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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Mon, Oct-07-2013, 01:27:27 AM   #11
Bill33
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

I had 90K on it when the bearing started making noise. I drove on it until almost 95K before I replaced it.
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Old Mon, Oct-07-2013, 01:36:23 AM   #12
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

Bill, thanks for the follow-up.
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Old Thu, Apr-24-2014, 03:19:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

Knocked out the driver's side rear wheel bearing on the M3 yesterday.

Just a couple notes for those in a similar situation as me.

Exhaust was too rusted to drop quickly, so I left the axle attached at the diff. Loosened the trailing arm a bit to get the axle out instead. Unbolted the top knuckle bolt too. Mark your bolts for alignment purposes!

New Milwaukee impact make short work of the axle nut. Pretty impressive actually.

Used a three-jaw puller to push out the axle from the hub. Hammer did nothing. Puller made short work of it.

***Slide hammer couldn't get the hub out, so I removed the e-brake assembly, put a large bearing separator between the rear of the hub and the upright, and used the wheel studs to press out the hub.

Standard Harbor Freight bearing puller was perfect for bearing removal/replacement.

Wound up cutting the outer bearing race (stuck on the hub) with a Dremel. Took all of 5 minutes.

That's the last time I carry a hub to a machine shop to get it pressed off...surprisingly easy to break the press-fit with minimal cutting.
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Old Thu, Apr-24-2014, 05:44:57 PM   #14
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Default Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

Will be finishing up my driver side rear wheel bearing this Friday. I actually started it last weekend but wasn't able to wrap it up. I used a 25" Harbor Freight 1/2" drive breaker bar with jack handle, quite easy to get the nut off. I used the 3 jaw puller to get the axle out of hub as well, then used the slide hammer to remove the hub. It pulled the hub out with inner race on it as well but destroyed the outer half of bearing as the ball bearings actually fell out. Harbor Freight bearing tool works flawlessly for both bearing and hub install. Hardest part of the job is getting axle back into the hub.

Last edited by E46_M3_ZCP; Thu, Apr-24-2014 at 05:48:08 PM.
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Old Tue, Mar-03-2015, 04:03:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

Tackling this job over the weekend and ended up giving up. Basically, I gave up at removing the axle from the hub. Apparently, this is consistently the biggest hurdle for replacing a rear wheel bearing. I tried the following methods

1 - 5 ton three jaw puller using a Dewalt Electric Impact Wrench - zero movement
2 - an OEM hub flange removal tool with the accompanying slide hammer. - zero movement
3 - same OEM hub flange removal tool using the large bolt from the 5 ton three jaw puller using a Dewalt Electric Impact Wrench - zero movement - my mistake here is that I tightened the OEM flange tool down on the hub too much I think.

Yes I did unbolt the axle from the diff side and removed all 6 etorx bolts and dropped that side of the axle.

Yes I did remove the 36mm 12 point nut from the axle an soaked that side in PB Blaster.

No I didn't heat up the hub itself. I don't have that type of equipment.

I'm going to try again in a couple weeks and after reviewing some other methods it seems the final option I have will be to try a combination of the hub flange tool with large bolt and a sledge hammer. Apparently, a few people have had really good luck doing this on stubborn axles. I sort of tried this method with #3 above, but not only did I have the flange tool cranked down too much, I also didn't have an 8lb. sledge hammer to do the job right.

Here's a video of one of the guys that tried this and succeeeded.


Anyway, this next question is going to sound really ignorant, but is it possible that there's a bolt I might have missed that's keeping the axle in the hub? I mean other than the 36mm 12 point nut, there is nothing else holding the axle into the hub correct?

thanks
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Last edited by aa240sx; Tue, Mar-03-2015 at 04:06:11 AM.
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Old Tue, Mar-03-2015, 12:07:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the shade tree route... You may need to order a spare axle nut.
1)Back off the nut until it goes over the axle itself.
2) Get a BFH (bigger the better) and beat square on the nut/axle until the axle is free
3)The nut protects the axle from mushrooming, and the axle comes out without destroying expensive tools
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Old Tue, Mar-03-2015, 12:45:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

My right rear started making noise so I replaced it. 87k on '04. I am suprised it didn't last longer.
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Old Tue, Mar-03-2015, 04:24:16 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewster View Post
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the shade tree route... You may need to order a spare axle nut.
1)Back off the nut until it goes over the axle itself.
2) Get a BFH (bigger the better) and beat square on the nut/axle until the axle is free
3)The nut protects the axle from mushrooming, and the axle comes out without destroying expensive tools
I may consider doing this, but isn't there the possibility that you'll strip the threads on the axle when you're beating on the axle nut with a sledge hammer?
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- 2008 Mercedes Benz R350 - stock
- 2002 330i - Gray Metallic - 5 speed sport package - stock
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Old Tue, Mar-03-2015, 04:38:45 PM   #19
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

Quote:
Originally Posted by aa240sx View Post
I may consider doing this, but isn't there the possibility that you'll strip the threads on the axle when you're beating on the axle nut with a sledge hammer?
Fast forward to about 2:25 and you can see a demonstration. He ends up banging on the axle directly since he's replacing it, but he explains how you can just back off the nut if you want to save it from deforming while you convince it with a BFH.


You've still got most of the nut's threads on the axle, so you'd have to be pretty unfortunate to mess something up. However, seeing as how the nut is aluminum working against an iron axle, you're more likely to screw up the nut rather than the axle itself.
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Old Tue, Mar-10-2015, 09:12:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side

Finishing this job tonight. Here's some advice for those tackling this job

1. If you're doing the left and rear wheel bearings, plan on jacking your car up on 4 jack stands as you'll definitely be dropping the exhaust.

2. For me, I only had to undo the middle (rasp) portion of the exhaust, to get the rear sway bar and thus the left rear axle to drop.

3. The trick that worked for me to remove the axle from the hub was using a front wheel hub puller and a flange hub puller and a sledge hammer. The first two items, I rented from autozone, the third was purchsed at HF (8lb fiberglass). Like others have mentioned on other threads, this seems to be the only way to remove the axle from the hub when its truly seized on there. I used the bolt from the front hub puller and put that in the hub flange tool. I placed that on the hub and tightened that down, but gave some wiggle room and used the bolt to tighten up against the axle with a considerable amount of torque/tension. Couple whacks of the sledge hammer to the bolt was all it took to clear the hub.

4. As for the act of removing the hub and the old bearing, the HF front wheel bearing removal tool worked exactly as mentioned. zero issues here.

5. One thing I would like to warn everyone about is has to do with the reinstallation of axle to the hub, once you've pressed in your bearing. I got super lazy and didn't do the best job of cleaning up the splines on both the axle and the hub, so what did I do? I pounded the heck out of the end of the axle in the hopes that I could get the splined end to go through the hub. Bottomline, I busted the cv joint cover, oil leaked everywhere and I ended up buying a used half shaft cv driver side axle as penance. When I did clean up the splines and tried this on the passenger/right side, I was able to get the splined end of the axle to get real close to flush on the hub side, but not all the way through. I used a metal file, metal brush, wd40 and rags to really clean up the splines on both the hub and the axle. I also used a minimal amount of grease on the end of the spline. This leads me to my next tip.

6. *** no matter what anyone else might say about this job, you absolutely should never pound on the end of the axle to get the splined side to go through the hub. If you're doing that, you're 'Doing It Wrong' (FLD ref)..***Instead if you have to do a little coaxing, grab the axle in the middle with both hands and drive that into the splined end of the axle, 'think kill bill and the scene where the main character is in the coffin and only has two inches of distance in which to punch through her coffin, patience and time will work!' 3/11/2015 Update - Though this method will work, be extra cautious not to hit the metal flange that allows the cv boot to form a seal to keep the oil in place. The angle you're hitting the axle with is such that on the many hits you make you can easily hit this thin metal piece causing it to deform and thus, causing the cv boot to come loose and cause more troubles.

7. Absolutely, make sure you weld or have someone weld a custom tool with a new/used 36mm axle nut and a 32mm impact socket. A guy named CNN on Bimmerforums covers this in great detail and believe me that tool is perfect for drawing the axle in and through the hub if your axle won't play nice. Be sure that the nut is welded with the large main face against the socket. Also, if you really prepared your splines well and brought it as close to flush to the hub as you could get it, there's no need to have to grind down the 12 points on your axle nut tool to get more threads. The custom axle tool works fine without having to do that.

8. Scale of 1 to 10, this job is a 7 for me, but close to a 10 when I first started. The job really does require a lot of muscle. I would highly recommend the purchase of an impact wrench if you don't already have one.
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- 2008 Mercedes Benz R350 - stock
- 2002 330i - Gray Metallic - 5 speed sport package - stock

Last edited by aa240sx; Wed, Mar-11-2015 at 03:59:28 PM.
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Discussing Rear Wheel Bearing, Driver's Side in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)