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Renewing Rear Wheel Bearings

Renewing Rear Wheel Bearings

  • Spray castle nuts with penetrating oil several times over a course of a few days and let it to break loose surface tension rust and corrosion.
  • Jack up and support vehicle
  • Remove tire
  • Remove cotter pin
  • Replace tire and lower car to ground
  • Apply parking brake and car in Neutral
  • Loosen up castle nut with 36mm socket and long handlebar
  • Jack up and support vehicle again and release parking brake
  • Remove tire, castle nut and drum brake
  • Heat hub for about 15 minutes. Rotate hub as your heating it.
  • Pull off driving flange/hub with extractor
  • Detach output shaft / CV shaft from axle shaft and tie it up
  • Screw on castle nut with notches facing brakes, then use soft hammer to drive axle shaft out







  • Pry out inboard and outboard sealing rings. From inboard side drive out outboard bearing with soft punch (brass) and hammer. Now shim ring (if any) and spacer sleeve can be removed from outboard side. Now can easily remove inboard ball bearing with punch and hammer. It is imperative that circular shim and spacer sleeve for each wheel kept separate if rear wheels bearings removal done at once.



  • Wipe inside with paper towels and spray inside with brake cleaner.



  • New bearings and seals





  • Next, Pack bearings with grease and grease sealing rings lip
  • Install inboard bearing. I used 1-1/2” dia. PVC coupling and plug to drive bearing in against bearing bore stop.



  • Coat sleeve spacer outside with 35 grams grease and then insert sleeve to the cavity from outboard.



  • Insert shim ring then, install outboard bearing making sure it is seating against shim



  • Install inboard and outboard seals
  • Insert axle shaft from inboard side all the way in
  • Install hub/ driving flange. May need to use hammer on face of hub to seat it in
  • Tighten castle nut with 36mm socket
  • Replace drum brake
  • Install tire and lug nuts
  • Put rear wheels on ground
  • Apply hand brake
  • Secure front and back of rear tire with objects to prevent it from rotational movement
  • Tighten castle nut to specified torque


  • And for last time Jack up and support vehicle
  • Remove tire
  • Install cotter pin and bend tabs
  • Replace output shaft / CV shaft to axle shaft flange
  • Put tire back on and tighten lug nuts
  • Lower the car and torque lug nuts to 65 ft-lb

Rev. A: attach CV shaft to axle shaft flange (08/13/2015)

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Worth repeating: the spacers and shims are application specific from the factory. Make sure you keep the pieces from each side matched. Otherwise you have to go through the measuring process described in the manual.

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that's quite the breaker bar you're using - think my 25" 1/2" drive Harbor Freight with an extension pipe would do the job? Also, is there a torque spec for the castle nut? 

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Torque spec is included in "Rear Wheel Assembly" picture above from BMW Service Manual.

I had access to a torque wrench, which was calibrated for 300 ft-lb (last picture)

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Thanks for the great write up. While doing mine, one side the castle nut and the hub all came off super easy. Castle nut was barely hand tight. After doing some research, turns out the stub axels can stretch and if your castle nut comes off really easily, it means the stub axel is stretched and time to replace the entire stub axel.


Oh and by the way my Ryobi impact had enough grunt to undo the castle nut on the other side. Took about a minute but it did undo the castle nut. Saves you having to lift and lower the car multiple times.

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So it looks like the spacer/shim combo is matched to the trailing arm, not to the stub axle and/or hub? I.E. I could use hubs and axles from one car and throw them on a trailing arm set from another car, as long as I kept the spacer and shims with the new trailing arms?

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