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Old 06-14-2017, 01:24 AM
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AWR-Fix: Rear Wheel Bearing Remove & Replace

Just finished a heck of a job doing a wheel bearing replacement on my wife's x5.

I refused to believe that you had to either

1) remove the lower suspension as in the BMW official method or
2) cut out the exhaust so you can remove the drive shaft

I can confirm that it is a far easier DIY job than either of those and that at least for the left side, out can be done with mostly home mechanic tools.

That said, you will do yourself a great favor if you first get a garage to knock off the axle bolt because you can expect over 500 ftlb of torque to get that sucker off.

Other tools that are typical home mechanic that you may not have but are likely required:

1) multiple sizes and lengths of socket extensions and flex joints (best to have some wobble extensions)
2) right angle grinder
3) floor jack
4) jack stands (should go without saying)
5) BFH (Not a small hammer)
6) E-14 external torx socket (3/8 drive there is no room for 1/2 drive)
7) 36mm 12 point socket

The rest of any tools are pretty usual except that you will need to makeshift or rent the following as well:

1) bearing press tool: you can make shift out of fine pitch 1" bolt and plenty of washers or iron pipe fittings, or if you plan to do more than one get the front wheel bearing kit just don't expect the wimpy 3/4 bolt supplied to work on the X5 front bearing: I stripped out several bolts while replacing the front bearings. I've since upgraded my kit to use a 1" grade eight bolt (30ton up from 11ton capability)

2) slide hammer to destructively remove the hub with the outer race of the bearing. Added bonus with the one I rented is that I was able to use as a gear puller (pusher) to push the drive axle spline out of the hub.


The bearing press tool set up right after pressing new bearing onto the hub


The E-14 bolts ready to accept the flange of the new bearing


New bearing attached waiting to install the brake shoes


Close up of the end of the E-14 bolt where I added a slot to be able to far more easily turn from the outside. I used a finger to push the bolt in from the drive shaft side; I would use a small magnet pick up tool in the future there is no room for a finger)



The Dr. Seuss class double flex ratchet I picked up thinking it just might be helpful and it sure was for reassembly. It didn't have the strength for disassembly


Showing the path of the extensions and socket to tighten the E-14 bolts.

For disassembly I was able to get parallel to the drive shaft in each of the four bolts using typically a 3" 3/8 wobble extension then another 6 to 10" wobble extension followed by a 3/8 to 1/2 adapter and an 18" breaker bar. I couldn't use impact because there was too much slop in the joints but after application of the likes of liquid wrench I was able to break all four free without removing either the drive shaft or the lower suspension.

I'm not going to claim it was easy but will say though it was 8/10 difficulty, that the next time will be 6/10 so hopefully my insight will help other people on the fence realize they could do it also.

I wouldn't recommend this job for the beginner. If you've done a couple semi serious jobs before you can do this job. Do not expect it to take two hours. It took me about five hours spread over two days but a fair amount of that time was spent learning what possible paths could be used to get socket extensions around the CV joint that was right in the way of everything.

The biggie that I will do next time is that I will use the right angle grinder to add a slot on the ends of the E-14 bolt so I can use an impact tool to break free the four E-14 bolts. Once they are broken free it's easy to turn them out using extensions but no ratchet.

Also: I put the truck up on jack stands but used the floor jack under the bottom of the wheel suspension to get the drive axle centered so I could get to all four bolts

I "cheated" my high power Milwaukee impact tool can impart 1100 ftlb of torque so I likely didn't even have to bump out the crimps on the axle nut before removing. I bought that tool out of necessity when I replaced my front right bearing and I could not remove the axle nut with a 48" extension!

If anybody lives within driving distance of southeast Wisconsin I would gladly help them knock their axle bolts free allowing future DIY of any axle related job. That will be the most difficult part of the job. All the other parts can be overcome with willpower and a few logical home mechanic tools.

I will be replacing a second bearing within about a month and will try to get more detailed photos and video also I will pick days not over 90F so I can complete in the same day.

In addition I will make a slide hammer out of an old brake disc that I will be replacing shortly and will show that solution so others can copy it. Why spend $190 on a tool you can make for free. Also when you see the simplicity of the bearing puller you can see how people will easily fabricate a makeshift solution from large bolts and plumbing hardware

If you've replaced a front CV axle or ball joints you've probably gotten the practice to perform this job. It is more difficult than the front bearing so likewise if you've done the front bearing that's a perfect stepping stone: caveat: it takes perhaps 4ton force to put the rear bearings on, but takes close to 20T to remove the front's. It takes about 15T to press in the new front's. The off the shelf bearing press is good for only about 11T and I stripped the crap out of three of the press rods before I did the math to figure out why.

I had the larger size plates all drilled out to one inch and now my bearing press is good for 31T. It was a joy to use today. I put the bearing on about half way by hand with a long breaker bar but then switched to the high power impact wrench and just sat back and watched as approximately 10T of force pressed the bearing onto the hub in mere seconds. (I wanted to fully seat the bearing before reassembly: if you only apply 4T the axle nut will do the rest as it probably applies about 10-15T of force if you get the recommended torque applied)

If you have access to an hydraulic press that can be used as well but unlike my press, you can't use in place on the car in the front which is the main reason I bought mine. No knuckle disassembly means no $100 alignment after replacing the bearing.

That's it for now. Within a month I expect to do the other side and have more detailed info also of course I will reply to any questions on the thread that can help anybody else copycat my results.

It cost me $30 for the bearing, $30 for the Dr. Seuss ratchet and the special E-14 socket. The estimate for this job at a non BMW shop in Racine us $440 so I saved $380 on this side and will be $410 savings on the other side.

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Last edited by andrewwynn; 07-17-2019 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:47 AM
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Just read your write up about the wheel bearing. Very thorough as always, well explained, and plenty of pictures. Saves almost $400 vs. bringing to dealer too!

Awesome DIY post, I'm sure many X5 owners will benefit from this.

Thanks Andrew

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Old 07-17-2019, 11:06 AM
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Good job. I hate using presses.



Last time I did a front bearing, I was standing behind plywood while jacking my press. I am that scared of getting shot by a part.



Can you not even get a box end on those bolts from the inside? I mean a specific Torx one. I know I have a set or two.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boston01X5 View Post
Just read your write up about the wheel bearing. Very thorough as always, well explained, and plenty of pictures. Saves almost $400 vs. bringing to dealer too!

Awesome DIY post, I'm sure many X5 owners will benefit from this.

Thanks Andrew

Sent from my LM-Q710(FGN) using Tapatalk


That was $400 savings vs family friend mechanic! God only knows how much for a stealer


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Old 07-17-2019, 05:23 PM
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Great work, Andrew!

My first bearing job on my X5 was this rear bearing. It went well, but I spent a TONNE of time reading up on the various ways to tackle this.

I did mine mostly like you have done, although I dropped the exhaust to the floor (gotta love that you can do this on the 3.0d!) and then removed the entire rear half-shaft made access to the bearing bolts a breeze. Used the slide hammer to remove the hub, bolted new bearing to the knuckle (using new bolts!) and pressed the hub into place (after it had been in the freezer for two hours!) in-situ. Replaced rear-half shaft, and exhaust. Six hours total (inc. a lunch break) - I called it a win!
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