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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 11-17-2006, 03:11 PM   #1
Apollo10
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Front wheel bearing maintenance?

Hi everyone,

Since there's no real maintenance schedule for the front wheel bearings, I'm curious if anyone has periodically removed the outer cap and injected grease into the bearing sidewalls as preventative maintenance.

Granted you probably can only used either a synthetic spray grease or a needle gun to get into the tight clearance, but wondering if it's worth the trouble?

Considering how many people have replaced them, anything to lengthen their life is welcome.
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:35 AM   #2
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i just replaced the bearing as they will wear anyway even with more grease.....just not a quickly..
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Old 11-18-2006, 02:18 PM   #3
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i just replaced the bearing as they will wear anyway even with more grease.....just not a quickly..
At what mileage did you replace them?
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Old 11-18-2006, 10:17 PM   #4
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My bearings were replaced about 8 weeks ago on both sides of the front at 49,200 miles. I now have 50,010 and no issues, although I am now wondering about the rears.
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Old 11-19-2006, 06:28 AM   #5
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i have 98k at the minute...and going strong...replaced about 2k ago along with front control arms and bushings, and new rotors and pads all round
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Old 11-19-2006, 03:37 PM   #6
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I just replaced mine on my 01 M3 with ~82,000 KM .
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Old 11-19-2006, 06:55 PM   #7
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Front and rear wheel bearings don't need any maintenance. When they start making noise, replace them. You might get extra life out of the new ones if you pop out the seals, clean out the factory grease, and load them up with a good synthetic grease such as Red Line CV-2 prior to installation.
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Old 12-11-2006, 11:32 PM   #8
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Front and rear wheel bearings don't need any maintenance. When they start making noise, replace them. You might get extra life out of the new ones if you pop out the seals, clean out the factory grease, and load them up with a good synthetic grease such as Red Line CV-2 prior to installation.
Bingo.

The bearings are sealed so there is no point in greasing them.

That said, I just replaced one this weekend and I'm surprised how much moisture/rust got into the bearings. Cheap crap.
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:23 PM   #9
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How hard is it to DIY front wheel bearings?
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:03 PM   #10
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How hard is it to DIY front wheel bearings?
Mine was easy. I did not need to use a puller to remove the bearing/hub assembly nor the inner race when it separated from the assembly, although it separated at the end of the stub axle.

Putting the new assembly on I just warmed up the assembly so it slid right on the stub axle.

If either the assembly or the inner race were problematic, it would have been a bit more of a pain, but probably not much more with the pullers on-hand.
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:41 PM   #11
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Alright Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:12 PM   #12
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As I suspect my front wheel bearings may be worn. I did not realize they could go bad as eary as 50k miles. I just got a 2001 325i with a noisy front wheel. I first taught it might be the just a noisy tire. You would hear the rolling noise around 10 to 20 miles per hour. When you guys changed your front wheel bearings, did you need a wheel alignment afterwards?
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:07 PM   #13
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When you guys changed your front wheel bearings, did you need a wheel alignment afterwards?
No. There is nothing that can change the geometry. Go for it.

The front bearings on these cars suck donkey. My RF went at about 65k miles and the LF at about 75k miles.

The biggest issue to beware of is the inner race hanging up on the stub axle. Mine did, but only at the very end and I was easily able to pop it off w/o drama. But, others have had issues. Looks like it shouldn't be too bad if you actually have the pullers on-hand.

If you have trouble installing the new bearing, I had great luck heating it in the oven (pre-heat to 200 degrees) for 10 minutes.
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:17 AM   #14
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Does anybody have the torque settings for the axle-retaining nut? I read 210 ft./lbs, can anybody confirm that?

Thanks in advance
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:30 AM   #15
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according to Bentley.
-Rear wheel drive cars-
Front Suspension page 310-29
Collar nut to stub axle 290Nm (214 ft-lbs)

hope that helps
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:28 AM   #16
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Thanks :-)
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:42 AM   #17
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:33 PM   #18
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What are symptoms of the fronts going out. I dont know if mine have ever been replaced and i have 115k mi
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:50 PM   #19
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so what is the size nut? i tried replacing mine and i cant find the sucket size that fits because its huge. i was thingking 24mm but i might be wrong.
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:23 PM   #20
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The front bearing retaining nut requires a thin wall 46mm socket. Some thicker wall impact sockets will not fit. In a pinch, you can use a 1-13/16" regular (non-impact) socket in 3/4" drive which might be available at your local Sears. Don't forget to get the appropriate drive adapter for your tools and torque wrench. Also, the new nut should be torqued to 216 ft-lbs if I remember correctly. Make sure your torque wrench can be set that high.
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