Schaeffler reveals new LuK BMW differential repair solution


With routine service schedule mileages increasing, timing belt service intervals getting longer and hybrid & electric vehicles becoming more popular, independent workshops are having to work harder to ensure they stay busy.

Schaeffler is noticing a trend in the aftermarket, where investment in ‘up-skilling’ to plan for the future and to try and keep all repairs ‘in-house’ is at the forefront of garage owner’s minds. As a leading original equipment manufacturer, Schaeffler is ideally placed to educate workshops about new technologies, and by also offering innovative repair solutions to service these advanced new components and systems it is helping to support the future of the independent aftermarket.

One of Schaeffler’s latest ‘complete solutions’ is the LuK GearBOX range of transmission and differential repair kits, containing all the components required to complete a professional gearbox or differential overhaul. 21 kits are available, with more on the way, all designed to service applications identified as being most prone to wear.

One of the most popular new kits is for the BMW differential; one which most independent workshops would currently just source and install a recon unit, therefore losing out on the healthy profit which can be earned by overhauling the unit themselves.

The average price for the LuK GearBOX BMW repair kit is around £150, while a reconditioned diff can cost between £500 and £600. This leaves a minimum scope of £350 for labour, and with the average job taking around three hours, it is a £100+ an hour opportunity that independent workshops could be taking advantage of.

Schaeffler’s leading REPXPERT, Alistair Mason, recently put together a quick installation guide, outlining some of the key areas of the repair process:

Step-by-step process

First, detach the differential from the vehicle and drain the oil. Remove the locking ring from the pinion nut then unscrew the nut using a counter hold tool. Next, remove the differential back plate and both output shaft oil seals.

The next step is to detach the crown wheel bearing retaining circlips, which will require circlip pliers – note how thick they are on removal, as they’ll be used again – then, if necessary, remove corrosion from the bearing casing. Slide the crown from side-to-side to ease the bearings out, then, with the bearings removed, swivel the crown wheel assembly out of the casing – crown wheel first.

Moving on, disconnect the pinion assembly, which may need to be pressed out, as the front bearing is a tight fit, then take away the pinion oil seal and front pinion bearing. Next, remove the inner bearing race from the pinion and press out the front pinion bearing race, before drawing out the rear pinion outer bearing race with a puller or slide hammer.

Once the spacer shim has been removed, the differential casing is fully-stripped. Remove any corrosion from the seal location points and clean the differential casing thoroughly. Next, detach both bearing inner races from the crown wheel and clean the assembly, then press the new crown wheel inner race bearings into place.

The next tasks are to press in the new outer bearings into the differential casing and the new rear pinion bearing onto the pinion, then lubricate the new bearings, install the pinion into position, fit the new collapsible spacer and then the front bearing.

Fit the new pinion oil seal and mount the pinion drive flange. Attach the counter hold tool to the pinion flange and torque the pinion nut to 170Nm; however, greater force may be necessary in a bid to collapse the spacer. Once torqued, check for smooth rotation and, using a spring balance, tighten the pinion nut until 2kg of force is required to rotate.

Next, install the crown wheel assembly, which is achieved by sliding the new bearing into position, then refit the circlips noted earlier in the removal process, other bearing and remaining circlip.

Using Engineers Blue, paint one of the pinion teeth and rotate the pinion to transfer the Engineers Blue onto the crown wheel tooth. The marking should be in the centre area of the tooth.

If the crown wheel tooth is marked in the outer area, the shimming is too loose; just the inner area would indicate too tight. At this point, a slight ‘backlash’ should be felt, which can be confirmed with a DTI gauge (0.15mm). Once confirmed, run a thin bead of sealer to the back plate mounting face, refit the back plate and fit the driveshaft seals.

Finally, refit the differential onto the vehicle and fill the correct grade and quantity of oil.

With installation instructions and videos available on Schaeffler’s REPXPERT portal, Schaeffler offers new opportunities to independent workshops, without the need to make huge investment in tooling.