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Front Wheel Bearing RWD Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Wheel Bearing RWD Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets (18mm), pry bar, wire brush, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, lug wrench, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 535i Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)
BMW M5 Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Front wheel bearing, wheel-bearing fasteners or thread locker

Hot Tip:

Replace brakes

Performance Gain:

Quiet and smooth front end

Complementary Modification:

Replace in pairs

The front wheel bearing on rear wheel drive (RWD) E60 models bolts into the steering knuckle, unlike previous models that were pressed in. This makes replacing it much easier. A faulty wheel bearing can exhibit a few warning signs. The most obvious would be a howling or grinding noise from a front wheel while in motion. This noise would get louder when you steer side to side. You can check for a noisy wheel bearing with the vehicle stationary too. Jack the front of your vehicle and rotate the front wheel; while rotating, place your hand on the front coil spring. You should be able to pick up a vibration in the spring. There may also be free-play in the bearing. You can check for free-play by jacking the front of your vehicle and wiggling the wheel up and down. If there is any free-play, replace the bearing.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. You'll want both wheels off the ground for this repair.

Remove the front wheel from the side of the vehicle you are replacing the wheel bearing on.

Remove the front brake rotor on the side of the vehicle you are replacing the wheel bearing on. See our tech article on brake rotors.

With the rotor removed, you now have access to the wheel bearing (green arrow).
Figure 1

With the rotor removed, you now have access to the wheel bearing (green arrow). With the rotor removed, use a wire brush and clean the four exposed bolt threads (yellow arrow). The inset shows the bolt ends clean. Once clean, spray them with penetrating oil and allow time for it to soak in.

To access the bolts for the wheel bearing, the strut assembly has to be removed.
Figure 2

To access the bolts for the wheel bearing, the strut assembly has to be removed. Working behind the strut, remove the 13mm sway bar link bracket fastener (yellow arrow). Then, remove the 18mm sway bar link bracket fastener (green arrow). When removing the 18mm fastener, you will have to counterhold the nut on the opposite side of the strut. This fastener doubles as the pinch bolt for the spindle, which secures the strut. Once the fasteners are removed, the bracket will be free. Lay it aside (inset).

Next, remove the 16mm tie rod end nut (green arrow).
Figure 3

Next, remove the 16mm tie rod end nut (green arrow). Once the nut is removed, remove the tie rod end from the spindle. You will not need a pickle fork or separating tool. It is not an interference fit.

Working at the strut tower, remove the two Phillips head screws.
Figure 4

Working at the strut tower, remove the two Phillips head screws. Then remove the plastic expanding anchor by pulling them straight up (green arrows). Unclip the plastic cover (yellow arrow) and remove it from the strut tower.

Then remove the three 13mm strut mounting nuts (green arrows).
Figure 5

Then remove the three 13mm strut mounting nuts (green arrows). The mounting bores are slotted to allow alignment adjustments (inset). Make a mark to help when reassembling (yellow arrow). This will get the adjustment close to where it needs to be and make aligning the vehicle easier.

Next, lever the spindle down using a pry bar (green arrow).
Figure 6

Next, lever the spindle down using a pry bar (green arrow). Be sure the tie rod end is not making contact with the spindle. If it does, the spindle will not drop down far enough to remove the strut. You may need help from a friend on this one. Hold the spindle down. Then feed the strut out of the strut tower. Once out, slide the strut up to remove it from the spindle.

If the strut is stuck, try hammering a chisel (green arrow) into the strut clamping collar.
Figure 7

If the strut is stuck, try hammering a chisel (green arrow) into the strut clamping collar. Hammer the chisel in just far enough to free the strut and then remove the strut. Do not go too far. Damage to the spindle may occur.

Working at the back of the steering knuckle, remove the four 18mm wheel bearing fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 8

Working at the back of the steering knuckle, remove the four 18mm wheel bearing fasteners (green arrows).

Next, remove the wheel bearing from the steering knuckle.
Figure 9

Next, remove the wheel bearing from the steering knuckle. If it is stuck, give it a light tap with a soft-faced hammer. Clean the wheel bearing mounting surface using a wire brush. I like to replace the wheel bearing bolts too during this procedure. The bolts have a thread locker applied at the factory. You can either replace the bolts or apply new thread locker. You'll have to try to match up what comes off for thread locker grade (color). Install the new wheel bearing and tighten the fasteners. Reassemble the suspension and install the brakes. Remember to pump the brake pedal before driving the vehicle. Have the vehicle professionally aligned.

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Comments and Suggestions:
JAH Comments: article for rear wheel bearings?
September 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Wib-1 Comments: Can this be done without removing strut?
May 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No. the fasteners can't be accessed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jusjosef Comments: How do you remove the bearing from the hub?
January 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You don't. It is replaced as a unit. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jerry Comments: Do I need a spring compresser, to remove the struts. In 2004 545i
December 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not to remove the struts. You will if you want to remove the springs from the struts once removed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jerry Comments: I just had new tires and alignment done....when replacement with new bearing hub will I need to get another alignment done
July 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Depends, if the bearing was faulty when the alignment was done, likely. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
AL Comments: Thank you for your detailed guidelines this is very helpful indeed, much appreciated.

April 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:41:05 AM