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General E46 Forum
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:41 PM   #1
RCarboni
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 13
My Ride: 2000 323i
Very weird. Speed Dependent Sound from Rear. Wheel Bearing?

So all of a sudden, my car started making a noise from the rear. It sounds offset to the right slightly and it's almost like driving on studded tires or like the engine revving up, coming in around 20mph, and getting higher pitched as the speed increases but only a little louder. At 50 or 60 it sounds like I'm revving to 5k no matter if I'm in a gear or neutral , clutch in/out, gas on/off and it doesn't change at all if I take a hard left or right. It's not metallic at all, jacking up the back end, there is no play in either rear wheels, the both spin free and smooth with no noise and no sign of metal shavings or anything that would make me think bearing. I put on a space saver spare that is the same diameter as the other tires and the sound went away but with a full size tire from a different 3 series, it is the same.

At first I thought it was the tire but it is almost new and looks perfect. Then I thought bearing or diff but the fact that it doesn't change when turning hard makes me think it's not that. The space saver making it go away completely made me think tire again but then the full size making the same noise threw me back off.

Any idea what it could be? I'm going crazy here. It hasn't gotten louder either. I just noticed it one day and it's been the same since. Any help would be hugely appreciated
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Old 09-19-2016, 06:23 AM   #2
RCarboni
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Also, It hasn't changed at all for weeks now. Is that normal if it was a bearing?
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Old 09-19-2016, 07:20 AM   #3
stevenluczynski
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When my rear wheel bearing went, the noise would completely go away when turing to the opposite side. This was the case with both of my bearings so it makes me believe your problems lies elsewhere.
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Old 09-19-2016, 12:24 PM   #4
RCarboni
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That's exactly what I thought too, and the fact that a skinny space saver tire makes it go away but normal 205/55/16s I tried make the noise.

Anyone have any idea how I could diagnose this or at least narrow it down?
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Old 09-19-2016, 12:58 PM   #5
RCarboni
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Just to give a little better idea of the sound and volume, I just took a video from the right rear. I think it captures it pretty well. Check it out.
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Old 09-19-2016, 02:28 PM   #6
kimlangley
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you can check wheel bearing fitment by jacking up the car/wheels and grabbing the wheel at the 3 and 9 oclock position and push in/out >> if there is "slop" ie the wheel has movement > your bearing may be going bad /already bad...

CV joints make a thumping noise when they go bad...
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