 84 325e? Thanks in advance
April 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Tony Comments: how are the trigger wheels attached, I am looking at putting an e36 spool into my e30 case with the e30 ring and pinion, and want to make sure it will swap over without any special tools for the speed trigger wheel.
December 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They are either bolted on or pressed on. What year are you thinking of using? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Justin Comments: I have a differentual from an e28, it is a medium case, I am looking for a parts list for a complete rebuild for one. It has a e30 back plate on it.
November 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you sort out the rebuild kit.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
diva_3181377 Comments: I have a 2000 Z3 with auto. I was tracking down a clunk happening from the rear and found that if i turn the wheel by hand, it takes a while before the propeller shaft at the differential side turns indicating looseness inside the differential. The same thing looks like causing whine and also the clunk when coasting to stop at the end transmission engages or when putting in reverse. I have been driving like this for 6K miles and it didn't increased or decreased. It have a torsen LSD with no clutches. Tried different fluids Valvoline and then Amsoil with 75W140, and no change in sound.

The looseness inside the differential is normal? Car have 118K on it. What are my options? Buy a used one or send it for rebuild? Other than than clunk and whine noise, it works fine.
October 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The rear is worn, you can drive it until it breaks, or you can spend the money now to repair it. I would try to find a low mileage replacement or find a place that can rebuild it and start saving the money to pay for it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Nic Comments: Just did the E30 rear end swap into my 95' E36 318ti and I'm wondering how warm a LSD diff should get? After 30 minutes of spirited driving I shot the cast iron part of the housing with the I/R gun and the temps are about 230 degrees. The air temp was also only about 60 degrees so I'm worried on a 90 degree day its gonna get to warm. Unfortunately I didn't check the old open rear end before I removed it so I don't what that use to run. Using Redline synthetic oil in both. What kind of temps should these be running at?
July 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't give you specific temps since there are too many variables. You need a limited slip friction modifier additive for LSD and there is a chance that the clutches are slightly worn and allowing the unit to get hot from the slipping. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Josh Comments: I have an 85 318i, what differentials can I use to fit my car and add power.
June 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not 100% sure. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Al Comments: Can you swap the internals of a 4.27 into a 4.10?
May 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
steve Comments: Yep, bad diff! No more clunky drivetrain and i got some power back that i hadn't realized i had lost. However i didn't see anything metal in the fluid.
April 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Glad you figured it out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
steve Comments: Opps, i mean Jared!
March 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We can help, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
steve Comments: Hi Wayne, great site; how to articles, advice and parts!
1989 E30
Im getting a clunk,clunk, clunk from the rearright side i thinkonly when im off the accelerator. This happened after i heard a snap as i pulled away from the gas pump. I checked tires-no prob there.
Now i've had a torn outer CV boot on that side and figured the CV joint has fianlly gone so i pulled the axle. Inner CV seemed cool and smooth. Outside CV felt a little clunky. Curriosty got to me so i decide to Open up the questionable CV and was surprised how little wear there was so now im thinking maybe its the differential as it does seem to look like its leaked a bit. Thought?
March 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A noise from the rear end during decel is an indicator of a problem with the rear differential. Usually exhibited in a growling noise. If it is a clunk, or loud noise, this would mean broken parts, check for metal in the differential fluid before taking it apart. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
steamboat Comments: Just installing a 3.73 LSD in my 97 318ti all went well until I came to bolting up the half shafts when I found that the tin end covers that fit in the stub axle shafts of the differetial are of a different shape. Do I have to buy two whole axle shafts off a e30 or is there another way of solving this problem? Are these covers just to keep grease in the universal joint or what?
January 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If they are rubbing you are going to need to remove them. They block road debris from getting in. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jp Comments: Are all medium case lsd's direct bolt ins on my 91 318is or do I need the medium case axles as well. Thanks
August 28, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Possibly not but the axles may rub against the covers - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ethan Comments: hi im wondering what are all the parts i need to convert my e30 320i to a medium case lsd. i have brought a medium case lsd from a 325i but my car runs a small case diff i have changed the half shafts over but am still curious if there is anything else to do before i bolt it up and will the clarance form the half shafts to the axle be the same as it was on the open or do i need other parts ? cheers
August 2, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Contact one of our parts specialist and they can help you find the parts you need for this conversion - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Arthur Comments: Hi,

I would just like to know would this diff 325is fit in a e28

June 27, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Probably not as the mounting and driveshaft length would have to be altered - Kerry at Pelican Parts  
Seanyc Comments: Hi guys. I am looking to buy a small case 168 LSD diff for my e36 318iS. If the diff has "S3.45" stamped in the backplate does this mean it is an LSD? Cheers, Sean
February 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The S means it is an LSD.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jackson Comments: hi guys.can i install a 4.10 lsd from ix to my normall e30 and whn i install it. is za lsd will work at my normall e30? thnx
February 2, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be able to swap it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Chan, Comments: I have question on my 98 M3. 1. When I start up cold it making crunching & grinding noise undder engine compartment or by trans,If the eng is warm it won't make that noise.
2. when I drive on low speed I hear a rubbing noise come from r-front end I checked everything it fine, jack the car up and spin both wheels find nothing. Could anyone tell me what the problem is? Thanks.
January 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The noise under the hood on start up could be a pulley or a tensioner, the noise in the front end could be a wheel bearing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Umar Comments: Hi. I have a 1989 316i...being in Pakistan I did not have many options so I did an engine swap by installing a toyota 2jz ge the non turbo ones used in toyota supras. Japanese engines are easily available in the market here. The engine fit in perfectly, however, I am unable to find a suitable differential which would fit in the e30 and be able to handle the 2jz engine. Is installing the 325is' differential the best option for me? As I will have to order the differential from Dubai most probably, can you please let me know what the part number is for the differential and whether it is LSD? Thank you for your help.
December 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
leo Comments: I have a 87 e30 325is and would like to know if would be beneficial more torque to swap the stock dif with a 4.10 dif?

Appreciate any help
November 29, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A LSD reardif will help the most.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jerry Comments: I have a 87 325 automatic. almost positive it is an open differential. i have an lsd out of a 90 325i five speed. would it be okay too install this into an automatic car or would it mess with the shifting of the transmission?
November 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can add it without any issues. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
shelbys Comments: will a 1995 m3 diff swap easy into my 1998 328is?
October 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Brad Comments: I noticed in the article you referenced using new self locking nuts when mounting the driveshaft to the differential. Do you have a part number for those self locking nuts?
September 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
njemtrn Comments: I have a '91 318i with a 4.10 diff that needs to be replaced. the only diff i can find by "diff" i mean the whole assembly, with the case and all internals is a 3.91 ratio. would i need to anything besides the diff to swap ratios like axle or sensors?
July 28, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
nick Comments: of what model diferential can i put to my e30 318is????thanks
June 20, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Tiago Silva Comments: I'm in the process of installing an LSD for my E36 325i medium case diff. I want to change only the inner parts not a complete swap. Is there any way i could find info about the installation of the LSD. I know there is some precision tools and tolerances involved in the process so I'm searching for a good guidance to try and do that, and while at it, change my final drive ring a pinion from 3.15 to 3.45 or 3.91 since the car is mostly for going sideways.

Thanks and great site.
March 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Rebuilding differentials is not always straightforward. I'm not sure about the BMWs, but on the Porsches, you need some special tools to set the clearances on the ring and pinion. I would really just recommend that you do a swap of a complete differential unit with another. If I understand you correctly, you sound like you want to swap the internals of an LSD into a regular differential, which I'm not even sure is possible. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
TheOne Comments: I own a 91' 318is. I am not sure if it has an l.s.d, ia friend told me only one wheel would spin during a burn out. Could this be happening because the diff might need a tune up?
February 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If one wheel is planted firmly on the ground, and the other is spinning, then you most likely have an open differential, not an LSD. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
e30 for life Comments: I have a 86 325 with 2.93 gears and also have 93 325i with 3.91 and limited slip, want to put 3.25 ratio in the 86 325 with limited slip can i reuse the limited slip from the 93 325i and do you sell ring gears? building an e30 with s50/s52 with SD5
February 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hmmm, I'm not sure that would work - I think the E30 and E36 diffs are different, but I'll freely admit, I just don't know. I'll post this on the forums, and perhaps someone there has done this swap previously? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
318tiDylan Comments: I just bought a 3.93 LSD from an e30 and I plan on putting it into my 318ti. I read on a few forums that I need to get e30 half-shafts and I also read on other forums that I do not need them. Is it possible with my stock ti ones? I really do not want to buy e30 ones.
January 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The rear of the 318ti uses a lot of components recycled from the E30 world. I do believe that you can swap in the E30 differential into the 318ti with a minimal amount of parts replacement. I think the half-shafts are the same as on the E30 and I think it will work well, but I'm not 100% sure. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
funcrew Comments: Thanks for the writeup! A couple issues - One, I don't see why the road wheels need to be removed. Two, why didn't you fill the new diff with oil while it was out of the car?
December 10, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can fill it before or after, and removing the tires will make it easier to turn.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
backdoc Comments: Hi All,
I have a similar problem as Ant. Bought a 98 M3 auto sedan for my son last Dec'09 and has been trying to figure out a vibration problem when accelerating. The vibration ocuurs as I pass 25mph and goes away as speed picks up, no vibration when coasting down or very slow acceleration.
The vibration used to occur at 35 mph, then I replaced engine & trans mounts, guibo, csb, then the vib is more noticable and shifted down to 25 mph. Since then I've had the CV joints rebuilt, changed diff mounts, RTAB, all rear susp bushings with no help. When I support the rear at the RTA and run the engine, put it in R or D, I hear a crucnhing noise & vibration coming from the diff area. Sounds & feels like something is catching, grinding, crunching. This is the reason I had the CV joints rebuilt last time because when I diconnected the drive axles, the crunching went away. I was so sure the CV jts were bad, but since I'd rebuilt the CV jts, put the car back together, it wasn't the CV jts after all.
Is there a better way to diagnose where the problem is coming from? Is it from the diff, drive shaft or auto trans. I also replaced all the fluids auto trans, diff, engine when I got the car.
May 21, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hmm, you've tried all of the tough stuff so far, perhaps the solution is the easy stuff? Try rotating the tires corner to corner or having the balance checked. Make sure the rotors are okay and not dragging. Sometimes the system will have a natural frequency that is only triggered under load. Driveline components would theoretically be immune from the actual speed of the vehicle, unless they are internal to the transmission. I.E. you would feel the vibrations at a certain RPM, not a certain speed. Hope this helps... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
April 12, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mark Comments: I have then same problem as ANT with my 88 325ic - 172,000 miles. A couple years ago, a mechanic replaced the carrier bearing non-oem and it solved the problem - for a while - now it's back. I started as a vibration coming from right rear, now it's a thump. Once the car is moving, its fine. Also confirmed its not the CV joint, doesn't sound like a bearing problem. I have decided to replace differential, assuming the carrier bearing is a part of that?
April 7, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The carrier bearing is on the drive shaft. If the rear is faulty it will make noise the will change when on and off the gas.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Der Bart84 Comments: Thanks for this article! The Pelican articles were already of great help to me. I would like to ask you the following: can I swap my Euro e36 325i differential with a differential with a lower end gear ratio and still keep a correct value on the speedometer? Thanks in advance, Bart
January 29, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the gear ratio is different the speedo will be off.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
scorpion Comments: i have a 93 325is i want to swap the differential can i replace it with a newer bmw differential or what other recomendetions you guys recomend.....
January 18, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure, I opened a thread in the forum, maybe one of the members can help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
suve Comments: i am looking diff lsd for my e30 89 325i. in what car i can find 3.92 and 4.10 ratio?
November 23, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
JA Comments: This is an excellent article. First time changing a differential and it went without a hitch. Thanks.
November 16, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Mule Comments: i'm looking into a diff out of a wrecked M3 for my 325i coupe. i've heard the output shafts need to be swapped. will the ones from my current diff fit the M3 diff and if so do they pull out and swap easily?
September 30, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good question, but I don't know the answer. One thing though - you really don't need an LSD for the street, and in reality it will not help you too much with non-track driving. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Ant Comments: Appreciate the insight. Fairly certain it is the diffy. I experienced this problem previously in a different vehicle. It feels very similar. However, I will verify that the driveshaft couplings are in good shape.
Any comments on the fluid/additive selection?
Can you offer any info on the significance of the "M" designation for this model? Haven't found anything very specific online. Again, most appreciated.
July 29, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, try Swepco 201 - all the Porsche guys swear by it for the 915 transmissions. I've had good luck with it too and I recommend it in my books. We sell it here on the site.- Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Ant Comments: I purchased a 1989 M535i with LSD suspect the M-designation is a European one, but not sure - 4 speed auto/3.5L "big six" B30 for dirt money. It exhibits sort of a thumping sound during acceleration from a stop, which is transmitted through the car enough to feel, but is otherwise quiet past 5-10 mph. I switched out the differential fluid and replaced with Mobil 75W90 synthetic and added 200 ml of a Trans-Ex friction modifier LSD additive total volume = 1.8L; 1.6L fluid + 0.2L additive. However, this has not remedied the thumping situation. What would you recommend? I heard Red Line is the diffy fluid of choice, but I also heard some conflicting accounts and since I trust Mobil Synthetic, I went for that instead. Possible that the friction modifier sucks? Or does it sound like the diffy has to be dismantled and manually cleaned to free the mechanism? Look forward to your response. Thanks in advance for any assistance you might be able to provide. Ant
July 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Problems like these are tough to diagnose. I would take a closer look at the driveshaft, and also the wheel bearings and CV joints too. They often exhibit problems like these at times. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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