Great thread! You definitely did your homework. Maybe when I have some more $$ I'll work on the suspension.
I recently did a rear-bearing overhaul on my 01 525i, manual trans. Actually, after a 12 hour day of hammering and cussing, I only got to one on the driver's side. It was definitely shot, lots of pitting on the inner and outer braces, bearings where falling out and broken.
Now, my car tends to 'bounce/lunge' in 1st and 2nd gear when decelerating (no braking) like there's a rubber band tied to the rear of the car. The car used to do this just a little bit but only when I was careless with the clutch. It's a similar feeling. Have you experienced anything like this? Maybe it's a spline alignment issue? I can't see why the spline alignment with the bearing would make a difference since the wheel is free to spin. Bad u-joint maybe?
I also get an ABS pulse in the brakes when slowing down after about 25 mph, but it's not constant. About 2 or 3 per second. I cleaned the pulse sensor and the hole it goes in and there's no visible damage. I'll check the resistance to the sensor today, but I'm betting my symptoms are related. It could have been the 20 mins with a slide hammer on the hub that did it in... should have unhooked it (it's all in the details).
Just wondering if you have any thoughts on my problems or experienced them yourself...