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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 12-20-2011, 11:05 PM   #1
gixxerguy
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Driveshaft Center Bearing

Hi guys. Newb here. Just picked up my first BMW yesterday. She is a 2001 330i Sport with 137k miles and needs some TLC. My first task was to solve the horrendous knocking sound from 0 to 20 MPH. I suspected it was the center carrier bearing on the drive shaft so after pulling the exhaust and heatshield sure enough the bearing was completly toast!



So, now after searching this forum and every other BMW forum I can not find how to seperate the two shafts so I can replace the center support bearing. Most posts that I have found talk about a nut that you loosen but my driveshaft has no such nut. I read that the DS u-joints are non-replaceable on OEM shafts but certainly this bearing is replaceable. Here are a few more pics. Can anybody tell me how to replace this bearing?





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Old 12-21-2011, 12:12 AM   #2
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I thought on 5sp cars there is a locking collar which you use a pipe wrench to loosen. On 6sp, you have to take out that bolt in the middle of the joint (see 2nd pic).
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
I thought on 5sp cars there is a locking collar which you use a pipe wrench to loosen. On 6sp, you have to take out that bolt in the middle of the joint (see 2nd pic).
Ok, I was able to loosen that bolt in the middle (of course it captured my wrench when I backed the bolt out). And now I can not get the two shafts to seperate. I pryed, beat and cussed at it.

I would remove the whole drive shaft but I don't have an external torx socket to unbolt the shaft from the differential.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:13 AM   #4
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When I removed the middle bolt, it took some effort to get the parts to separate. Be sure to make each part of the shaft so you can put it back together the same way and to ensure the shaft is still balanced.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:56 PM   #5
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Ok, so I got the external torx socket (size: E12) and removed the driveshaft from the differential. Once on the bench and in the vice I was able to seperate the two sections of the driveshaft (you are right bigjae, it took some effort). Once seperated, THEN I REMEMBERED THAT I DIDN"T MARK THE SHAFTS!!!!!!!!

I cannot believe I did that!!! I know better! And after a few calls to driveline shops here in Vegas, there is not ONE that has the fixtures to balance a BMW driveline. It has to be shipped to SoCal.., or I buy a remanufactured from someone like http://driveshaftspecialist.com/Impo...FQ5lhwodV2YG4w and be done with this. Anybody have any other suggestions or feedback on remanufactured BMW drivelines?


Last edited by gixxerguy; 12-21-2011 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:23 AM   #6
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Not sure what to tell you. Put it back together and see what happens? If the driveshaft is out of balance, I believe you'll get some additionl driveline vibrations?
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Old 12-22-2011, 12:31 PM   #7
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What a brain donor I am sometimes. I just now ordered a refurb driveline from the link above for $573 next day delivery. At least I know it will be good for another 100k miles...

Thanks man
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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If you get your driveshaft rebalanced someone might buy it for a 5sp swap.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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I know this post is about 6 weeks old, but if you look at your photos you should be able to find some unique mark or dirt that will help get it back together like it was....
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gixxerguy View Post
Ok, so I got the external torx socket (size: E12) and removed the driveshaft from the differential. Once on the bench and in the vice I was able to seperate the two sections of the driveshaft (you are right bigjae, it took some effort). Once seperated, THEN I REMEMBERED THAT I DIDN"T MARK THE SHAFTS!!!!!!!!

I cannot believe I did that!!! I know better! And after a few calls to driveline shops here in Vegas, there is not ONE that has the fixtures to balance a BMW driveline. It has to be shipped to SoCal.., or I buy a remanufactured from someone like http://driveshaftspecialist.com/Impo...FQ5lhwodV2YG4w and be done with this. Anybody have any other suggestions or feedback on remanufactured BMW drivelines?


I have been searching the web for an hour trying to find a way of separating the two driveshafts half's. I also read the Pelican article about the E36 driveshaft but I can not be so certain that the E46 that i drive will be the same. Removing the driveshaft is key, you shouldn't be trying to remove the two parts under the car, that's just dum. And even if you remove the parts and replace the bearing your u-joint are the same and in my case have 173,000 miles. Replacing the driveshaft makes seance thanks for the link!
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raptorman5174 View Post
I have been searching the web for an hour trying to find a way of separating the two driveshafts half's. I also read the Pelican article about the E36 driveshaft but I can not be so certain that the E46 that i drive will be the same. Removing the driveshaft is key, you shouldn't be trying to remove the two parts under the car, that's just dum. And even if you remove the parts and replace the bearing your u-joint are the same and in my case have 173,000 miles. Replacing the driveshaft makes seance thanks for the link!
I did it center bearing without removing the driveshaft. Not sure why leaving the rear half in the car is so difficult. Just be sure to support it.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:57 PM   #12
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I did it center bearing without removing the driveshaft. Not sure why leaving the rear half in the car is so difficult. Just be sure to support it.
Can you share your thoughts on separating the driveshafts?
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:55 PM   #13
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Can't clearly remember but I don't remember my usual routine of cursing, hammering and prying when something doesn't go my way. I think I just pulled and it separated.

I would probably take the entire thing out if the driveshaft won't separate. But I would try first before I take the entire thing out. On a lift, not a big deal. On your back, its just an extra PIA to remove all of those bolts.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:26 PM   #14
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Even after I loosen the bolt behind the U-Joint I had to support the drive shaft in my vice on the bench and used a hammer to get them to seperate. I'm not saying it couldn't be done under the car it would just require extra long combinations of adjectives being yelled, causing the mothers in your neighborhood to gather up their small children and run for thier houses!
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:38 PM   #15
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I went down the same road as gixxerman and was s#$@! out of luck when it came down to putting my drive shaft back togeather and re installing it. Im guessing it was out of balance after I did the swap on the CSB because once I had it all buckled up and took it out for a test drive it was vibrating even more than it was befor the swap. Needless to say I was a bit discouraged and finall told my self rather than keep at it, I should just replace the whole thing like soooo many people on these forums have suggested but what can I say Im a sucker for a challenge. Ended up buying a rebuilt from a company online for about $370 with delivery thanks to some good info I got reasearching these kind of problems. At the end of my latest adventure I am happy to say that after 5k miles my E46 is still vibration free and is running great. Should have just gone this route from the beginning but what can I say I like doing things my self if possible but this case I had to let the pros step in and save my @$$. Info below...

BMW DRIVSHAFT
http://www.wholesaleimportparts.com/BMW_Drive_Shaft.php_nr_
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:21 PM   #16
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DuffMan,

Glad to see you got it taken care of. Congrats!

Thanks for the link!

Last edited by gixxerguy; 06-13-2013 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:34 AM   #17
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subscribing to this thread for future reference
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Old 08-02-2014, 11:15 AM   #18
NotForeignItsBorin
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If you guys can help me out. I have the same problem. Mostly when I'm in first gear and I take off. It makes a loud rattling clunking noise right under my cup holders would be. Wasn't so bad till yesterday. Now it almost sounds as if there are bolts or ssome metal fumbling around as I drive. Could it be the driveshaft bearing broke off? 2000 bmw e46 323ci manual 5speed
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:36 PM   #19
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Yep, sounds like exactly what I was hearing. It's very likely your drive shaft carrier bearing.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:42 PM   #20
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NotForeignItsBorin, If this is a DIY project for you, I highly recommend purchasing an entire new drive shaft assy. I'm a pretty handy guy but getting the old carrier bearing off and the new one on is not an easy task. But, if you choose to try it, mark the two halves so you know exactly how they go back together as to not effect the drive shaft balancing. Also, I have a carrier bearing brand new in the packaging that I will ship to you for $15 + shipping. I purchased it but ended up R&R'ing the whole DS.
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