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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 07-24-2004, 10:40 PM   #1
teamdfl
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Front wheel bearing replacement

A buddy was complaining about a lot of noise inside his 75k mile 325i. After a quick road test, I determined that the noise was road speed dependant and would vary in volume while turning. It was louder in left turns and almost silent in right turns which indicates a bad right wheel bearing. I told him to order two wheel bearing kits (hub, nut, and dust cap) just in case the 2nd bearing was on its way out.

Sorry about the lack of photos. I could not find the my camera and we were short on time.

1. Jack up and support the front of the car on a pair of jack stands.

2. Remove the appropriate front wheel.

3. Remove the anti-rattle clip from the brake caliper. Pry with a flat blade srewdriver between the rotor hat and the clip.

4. Remove the two black plastic caliper guide pin dust caps. Use a 7mm hex bit or allen wrench and loosen both guide pins.

5. Remove the caliper. Support it so the brake line is not stressed. Remove the outer brake pad from the carrier. Be careful of the brake pad wear sensor on the left front caliper.

6. Use a 16mm socket to remove the two carrier mounting bolts. Remove the carrier.

7. Use a flat blade screwdriver and a hammer to pry off the hub dust cap.

8. Pry the nut locking collar tabs out of the spindle slots and remove the hub nut with a 46mm socket and a large breaker bar with any required adapters. A thick wall impact socket will not fit inside the hub ID so you will have to find a conventional socket. A 1-13/16 socket will work in an emergency. Be careful when removing the nut. The obscene amount of torque required may cause the car to fall off the jack stands. If you are unsure or uncomfortable, reinstall the font wheel with a couple lug bolts and remove the lock nut with the car on the ground.

9. Pull the hub off the spindle. If you are lucky, the hub will slide off with hand pressure if you pull straight and evenly. If you are unlucky, you will need a 2 or 3 leg puller to remove the hub. If you are very unlucky, the inner bearing race will stay behind and you will need to use the puller again to remove it.

10. Remove the plastic sleeve from the center of the new hub. Make sure you don't drop out one of the inner races.

11. Push the new hub straight onto the spindle. You may have apply some pressure with a little hammer tapping. Use a large socket to ensure you are only pushing on the inner bearing race to avoid damaging the bearing.

12. Install and torque the new nut. Check the Bentley manual for the proper torque. Push in the nut locking collar with a hammer and punch at both the spindle slots to keep the nut from backing off.

13. Install the new dust cap. Make sure the cap is fully seated all the way around. Imporper seating will lead to dirt or water contamination and early bearing failure.

14. Reinstall, the brakes and wheel.

15. Enjoy a quieter car.



Ed
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Old 07-25-2004, 01:39 AM   #2
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Old 07-25-2004, 03:18 AM   #3
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When you say Complaints about a noise. What type of noise....Road Noise or something else

Just asking because I have a 2001 with 62000miles and just tring to get eveything that needs to be fixed or may need to be fixed to get the car as perfect as possible
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Old 07-25-2004, 08:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASP17
When you say Complaints about a noise. What type of noise....Road Noise or something else

Just asking because I have a 2001 with 62000miles and just tring to get eveything that needs to be fixed or may need to be fixed to get the car as perfect as possible
It's hard to describe wheel bearing noise... thrum, drone, low pitched hum? Tire noise can be unbearable depending on the condition and model of tire. Try rotating your tires or swapping in the spare on all 4 corners to see if any noises change or disappear.


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Old 01-31-2006, 04:09 PM   #5
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Reviving a valuable thread.

This DIY is clearly presented and made my experience replacing the front wheel bearings straightforward. Thanks Ed!
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Old 01-31-2006, 04:12 PM   #6
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Also for the record: I initially suspected (at least one )worn front wheel bearings by hearing a roaring hum coming from the front of the vehicle while driving. The pitch changed based on vehicle speed. Further inspection confirmed my suspicion when each front wheel was lifted off the ground, I heard a rough sandy grinding type noise when I spun the wheel.
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:08 AM   #7
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I bought a new bearing from BAV and replaced mine using this write up. Great job - thanks. One question - I am starting to hear the bearing again (3000 miles). Did I need to pack it with grease? It looked pregreased. Maybe my drivers side is now going out too, but there is no play in the wheel.
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Old 08-15-2006, 10:52 AM   #8
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New bearings are pregreased so you don't have to add anything prior to installation. If you have the time, you can repack the bearing with Red Line synthetic grease (CV-2) to extend bearing life if you track your car.

I bet the other front bearing is on its way out as well. It will start moking noise long before it feels loose.


EDIT: You get a gold star for SEARCHing!
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Last edited by teamdfl; 08-15-2006 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 03-02-2007, 11:42 PM   #9
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Just used this. worked out...except for autozone being ****ers.

gave me the wrong torque wrench...asked for 3/4 gave me 1/2

call em up 30 mins before closing...say hey im about 35 40 tops away will you stay a few mins so i can get what i need because im without a car unless i get it. (already had everything off except bearing.)

they say yes..i pull up at 8:07 an see the guy (doors locked) he comes and unlocks it annd was like uhhhh yah so i didnt think you would come..there are no words to describe my anger sinse i live 30 mins from there and they said they'd wait. so he tells me to drive to the 24 hour one 20 minutes further...so 50 minutes away from my house at least. i get there....dont have the 3/4 so i am forced to buy the adapter piece because of the *******s at the other store.

long story short..started lookin for torque wrench at 2...found it and started at 6 or 7...found out wrong torque at 830...back home at 930 done at 1030...


TOTAL amount of work done: no more than 1.5 hours.

TOTAL amount of driving and searching for the right tools: 6 or 7 hours.
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Old 03-03-2007, 03:59 PM   #10
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Where did you pick up the kit at? I think I need to replace one or all of mine, but couldnt find a good kit.
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Old 03-03-2007, 08:16 PM   #11
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bavauto.com

109.00
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Old 03-04-2007, 02:06 PM   #12
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Perfect! Thanks
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:03 PM   #13
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Can someone add more to how to diagnos bad bearings? My 330i has developed some rythmical vibrations coming from the front end. It is not extreme, but I can feel it on the floorboard. The vibration seems to be speed dependant (more distinct at lower speeds and almost goes away at higher speeds). Does this sound like bad bearings? I plan on jacking the car up and spinning and jiggling the wheel to see if there are any noises.
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonsqr View Post
Can someone add more to how to diagnos bad bearings? My 330i has developed some rythmical vibrations coming from the front end. It is not extreme, but I can feel it on the floorboard. The vibration seems to be speed dependant (more distinct at lower speeds and almost goes away at higher speeds). Does this sound like bad bearings? I plan on jacking the car up and spinning and jiggling the wheel to see if there are any noises.
Does the noise change depending on which way you are turning? Have you moved tires around on the car to see if the noise follows?
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Old 03-26-2007, 02:05 PM   #15
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Someone mind including the torque specs for this write-up?
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Old 03-29-2007, 11:08 PM   #16
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Does the noise change depending on which way you are turning? Have you moved tires around on the car to see if the noise follows?
Thanks for asking. The sound is not loud when I am driving. I feel the vibrations in the floorboard more than hearing it. I just jacked up one side of the front and shook the wheel. No excessive play. I then spun the wheel and there is a very slight clicking noise at the same place in each rotation that seems to be coming from the hub. Bad wheel bearing? car only has about 40k and not tracked.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:48 PM   #17
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40k miles is on the low side for a wheel bearing but not unheard of. I would move the tires around on the car before doing anything drastic.
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:22 PM   #18
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40k miles is on the low side for a wheel bearing but not unheard of. I would move the tires around on the car before doing anything drastic.
So is the clicking sound when I spin the wheel normal? I'll rotate the wheels around with the spare to see if there is a change.
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:27 PM   #19
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Someone mind including the torque specs for this write-up?
from Bentley manual:
Brake caliper to steering arm 110Nm (81 ft-lb)
Brake rotor to wheel hub 16 (12)
Collar nut to stub axle 290 (214)
Road wheel to hub 100 (74)
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:58 AM   #20
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So is the clicking sound when I spin the wheel normal? I'll rotate the wheels around with the spare to see if there is a change.

That could be the brake rotor dragging on the dust shield.

I can usually pick out a bad front wheel bearing by feel with the brakes off. A bad bearing will give the front hub a "loose" feel and sound when spun. If you have not done many (or any) front bearings, I suggest you do not rely soley on feel or sound in this manner.
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