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Ruined Differential

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by kearnsclan, Jan 31, 2010.

    kearnsclan guest

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    I recently had to replace my differential on my 540i 6sp sport at 83,000 miles. It had been serviced and fluid changed at 2yrs earlier at 55K miles.

    No warning except for some very intermittent vague rear-end groaning that sounded like brake pad noise. My panel warning message display showed only once during some stop and go traffic on interstate "Failsafe Engine Mode" then disappeared and all was well.

    The next day on the interstate, the differential jerked hard and had a loud grinding noise and burnt oil smell.

    Needless to say, we towed the car to a dealership in Durham NC and had the differential replaced. The dealership was great about the repair !!! The total bill...... well.....not so great.

    Anyway, we are back in service.

    Any thoughts on why the differential went out ??
    Could it be : Bad Differential Bushings ?? Previous owner doing 'drag-race type' starts ??
    Factory Defect ??? Other problems??

    And how can I prevent it again ???

    Any thoughts would be appreciated here. Thanks in advance !!
    • Member


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    I'm going with P.O. abuse. It's almost unheard-of for a diff to fail that early.
    • Member


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    Only other thoughts that come to mind are that the fluid used in replacement was incorrect or the person doing it introduced dirt/grime into the diff by not cleaning the fill hole area fully and/or getting the pump tube gritty before inserting it into the diff to fill. There is always the remote possibility of an improperly setup diff from the factory, but that is extremely rare. I guess I'd put my bet on the fluid used being incorrect.

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