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Replacing wheel bearings - womdering if I should replace axles

Discussion in 'DIY (Do-It-Yourself)' started by frito, May 6, 2018.

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    frito

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    I have an '01 325i with 210,000 miles on it. I am placing an order to replace all four wheel bearings, rotors, pads and rubber lines with braided steel lines. I'm curious if, with the high mileage on it, I should replace the rear axles while I'm in there. They need to come out in order to replace the bearings so figured this would be a good time to do it. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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    MGarrison

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    It's a maybe - check the axles for play in the universal joints; if you have slop and a lot of lost motion, replacement is probably warranted. If they're not loose, they're not worn out.
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    frito

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    Thanks. I'll take a close look at them when I take them out. When I did my Vanos and thermostat I went ahead a and replaced all the hoses, water pipes, factory water pump that I don't know how it survived 200,000 miles and a handful of other "while I'm in there" sort of things. That's why I'm replacing the rubber brake lines and all that stuff. I figure after 210,000 miles and 17 years of service, they have exceeded their useful lives and since I'll be in there anyway...

    I really want to get started. It's been out of commission since the fall when I felt like my wheels were going to fall off. The bearings had been making noise for quite a while but I just never got around to replacing them. The time is now so I can enjoy my driving again.
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    charlson89

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    I would, as mentioned above check the shafts for play and the dust boots to see if they are cracking or torn. If not they I would keep using them and save the money for other repairs.
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    frito

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    Thanks. I'll let you know how goes when I finish.
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    frito

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    OK so I'm the world's slowest mechanic, probably because I get into OCD mode and clean everything. So anyway, I'm into the rear bearing repair and have a couple questions:

    1. When I was removing the passenger side axle, the differential output flange was sliding in and out with the axle (about 1/2 inch to an inch of play). After I got the axle out I was checking out the output flange and I ended up pulling it out of the differential. Thankfully the circlip was still attached. So, should I replace the circlip when reinstalling? Also, should I replace the differential oil seal(s)? I prefer not to mess with but even more, I prefer not to tare things apart more than once.

    2. The differential side of the axle seems to have a small hole in and there was grease in the section (see attached picture). Is it safe to assume that hole should not be there and I should replace the axle?

    Thanks guys.

    [IMG]
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    charlson89

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    Yes now that the axle drive hub is out I would replace the seal and clip. The movement is from a weak clip causing extra movement. Also keep in mind with the axle installed there is some pressure on the joint to stay in the diff but the clips need to be replaced every time they come out. Most people don't and causes what you have going on. Yes the oil in the axle joint is not suppose to be there. Axle replacement is the best way to fix this. Hope the repair is going well.
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    frito

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    Thanks. It's going slow but steady. I really had to yank on it with the slide hammer to get that one off. I did get all the UUC braided brake and clutch lines in and system bled. Love the Motive pressure bleeder. I moved up to the front right last night. Quite the contrary to the rear, As soon as I removed the axle nut the entire assembly fell right off. The only thing that didn't come right off was the dust shield. :eek:Pretty much explains why I felt like I was going ot lose a wheel on a lane change. That's what drove me to park it last fall until I could get around to repairing it.
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    frito

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    Oh, one more question - hate to be a pest. I've seen just a few different brands of axles. FEQ, at ECS Tuning, DSS (which seems like an economy line) and GKN which is listed as an OEM supplier. Of course there's the remanufactured BMW which are really expensive. Know that I want to get another couple hundred thousand miles out of it, which should I get. I'm leaning towards either the GKN or FEQ. Thanks again for all your help. I never would have attempted this in the pre-internet days.

    FEQ at ECS - https://www.ecstuning.com/b-feq-parts/rear-axle-shaft-right/33211229592~feq/
    GKN - https://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/SuperCat/0216/BMW_0216_SUSAXL_pg1.htm#item0
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    charlson89

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    I recommend the GKN since they do make a lot of axles for BMW. I think they were the manufactures for your car as well.
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    frito

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    Thanks Charson, I have them on the way. Now another question for this never ending (what should be simple) project. I went to install the front assembly this evening using the BMW special tool. I was actually able to tighten the hub/bearing on by hand vs. having to use a socket or open end wrench. I could also pull it off by hand. I suspect I know the answer to this question, but do I need to to replace the King Pin? I imagine I do since the bearing slides too easily on the spindle.

    Related question, if I have to replace the spindle, I'm going to replace the shocks since I have about 110,000 miles on them. Last time I had them replaced I I had H&K springs and Bilsteins put on them which lowered it about 1 1/2 inches. Here's the best picture I can get of the numbers on the shocks.

    [IMG]

    I can't find the this model number online but suspect it's the Bilstein B8 Performance Plus series which seems to be on back order everywhere. DO you know what a good alternative would be?

    Thanks, and sorry to be a pest.
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    charlson89

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    Not a pest at all thats what the forums are for! As the front assemble question let me just clarify. The bearing when put in the hub is too loose correct. Meaning you really didn't have to press it into the knuckle correct? IF that is the case I would double check your bearing size compared to the old one. I believe there are different size front end bearings for the e46 but it has been awhile since I have done one. The second question your picture did not load correctly.
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    frito

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    Thanks Charlson. Yes, you understand correctly. I was able to push the new bearing on the knuckle without having to press it in. There was a slight bit of play once it was on and I was able to pull it off by hand. I do suspect it's the knuckle vs. the bearing as I was able to pull the inner race of the old bearing off by hand. I will double check the new bearing though to make sure.

    I hate when I forget to move images to the my shared album before sharing. Anyway, I grabbed the numbers off the current shocks and struts. They are:

    Front left - F4-VN7-4383-HO
    Rear - F4-BE3-2698-HO

    I'm pretty sure they're Bilstein B8 series but now I notice there are two lines - 35-115069/35-115076 and 35-115106/35-115113, the latter stating it's a 45mm shortened strut. The H&K/Bilstein package I had installed about ten years ago did lower it about 1 1/2 inches so I'm guessing, but not positive, it's the latter series. I only see one option for the B8 rears.

    Thanks again for all your help.
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    frito

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    Figured I'd go straight to the source for the shock part number question. I emailed Bilstein and they informed me

    Those part numbers are as follows:
    Front Left 35-115069 which is new part number for F4-VN7-4383-HO
    Front Right 35-115076

    Rear 24-027250 which is new part number for F4-BE3-2698-HO

    Now to get them ordered quickly as most places are on back order until August.
    MGarrison likes this.

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