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Old 10-06-2013, 12:44 AM   #1
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Default Calling VIN Masters & Rear End experts

I had the guys on this forum run my VIN just to see what I have and was happy to learn that I apparently have a 25% LSD. With this info in hand I go to the dealership to get the OEM diff oil. Parts lady asks for my car's year, make & model and tells me it's not an LSD and insisted that only the M series have these according to her techs. I offered my VIN but she said there's no way to tell what diff I have with the VIN number and that she would not be responsible if I bought the wrong type of oil.

Ok fine, so I buy the recommended oil for an open diff and go home. Still not convinced, I put the car up on jacks and spin the wheels. They both turn in the same direction - WTH

So now totally confused, I turn to you guys for some input, suggestions and answers.

1) Can a VIN really tell what original rear diff a car has?
2) Would a LSD oil work just fine on an open diff but not the other way around?
3) Is there any other way to tell what diff I have without opening it up?

I just want to put the correct oil in. Thanks,

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Old 10-06-2013, 03:04 AM   #2
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The parts person that helped you was lazy. Yes the vin # tells you what diff you have. I had my local dealer fax me a copy of my vehicle information and options.
1996 318ti base: m44, 5 spd, lsd - 18x8 bremmer kraft wheels w/sumitumo tires 225/40R18 & bmw locking lug studs, 10mm spacers in rear, halo headlights, cold air intake, koni str.t struts and shocks w/mounts, h&r sport springs, serp belts, control arm & tie rod kits, front sway bar links, JVC kd-x50bt headunit w/ipod hook up in the glove box, alpine sps-500(front and rear), jl audio 10" powerwedge max, jl audio 250.1 amp, motor mounts, fuel filter, passenger side window motor, drivers lower window run, muffler hanger kit, various interior bulbs, left door striker/ajar switch, lower hood latches, changed from gray vinal to black leather shift and parking brake boots, m3 weighted shift knob, ngk-r spark plugs, magnecor spark plug wires(blue),new cabin micro-filters,new headliner & a-pillar mouldings, 5w20 synth-blend oil and filter, BG Ultra Guard syn. rear end fluid & ls additive, BG Syncro Shift II syn. manual trans fluids, stainless steel braided brake lines and dot 4 fluid, extra brake light mod, new p/s reservoir and rubber hoses

need to do - fix door panels, paint job, MORE MONEY!!
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:21 AM   #3
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I'm assuming your ti is a 95 or early 96? the parts lady isn't completely wrong, after some point in the middle of the 96 model year BMW did stop offering LSDs in non-M cars

I really don't know enough about differentials and oil to know the science behind it but I would definitely recommend using differential fluid that's made for a LSD
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:02 PM   #4
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Yeah, I think it was more ignorance than laziness. It bugs me when some "certified" folks dismiss the collective resources of our web community. I'll have to go back to the dealership to try and return the oil and hopefully talk to someone that knows their BMWs.

Hey tiFreak I did not know that about early tis, yes I have an early 95.

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Old 10-09-2013, 11:33 PM   #5
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you can get the code off your VIN for LSD, its code 209 and it was a $508 option.

What is your VIN? because... LSD, 95build ... ;D
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