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      11-27-2020, 07:02 PM   #1
dablackbimmer
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Steps to replace bad front wheel bearing?

So I bought my '12 335xi back in July of 2019 with 72k on it and it came equipped with the Bridgestone Potenza RFT so I figured the humming sound was coming from the run-flat tires (Which it is, partially. Read on)

However, I've put about 8k on the car since I've gotten it and I gotta say, I suspect it's a bad front wheel bearing. The only reason I say this is because the humming I thought that was the tires still stands, but now, there's a terrible howling noise coming from the front right wheel and when I turn left, at any speed above 15 mph, it gets worse. So, I'm gonna go ahead and replace the bearing. I've never done a pressed in bearing, so I wanted to make sure my parts and procedures are approved by those more experienced than I am.

These are the parts I'm going to order from FCP Euro:
- BMW Wheel Bearing - Genuine BMW 31226783913
- BMW Axle Nut - OE Supplier 33411133785
- BMW Wheel Hub - Genuine BMW 31206768993
- BMW Wheel Bearing Circlip - Genuine BMW 07119934760 ( I could get this from a local auto parts store)

Here's my procedure, let me know if this is correct please:
1. Remove center cap and break axle nut loose
2. Remove wheel, remove caliper (and hang), and remove brake rotor.
3. Remove dust shield
4. Remove tie rod, remove sway bar end link, remove lower control arm, remove thrust arm, remove strut bolt all from the steering knuckle
5. Remove ABS sensor from hub
6. Remove driveshaft flange from hub (probably do this first)
7. Press bearing out of hub (if reusing old hub) or just press new bearing into new hub and reinstall (A lot of the DIY's I read have said that the hub can be unusable after pressing bearing out due to rust)
8. Reassemble everything and torque to spec

Sorry if this was a long writeup, I've been wanting to tackle this for a while but just needed some motivation.
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      11-27-2020, 07:12 PM   #2
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You're likely going to find that you can't just put the halfshaft back into the hub because the splines are intentionally twisted.

I ended up making this with an extra axle nut to pull it through.

just something to be aware of.
Sucked when I found it out on a saturday afternoon.
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      11-27-2020, 07:13 PM   #3
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not sure why the other photo didn't go.
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      11-27-2020, 07:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsjames View Post
You're likely going to find that you can't just put the halfshaft back into the hub because the splines are intentionally twisted.

I ended up making this with an extra axle nut to pull it through.

just something to be aware of.
Sucked when I found it out on a saturday afternoon.
Thanks for the tip, in some of the DIY's I've watched they used a slide hammer or another tool that grips the edge of the hub and pushes the axle out via tightening a nut as you've shown.
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      11-27-2020, 07:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dablackbimmer View Post
Thanks for the tip, in some of the DIY's I've watched they used a slide hammer or another tool that grips the edge of the hub and pushes the axle out via tightening a nut as you've shown.
Whoops, I misread your reply. My bad. Knocking the hub out should be no problem, but like you said I'll be prepared to put it back in.
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      11-27-2020, 08:30 PM   #6
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it comes out just fine with a punch and a few light hammer strikes.

getting it pulled back through the hub is the problem. There's nothing else to apply force to other than the threaded stub shaft. Anything else breaks things.

that's a brand new wheel nut flipped around to reach into the hub, welded to a carriage bolt.
You might be able to flip around a nut and then use two pry bars on either side to pull it through.
but i own a welder, so this was way easier.
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      11-27-2020, 09:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsjames View Post
it comes out just fine with a punch and a few light hammer strikes.

getting it pulled back through the hub is the problem. There's nothing else to apply force to other than the threaded stub shaft. Anything else breaks things.

that's a brand new wheel nut flipped around to reach into the hub, welded to a carriage bolt.
You might be able to flip around a nut and then use two pry bars on either side to pull it through.
but i own a welder, so this was way easier.
Ahh, I understand now, so other than that, would you say that my procedure will work for this? I know the job won't be too hard (granted there are no seized bolts) but I just wanted to double-check with someone. Also, do you recommend I reuse the hub or just buy a new one?
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      11-27-2020, 10:09 PM   #8
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I recently did a front one on my xi (then realized the other side also had a light howling sound ) but your steps are good just make sure to have the ball joint separator tools since they will make your life super easy when separating the arms from the knuckle. And good snap ring pliers. I had to use small Allen keys to compress it since this piece of junk I bought from harbor freight quite literally bent while trying to get the ring in place after pressing the bearing on the knuckle. Hydraulic press has already long paid for itself.

I had no issues at all putting the axle back into the hub but maybe this has something to do with which build date your car is or whatever since some people have had problems with it, mine is 12/07. I recorded this pita of a job at least for me as a first timer but haven't put a video together
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      11-27-2020, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92William View Post
I recently did a front one on my xi (then realized the other side also had a light howling sound ) but your steps are good just make sure to have the ball joint separator tools since they will make your life super easy when separating the arms from the knuckle. And good snap ring pliers. I had to use small Allen keys to compress it since this piece of junk I bought from harbor freight quite literally bent while trying to get the ring in place after pressing the bearing on the knuckle. Hydraulic press has already long paid for itself.

I had no issues at all putting the axle back into the hub but maybe this has something to do with which build date your car is or whatever since some people have had problems with it, mine is 12/07. I recorded this pita of a job at least for me as a first timer but haven't put a video together
Thanks for the advice, did you reuse your hub or did you end up buying a new one? I was just going to take the new hub and bearing to a machine shop near me, have the bearing pressed in, and then come home and swap the new hub and bearing in. Also, are the parts listed all I need or do I need to get new bolts etc.? This is my first time on a pressed in bearing too.
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      11-27-2020, 11:00 PM   #10
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I didn't see any reason to replace the hub as it wasn't damaged or rusted or anything. You might have a different experience but I kind of doubt it would rust inside the bearing since it's a very tight fit. Inner race of the old bearing likes to get stuck to it and can be a pain to get off without just getting a cutter and cutting it off to get it off the hub
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      11-28-2020, 12:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92William View Post
I didn't see any reason to replace the hub as it wasn't damaged or rusted or anything. You might have a different experience but I kind of doubt it would rust inside the bearing since it's a very tight fit. Inner race of the old bearing likes to get stuck to it and can be a pain to get off without just getting a cutter and cutting it off to get it off the hub
Hmm yeah I understand where you're coming from. I might as well do it once and buy a new hub rather than damaging it if it's rusted out since I do live in Chicago. Thanks for your help, I'm going to buy the four parts I listed above.
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      11-28-2020, 08:13 AM   #12
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I have a tool kit that I have used for bearings removal and installation but only on rwd bmw. Have you look into something specific for xdrive ?
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      11-28-2020, 11:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feuer View Post
I have a tool kit that I have used for bearings removal and installation but only on rwd bmw. Have you look into something specific for xdrive ?
No, I haven't found anything like that since I just figured it would be similar to other front wheel drive cars process.
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      11-28-2020, 12:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92William View Post
I recently did a front one on my xi (then realized the other side also had a light howling sound ) but your steps are good just make sure to have the ball joint separator tools since they will make your life super easy when separating the arms from the knuckle. And good snap ring pliers. I had to use small Allen keys to compress it since this piece of junk I bought from harbor freight quite literally bent while trying to get the ring in place after pressing the bearing on the knuckle. Hydraulic press has already long paid for itself.

I had no issues at all putting the axle back into the hub but maybe this has something to do with which build date your car is or whatever since some people have had problems with it, mine is 12/07. I recorded this pita of a job at least for me as a first timer but haven't put a video together
my car was built 10/07.

I've read it's just OEM axle shafts and the reason for the twist is to bind it into the splines so you don't get noise going from reverse to drive like my wife's volvo.

I can say with certainty that without a puller there was 0 chance of me getting that shaft back in. I tried for an hour before I decided I had to make a tool before I jacked up something.
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      11-28-2020, 02:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dablackbimmer View Post
No, I haven't found anything like that since I just figured it would be similar to other front wheel drive cars process.
I have similar https://www.bimmerworld.com/Tools/BM...0aAkRTEALw_wcB but not sure if it will work on front bearings on an xdrive. I have done bunch or rear but never front. Tool is nice because you donít need to remove the upright and later deal with alignment.
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      11-28-2020, 02:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feuer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by dablackbimmer View Post
No, I haven't found anything like that since I just figured it would be similar to other front wheel drive cars process.
I have similar https://www.bimmerworld.com/Tools/BM...0aAkRTEALw_wcB but not sure if it will work on front bearings on an xdrive. I have done bunch or rear but never front. Tool is nice because you don’t need to remove the upright and later deal with alignment.
Oh, I was going to have a machine shop press the bearing in for $15 or so. Is that what you're talking about?
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      11-28-2020, 02:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsjames View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by E92William View Post
I recently did a front one on my xi (then realized the other side also had a light howling sound ) but your steps are good just make sure to have the ball joint separator tools since they will make your life super easy when separating the arms from the knuckle. And good snap ring pliers. I had to use small Allen keys to compress it since this piece of junk I bought from harbor freight quite literally bent while trying to get the ring in place after pressing the bearing on the knuckle. Hydraulic press has already long paid for itself.

I had no issues at all putting the axle back into the hub but maybe this has something to do with which build date your car is or whatever since some people have had problems with it, mine is 12/07. I recorded this pita of a job at least for me as a first timer but haven't put a video together
my car was built 10/07.

I've read it's just OEM axle shafts and the reason for the twist is to bind it into the splines so you don't get noise going from reverse to drive like my wife's volvo.

I can say with certainty that without a puller there was 0 chance of me getting that shaft back in. I tried for an hour before I decided I had to make a tool before I jacked up something.
My axles were GKN branded so while I've heard that's what BMW uses from the factory I'm not sure if it would openly have a gkn sticker. I did put a good amount of anti seize so maybe that helped a bit. Sometimes I get a bit of a clunk sound when in reverse to drive but it's super smooth and my bushings in the front are all new so idk I always blamed the pads in the caliper
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      11-28-2020, 02:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92William View Post
My axles were GKN branded so while I've heard that's what BMW uses from the factory I'm not sure if it would openly have a gkn sticker. I did put a good amount of anti seize so maybe that helped a bit. Sometimes I get a bit of a clunk sound when in reverse to drive but it's super smooth and my bushings in the front are all new so idk I always blamed the pads in the caliper
I see what you're saying. I'm going to refer to the Bentley manual as I work as well, hopefully, no major complications like a torn CV boot or anything like that.
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      11-28-2020, 04:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dablackbimmer View Post
Oh, I was going to have a machine shop press the bearing in for $15 or so. Is that what you're talking about?
Yes, with tools like this you only remove the bearing, on the spot.
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      11-28-2020, 07:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92William View Post
My axles were GKN branded so while I've heard that's what BMW uses from the factory I'm not sure if it would openly have a gkn sticker. I did put a good amount of anti seize so maybe that helped a bit. Sometimes I get a bit of a clunk sound when in reverse to drive but it's super smooth and my bushings in the front are all new so idk I always blamed the pads in the caliper
mine was greased well.

cause that's what you do on splined shafts in the rust belt if you ever want to service them again.

it literally slid halfway in and then simply stopped.
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      11-29-2020, 01:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsjames View Post
mine was greased well.

cause that's what you do on splined shafts in the rust belt if you ever want to service them again.

it literally slid halfway in and then simply stopped.
For best protection after installation I recommend anti seize paste https://www.amazon.com/Permatex-8007.../dp/B000FW7VGE
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      11-29-2020, 02:16 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsjames View Post
You're likely going to find that you can't just put the halfshaft back into the hub because the splines are intentionally twisted.

I ended up making this with an extra axle nut to pull it through.

just something to be aware of.
Sucked when I found it out on a saturday afternoon.
If you sold the threaded rod portion of that for $25, you'd make some money. The full kit on ebay is $50.
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