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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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Old 07-04-2013, 01:16 PM
Bimmer Bob Bimmer Bob is offline
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Location: Woking, UK
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 13
Mein Auto: E39 535i, E39 525i Tour
Just done one side.

A proper bitch of a job, taken nearly two days.

Every bolt might as well have been concreted.

Couldn't get the strut to move, so had to use a shallow socket on the top forward bolt.

Eventually had to cut the bolt off.

I really hope the other side is 45 mins.

I've aged ten years.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:25 PM
HTK12 HTK12 is offline
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Location: Finland
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,176
Mein Auto: E39 540i
Originally Posted by Bimmer Bob View Post
Just done one side.

A proper bitch of a job, taken nearly two days.

Every bolt might as well have been concreted.

Couldn't get the strut to move, so had to use a shallow socket on the top forward bolt.

Eventually had to cut the bolt off.

I really hope the other side is 45 mins.

I've aged ten years.
Spray some lubricant on the strut and break out the sledgehammer. Use a piece of 2x4" between the knuckle and sledgehammer. Sledgehammer will get it moving guaranteed.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:24 PM
Turv Turv is offline
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Location: Kidderminster UK
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: BMW E39 520i Auto
Hello forum,

I found this thread from google search and found it very helpful, the strange thing is what people are calling the problem bolt on the top that is tight wasn't the problem bolt on my E39 520. The bolt was tight but with a 3/8" fitting on the ratchet I got it in ok, the problem bolt for me was the bottom one on the same side as the top your calling the problem bolt. This bottom bolt is impossible to get a socket on to it, the control arm or ball joint nut is in the way along with the bottom of shock in the way. In the end after some thought I cracked it, I purchased a deep offset 18mm ring spanner, when I got the spanner the ring part was too deep so I had to grind approx 1/8" off the spanner depth to get it in. I have not taken the bearing off yet but I have loosened all 4 bolts with success and then retightened them up.

Now that i'm confident the bolts will come off i'll order the bearing, but when I refit it i'm certainly not going to use locktite, but i'll use copper slip and torque them up to 100 Nm
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:19 AM
Splitbusvanatic Splitbusvanatic is offline
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Location: IRELAND
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: BMW 530d
You've the hard part done Turv.
I think on sport models. The bottom of the shock/strut is further down.
It interferes with getting a socket or spanner on that bottom bolt also.
Now I may be wrong.
My car is sport model. However the seller swapped out the rotten coilovers that were fitted.
He then fitted what he thought were sport/MTech shock&springs.
I think they were SE items. As the car sat high in the front in my opinion.
You'll have great self satisfaction when you do fit the new bearing.
I did.
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:13 AM
Turv Turv is offline
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Location: Kidderminster UK
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: BMW E39 520i Auto
Hi splitbus,

My 520i is a SE auto model, so maybe thats why, like you mention. I was messing around with the brakes because I have never ever took any apart before, but fancy a go after seeing many youtube video's. The first thing I did was try and take out the wear sensor and snapped it so the brake pad warning light was on. I joined the wires together by crimping them after cutting off the 90 bend that pushes in the caliper. Put the key to position one and the light still on, any way I sorted it in the end for some reason my auto needs to be in neutral when turning the key to position 1, the light is off now.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:49 PM
Turv Turv is offline
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Location: Kidderminster UK
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 33
Mein Auto: BMW E39 520i Auto
Just been trying to source the OEM bearing, I understand it is made by F.A.G? is this correct? because I have noticed alot of people moaning their ABS sensor warning light is coming on with cheap after-market bearings. Is there any where in the UK that supply the original OEM bearings? If so can you please provide the link.

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Old 09-12-2013, 07:21 PM
beoch beoch is offline
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Location: WV
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 2003 525
Confirmed sears wrench doesn't

Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
By eyeballing champaign's DIY special tool, I'd say it isn't.
I picked one up at sears and it does not fit. First, it needs to be shaved down as reported. Second, I don't believe it extends long enough to fit flush on the bolt. I tried to fit it on the other bolts and it just didn't seem to fit flush to get the maximum torque you'll need.

I have the Sachs struts too and it's more and more looking like that I'll have to lower the strut to get to the last bolt.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:46 AM
dvdlkd dvdlkd is offline
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Location: south carolina
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 129
Mein Auto: 1997 528
Beoch, I just replaced front bearings on my 97 528 with the Sachs strut. I followed Champain777 advice and purchased the offset metric wrench set at Harbor Frieght. The set was 15$. The 18 mm had to be ground down to fit as described by Champain777. But once you get it to slide past the strut, it will fit flush on the bottom front bolt. This is the only bolt you need this offset wrench for. It won't fit flush on the others but you don't need it for them. The two rear bolts are easy to get to with sockets. The top front bolt can be accessed with an 18 mm socket and short 3/8 drive extension. A half inch socket and extension probably wont work.
It does take about an hour to get the bottom front bolt out as the locktite forces you to wrench it out all the way pully the bearing out as you go so you can move the offset wrench around. Give your self 4 hours including cleanup. I chose this route over lowering the knuckle because i was worried about alignment and problems described in this thread on getting the pinch bolt out and knuckle to move. My original front bearings lasted 262K miles but one was starting to sound like a roller skate.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:11 AM
matttahoe53 matttahoe53 is offline
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Location: Springboro, OH
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 99 528i Wagon
I replaced both my front wheel bearings this weekend and this is my solution to the Sachs strut problem. What I did was turn the wheel so the front bolts are exposed and locked the wheel. Marked the position of the strut with a paint marker. I then loosened the strut clamp and proceeded to use a crow bar to push the strut up using progressively larger impact sockets underneath to push the strut completely clear of the trouble bolt. I recommend doing the trouble bolt first as the strut might come down while loosening the bolt. Once all the bolts are out put the new hub in. Tighten the rear bolts and with the strut out of the way you are able to properly torque the front ones. Do not move the position of the steering wheel to put the rear bolts on there is room to get them tight. Once the front bolts are properly torqued take your jack to the lower control arm and raise it up to get the strut back in place. Everything should line up perfectly. If you raise it past your mark simply pry/push the strut back up and try again. Once the strut is in place simply torque the bolts down again. You are now free to move the steering wheel to torque down the rear bolts.

I don't know if this will be frowned upon, but it worked without damaging the strut or messing up the alignment. Just DO NOT unlock your steering wheel while the strut is loose and everything stays in perfect alignment. This fixed my noise issue and as a reward I put on a set of much needed Continential DWS tires.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:42 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
Under the lift arms
Location: Under the lift arms
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,536
Mein Auto: E39 540, E36 328is, E83x3
It only goes back one way... It doesnt mater if the steering is moved..

there is also a left and a right..

There is no adjustment in the alighment on the strut..
Specializing In BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz ,Volkswagen, Volvo

"Burning 2nd is a lot like vitamin tonic. Overly harsh, tastes like crap, but somewhere in all that there's good intent......just have to learn to read between the lines, actually you have to squint really hard to see the good, but its there somewhere"

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Old 02-16-2014, 09:41 AM
Mike_sj Mike_sj is offline
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Location: San jose, ca
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: E39 528, 540
I will be replacing my bearing soon. The car is already on jack stands. Anyone have the modified socket or wrench that I can borrow in San Jose, CA?
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:35 AM
Jake-59 Jake-59 is offline
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Location: Belgium
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: BMW 520d Touring
Front hub with bearing dismanteled


I have read your complete information regarding replacing front Hub bearings on E39 models and will keep your valuable recommendations in mind as I get started.

Looking at your autopsy of the old bearings, I have a few questions:
Does the flange/hub have a pressed on inner race or was the bearing race machined and polished on the actual hub/flange?
Is the outer race also pressed into the mounting base or is it machined into the mounting base?

In other words, could I go as far as to press the old races off/out and replace just the double contact bearing as a set in and onto the mounting base and flange/hub?

Thus, and if this is indeed a pressedin and on bearing, what dimensions does this bearing have? Is it a standard bearing type?

Please reply urgently? Jake.KENNES@gmail.com

Most appreciated,

Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Update on Autopsy,

It was a bear to dismantle the bearing simply because I do not have a fixed place to clamp the hub while removing the large 40-mm nut. Even so, this 40-mm large nut probably uses the same torque as the Axle nut, so removing it by the 40-mm socket is not easy, even if you clamp the hub!

1. There are 2 seals on the Inner Side.

2. Anyway, with an angle grinder, the 40-mm nut came off after some struggling LOL.
The anatomy is exactly as shown in the first picture of this thread.
- The Hub includes the Inner Race "1b"
- Two (2) rows of balls
- Inner Race "1a"
- Then the large 40-mm nut

3. The race surfaces are very shiny and smooth with absolutely no damage at all.
I think the wear is from normal wear of the balls (and races), creating a very slight play. Amazingly, the grease is still inside and in good shape after 13 years and 120K!

My theory is: with time, the balls wear down, as the bearing is not adjustable, there is a very slight play, very slight that you only detect with the wheel in the car. Once the bearing is removed, it is hard to re-produce the play.

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Old 05-25-2014, 11:24 AM
BeemRat BeemRat is offline
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Location: San Diego
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 32
Mein Auto: 530i
Wink Online source for Timken and F. A. G.

Looking into doing this project and found the hub assemblies at PartsGeek:

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Old 05-25-2014, 11:16 PM
GabesJH82 GabesJH82 is offline
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Location: California
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 293
Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 530i
Will be doing mines also after I come back from vacation

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Old 05-26-2014, 06:50 AM
Jake-59 Jake-59 is offline
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Location: Belgium
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: BMW 520d Touring
Front wheel bearing E39

I had seen and read the complete posting about replacing the front wheel hubs and dissection of the bearings.
My question is: does the front wheel hub in itself have the inner race machined on its surface or is the inner race pressed onto the hub shaft? Thus, can the inner race be removed from the hub shaft?
The same question for the outer race: are these machined in the bearing housing/mounting or can the outer race e pressed out of the bearing mounting?
Bottom line: can the bearing be replaced by a new standard bearing while keeping the original wheel hub and mounting flange?
Thank you?
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:57 PM
jatsold3 jatsold3 is offline
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Location: Richmond, VA
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 71
Mein Auto: 1998 528i
Replaced my front bearing today with the modified Harbor Freight Off Set wrench.

Thanks for the tip, made life a ton easier.

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Old 09-18-2014, 08:42 PM
skates89 skates89 is offline
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Location: Islip New York
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1997 528i
A new way to get at that bolt

I got a lot of help with this doing my bearing. Im still getting the noise. I bought a cheap ebay one and i think that might be the problem. Let me know your thoughts on a cheap ebay bearing. I get the same sound I had before whoop whoop whoop at 30 to 40 mph. When i steer to the left it goes away once its back straight or I load it to the left it increases. Has to be the bearing. So annoying after all that work. In anycase I found a way I havent seen mentioned here in reference to getting that bottom bolt off when you have the sachs original shocks. I used a box wrench dont know what to call it. The one thats like a twelve point not a six point and I came from the other side of the bolt. I removed the abs sensor and was able to get the wrench in there. i had to grind down the tip like the one in the picture here that someone also did and I was able to get good movement on it and remove it. If anyone wants any other details let me know..I know im having trouble explaining it and dont have any pics but I just wanted to share that as I can see this is a troublesome bolt and I have not seen this method mentioned yet at all. You come from the other side of the knuckle behind and underneath and between the strut and bolt

Last edited by skates89; 09-18-2014 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 11-04-2014, 10:49 PM
Joelgk Joelgk is offline
Location: India
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 153
Mein Auto: E39
Been searching the forum for the right guidance on wheel bearing replacement. Wanted to know if the E39 M5 wheel bearings can be used on my E39 530i. I have more than a slight shimmy while braking at above 55 MPH. Had proper wheel balancing done, the brake rotors are relatively new and also faced out once, the suspension arms are all relatively good. There is a slight shake to the left front wheel when jacked and wheel is twisted so am assuming the wheel bearing is the culprit.

So, back the question, can we use M5 wheel bearings on the 530i ? I understand that the M5 wheel bearings are of significantly higher quality and hence the question.
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