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BMW E39 Front and Rear Wheel Bearing Removal
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Front and Rear Wheel Bearing Removal

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$60 to $600

Talent:

****

Tools:

T12, T14 Torx, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm socket with ratchet and extension, hammer

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan/Wagon (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan/Wagon (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Wheel bearing, wheel hub flange, wheel bearing housing

Hot Tip:

Spray the area with penetrating oil to lubricate it while removing it.

Performance Gain:

Eliminate bearing humming noise especially during cornering

Complementary Modification:

Replace drive axle, brake pads and rotors

The job of your wheel bearing is to hold the weight of the car through the spindle onto the hub of each wheel and allow the wheel to rotate while the car is being driven. The wheel bearing goes under additional stress as you drive through turns. Due to inertia the lateral weight transfer moves more weight to the bearings on the outside of the turn. During hard cornering these bearings are under hundreds of additional pounds of stress. Over time these bearings can fail. Typically, a worn bearing will exhibit a groaning noise when additional load is put on it from the additional weight it has to handle. If you turn your car to the left and you hear the groaning noise then the problem is the likely the right bearing and vice versa. You yourself will have to determine if it is the front or rear bearing. This can sometimes be determined by turning and braking to check the front bearing or accelerating slightly and turn to load the rear bearing. In this article we will go over all of the steps to remove you wheel bearings.

In order to service the front or rear wheel bearings you will need to lift, support and remove the front or rear wheel of the bearing you are going to replace. See our tech article on lifting and supporting your vehicle.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-This is the front left side corner of the car looking at the brake caliper.
Figure 1

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-This is the front left side corner of the car looking at the brake caliper. Remove the two 7mm fasteners (green arrows) that mount the caliper to the caliper mounting bracket. For further instructions on removing the caliper see our tech article on removing calipers.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the caliper from the caliper mounting bracket.
Figure 2

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the caliper from the caliper mounting bracket. Support the brake caliper out of the way and do not let it hang from the brake hose.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the two 18mm fasteners (green arrows) that hold the caliper mounting bracket to the spindle.
Figure 3

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the two 18mm fasteners (green arrows) that hold the caliper mounting bracket to the spindle. Remove the caliper bracket from the spindle.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the 5mm Allen head screw that mounts the brake rotor to the axle flange and remove the brake rotor.
Figure 4

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the 5mm Allen head screw that mounts the brake rotor to the axle flange and remove the brake rotor. For further instructions on removing the brake rotor see our tech article on removing brake rotors.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-This is the top of the left side spindle where it pinches on the base of the strut.
Figure 5

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-This is the top of the left side spindle where it pinches on the base of the strut. Loosen or remove the 16mm bolt (green arrow) and the 18mm nut (yellow arrow).

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-You can use a pry bar to spread apart the pinch (green arrow) on the base of the strut.
Figure 6

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-You can use a pry bar to spread apart the pinch (green arrow) on the base of the strut. Move the strut upward in the direction of the blue arrow while moving the spindle downward to expose the center of the spindle and the four wheel bearing mounting fasteners.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove either end of the sway bar link.
Figure 7

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove either end of the sway bar link. This will allow you to move the strut without moving the spindle. See our tech article on sway bar, bushing and links removal for further instructions.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-You can use a pry bay to lever up on the strut and move it up and out of your way but be careful not to break the wheel speed sensor.
Figure 8

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-You can use a pry bay to lever up on the strut and move it up and out of your way but be careful not to break the wheel speed sensor. If you are concerned about damaging the sensor remove the two T25 Torx bolts (red arrows, one already removed) and pull the sensor from the flange. Then tighten the pinch bolt (green arrow) so the strut does not slide down while you are working. This will give you clear access to all 4 wheel bearing mounting fasteners. Here the lower two fasteners are already removed.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the four 18mm fasteners that hold the wheel bearing assembly to the spindle.
Figure 9

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the four 18mm fasteners that hold the wheel bearing assembly to the spindle. Have a helper hold the wheel bearing assembly. There is a chance it may fall out while loosening the fasteners but it is usually a tight fit.

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the wheel bearing assembly from the spindle.
Figure 10

Front Wheel Bearing Removal-Remove the wheel bearing assembly from the spindle. Since it may be a tight fit you can use a hammer or mallet to tap on the hub flange (red arrow) to break it loose. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Fit the wheel bearing and hub assembly into the spindle and tighten the four fasteners that hold it in place. Properly position the strut inside the top of the spindle opening and tighten the pinch bolt. Fit the sway bar link. Install the brake rotor, caliper mounting bracket and brake rotor to the car. Install the wheel and tighten lug nuts. Spin the wheel and make sure the wheel spins true and there are no rubbing noises.

Rear Wheel Bearing-This is the left side rear wheel-house looking at the back of the brake caliper.
Figure 11

Rear Wheel Bearing-This is the left side rear wheel-house looking at the back of the brake caliper. Remove the two 7mm Allen head fasteners that hold the brake caliper onto the caliper mounting bracket. Support the brake caliper and do not let it hang by the brake hose.

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the two 16mm fasteners that mount the caliper mounting bracket to the spindle.
Figure 12

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the two 16mm fasteners that mount the caliper mounting bracket to the spindle. Remove the caliper mounting bracket from the spindle.

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the 5mm Allen head fastener that holds the brake rotor to the axle flange.
Figure 13

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the 5mm Allen head fastener that holds the brake rotor to the axle flange. Remove the brake rotor from the axle. Make sure the parking brake cable is fully released before removing the calipers. For further instruction on how to remove the rear brake rotors see out tech articles on brake rotor removal and parking brake pad adjustment.

Rear Wheel Bearing-There are a few ways to detach the spindle to remove the axle shaft.
Figure 14

Rear Wheel Bearing-There are a few ways to detach the spindle to remove the axle shaft. I prefer taking the two inner lower control arm mounting fasteners (red arrows) out and dropping the lower control arm. You can also loosen the lower control arm fastener to the spindle so you can lever the lower control arm out of the way. See our tech article on lower control arm removal for further instructions.

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the six T12 Torx fasteners that hold the inner CV joint to the axle flange on the differential.
Figure 15

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the six T12 Torx fasteners that hold the inner CV joint to the axle flange on the differential.

Rear Wheel Bearing-Pull the axle shaft away from the axle shaft flange on the differential.
Figure 16

Rear Wheel Bearing-Pull the axle shaft away from the axle shaft flange on the differential.

Rear Wheel Bearing-With a sharp punch tap out the pinch (yellow arrows) of the axle shaft nut.
Figure 17

Rear Wheel Bearing-With a sharp punch tap out the pinch (yellow arrows) of the axle shaft nut. Remove the 36mm twelve point axle shaft nut (green arrow) from the end of the axle. Leave the axle nut threaded on the shaft and tap the end of the nut/shaft to break the axle loose from the hub.

Rear Wheel Bearing-This is the inside of the spindle.
Figure 18

Rear Wheel Bearing-This is the inside of the spindle. Remove the four T14 Torx fasteners (green arrows) that secure the wheel bearing, hub and housing to the spindle. Have a helper hold the bearing assembly because it may fall out when the fasteners are removed.

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the bearing assembly from the spindle.
Figure 19

Rear Wheel Bearing-Remove the bearing assembly from the spindle. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Fit the new wheel bearing assembly into the spindle and tighten the four Torx mounting fasteners. Install the axle shaft, tighten axle nut and fit the lower half of the spindle into the lower control arm. Install the long bolt and tighten the securing nut. Attach the rotor, caliper mounting bracket and brake caliper and tighten all mounting hardware. Install the wheel and lugs except one. Position that one at the 6 o'clock position and adjust the parking brake. Spin the wheel and make sure there are no rubbing noises.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Hun Bandee Comments: Thanks the repairing information about the BMW E39. Always great help! Thank you very much!
October 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:04:49 AM