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Hey M5Board,

I have an '03 jet black M5 that needs a little love. When I engage reverse, first gear, or second gear, I can hear a metallic clack coming from the driveshaft area. My hunch is that the driveshaft CSB and guibo need to be replaced.

I'm looking for a lift and some know-how to get this done DIY. Anyone in the Charlotte area who can help?

Thanks!
 

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Hello fellow E39 member...

I had the center support bearing go and let me tell you, when the car was cold and I drove it just down the street, I could literally feel the driveshaft wobbling and slapping around if I reached back and put my hand on the carpet area above the transmission/driveshshaft tunnel. it was incredibly noticeable and you could also feel it in the driveline. Once the car warmed up and I was on the highway or even around town at that point, this symptom went away.

I will tell you that I have read a few threads on here where people have swapped the stock shifter out for the E60 short shifter or the UUC short shifter and part of the shift linkage starts to come in contact with the guibo and can rub and make horrible sounds.

Was this metallic clack only when engaging the gear, or while driving in it too? At all RPM's or only low? At all speeds? Any worse or better at varying RPM's or Speeds?

Unfortunately, because the CSB is buried up under everything, it's almost impossible to physically get a hand or even eyes on the part to determine if it's bad since it's hidden by the exhaust, and heat shield. I even snaked an inspection camera up in there and while I could see the CSB, it looked fine and there was no obvious catastrophic sign of failure, but man did it feel that way when driving. Even removing the CSB it did not look half bad, boot was not totally torn and it wasn't badly destroyed or even appear to be badly worn, but once the pressure of the driveshaft spinning was in there, it was horrendous.
 

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@Trizzuth: Thanks for the reply. The clack happens when I take off from a stop in first or reverse, and I can still hear it when I shift into second or get back on the gas after coasting in second. It goes away at high speeds and high RPMs.

The issue definitely doesn't rattle the whole driveline as you described. The car still drives smoothly down the street, so maybe it's something to do with the rear end. I'll do some more digging too.
 

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@Trizzuth: Thanks for the reply. The clack happens when I take off from a stop in first or reverse, and I can still hear it when I shift into second or get back on the gas after coasting in second. It goes away at high speeds and high RPMs.

The issue definitely doesn't rattle the whole driveline as you described. The car still drives smoothly down the street, so maybe it's something to do with the rear end. I'll do some more digging too.
Rear subframe?

Regards,
Jerry
 

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Sounds like a bad front differential bushing. They're not too bad to replace but you need a special tool or some good variety of press tool adapters and a little ingenuity to compress the bushing so it will slide in.
 

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I guess we all have different experiences. Sounds similar to what I was feeling when I had a bad half shaft. I doubt that is it because I have only ever read one other person have one fail. Easy to check though just by jacking each rear wheel up and turning it by hand back and forth.
 

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Sounds like shaft. Easiest way to check jack up both rear tires. Put a brick or 2x4 in front of the front tires first. Once it’s in the air, the car can be in gear or neutral. Turn the tire in either direction, quick jerk back and forth. If it’s the shaft you’ll hear the same noise that you were hearing in the car.

I and several board members have experienced this. It’s somewhat common. Mine started around 60-70k miles. I replaced it with another used one but should have either got it rebuilt or bought a new one. You might want to check the flex disk as well for any cracks. Try pushing it with a weighted tool. If you notice a lot of resistance then the disk should be fine otherwise it may be a good time to replace if the shaft is going to come out. It’s also a good time to explore everything else.
 

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I guess we all have different experiences. Sounds similar to what I was feeling when I had a bad half shaft. I doubt that is it because I have only ever read one other person have one fail. Easy to check though just by jacking each rear wheel up and turning it by hand back and forth.
Saw this after I posted my comment.
 

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Sounds like a bad front differential bushing. They're not too bad to replace but you need a special tool or some good variety of press tool adapters and a little ingenuity to compress the bushing so it will slide in.
Based on what you are now saying about it giving this "clack" when you engage the gear and take off, but not really a driveline vibration, it dos sound more like a bad rear diff bushing. This one is not too bad to see if you can get the rear end of the car up. If you suspect this is it, you could always try to mount a small camera under the car pointed at the diff bushing and drive around a bit while recording to look for deflection on that point. If it clacks like you say, I'd suspect that if it were the diff bushing you would be able to visibly see the bushing torn, failing, squishing out, etc. Without that bushing taking the flex of the rear end, it's a metal pin inside a metal housing so a clack makes sense there.

But I have not personally had this bad diff bushing yet so I cannot really say about this clack, I am only speculating on what you've said here.
 

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Based on what you are now saying about it giving this "clack" when you engage the gear and take off, but not really a driveline vibration, it dos sound more like a bad rear diff bushing. This one is not too bad to see if you can get the rear end of the car up. If you suspect this is it, you could always try to mount a small camera under the car pointed at the diff bushing and drive around a bit while recording to look for deflection on that point. If it clacks like you say, I'd suspect that if it were the diff bushing you would be able to visibly see the bushing torn, failing, squishing out, etc. Without that bushing taking the flex of the rear end, it's a metal pin inside a metal housing so a clack makes sense there.

But I have not personally had this bad diff bushing yet so I cannot really say about this clack, I am only speculating on what you've said here.
Usually the bushing is covered in oil/grease and this is what makes the older bushings fail (combine age and being attacked by the oils/grease breaks down the rubber).

To check, you could put the car on stands and have someone let out the clutch in first gear, you should be able to watch the movement at the front of the diff. It might not show as much since the suspension is unloaded, or on the other hand, it might be more pronounced?

I second checking the driveshaft for play as well. Just realize that you will have gear backlash too, so don't freak out when you get some movement. Usually if the u-joint on the DS is bad you will hear a higher pitched "ding" as it echo's off the hollow shaft.
 
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