you starting to hear a grinding, wobbling noise coming from your front
wheels? Have you noticed a wheel that shakes when you drive? Chances are the
wheel bearings may be starting to fail. With most of the E36ís now
reaching over 150,000 miles or more, the wheel bearings may be starting to
show their age. In this tech article, I will go over the steps involved with
removing the old wheel bearings and installing the new units. It is a
relatively easy procedure and should be able to be performed in a few hours.
This article applies to all BMW E36 3 Series models from 1992-99.
first step is to chock the rear wheels to keep them form rolling, then
loosen the front lug bolts (but do not remove) and jack the front of the car
up. You should make sure to jack the car up on a frame rail or other re-inforced
part of the carís chassis to prevent the jack from damaging the body or
worse. (I have seen cars that have holes through the floorboards from
jacking the wrong way) A good reference is Wayneís article on jacking up
the BMW E36.
the car has been jacked up and is firmly supported on jack stands, remove
the lug bolts and pull the front wheels off. You will now see a dust cap in
the center of the rotor. Pry these both off. You will now see a large nut
inside with a pin driven inside the axle shaft. Use a flat-head screwdriver
to pry this pin back and out of the axle shaft. Now have a helper apply the
brakes and loosen the nut. It may be helpful to use an impact wrench to get
this nut off, as it is torques down to 214 ft./lbs. do not remove the nut at
this time. We just need to get them loose.
look behind the brake caliper and disconnect the ABS speed sensors on both
wheels. Also disconnect the brake wear indicator sensor on the driverís
side wheel. Now look at the back of the brake calipers. You will see two
rubber grommets with a plastic plug installed in them. Pry out these plastic
plugs. Directly beneath them, you will see a 7mm Allen head bolt. Use a 7mm
Allen head key to loosen then remove both bolts on each wheel. Look on the
front of the caliper and pry off the brake retaining clips using a flat-head
screwdriver. Now you will be able to pull the brake calipers off the
mounting bracket. Use a zip-tie
or wire to suspend the brake caliper. Do not let the caliper hang by the
brake lines, you may rip the lines. Now, remove the two 19mm bolts that hold
the caliper mounting bracket to the hub, and remove the caliper mounting
now must remove the brake rotors. This is done by first removing the small
Allen head set screw in the front of the rotor. You may find it helpful to
spray these bolts with a good penetrant spray like WD-40 and let them sit
overnight. This will prevent the screws from stripping or seizing. Remove
the screws and pull the rotors off the hubs.
we need to use a puller to remove the wheel hub from the car. Thread the
puller onto the hub using the holes for the lug bolts and center the puller
on the axle shaft. Now remove the hub. It may take a while to remove this,
so use plenty of WD-40 and keep pulling. Once off, remove the dust shield
form the old hub, and transfer it onto the new hub.
wheel bearings on the E36 are an integral part of the hub, so the whole hub
assembly must be replaced. The new hubs will come with the bearings already
pre-installed. Take the new bearing/hub ad place it on the axle shaft. Use
the puller to push it onto the axle shaft. Keep in mind to apply force only
to the inner bearing race as you could damage the bearing. Drive the
bearings as far as they will go onto the shaft. Now re-install the retaining
nut, but do not tighten it right now.
re-install the brake rotors, and use a new set screw to hold it in place.
The old set screws are designed for one use only and can snap or break if
you try to re-use them. Put the new set screws in and torque them to 12
fit the brake caliper mounting brackets over the rotor and bolt them back on
to the hub. Torque the bolts to 81 ft./lbs. Now cut the zip-ties holding the
rotors and place the brake pads into the calipers. Place the calipers back
onto the mounting bracket and re-install the Allen head bolts that hold them
in place and tighten the bolts down. Re-install the plastic plugs over the
bolts on the rear of the caliper. Now re-install the caliper retaining clip
one the front of the calipers. Re-connect the ABS speed sensors and the
brake wear indicator on the driverís side.
an assistant apply the brakes and torque the axle-retaining nut to 214
ft./lbs. You may find it helpful to use an impact wrench to get it on there.
Once torqued, use a screwdriver to bend the tang into the axle shaft. This
will keep the nuts from coming off. Now put a little bit of grease inside
the dust cap and put them back on.
the wheels back on and install the lug bolts (but do not tighten) now lower
the car and tighten the lug bolts in a criss-cross pattern.
Well, there you have it - it's
really not too difficult at all. If you would like
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