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  #1  
Old 10-07-2019, 09:05 PM
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3.64 differential swap in pre-LCI 3.0 5MT

I was getting ready to order parts to do an oil pan gasket job and swap in these 3.64 front & rear diffs that I've had for a while, but I'm running into something that changes my understanding about the differential swaps that I've seen in other threads.

Does anyone have a pre-LCI differential (actually, the stub axles) from a manual trans car lying about to take a few measurements?

Here's what I (thought I) know going into the swap:

1) front differentials are drop-in, plug and play - no differences there
2) rear diff stub axles have a 94mm bolt circle on the manual vs. 86mm for the auto/4.4 cars so axles are not interchangeable
3) both the pre-LCI manual and all 4.4L cars share the same rear differential case
4) post-LCI manual cars have the large differential case

Now looking at realoem, I see that the axle seal and snap ring are different sizes for pre-LCI manual vs auto/4.4L cars (#13 in this diagram https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/sho...diagId=33_1013)

I was always under the impression that on the small-case differentials the diameter and splines of the stub axles were the same (i.e. you could swap differentials if you use your old stub axles). But, this looks to not be the case. I would have to swap to the smaller stubs and axles of the automatic cars if I were to perform this swap. I know a few of you have done this, and I hope you can clarify for me!
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Last edited by e39_touring; 10-08-2019 at 02:14 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2019, 12:57 AM
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Point of clarification - from # 2 in this post:

https://xoutpost.com/1024694-post10.html

"2) The manual flanges will go right into the auto diff, and my car now has one of each in it, since I had an episode with one of the new auto CV bearings puking its cage and ball bearings all over the garage floor. I got one from ECS that was supposed to be VIN matched to my car, which was really huge (length and splined diameter) and did not fit either differential."

From my research in realoem, this shouldn't be possible, but it's exactly what I was hoping to do - put manual flanges (stub axles) in the auto differential.
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:10 PM
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I have confirmed that the rear differentials are interchangeable if you pop out the stub axles and swap those over, too. I can't post pictures from my android tablet but will do so later if I remember when I'm next on my PC.

Basically, all the pre-LCI do share the same differential case and internals (except ratio). The bolt flange on the side axles for the MT, is, and 4.4 with high-speed synchronization (I think this means lack of speed limiter) models is a touch larger than the other cars. The splines and shafts on the stub axles are plug & play swappable.

Those same cars but in LCI years went to a larger rear differential case that have larger side axle assemblies that are not interchangeable. You can still use the differential in any car, but you would have to change out your full axles (not the stubs) as well to match.
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Old 12-04-2019, 03:53 PM
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Here's a picture showing the difference in rear stub axles. The one on the left is from a 4.4L, and the one on the right is from an '01 3.0 5 speed.

On pre-LCI, this means 3.64, 3.91, or 4.10 ratios are very easily swappable. On LCI SAV's, you still have those same choices in ratios, but MT or 4.8is SAV's will may have to change out the rear axles depending on what diffs are sourced for the swap in ratios.
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