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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > NA Engine (non-turbo) / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > Bad wheel bearing? Need opinions please...



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      04-22-2013, 07:24 AM   #1
cyclicoyster
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Bad wheel bearing? Need opinions please...

Hey guys,
I know this topic has been hit on a few times. I have a howling noise coming from the front right wheel. At first I thought it was these damn run flats, but it has gotten louder since I first noticed this a few months back. I've been reading on here and it sounds like everyone who has had this issue says it's the wheel bearing. I'm about to leave on a trip for a couple weeks and have my car scheduled to go into the shop in the middle of may. My car is under warranty for the next 40K miles. Called the dealer and they said that the wheel bearing is covered if in fact is busted. My question is, how much damage am I doing or have I done by riding on this banged up bearing? The good thing is that I won't be driving it for the next couple weeks.
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      04-22-2013, 08:47 AM   #2
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Im not sure what the ill effects are of driving on a bad wheel bearing. Seizing? Getting hot? Im really not sure, I would just get it in to get checked out as soon as you could. A friend of mine has a 2011 335 and one of his wheel bearings went bad around 20k miles.
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      04-22-2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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Well, I've done more research and the idea of a bearing seizing and locking up my wheel sounds ridiculous. Anyways, my baby will be going into the dealer and having this looked at. Thanks benzo.
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      04-22-2013, 04:16 PM   #4
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And you are sure it's not the RFT's making this noise? My original Continental Sport Contact 2 RFT's made a noise very much like the sound of a shot wheel bearing - put different tyres on and the noise was gone. If you don't have other wheels that you can try, I am pretty sure you can check for a noisy/rough wheel bearing by jacking the car up so that you can spin that wheel while touching the coil spring - usually the vibration is transmitted to this and can easily be felt.
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      04-22-2013, 08:08 PM   #5
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I can't say that im sure it's not the tires. But if that's so, then these tires are garbage. I have the Bridgestone potenzas. I don't have a jack at the moment, so I can't check this myself. Really though?? I cant imagine that these tires would be that loud.
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      04-23-2013, 12:35 AM   #6
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My dad had a wheel bearing seize on his utility trailer, we suspect due to the dust cap coming off. It gouged the inside of the hub and caused the tire to wear against the side of the wheel well causing a blowout. Ended up needing a new axle, hubs, wheels & tires.

IMO thats your ultimate worst case scenario lol, but I think it would take years of driving on a bad bearing to cause this on a car. I'm sure you will be fine for two weeks, especially if its not being driven much. Potential damage from past driving is a damaged hub, but thats unlikely.
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      04-23-2013, 06:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclicoyster View Post
I can't say that im sure it's not the tires. But if that's so, then these tires are garbage. I have the Bridgestone potenzas. I don't have a jack at the moment, so I can't check this myself. Really though?? I cant imagine that these tires would be that loud.
If the wheels are the same size front to rear, could always have the wheels swapped front to rear to see if the noise changes at all.

I have Potenza RE050A which are decently quiet, but already do have a very slight wheel bearing type sing to them at certain speeds and depending on the road surface. Front tyres are 225/45R17 and the rears are 255/40R17 - the front tyres were fitted last year and have already done a bit over 5000 km, the rear tyres are still the old tyres that came with the wheels when I bought them, and are getting closer to having to be replaced, but impressed with them considering their age and even the tread wear being very even from inner to outer shoulders! Usually inner tread and shoulder gets eaten quite badly with our RWD cars!

With regards to tyre noise, I know that the Bridgestone Turanza is quite noisy, and this is due to the tread pattern, same with most directional design tread patterns. Our E46 has the 225/45R17 Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110 front and rear, and while we are generally very happy with them, they are noisy because of this, but not a wheel bearing noise, just noisy.
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      04-23-2013, 06:32 AM   #8
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I have the exact same set up on my potenzas as you do, but like I said, the sound is coming mostly from the front left tire, which kinda tells me it's a bearing, but who knows, could just be a badly worn tire. I won't know anymore until it goes in. Thanks for your help guys.


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Originally Posted by Three_thirty_I View Post
If the wheels are the same size front to rear, could always have the wheels swapped front to rear to see if the noise changes at all.

I have Potenza RE050A which are decently quiet, but already do have a very slight wheel bearing type sing to them at certain speeds and depending on the road surface. Front tyres are 225/45R17 and the rears are 255/40R17 - the front tyres were fitted last year and have already done a bit over 5000 km, the rear tyres are still the old tyres that came with the wheels when I bought them, and are getting closer to having to be replaced, but impressed with them considering their age and even the tread wear being very even from inner to outer shoulders! Usually inner tread and shoulder gets eaten quite badly with our RWD cars!

With regards to tyre noise, I know that the Bridgestone Turanza is quite noisy, and this is due to the tread pattern, same with most directional design tread patterns. Our E46 has the 225/45R17 Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110 front and rear, and while we are generally very happy with them, they are noisy because of this, but not a wheel bearing noise, just noisy.
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      04-23-2013, 08:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclicoyster View Post
I have the exact same set up on my potenzas as you do, but like I said, the sound is coming mostly from the front left tire, which kinda tells me it's a bearing, but who knows, could just be a badly worn tire. I won't know anymore until it goes in. Thanks for your help guys.
Coincidentally it was also the left front wheel that sounded like a bad wheel bearing when I first bought my car which of course turned out to be the old Continentals that the car came with.

Anyway, hope you can get this sorted out, and will be very interested to hear what was causing the noise!
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      04-23-2013, 09:14 AM   #10
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Post what happens when you go to the dealer. I'm dealing with a whirring noise from the front end right now. I'm thinking tires or alignment for my situation.
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      04-23-2013, 09:56 AM   #11
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I will for sure. It'll be a couple weeks because I'll be on a business trip. I'm curious myself.

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Post what happens when you go to the dealer. I'm dealing with a whirring noise from the front end right now. I'm thinking tires or alignment for my situation.
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      04-24-2013, 02:54 AM   #12
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The front bearing is inside the hub, and they replace it as a complete unit, so you will not damage any of the front suspension components unless the bearing seizes or you have a blowout, but you may cause excessive and uneven tire wear

Jack the front up and spin the wheels, if the howling size is much harder to spin, replace immediately
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      04-24-2013, 08:50 PM   #13
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What I can tell you is that I spent a ton of time and money chasing a similar issue.

If in fact your car needs a new rear wheel bearing, do not buy the part any other place than a bmw dealer, otherwise you will be in a world of trouble with speedo, dsc and cruise control issues.
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      04-30-2013, 06:59 AM   #14
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Well, did you find out what the problem was in the end?
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Originally Posted by StealYourFace View Post
What I can tell you is that I spent a ton of time and money chasing a similar issue.

If in fact your car needs a new rear wheel bearing, do not buy the part any other place than a bmw dealer, otherwise you will be in a world of trouble with speedo, dsc and cruise control issues.
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      04-30-2013, 06:34 PM   #15
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Yes- the parts store sold me the incorrect wheel bearings. Then the indie shop installed another incorrect bearing.

Then the dealer decided that the speedo cluster was bad, which didn't fix the issue. Finally, installed new wheel bearings and the problem was resolved.

The company that supplied the defective bearings was *** (which should think of a new name). Their part number showed as correct application for a 2006 330i/e90...I initially suspected the parts store sold me bearings for a 2006 330i coupe- an e46.

The god damned kicker is that the dealer only charged me like 425 each side for the job inc the part with my cca discount.

Expensive lesson and a really bad taste in my mouth, especially since this car has been so reliable. It has about 125,000 miles.

Unrelated, but the dealership must have installed recent tune file on the ecu, because the car runs absolutley smooth as silk. I was having a slight vibe at idle on occasion and that is all gone.
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      05-01-2013, 05:03 PM   #16
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This is crazy! Must have had the parts mixed up with the E46 330ci as you said! Quite a chunk of money, but at least hopefully will give you another 125k miles!

Probably reset adaptations??
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      05-14-2013, 11:13 AM   #17
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well guys, just got a call from my dealer. Oil change and battery cable recall was done on my car, and I had asked them to take a look at my wheel bearings, since I thought this was the reason for why the front end of the car is so loud. Dealer came back and said that my front left tire is a bit cupped, and that's the reason for the noise. They inspected the bearings and they are fine. So that's a relief, but what the hell caused the tire to get like that. Is it just the nature of run-flats?
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      05-25-2013, 07:09 PM   #18
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Its official, the culprit was my tires. Just installed some Nittos on the front, tossed out those horrific Potenza run flats, and my car is quiet as a mouse. I love it. Can't believe I didn't ditch those run flats sooner. Now I gotta ditch the rear run flats. But Im very happy to say that there was nothing mechanically wrong with my baby, she just needed better shoes
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