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From digest.v4.n791 Mon Jul 1 10:06:57 1996
From: "Rebel A. Cole" <m1rac01_at_FRB.GOV>
Date: Mon, 01 Jul 1996 11:15:38 -0400
Subject: <E28> Front Wheel Bearing Replacement

Did the left front wheel bearing replacement last night. It was a piece of cake compared to what I expected. The hardest part was finding a big ol' socket. No one had a 46mm, and Sears claimed they didn't have a 1 13/16" either. But I went to Sears in person, and, lo and behold, they did have sockets up to 2 1/2", albeit for a 3/4" drive. The socket was $19.99 and a 3/4" to 1/2" adapter was another $6.95. Add that to the $109 for the bearing assembly itself for out-of-pocket cost of ~$136.

Removal was straightforward. Raise the car and secure on jackstand with floor jack and wheel as backups. Remove the wheel. Remove the caliper assembly (2 x 19mm through-bolts) and secure to spring assembly with twine, wire, etc. Loosen the 5mm allen set screw from the rotor and remove the rotor. Pry off the hub dust cap from the end of the bearing assembly using a screwdriver. Straighten the crimped section of the hub nut using a punch or cold chisel (This was probably the most difficult thing, followed by loosening the caliper through-bolts.) Using the 1 13/16" socket and a breaker bar, loosen the hub nut and remove. I was able to loosen the nut by standing and rocking on the breaker bar. (The car was plenty stable enough for this, although Bentley's recommends replacing the wheel.) Use a ~ 6" wheel puller attached to the outside flange of the bearing assembly to remove the bearing. The outside portion of the assembly separated from the inside portion, so I had to use the wheel puller a second time to remove the inner portion. You might need a smaller wheel puller to get to the inner portion if it doesn't come at least partly off with the outer portion. Better to have one on hand in case rather than find you need it after getting this far. Clean up the ABS sensor and inner dust shield (I used carb cleaner cos it was handy.) Coat the new bearing unit with high temp grease and place onto spindle. Place the 1 13/16" socket over the spindle against the inner race of the new bearing assembly and tap lightly with a rubber mallet, being sure the bearing assembly goes on evenly. Mine popped right on with no trouble at all. Then reassemble. Replace the hub nut, tighten to specs (214 foot-pounds), and crimp the collar to lock it to the stub axle. Replace the rotor and 5mm rotor set screw, the caliper and two 19mm caliper through-bolts, and the wheel. Total R&R time was approximately 1 hour, but I was working slowly. YMMV. BTW, this is an excellent time to replace your brake rotor and pads, since you have to remove the rotor anyway.

Rebel A. Cole
'86 535i (180,000 miles, new left front wheel bearing.)

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