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Old 07-24-2012, 03:09 PM   #1
super98lsc
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Rear Axle Freeze of Doom.....

First I know there are threads out there with respect to removal of rear axles, wheel bearings, hubs etc. This is a share of my frustration and a question to those who have survived the same..

04 330i ZHP 6spd, hit a curb a year ago due to guy running a red light. Police wouldnt do anything about it and it would count against me to claim and fix the car. So after driving with 2 bent wheels and bad hubs/rear bearings I finally had the time to tackle this. Removed all the braking, e-brake, axle nut, etc.. I have a full shop with air etc, no big deal. Axle removed from differential housing laying loose, axle will not come out of the drive flange for ANYTHING! Slide hammer... hahahahh no chance, air hammer, nothing but start digging into the axle, sledge hammer no, bigger sledge hammer no, ( bench 300 easy and was nailing this thing) torch combined with all the above no luck. 3 Jaw puller rated at 8 tons broke into 3 pieces and shot across the shop. Remove the whole arm, setup in a jig on my 20 Ton hydraulic press. Pressed slowly, added heat, added more heat, added more pressure.. TONS of penetrating oil. Finally left it overnight in the press under pressure hoping it might break free whilst I slept. Woke up this morning... still froze in place, looked like maybe had moved... (in my dreams) so I decided hmm just add a little more force... BAM no more trailing arm. Even local BMW shop couldnt get the axle out. Had to source a used rear assembly including the hub, axle, drive flange and trailing arm. So im 400 in the hole and still havent changed a single bearing. This is insanity...
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:12 PM   #2
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:10 PM   #3
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I had something like that on my e36, but I don't think it was quite as bad. Luckily, one of my neighbors at the time was a machinist that made tools for a living and was able to make me something get it out. Between that tool, a torch, a 3 foot breaker bar, 2-3 cans of penetrating oil, and a sledge hammer, it finally gave way about 2 hours after he gave me the tool. Turns out the PO had replaced that bearing once before and used loctite rather liberally on the splines during reassembly. If I knew who the PO was I would have killed him that night.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:25 AM   #4
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Next time, try using cold, instead of heat. Heat expands parts. You had a shaft stuck in a hole. If you spray Freon on the shaft, it will contract, which is what you want it to do. I used to work with machines with lots of pressed in bearings, that we also used Loctite green bearing adhesive when they were pressed in. We found that freon was a much better way to remove a bad bearing or a stuck bolt. You want to make it a few thousandths of an inch smaller, which cold will do, not larger, which heat will do.
People have success with heat, because it makes the metal a little more plastic, and that combined with a lot of pressure or beating the hell out of it will work. But, a lot of times the metal does not return to its proper state, and very often the hole you removed the part from will be permenantly enlarged. This is especially not good for spline fittings, since it can cause some play, which will eventually trash the splined shaft, and the broached hole.

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Old 07-26-2012, 01:52 AM   #5
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Had some similar problems on my e30.
Long story short NOTHING worked and I ended up using an ax.
This was during reassembly but an ax was literally the only tool that remedied my problem.
I feel your pain.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:29 AM   #6
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Just did the rear bearings. The youtube diy (no speciality tools) is so deceptive, I couldn't get the bearing out until I got a bearing tool - period! I was also stuck at the half shafts but eventually got them out with a mini sledge and a 2.5'' diameter stainless steel bar used as a punch.

Then of course had problems at fitting them back. I had to file clean the splines for ages before they barely got in so I can put the nut on.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:45 PM   #7
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I've done just about every job you can do on a BMW over the years. I have to say doing the rear Wheel Bearings is a job I have said i'll pay a shop to do. It's just a job that always takes much longer and you can get stuck on seemingly forever. Most of the work I do for my personal enjoyment and interest, but that job leads even 30 yr shop mechanics swearing. Add that often DIYers damage the race installing and leads to premature failure.

I feel for you. Good luck
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:50 PM   #8
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OP, that is insane. I've never had that much trouble with an axle, but all bets are off once you're in an accident.
I've talked to another fanatic about his car that had a damaged trailing arm which bent just enough that it wouldn't release the bearing. Of course they only realized it after pressing/pounding on it unsuccessfully.

The rear bearings aren't a cakewalk, but they're much easier with a good puller. Good luck with the rest.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:27 AM   #9
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BMW left the protective coatings off lots of parts to save weight in the ZHPs.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:37 PM   #10
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BMW left the protective coatings off lots of parts to save weight in the ZHPs.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:54 PM   #11
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BMW left the protective coatings off lots of parts to save weight in the ZHPs.
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wut?
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