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    E46 M3 Differential Upgrade - Custom Options
    Part #: E46-M3-DIFFERENTIAL

    A custom differential is one of the best upgrades to have done to your E46 M3. Not only can you get more performance but you can also address the weak points in the M Variable limited slip diff. It's easy to forget about the rear axle when you're considering performance upgrades but changing the gearing is in the top 3 things to do to make the car faster. A custom diff is also a rebuilt unit with new seals, bearings, and limited slip unit.

    Gearing The E46 M3 diff comes with a relatively short 3.62 gear ratio. They could use a shorter gear because the engine redline is so high - the car has a long power band and the gear spacing allows you to stay well within that range. There's always more acceleration to be had with a shorter gear set. BMW Motorsport supplies 3.91 or 4.10 options and there are other gear ratios to select in our custom builds. Your speed vs RPM obviously changes with a different gear set. Use the chart below for examples of the differences.

    Example: 2004 M3, 6-speed manual, 275/35-19" rear tires
    Gear Ratio Gear Speed RPM
    70 MPH Cruise
    3.62 6th 72 MPH 2,750 RPM
    3.91 6th 70 MPH 2,875 RPM
    4.10 6th 70 MPH 3,000 RPM
    5th Gear Speed at Redline
    3.62 5th 175 MPH 8,000 RPM
    3.91 5th 162 MPH 8,000 RPM
    4.10 5th 154 MPH 8,000 RPM
    Why 5th? Because 6th does not have the mechanical advantage to get past wind resistance at these speeds - it is more of a cruise/overdrive gear. Using 5th for comparison purposes is much more relevant than having to take into account wind direction, resistance, grade, elevation, tire sizing, etc. These numbers are for comparisons among gear ratios only, not to determine what your M3 will top out at.

    Limited Slip Options The M3's M Variable locking differential is genius when it's working properly. Unfortunately, as many M3 owners have come to find, the system only has a service life of 80,000 miles (sometimes less) and then the viscous unit inside starts to fail (is your's clunking?). We can rebuild the internals and bring it back to a perfectly-functioning viscous M Variable unit. Or you may choose to lose the variable lock in favor of a traditional clutch-type or helical diff with a set locking. We also build diffs with Quiafe, Kaaz, and OS Giken (favorite of the Turner racing team) limited slip units.

    Core Charge. If we are building a diff from our own stock a refundable core charge will apply until we get your original diff back. You have a maximum of 30 days from the time you receive the diff to send it back us for a refund. Click here for more detail and explanation of the core charge.

    FAQ: For a full FAQ on the custom diff process, click here.

    This item fits the following BMWs:
    2001-2006 E46 BMW M3




    Select Product Options:

    *Select a diff ratio:  
    *Select a limited slip type:  
    *Add ring & pinion polish?  Click here for more information about this option...
    No, do not polish the ring & pinion.
    Yes, please polish the ring and pinion set., Add $195.00 (USD)
    *Core Charge  Click here for more information about this option...
    $750 Core Charge (refundable), Add $750.00 (USD)


    Base Price: $1,424.00 (USD)
    Customized Price: $1,424.00 (USD)

    Please select the available options below, then click show customized price to enable the Add to Cart / Add to Wishlist buttons.


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