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BMW Differential types

Posted by Paweł Olszaniecki on

Brief description of differential types, case sizes. Will be updated as new information would be confirmed.

The differential case itself was produced in three different sizes (small medium large) but the strength of the gears is determined by the size of the axle spline. The 3 most common used differentials in BMWs are:

  1. Open Differential
  2. LSD Limited Slip Differential
  3. Torsen Torque Biasing Differentials

Open Differential

This is the most common differential that comes standard from BMW. Main disadvantage of this solution is that only one wheel has direct power from the engine at any given time. Meaning when you drop the clutch only one wheel will spin. Advantages are simplicity and durability.

Many people choose to "weld the diff" which creates constant connection between the two real wheels meaning that during parking maneuvers the rear of the car will bounce or the inside tire slip.

LSD Limited Slip Differential

This differential was offered on all M power BMW models from factory. You could also pay extra and get it installed but it was not a part of the standard M Performance package so few buyers decided for this option.

This solution introduces special metal springs which compressed work as clutches between left and right wheel meaning that both wheels will always  have direct power from the engine.

Torsen Torque Biasing Differentials

Torsend biasing differentials are just a very specific type of LSD. Instead of springs they introduce set of special gears that transfer the torque between the wheels.

If you would like to know everything about differentials check out the source below.