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Old 09-11-2007, 12:51 PM   #1
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Bad Wheel bearing?

What does a bad wheel bearing sound like? At low speeds, 10-20 mph I hear a noise coming from the left front wheel. It sounds like a bent rim (if that makes sense). I know the wheel isn't bent so I thought a bad wheel bearing. How would I diagnose it?

Thanks for the help.

Paul
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:56 PM   #2
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Are you getting any shaking or vibrations at low speeds? What exactly is the sound?
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:04 PM   #3
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No shaking or vibrations. I heard the noise at low speeds while I was posting flyers for our lost dog. The best way I can describe it is if you had a flat tire and can hear the tire running asymmetrically. I hope that makes sense. I checked the tire, it isn't flat or low pressure and the wheel isn't bent. The noise is somewhat high pitched, maybe if you placed metal on the rotor and drove the car, at low speeds, less than 5 mph, it is barely audible, but at 20 mph it is somewhat high pitched and irritating.
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:30 PM   #4
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is it kind of like a roar? either way, i believe a bad wheel bearing would give you the noise all across the board in terms of speed, definitely not just at low speed
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:54 PM   #5
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Bad bearings will be a low rumbling sound, particularly at lower speeds because at higher speeds, the bearings aren't weighted down by the car as much due to the forward momentum of the car. If they're really bad, you'll also get a high pitched grindy/squealy sound. You'll also feel and hear a bad bearing when cornering hard. Pop the wheel off and grab the rotor, you might see some movement in relation to the steering knuckle- then you'll know for sure. E39's wheel bearings tend to not last as long as other BMWs, so you may be due. The good news is that they're not too hard to replace on the E39, and no special tools required
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:46 PM   #6
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D-sky makes some good points see if you get more noise when applying force to the wheel, ie turning, I would believe that you would hear it at most speeds, The last couple I have had seemed to get louder as I went faster and definitely noticeable when turning to put weight on a tire.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:41 AM   #7
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Thanks for the advice, I will try to load it in a corner. Will it matter how fast in the corner that I am driving? Are we talking about a 45 degree or 90 degree corner?

thanks for the help. I will take the wheel off and check tomorrow. Busy with Temple activities today.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:58 AM   #8
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With city speeds (25-30mph) you should hear it, particularly when coasting around a turn. engine noise at higher speeds may drown it out. The sharper the turn the more load you put on the corner. But it's quite subtle . . if you're hearing it at higher speeds like the others are saying, then the bearing is pretty badly shot already, and you should have noticed it much sooner around the slower speeds.
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