Hey, I recently bought a E36 325i from '91 (I'm a student..)
About 2 weeks ago I heard this loud 'boink' sound coming from the rear when I pressed the gas pedal or suddenly took my foot off it. I figured it must be something with the differential. Friends of mine had similar sounds and they told me they've been driving with it for over a year; nothing to worry about I thought!
Then yesterday all of a sudden a REALLY loud metal-on-metal noise came from the rear when I was just driving at a constant speed. I pulled over and checked if I could see anything, which I couldn't. I tried to drive it really slow in 1st gear, no sounds but after a few feet a screw fell on the ground. I checked the screw and it appeared to be broken off. I'm not much of a mechanic, but I know that's not good to say the least. If I drive it faster than 3mph (more or less) the loud sound comes back.
Anyways, I towed the car back home without any weird sounds or problems, so the differential still works (right?). I put the car on a bridge and inspected the differential, there appears to be 1 screw missing (see picture). The weird thing is that if I try to put the broken screw in the hole there's still 1.5 inch sticking out. Could it be the this screw slowly came out before breaking off? Or is a misplaced differential the cause for this?
Any idea's on how to remove the part that's still there? Does anyone know what this screw is attached to? Is there a chance that my differential is still in good shape after what happened?
Thanks in advance.