Front wheel bearing


Cost: $100 or less


Time: 1-1.5 hours

In the Bmw E34/E32, you can't change the bearing only, you have to change the whole hub (around $100 or less from BMA).

Failure syndromes:
• Whine or howl that increase in pitch as you increase speed.
• Really bad bearing noises would be a grind you would hear and feel, especially when turning and applying lateral stress to the bearing.

There is two different types of wheel hub for the E34: buy the following parts.
Double check what type of wheel bearing you have before buying the parts. I have a 89 535i but I had the '91 bearing on...

Big thanks to BMA for the two wheel bearings for picture purposes.

Up to 3/91, ABS ring diameter = 97mm: Picture on the left
Wheel bearing: 31-22-1-129-386
Dust protection collar: 31-21-1-131-266

From 3/91, ABS ring diameter = 83mm: Picture on the right
Wheel bearing: 31-22-1-139-345
Dust protection collar: 31-21-1-136-466

All models:
46mm axle nut: 31-21-1-128-336
Dust cap: 31-21-1-130-124

  • Floor jack, jackstands.
  • 46mm or 1-13/16" socket and T bar (I bought mine from Princess auto for US$5.00)
  • 250 lb-ft torque wrench, pliers, WD40, rubber hammer.
  • Tools to remove the caliper/carrier and rotor.
  • Maybe puller if the inner race is stuck
1. First, lift the car on the side you want to work on. Install jackstands.
2. Remove the wheel then the dust cap with pliers.

If you have 850i brakes, you won't be able to use your spare 15" rim for more leverage so remove the brakes now...
2. Bend the staked part of the collar nut back.
3. Install the wheel back and lower the car to the ground.
Use your 46mm socket, T bar and a 1 meter bar if you want more leverage and LOOSEN (do not remove) the big nut.
 5. Lift the car again, remove the wheel and the 46mm nut. Pull the wheel hub out. Gentle blows with a rubber hammer on the outside help. If nothing moves, use a puller.

6. If the inner race the inner race remains on the stub axle, simply tap around the edge of the race with a hammer and cold chisel, or use pliers and WD40. It is easier to get it out if you remove the big brake dust shield (held in place with 3 x 10mm screws)
7. Remove the dust protection collar (yellow piece on the left picture) and clean the stub axle.

7. Insert the new dust protection collar, then insert gently the new hub bearing. If it is hard to insert, use a piece of hood and tap with your rubber hammer, until it is fully inserted. You can also use a pressing tool if you have one.

8. Place the new 46mm nut back and tighten it a little bit.

9. If you have 850i brakes don't forget that the 15" rim doesn't fit under the brakes.
10. Install the brakes, the rim then lower the car to the ground. Torque the big nut to 214ft-lb (290 Nm).

11. Stake the nut to the axle.
12. Install the new dust cap on.
Big thanks to Alex Lynch, Bryan B., Bobby, Eddie Woo, Micah O'C
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