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DIY BMW Differential Oil Change

impee's DIY BMW Differential Oil Change BMW 318i e46 N42
How to change Differential Oil yourself!

Difficulty Level: Easy / Medium

Approximate Time For This Project: 1 hr

Prices: Professional labour costs for Changing Differential Oil - £55 (private) or £155 (BMW) - per hour X 1 hours

Redline Synthetic Gear Oil
75W-90 GL5
It takes about 1 Litre (but I bought 2 just in case).
2 £30
Gasket Ring These are replacement for the old / current ones used on the Fill and Drain Plugs.
Part number 7119963355 Part #6.
BMW 2 £0.30

Drain Plug Key 14mm HEX

To open the Differential Fill & Drain Plugs.
1 £3
Star Brite Lower Unit Quart Pump - Oil Transfer Pump Try to get one that fits Quart bottles.

1 £16
Trolley Jack Should support upto 2 Tonnes. 1 £30
Jack Stands Should support upto 2 Tonnes.
To lift car on stands, refer to this page.
4 £30
Bottle / Bucket / Drain Pan To catch the oil.   1  
Tissues     4  
Disaposable Rubber Gloves Pair   3  


It is a good idea to go and buy an extra differential Plug from BMW before you start the DIY. Past DIYs (and my impatient nature) have taught me to always have atleast 1 extra of each screw, bolt or clip! Some times you could simply loose one, break or even strip it! They only cost from £0.70 upto £3.00 a piece, depending on what you buy.

Differential Plug Part number: 33117525064 Part #5. BMW 2 £5

*prices correct at time of publication

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1) Assemble Your Kit + Notes

This DIY enables you to change the Differential Oil in your car.

The oil capacity for this particular car model is about 1 litre.

BMW say and also the yellow sticker stuck on the Differential say that the oil is a lifetime oil, but that is nonsense. Everything has a shelf life!

Change Duration: I personally believe that the Differential Oil should be replaced every 5 years or 75,000 miles.

BMW Differential Oil Kit


A photo of new Gasket Rings and Differential Plugs that I bought.

BMW e46 Differential Plugs


2) Car On Jack Stands

I recommend that the car be lifted on 4 Jack Stands so that it is level and all the oil can drain from the chamber.

2 Jack Stands at the front and 2 at the back. I personally leave the actual car Jack / Trolley Jack still raised under the car, close to where I work, just to provide me with some insurance incase any of the Jack Stands fail!

For more details on lifting the car on Jack Stands, please refer to this page.

BMW on Jack Stands


3) Screw Plugs - Open

Locate the is just next to the Petrol Tank at the back of the car.

BMW e46 Differential


First remove the Fill Screw Plug (to ensure you can fill it up, before you drain it). This is the top one. You will need a 14mm Hex socket. Be careful, as a little oil drains out.
Next remove the Drain Screw Plug, this is the one facing down . You will again need a 14mm Hex socket.

BMW e46 Differential Drain Fill Plugs


As you can see I am using a hammer to turn the Socket Wrench, this is because both screw plugs were very tight indeed!

BMW Differential Oil Open



4) Oil Draining

Catch the oil being drained. Once you take out the drain plug, the oil will pour out very quick and in a thick stream.
It will take about 5 mins to drain, but another 10 minutes for the trickle to finish. You will notice the oil will be filthy and very smelly, so do not spill it anywhere.

As you can see in the photo, all the oil drained onto the floor. This is not my incompetence, but instead only because I was trying to take a photo for this DIY and it all went wrong. Even though I mopped up the below oil spill, it stunk really bad for a couple of months!

BMW Differential Oil Drain


5) Filling Oil

Next fit the Drain Screw Plug back and tighten it to 44.2 lb .ft. or 60 Nm using the Torque Wrench. You will need a 14mm Hex socket.
Using a Torque Wrench reduces any chances of damaging the nuts. However, I was not able to fit my Torque Wrench in the small gap, so I had to tighten it using a standard Socket Wrench.

Now using the oil pump and the Redline Oil bottle, fill the Differential oil chamber with oil. This will take about 15mins and alot of pumping.
You will know when the chamber is full as oil will start to pour back out of the hole. It will take about 1 bottle to fill the chamber.

Next fit back the Fill Screw Plug and tighten it to 44.2 lb .ft. or 60 Nm using the Torque Wrench. You will need a 14mm Hex socket. However, again I was not able to fit my Torque Wrench in the small gap, so I had to tighten it using a standard Socket Wrench.

With a tissue wipe around both Screw Plugs and do a sanity check to ensure no oil is leaking from both plugs.

BMW Differential Oil Fill


6) Comments

Look at the difference in colour. BMW Life Time Oil?!?

You will now definately be doing some good for the car.

BMW Differential Oil Old

BMW e46 Care Care e46 Models Fuse Box On Jack Stands Fault Diagnosis Torque Specifications Air Filter Change Alloy Repair Jack Stands CDV Delete Clutch Bleed Differential Oil Final Stage Resistor Fuel Filter Change Headlight Removal Interior Lights MAFS Clean Oil Change Oil Light Reset Power Steering Fluid Radiator Flush Radiator Fan Change Shiny Steering Wheel Spark Plug Change Transmission Fluid Window Regulator Timing Chain Tensioner Airbag Occupancy Mat Sensor Rear Light Clean BMW Fault Code Read impee impeeCreations BackInfo

DIY BMW e46 Differential Oil Change by - impee

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