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Old 23rd December 2004, 13:10   #1
x703jko
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Failed Wheel Bearing

What would be the symptom(s) of a failed wheel bearing?

If a bearing fails, presumably catastrophically, would one find bearing grease inside the wheel?

I'm not having a problem. Just curious.

Thanks.

Jeff
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Old 23rd December 2004, 15:21   #2
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by x703jko
What would be the symptom(s) of a failed wheel bearing?

If a bearing fails, presumably catastrophically, would one find bearing grease inside the wheel?
Typical symptoms would be play on the wheel hubs (best felt by jacking up the car and wiggling the wheels), in more serious cases you may notice humming or rattling noises when the car is rolling with the clutch depressed.

Finding bearing grease inside the wheel is typically a precursor to a bearing failure - if you got the hub very hot for example with track driving or sustained braking during descents the grease runs out. To avoid bearing damage you're best off to repack the bearings with some more grease next time the car is being serviced.
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Old 23rd December 2004, 15:41   #3
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

From Dave Z's website:

http://www.zeckhausen.com/E39_Bearings.htm
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Old 23rd December 2004, 16:20   #4
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by kees
Typical symptoms would be play on the wheel hubs (best felt by jacking up the car and wiggling the wheels), in more serious cases you may notice humming or rattling noises when the car is rolling with the clutch depressed.

Finding bearing grease inside the wheel is typically a precursor to a bearing failure - if you got the hub very hot for example with track driving or sustained braking during descents the grease runs out. To avoid bearing damage you're best off to repack the bearings with some more grease next time the car is being serviced.
Thanks for the info. I'll check for play next time I jack her up. Jeff
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Old 23rd December 2004, 16:56   #5
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

a bearing can also make qute a racket when driving ... almost like you are riding on winter tires or truck tires... the rumble you hear when a truck with BIG mud swampers on it


if the sound gets louder as speed progresses... a good start... if at highway safe speeds (60 or so) and you do a quick lane change... the pitch changes, gets louder, softer, changes from one side to the next, etc... then that is a good sign the bearings are shot - basically loading and unloading the suspension and the bearings will cause one side howl louder than the other, as no load is on that side


good luck
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Old 23rd December 2004, 17:01   #6
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by kees
To avoid bearing damage you're best off to repack the bearings with some more grease next time the car is being serviced.
The wheel bearings on the M5 are sealed units and can not be repacked.

If you have any symptoms of a bad wheel bearing, such as the famous "sounds like I'm driving with studded snow tires" or you're getting pad knockback, then it's time to replace the bearings. I suggest doing it in pairs. If the right front bearing is bad, the left front probably isn't far behind.

Pacific BMW is a good source for M5 wheel bearings.
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Old 23rd December 2004, 22:59   #7
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

I've driven a few cars with bad wheel bearings, and it is quite obvious when they get pretty bad. Car vibrates and makes a lot of noise off one side, commensurate to your speed. Feels like one tire is driving on an unprepared road. With more drag, there also might be need to hold a steering correction in. Also, if they are shot and really on their way out, take the tire off and feel the hub. If the hub is really hot to the touch, then it is time for them to go. My buds Saturn with 250k miles had a bad one, and I couldnt even touch the lugnuts when I pulled the tire off. But that one was bad for awhile, so unless yours are really shot, I would do as kees said and check for freeplay.
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Old 24th December 2004, 04:07   #8
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

Anybody notice a higher failure rate (or at lower mileage) of the right side bearings (on any car)...

I've attributed this to the right side here in the USA being the sholder side and more likely to receive impact/rough treatment over it's lifetime.

Thoughts?
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Old 24th December 2004, 15:30   #9
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by ard
Anybody notice a higher failure rate (or at lower mileage) of the right side bearings (on any car)...

I've attributed this to the right side here in the USA being the sholder side and more likely to receive impact/rough treatment over it's lifetime.

Thoughts?
Rough shoulder with more debris could have an impact, especially if you're a driver that tends to ride the white line instead of riding the middle of the lane.

My left bearings fail at a 2:1 rate from clockwise road race events. Lateral forces, brake heat & sticky tires that allow the driver to generate higher G's seem to punish bearings more than potholes. I never worried about it much, since four bearings every 50K miles is no big deal. I change them when they get noisy.
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Old 11th April 2005, 19:00   #10
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Re: Failed Wheel Bearing

Just searching on the subject of 'Wheel Bearings' and found myself here...

I had some strange noises coming from my LHS front wheel. I took the brake discs off and found that while the RHS spins like a bicycle wheel, the LHS feels stiff and clicks, grinds and graunches when turning by hand. You should hear it on the road!

The odd thing is that there is no play at all and no 'hum' that is usually associated with wheel bearing failure. Somebody has suggested that it's the ball cage that's broken up inside the housing.

I have KW 3 suspension set up pretty firmly, which I imagine puts a bit more strain on all components.

Any thoughts anyone?!
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