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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My car have been sitting for a month or so after the noise started. It immediately went into winter storage mode. I have a few questions regarding the drive shaft (propeller) parts. I noticed that my drive shaft is hitting my exhaust. I also found that my differential seal is leaking on the passenger side.

The flex disc (guibo) is in a great shape with no cracking or rotting last time I checked.

If constant velocity joint were to fail, what happens if this ignored for a bit? Can a failed CV joint cause the drive shaft to move around? Is it likely that center bearing taking the slack and get worn out quicker?


 

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Hey Karan - when is the driveshaft making noise? Crawl under the car and rock the driveshaft sharply back and forth by the CSB to see if that's toasted.

If the CV is bad, you will get a clunking noise when loading/unloading the driveshaft (applying torque back and forth in both directions of rotation). I think a whole reman'd shaft is fairly cheap and much easier to replace as a whole, as opposed to fixing individual parts. Rob had a good thread on here showing CV failure at the middle joint (not the diff end), but the idea is the same.

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/387265-want-see-e39-driveshaft-center-u-joint-its-way-out.html

Keep in mind that the exhaust rubbing on the driveshaft could be caused by:
-bad diff bushings allowing the diff to move
-sagging exhaust (I recall you having a problem with this)
 

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I was getting a clunk against the driveshaft tunnel when giving the car more than 1/2 throttle. I've read that it can be cause from the CV joint going out and also causing the center support bearing to fail. I went with a re manufactured driveshaft. Install wasn't too bad and the noise/vibration went away instantly. I would just replace the whole shaft (they come with a new center support bearing already installed).
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Hey Karan - when is the driveshaft making noise? Crawl under the car and rock the driveshaft sharply back and forth by the CSB to see if that's toasted.

If the CV is bad, you will get a clunking noise when loading/unloading the driveshaft (applying torque back and forth in both directions of rotation). I think a whole reman'd shaft is fairly cheap and much easier to replace as a whole, as opposed to fixing individual parts. Rob had a good thread on here showing CV failure at the middle joint (not the diff end), but the idea is the same.

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39-m5-e52-z8-discussion/387265-want-see-e39-driveshaft-center-u-joint-its-way-out.html

Keep in mind that the exhaust rubbing on the driveshaft could be caused by:
-bad diff bushings allowing the diff to move
-sagging exhaust (I recall you having a problem with this)
My exhaust was sagging because weld on exhaust broke off and I had to get repaired at some exhaust shop tim recommended in Ohio. I think my exhaust rubber hangers are good (I'll probably replace when I do driveshaft repair). I'll look into differential bushing but I think that is not the problem because a shop where I had rear main seal done did not torque correctly on cv joint bolts. Maybe that was the issue.


I was getting a clunk against the driveshaft tunnel when giving the car more than 1/2 throttle. I've read that it can be cause from the CV joint going out and also causing the center support bearing to fail. I went with a re manufactured driveshaft. Install wasn't too bad and the noise/vibration went away instantly. I would just replace the whole shaft (they come with a new center support bearing already installed).
I called the driveshaft shop in WA where everyone on here had great reviews. The shop quoted 500 plus the core shipped. I am thinking of going full replacement instead of repairing few pieces because I think it's cheaper in long run.

I am going to see how much local driveshaft shop will charge to rebuild my driveshaft.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A shop that is local to me qouted me $510 (after tax) plus shipping. That is similar price where I got the qoute from Portland Driveshaft shop in west coast.

I found a place in Texas specializing in BMW driveshafts. Their price is $428 shipped with $150 core. This shop provide the same warranty as other shops so thats the plus.
 

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I dont mean to thread jack, but I also get this clunking noise. Its almost as if something metal is hitting the driveshaft. I just ordered the CV joint will post results, but my Center Support Bearing and Flex disc are all good. Looking at the above link posted, it seems like thats the exact noise Im getting coming from the center u joint.. I think Im going to have to buy another driveshaft.
 

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I dont mean to thread jack, but I also get this clunking noise. Its almost as if something metal is hitting the driveshaft. I just ordered the CV joint will post results, but my Center Support Bearing and Flex disc are all good. Looking at the above link posted, it seems like thats the exact noise Im getting coming from the center u joint.. I think Im going to have to buy another driveshaft.
Are you sure it's not from the front diff bushing? If it's only a clunk when loading and unloading the drive train then it's likely the bushing, if you're getting the noise all the time, then it probably is drive shaft related.

Karan, I agree with above, I'd get a new/rebuilt shaft and go from there. Your seal leak doesn't look too bad, certainly needs to be fixed but you could drive on that for a long time, depending on how messy you want it to get under there! haha.
 

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I dont mean to thread jack, but I also get this clunking noise. Its almost as if something metal is hitting the driveshaft. I just ordered the CV joint will post results, but my Center Support Bearing and Flex disc are all good. Looking at the above link posted, it seems like thats the exact noise Im getting coming from the center u joint.. I think Im going to have to buy another driveshaft.
Are you sure it's not from the front diff bushing? If it's only a clunk when loading and unloading the drive train then it's likely the bushing, if you're getting the noise all the time, then it probably is drive shaft related.

Karan, I agree with above, I'd get a new/rebuilt shaft and go from there. Your seal leak doesn't look too bad, certainly needs to be fixed but you could drive on that for a long time, depending on how messy you want it to get under there! haha.
I'd say that if it is just a clunk when loading/unloading then it'd be your differential bushing. When my driveshaft was going out, you could hear it hitting the tunnel as the shaft rotated. I'd see which one it is and go from there. My next projects are the differential and transmission bushings.
 

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Are you sure it's not from the front diff bushing? If it's only a clunk when loading and unloading the drive train then it's likely the bushing, if you're getting the noise all the time, then it probably is drive shaft related.

Karan, I agree with above, I'd get a new/rebuilt shaft and go from there. Your seal leak doesn't look too bad, certainly needs to be fixed but you could drive on that for a long time, depending on how messy you want it to get under there! haha.
Positive its not a Diff Clunk. Its almost as if someone is taking a rock and hitting the driveshaft. I just ordered a new cv joint, and have another driveshaft. Will post results when I swap it in this friday!
 

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Karan,
When I've had a 5-series driveshaft fail before it would make a speed, related clunking usually under partial throttle load. I believe it was absent under heavy load like WOT and also absent under coasting (but I could be wrong under coasting). It is something that starts out very subtle and slowly increases from month to month. It doesn't cause catastrophic failure because as some point it becomes so obvious and annoying that it gets replaced. I don't remember how to diagnose an issue with the center bearing. Your prices posted are really reasonable. I thought it was more like $1000+ at least if replaced OEM instead of remanufactured.
...Dan.
 

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Good timing on this. I have recently been getting an ever so subtle vibration that I describe as very fine/short wave length. And it's only really felt from 60-80. I know my guibo is pretty bad (pointed out to me when the car was just inspected) which would be my first guess. But on my E34, I would get it more when I went WOT as opposed to this one that is speed dependant and very subtle (I can only feel it in the floor and not the steering wheel). I also noticed recently that my diff seals are leaking. My concern of course would be that somehow, this vibration is related to low diff fluid. Unfortunately, I don't have a tool large enough to open up the plug to check at the moment. My plan is to have the clutch, guibo, CSB and diff seals replaced within the next month but I am worried about it until then as it's my DD. I just had all 4 wheels/tires balanced so that is not the cause btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I dont mean to thread jack, but I also get this clunking noise. Its almost as if something metal is hitting the driveshaft. I just ordered the CV joint will post results, but my Center Support Bearing and Flex disc are all good. Looking at the above link posted, it seems like thats the exact noise Im getting coming from the center u joint.. I think Im going to have to buy another driveshaft.
I have the similar noise as you are describing. Keep me updated on the fix.

Are you sure it's not from the front diff bushing? If it's only a clunk when loading and unloading the drive train then it's likely the bushing, if you're getting the noise all the time, then it probably is drive shaft related.

Karan, I agree with above, I'd get a new/rebuilt shaft and go from there. Your seal leak doesn't look too bad, certainly needs to be fixed but you could drive on that for a long time, depending on how messy you want it to get under there! haha.
I would know if it is differential bushing because I experienced this few times in less than 2 months on my E36 M3. Horrible front differential design on E36 especially when my M3 was supercharged and shifting style can cause this. Loading and unloading doesn't cause the clunking in the M5, however it sounds like something is hitting driveshaft in the tunnel. If you look at my first picture again closely, you would notice the heat shield tunnel have marks from driveshaft hitting beside the exhaust mark on driveshaft. I am going to do all those at once because it is just easier doing everything under the car in my garage.

This winter, I am doing ABS repair, new tail light gaskets, rear door vapor seals, new tires, wheel repair and go square set up, and finally, an alignment to dial down the aggressiveness settings (toe out).

I'd say that if it is just a clunk when loading/unloading then it'd be your differential bushing. When my driveshaft was going out, you could hear it hitting the tunnel as the shaft rotated. I'd see which one it is and go from there. My next projects are the differential and transmission bushings.
The second part of noises is what I am experiencing. I think this weekend, I will probably take it out and inspect.

Positive its not a Diff Clunk. Its almost as if someone is taking a rock and hitting the driveshaft. I just ordered a new cv joint, and have another driveshaft. Will post results when I swap it in this friday!
Keep me updated on the fix.

Good timing on this. I have recently been getting an ever so subtle vibration that I describe as very fine/short wave length. And it's only really felt from 60-80. I know my guibo is pretty bad (pointed out to me when the car was just inspected) which would be my first guess. But on my E34, I would get it more when I went WOT as opposed to this one that is speed dependant and very subtle (I can only feel it in the floor and not the steering wheel). I also noticed recently that my diff seals are leaking. My concern of course would be that somehow, this vibration is related to low diff fluid. Unfortunately, I don't have a tool large enough to open up the plug to check at the moment. My plan is to have the clutch, guibo, CSB and diff seals replaced within the next month but I am worried about it until then as it's my DD. I just had all 4 wheels/tires balanced so that is not the cause btw.
I would knock everything at once. Good luck!
 

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Update.
I spent the better half of my Friday night trying to figure out exactly where the noise came from.

Let me describe the noise in detail first. I would get a slight clunk/cling (not diff clunk), it sounded like metal hitting metal. I tried to record it but, you can’t hear it in the video. It would only occur when taking off from a COMPLETE stop. If the car is in motion the whole time, meaning slowing down and then picking up speed, the noise wouldn’t occur. After coming to a complete stop, when I would slightly let off the clutch and begin to move, I would get a ‘cling cling cling’ noise until I was in motion again.
My car is a 2002 M5 with 260K on it. Just saying this since my car has a lot of miles, maybe this can help other members with higher mileages. The CSB and Flex disc are all new.
I started with removing the exhaust. The first thing I did was start spinning the drive shaft while the car was on the lift. I could slightly hear the noise. It wasn't coming from the CV joint or the support bearing. The noise felt like it was coming from inside the drive shaft after the support bearing. The half that bolts up to the flex disc.

My u-Joint have very slight play, If I had to measure the play I would say it was less than 2mm of play when moving the joint side to side, almost as if I was testing for wheel play. So I removed the CV joint (Which looked like it had been done, the gasket looked new, and so did the joint) leaving the drive shaft in place. I spun the Drive shaft by hand and could still hear it. So then I finally removed the drive shaft, and shook it around as if I was lifting weights. I could barely hear it. So I had a used drive shaft from another m5 with lower mileage. I put a new CSB, and CV joint. Bolted it all back up and took it for a test drive.

I drove for about 5 miles and THE NOISE IS GONE. I stopped, and tried different taking off attempts to see if the noise would return. I had my windows down the whole time. I didn’t hear the noise. I am going to rule this one solved for me by a new drive shaft.
My only question Is, what is inside of a drive shaft. What can come loose?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update.
I spent the better half of my Friday night trying to figure out exactly where the noise came from.

Let me describe the noise in detail first. I would get a slight clunk/cling (not diff clunk), it sounded like metal hitting metal. I tried to record it but, you can’t hear it in the video. It would only occur when taking off from a COMPLETE stop. If the car is in motion the whole time, meaning slowing down and then picking up speed, the noise wouldn’t occur. After coming to a complete stop, when I would slightly let off the clutch and begin to move, I would get a ‘cling cling cling’ noise until I was in motion again.
My car is a 2002 M5 with 260K on it. Just saying this since my car has a lot of miles, maybe this can help other members with higher mileages. The CSB and Flex disc are all new.
I started with removing the exhaust. The first thing I did was start spinning the drive shaft while the car was on the lift. I could slightly hear the noise. It wasn't coming from the CV joint or the support bearing. The noise felt like it was coming from inside the drive shaft after the support bearing. The half that bolts up to the flex disc.

My u-Joint have very slight play, If I had to measure the play I would say it was less than 2mm of play when moving the joint side to side, almost as if I was testing for wheel play. So I removed the CV joint (Which looked like it had been done, the gasket looked new, and so did the joint) leaving the drive shaft in place. I spun the Drive shaft by hand and could still hear it. So then I finally removed the drive shaft, and shook it around as if I was lifting weights. I could barely hear it. So I had a used drive shaft from another m5 with lower mileage. I put a new CSB, and CV joint. Bolted it all back up and took it for a test drive.

I drove for about 5 miles and THE NOISE IS GONE. I stopped, and tried different taking off attempts to see if the noise would return. I had my windows down the whole time. I didn’t hear the noise. I am going to rule this one solved for me by a new drive shaft.
My only question Is, what is inside of a drive shaft. What can come loose?
Sounds like the ujoint had the play but was not serviceable. It is possible that the driveshaft lost its balance. I am at 173k, which I consider high mileage. I might check the driveshaft if I have time after I take 2 final exams and a long project today.
 

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What shopi n Texas did you get a qoute for the rebuilt driveshaft?
 

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Im pretty sure it was CV joint at the rear of the drive-shalf that was bad. It is possible that the play in the middle u-joint could have caused it also.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update: Ordered the CV joint. Hopefully this should fix this issue. From the last time I drove, the driveshaft would make lot of noises only in the motion, regardless of speed. No vibration when the noises started though.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Will CV joint fix this issue, or do I have more issues yet to be found in the same area?
 

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Will CV joint fix this issue, or do I have more issues yet to be found in the same area?
It is hard to tell without the drive-shaft out to examine it. It could be the centre support bearing or it could be the U-joint where the two halfs join.

If you want an quick remove and install solution with less downtime, it is best to buy a rebuilt drive-shaft, otherwise if you have the luxury of downtime then you can remove the drive-shaft and examine it yourself or have someone check it to see what needs to be replaced/fixed.

I recommend the rebuilt drive-shaft approach since the u-joints aren't serviceable and you likely won't know it's that until you get it out.

I got lucky with my drive-shaft issue (search my threads) it was the CV joint, I packed it with grease and it went away, or maybe I got lucky. But I did remove it to check to make sure the u-joint were okay before replacing the CV joint.
 
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