Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

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AndyMitton
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Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by AndyMitton » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:57 pm

Ok, here's a guide for greasing the diff input flange. This was done on my E85, M54, 3.0. There's a bit of updating that needs doing on this and I'll get this done in the next few days. If there's any questions, PM me and I'll be more than happy to help.

Before reading this guide and carrying out any work please consult the BMW service manual. Ensure the vehicle is always supported in the safest possible way. Never support a vehicle using a jack, in any circumstances. I accept no liability for the work you carry out based on this guide. Wear eye protection and foot protection at all times!

Before going ahead with this:

In reality you need a pit of to have it up on ramps to get this done, as you also need to remove the aluminium bracing around the diff housing as this allows the prop shaft to be dropped so you can gain access to the input flange properly.

Removing this bracing requires the removal of the two main support bolts which fasten the diff housing to the subframe - which gives need to support the diff housing (pictured later on).

Notes on the exhaust removal

You will need to remove the full exhaust to do this - its not too bad a job at all - the only bit that's a pain is the following:

Before you start also be aware that the exhaust flange at the front of the car, under the driver's side (just behind the cat.) can be a pig to remove. An absolute pain. There are 4 studs pressed in. Once removed I fitted 4 off M10 grade 10.9 bolts with nuts, a new gasket and some sealant.

I think the BMW replacement bolt for this are made from a Nickel alloy (probably Inconel or equivalent) and are stupidly expensive. I can't justify this expense. Carbon steel fasteners will be fine. IF for any reason you every need to replace these, they can be easily drilled out unlike the OEM studs.

Changing Diff Oil

Now I changed my diff oil. This is up to you. It is not necessary. Most are sealed for life (mine is but changed for reasons I'll explain later).

The parts you will need are as follows:

For the Diff:
1 x grease (see pic)
1 x securing nut (fits over the locknut) - 23211490120
1 x oil seal (if fitting - check compatibility for your model!!) - 33101214099
4 x prop shaft drive bolts
2 x exhaust gasket - 18107502346
4 x M10 Gr 10.1 Nuts and bolts (need to check lengths)

Here's a pic of the grease

Image

Step 1

Remove all under body panels and heat shield.

Step 2

Remove the rear support beam - consult BMW service manual for tightening torques and procedure to ensure this is done safely.

Image

Step 3

Remove the exhaust:

Remove the nuts from the front flange (under the drive's side). These sheared off when I did it and had to drill them out.

Image

Support the exhaust

You will need to remove the rear rubber mounts

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You can now slide the exhaust out to the rear.

Step 4

Mark the position of the prop shaft with tippex (This isn't strictly necessary as the units are balanced individually - but I think its best to do this to avoid any variables)

Remove the 4 bolts which secure the prop shaft joint to the input flange. These shouldn't be too tight. These bolts must be replaced and set to the correct torque on replacements. See the BMW service manual for tightening torque for you model.

Image

The prop shaft will now be free. Support the shaft and do not let it drop - and mind your head!

Image

Step 5

Removing the bracing

There's an aluminium bracing under the diff restricting access to the drive flange.

To remove this, safely support the weight of the diff

Image

Image

Unbolt the 2 bolts holding the diff to the sub frame

Step 6

Remove the securing washer.

Image

Mark the position of the nut with a centre punch or tippex (as I did) and undo it. I used a torque wrench to get a 'feel' of the tightening torque before undoing it.

Image

Step 7

Remove the drive flange
This came off easily - if this isn't the case, careful use of a bearing puller will shift this.

Image

You can remove the oil seal and replace. I didn't bother doing this. I applied a small amount of general purpose grease to the seal lip before reassembly.

Step 8

Give the drive flange a good clean

Apply grease to the back face of the drive flange - see BMW service bulletin for picture

Image

Slide the drive flange back on the splined shaft

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Step 9 - refitting

Refit nut - tighten and position back to where you marked it.
Fit new washer over lock nut
Re fit prop shaft - ensure new bolts are fitted and tightened to the torque specified by BMW

Image

Re fit the bracing on the diff and tighten to BMW specified torque.

Image

Re fit heat shields

Re fit exhaust

Re fit under body panels

Enjoy quiet driving!

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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by bcworkz » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:09 pm

Great write up! Many thanks. I expect most of us will end up doing this or having it done sooner or later. It's good to know the flange comes off easily. The TIS makes sound like a very tight fit, requiring a special tool to press into place on reassembly. This is not something you want to hammer into place because it will mess up the pinion preload.

Sounds like it just slides back into place with little fuss, yes?
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by AndyMitton » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:24 pm

Apologies for not replying to this

Thanks, glad it makes sense.

Yea the flange came off very easily. And yea it slides back on nice and easily, there should be no need for hammering it back on.
Yea I was worried about it having read the info on the TIS as it calls for a special pulling tool. Maybe some are tighter; but as I see it the only thing that can cause to tighten up would be the spline binding up.

As I said, if anyone needs any advice on this, just ask and I'll be more than happy to help.

Cheers

Andy

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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by bcworkz » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:51 pm

No problem with the delay, not anything I need to do yet, touch wood. Just good to know it's not a problem. Kudos for forging ahead without knowing if the tool is really needed or not.

Again, thanks for the contribution.
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by asday101 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:30 pm

Hello there, just a quick question.

Which grease should be used? I've seen some difference in opinion when looking around various forums, some even suggesting using loctite.

Thanks for your time, Adam.

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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by bcworkz » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:24 pm

Hi Adam, welcome to the forum,

IMO, it doesn't matter much as long as it's fairly stiff and waterproof. It's only acting as a shock damper, not to reduce friction. I think loctite was used by indies before the SIB came out, it wouldn't actually bond, but create a gummy surface that keeps the part from sliding and banging as easily. It would work, but I think grease on the end is more effective.
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by GuidoK » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:37 pm

Why did you need to grease the input flange?
Did you get a squeaky whine from it?
Or cluncking?
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by asday101 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:13 pm

Unread postby bcworkz - Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:24 pm

Hi Adam, welcome to the forum,

IMO, it doesn't matter much as long as it's fairly stiff and waterproof. It's only acting as a shock damper, not to reduce friction. I think loctite was used by indies before the SIB came out, it wouldn't actually bond, but create a gummy surface that keeps the part from sliding and banging as easily. It would work, but I think grease on the end is more effective.
Thanks a lot, I couldn't even get an answer from the BMW dealer by me. He just said 'I dunno it's just grease'.

I'd heard about loctite and silicone but it sounded a little chip shop to me at first. I've got some good sturdy grease knocking about; it should do the job well enough.

Thanks again for the help.

Adam

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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by asday101 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:51 pm

Postby GuidoK - Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:37 pm

Why did you need to grease the input flange?
Did you get a squeaky whine from it?
Or cluncking?
Got the infamous clunking when engaging and disengaging drive rather friskily. Or when swapping between forward and reverse upon clutch engagement.

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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by GuidoK » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:19 pm

And this fixes that?
When you describe it like that I'd guess it would be something like a worn diff bushing.

Very interesting.
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by Rob_benton » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:42 pm

I need to do mine. How long does the job roughly take ?

Thanks
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by bcworkz » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:28 pm

GuidoK wrote:And this fixes that?
When you describe it like that I'd guess it would be something like a worn diff bushing.

Very interesting.
Correct. The thing is this happens long before anyone would expect worn diff parts. The problem is the seal isn't very effective and is exposed to constant water spray, so the grease gets flushed out prematurely. The procedure simply replaces the lost grease. The symptomatic clunking is caused by the end of the output flange banging against the inner diff housing. There's no real pressure involved, so wear caused from ignoring it isn't a huge issue, but it's really annoying!

@Rob - IF everything goes well and you have all the right equipment, I'm guessing 3 hours could do it. But things never seem to go well and DIY mechanics almost never have the right equipment, I'd allow all day.
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by asday101 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:16 pm

Just finished mine, took 3 evenings work in all from wheels up to wheels down. No proper ramps just on axle stands. I split the exhaust midway because I did not want the very realistic possibility of drilling the studs at the bottom of the down pipe. I didn't have a 30mm nut for the pinion nut so had to fetch one of those. It all went back together in a about 2 hours from sliding the flange on to wheels down, much faster than taking it all off as I was basically winging it. I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the underside of the truck. I've seen some cars of this age be in much worse condition. My friend has a 10 year old Nissan 350Z that he had on ramps today and that looked like it had been wading in salt water for a decade.

Easily better to spend a little time of my own than give a couple of hundred quid to someone else for the pleasure of working on a Z4.

Ad.

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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by Toe-side » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:28 pm

Great write up! Good to see people using the information :thumbsup:
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Re: Diff Input Flange Greasing M54 Engine (3.0)

Post by Patrick_g46 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:16 pm

Just reading this article with interest (even though I do not have the issue) but I can't quite understand where you are applying the grease? The yellow looking area on the back of the flange? And also, what exactly is causing the knocking noise, what 2 parts are causing the noise?

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