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Front Wheel Bearing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Wheel Bearing Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets (18mm), pry bar, wire brush, 46mm socket

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

Parts Required:

Front wheel bearing, wheel bearing nut, dust cap

Hot Tip:

Replace brakes

Performance Gain:

Quiet and smooth front end

Complementary Modification:

Replace in pairs

The front wheel bearing on BMW Z4 models bolts onto the steering knuckle with a single nut, 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 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. 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.

The front wheel bearing (red arrow) on BMW Z4 models bolts onto the steering knuckle with a single nut, unlike previous models that were pressed in.
Figure 1

The front wheel bearing (red arrow) on BMW Z4 models bolts onto the steering knuckle with a single nut, unlike previous models that were pressed in. This makes replacing it much easier.

Remove the front wheel from the side of the vehicle you are replacing the wheel bearing on.
Figure 2

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. With the rotor removed, you now have access to the wheel bearing. With the rotor removed, use a flathead screwdriver or a dust cap tool to remove the dust cap (red arrow). I suggest replacing this each time if possible.

Pull the dust cap off.
Figure 3

Pull the dust cap off. Then use a chisel of flathead screwdriver to remove the bent pieces of nut (red arrows) out of the way.

Using a 46mm nut on a breaker bar, loosen and remove the spindle nut.
Figure 4

Using a 46mm nut on a breaker bar, loosen and remove the spindle nut.

Using a hub puller (red arrow), remove the wheel bearing with the flange.
Figure 5

Using a hub puller (red arrow), remove the wheel bearing with the flange. Bolt the hub puller to the wheel stud holes, then tighten the center bolt to extract the wheel bearing.

Then remove the three 13mm strut mounting nuts (green arrows).
Figure 6

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, remove the wheel bearing (red arrow) from the steering knuckle.
Figure 7

Next, remove the wheel bearing (red arrow) from the steering knuckle. Slide it straight off. If binding, give it a light tap with a soft-faced hammer.

More often than not, the inner race (red arrow) remains on the spindle.
Figure 8

More often than not, the inner race (red arrow) remains on the spindle. This has to be removed before installing the new bearing. You have one option to get this off, using a race puller. If you have to use a race puller, remove the wheel speed sensor to prevent damaging it.

First the dust shield has to be removed, in order for the backing plate to clear.
Figure 9

First the dust shield has to be removed, in order for the backing plate to clear. I tend to bend and cut the dust shield up (blue arrow) until it comes out. Then remove the three 10mm backing plate fasteners (red arrows).

Remove the backing plate from the spindle.
Figure 10

Remove the backing plate from the spindle.

Next, Install a bearing race puller (red arrow) over the inner race.
Figure 11

Next, Install a bearing race puller (red arrow) over the inner race. Be sure it doesn't scratch the spindle, don't overtighten the clamping bolts. Attach the puller to the race puller and extract the race from the spindle.

Most times I find lightly tapping the race puller (red arrow) is enough to get the race off (blue arrow).
Figure 12

Most times I find lightly tapping the race puller (red arrow) is enough to get the race off (blue arrow).

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 03:01:30 AM