How to Change the Rear Wheel Bearing on a BMW E30

Written by william zane
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If your BMW E30 starts to make strange grinding noises from the rear end and the wheels shake when you are driving it, it may be time to replace the rear wheel bearings. Use a professional BMW technician or do it yourself with the right tools and approach--if you are an experienced home mechanic.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Screwdriver
  • Wheel bearing puller
  • Allen wrench set
  • Circlip pliers

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  1. 1

    Remove the centre caps on the rear wheels. Locate the large drive axle nut behind the centre cap. Loosen the nut with a socket and a ratchet but do not remove it. You can use an impact wrench or a breaker bar on the end of the ratchet to help remove the nut, which is torqued to over 68kg/ft.

  2. 2

    Raise the rear of the vehicle and lower it securely onto jack stands. Remove the lug bolts for the wheels and remove the wheels. Spray the six bolts that hold the drive axle to the differential with penetrating lubricant. Loosen and remove the bolts with an Allen wrench. Support the axles with a piece of rope or wire while they are not bolted to the differential.

  3. 3

    Remove the axle retaining nut (the one under the wheel centre cap that was loosened) and the lock plate behind it. Bolt a bearing puller to the wheel hub with the lug nuts. Tighten the centre bolt of the puller against the hub to push the drive axle out of the trailing arm.

  4. 4

    Disconnect the ABS speed sensors on both sides of the car, located behind the brake caliper. Disconnect the brake wear sensor on the passenger’s side. Remove the 7-mm Allen bolts that hold the brake caliper on. Remove the caliper by sliding it off of the rotor. Support the caliper with a piece of wire so that the soft brake line is not damaged. Remove the caliper mounting bracket bolts and the mounting bracket.

  5. 5

    Remove the brake rotor set screw with an Allen wrench. Pull the rotor off of the hub. Remove the bearing circlip with a pair of circlip pliers. Remove the bearing assembly from the trailing arm with a bearing puller. Clean the inside of the bearing housing. Install the bearing assembly, ensuring that it is seated fully in the trailing arm.

  6. 6

    Reinstall the brake rotor with a new set screw. Install the caliper mounting bracket, the brake caliper and reconnect the ABS sensors and brake wear indicator. Coat the drive flange of the axle with oil and slide it into the differential. Install a new lock plate and thread on the axle retaining nut.

  7. 7

    Bolt the axle to the differential with the Allen-shaped bolts. Tighten the bolts to 21.3kg/ft with a torque wrench. Put the wheels back on the car and lower it to the ground. Torque the drive axle nut to 83.5kg/ft and put the centre caps back on the wheels. Tighten the lug nuts on the wheels.

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