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General E46 Forum
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:26 AM   #1
albert831
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Smile Front Wheel bearings. How late is too late?

Hi guys, so im pretty sure my front right wheel bearing on my 04' 325ci is getting worn out. Heck, its been making noise for the past two years (about 20k miles) or so and now its getting a little more annoying, not really loud but just... annoying.

I have not had any trouble driving my car so far ever since i have started hearing the faint grinding noise, and it has not really progressed to be any much louder over time. What could happen if I don't replace the bearing anytime soon? What potential damage/danger am I facing if I choose to wait? What should I be looking out for to finally give in and fix ($$!)my bearing?

Thanks guys!
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:37 AM   #2
Caden
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Nothing, just annoyance. It will hurt your MPGs from the excessive drag. But I don't think it would cause anything long term. I just replaced mine the other week and my bearings were stuck and the grease was rock hard. It's definitely something you should look into replacing and make sure you do both at the same time. Good luck.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:39 AM   #3
Caden
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If the grinding noise goes away when you are turning the direction of the bearing. I.e. you suspect your right bearing is bad, so when you turn or curve right if the noise goes away. That is from the weight shifting off of the bearing. If that is the case, time to replace.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:55 AM   #4
albert831
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The noise is probably the loudest at 10-15mph, when driving 25mph+ its usually not as noticeable. I don't notice a difference in sound when i turn my wheels.

I'm definitely planning replacing them soon just to avoid any future headache. Any place you recommend to look for parts? I have been looking on ebay and looking at DIY posts and videos and i think i narrowed it down to the hub and bearing assembly i need. Ebay has lots of good deals but.. seems to good to be true. I suspect they are cheap aftermarket parts.

Any recommendations? Can you link me to the exact part i need to look for?

Thanks for the tip Caden!
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:05 AM   #5
RKiepper
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How late is too late...? Really?

My parents ignored a noisy wheel bearing on their truck for too long, the wheel came off while they were on the highway. Hows that for too late?!

Fix it pronto!
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:10 AM   #6
albert831
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How long did they choose to ignore it for? Was their truck making a faint grinding noise right before the wheel falling out? or was it so bad that there was heavy vibration, excessive noise and difficulty driving?

Im pretty sure if i suspect my wheel falling off any time soon i will notice a more serious symptom than just light grinding noises.

Thanks for the heads up though.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:11 AM   #7
pleiades
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Try partsgeek.com. The Timken or *** hub assemblies will be the best quality. The time between a noisy wheel bearing and a failed wheel bearing is hard to predict. Hub assembly failure can cause a wheel to lock up or twist off, depending on the driving situation. Danger to you, danger to others.


*** = F.A.G. brand which is probably original BMW.

Last edited by pleiades; 01-20-2013 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:12 AM   #8
B_Cyrus
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It will eventually fail. I would not be one to let a failing wheel bearing go that long. It has the possibility to fail and seize your wheel at any given moment.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:21 AM   #9
albert831
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Yeah im really getting concerned about it since I do drive quite a bit. Im going on a 800 mile trip pretty soon too.

How would a failed bearing feel/sound like? Im sure mine is not up to that stage but I know i need to be careful regardless of that.

What are some other immediate symptoms that would tell me my bearing needs replacing?
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:23 AM   #10
HacksawMark
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You've been really lucky up to this point. You should really get this fixed immediately. I wouldn't drive it on the freeway or at freeway speeds because you probably won't hear any problems with it due to road noise. And it's at freeway speeds where you're the most susceptible to catastrophic failure due to the heat generated in the bearing.

Last edited by HacksawMark; 01-20-2013 at 02:24 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:50 AM   #11
Caden
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Quit being so cheap and replace the thing if your planning on going on a long ass road trip. Jack your car up, spin the wheel, listen for grinding, report results. Go to bank, get money out, go to part store, buy oem wheel bearing. Then replace. IIRC it cost me $80 because I needed one immediately.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:00 AM   #12
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Replace now. Do not have to replace both sides.
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