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Thread: FAG vs SKF Wheel Bearing

  1. #1
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    FAG vs SKF Wheel Bearing

    Just got my car back about a week ago and I need to replace the wheel bearing. When I jack the car up and grab the wheel at the opposite sides, it wobbles violantly. I also sometimes hear a sound as if I have some lose metal tools in my gutted trunk. When I make the wheel wobble, I hear something hitting but am not sure what. I'll get a friend to jerk the wheel while I look.

    Either way, I have some questions:

    1.) I checked autohaus and pelican. Autohous has FAG bearings for $35 a piece. Pelican has FAG for $39 and also has SKF (which is said to be the OEM German brand) at $60. What would you guys recommend??


    2.) I'm waiting to get all the parts I need to install my diff. I'm getting axle rebuilt kits, diff mount, bolts, exc. Would it be ok to drive with a bad wheel bearing for a little while longer? Would my wheel eventually fall off(flame suit)?? Also, can I reuse the wheel bearing nut or should I replace that while I'm at it?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by acet; 11-25-2009 at 11:58 AM.
    -Леха

  2. #2
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    Ok,

    Both companies have been around for over 100 years. That tells me that they are both stable companies that make a good product. FAG reports to have been the leader/creator of the process to grid down metal to a perfect ball/sphere. Both are large companies that have tens of thousands of employees. I dont see how either one would be better or worse as an OEM replacement part. I would go with FAG since I dont see any reason to spend the extra money unless there is some other far out feature of the other brand that makes them super special.

    Although putting a FAG part on the car is somewhat disturbing....I dont know why but something about the word FAG makes me gag...
    Last edited by bdejong11129; 11-25-2009 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Smart Ars comment added
    2007 Z4 3.0si
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  3. #3
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    there is nothing wrong with the FAG stuff imo... yeah, funny name, but at least its a quality part. if you replace certain parts, expect to see FAG as a supplier for a lot... I have used some items from them in the past, and have never had an issue. skf is a great company as well, and have never heard of any issues there either. skf is pretty much "the name" in bearings so i guess it comes down to preference, and what you want to spend.

    BMW Parts Whore... BUY THEM PLEASE!!!

  4. #4
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    I carry both brands as well. You will be perfectly fine with either that you choose. As mentioned above FAG makes a lot of parts, and you will find them used in OEM applications as well.

    Many slave cylinders on the manual bimmers are made by FAG. That said, if quality is a concern of yours you cannot go wrong with selecting the OEM part.

    If you go with a pair of the SKF bearings through me your shipping cost would be .97 cents as the order exceeds 100 bucks, not sure if that beats autohauz/pelican or not but that is the best deal you will find on shipping. We do not mark up our shipping or charge handling fees like the rest.

    www.eactuning.com/parts/product_details/33411468903

    EAC Tuning is owned and operated by 5 series enthusiasts, for the benefit of all bimmer enthusiasts.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by acet View Post
    Just got my car back about a week ago and I need to replace the wheel bearing. When I jack the car up and grab the wheel at the opposite sides, it wobbles violantly. I also sometimes hear a sound as if I have some lose metal tools in my gutted trunk. When I make the wheel wobble, I hear something hitting but am not sure what. I'll get a friend to jerk the wheel while I look.

    Either way, I have some questions:

    1.) I checked autohaus and pelican. Autohous has FAG bearings for $35 a piece. Pelican has FAG for $39 and also has SKF (which is said to be the OEM German brand) at $60. What would you guys recommend??


    2.) I'm waiting to get all the parts I need to install my diff. I'm getting axle rebuilt kits, diff mount, bolts, exc. Would it be ok to drive with a bad wheel bearing for a little while longer? Would my wheel eventually fall off(flame suit)?? Also, can I reuse the wheel bearing nut or should I replace that while I'm at it?

    Thanks!
    Just for grins, take the old bearings or at least get the numbers off them, and call a farm implement dealer parts counter. Case, John Deere, International Harvester, etc.. Get price quotes.

    I say this because when I rebuilt my BMW alternator, the local car parts joints quoted up to $26 each for the bearings. The local farm implement dealer (Case) sold me the exact same bearings for $3 each.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dash01 View Post
    Just for grins, take the old bearings or at least get the numbers off them, and call a farm implement dealer parts counter. Case, John Deere, International Harvester, etc.. Get price quotes.

    I say this because when I rebuilt my BMW alternator, the local car parts joints quoted up to $26 each for the bearings. The local farm implement dealer (Case) sold me the exact same bearings for $3 each.
    Had a similar experience with a Porsche 944 clutch bearing. Took the number to a bearing supplier in a local industrial park. SKF bearing $22 there and $95 at the dealer with a Porsche stamp on it (make by SKF)

    That's one expensive stamp

  8. #8
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    I don't use FAG bearings, they're kinda gay............ Ok, I had to do it!

    Honestly, both brands are good quality and I don't think you'll run into trouble with the cheaper one of the two.

  9. #9
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    We use both brands at work for fan bearing housings for the coal-fired power plants.
    Both hold up very well considering the stress they are under and usually are still in good shape after 3-5 years of 24/7 use being powered by a 100hp electric motor.

  10. #10
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    I have SFK pulleys on my M50. No problems.
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  11. #11
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    Just gonna drop in and ask if anyone knows anything about Optimal bearings?
    I ordered a rear wheel bearing from Turner Motorsport.
    There was no brand name, but the picture is of an SKF bearing, so that's what I thought I was getting. I was a little worried when I got the package and the bearing had "Optimal" stamped on it instead.

  12. #12
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    Optimal are bottom end US market replacement parts. Kind of like the Uro brand BMW parts. If you have a choice stick with the German bearing brands or if at the farm/industrial supply ask for the Timken brand of bearings.

    I have a set of Timken front hubs that are working great.
    “Truth suffers from too much analysis.”

  13. #13
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    Thanks, CO535i.
    Looks like I'm sending it back, then and grabbing an SKF from PelicanParts.
    Or, I found this Timken (513106) bearing on Amazon for $65.

  14. #14
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    Fag here in Egypt is a name and an adjective "also!" .....due to it's unbelievable fag price .........e36 m3 rear bearings both for approx. $150

  15. #15
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    Nice to see things getting back to normal again in Egypt so you can have time to laugh and enjoy cars..lol

    I had some Ruville Front wheel bearings installed once..

  16. #16
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by jehu View Post
    Nice to see things getting back to normal again in Egypt so you can have time to laugh and enjoy cars..lol.
    cheers man! nice profile picture, nice to meet you too

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HatemS54 View Post
    cheers man! nice profile picture, nice to meet you too
    Ahh yes very funny and well known American Celebrity Weather Reader Al Roker..

    always very cheerful and of good humour so enjoyable to see.. recently in the news here for an embarrassing accident he told about when visting the White House... problem controling a certain bodily function..or so he tells.

  18. #18
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    I literally just got done dealing with this last night installing new front coil-overs and so I am going to brain dump on you while it's fresh in my mind. Purchased some used strut tower/hub assemblies to cut/weld for the coil-over install and each tower came with the opposing hub still attached leaving me with 2 FAG on the car, 1 FAG and 1 SKF on the extra towers. AFAIK the FAG are stock on the car.

    Some observations having just performed this procedure AND having dealt with each type of hub and weighing it's design and re-use. I've included pics below the descriptions of the two hubs and their install process. You'll want to replace the nuts, it will become obvious why once you get in there. You physically secure the nut to the spindle by bending the top edge through a notch at the end of the spindle, it's a locking mechanism essentially making the nut a single use item. See the Bentley manual for details.

    Personally I would go with the FAG, however I question the quality of the plastic inner bearing track. The plastic was essentially disintegrated inside the hub in all 3 of my FAG bearings.

    Tools needed:
    46MM socket (preferably impact ready)
    19MM socket for brake caliper
    Good pliers, needle nose
    Impact gun and/or a long breaker bar.
    Dead fall or other type of sledge - 3# should be fine.
    250# Torque wrench
    Some wire to hang the caliper from

    If removing brake disc
    6MM hex

    Parts needed:
    New 46mm spindle nuts
    New dust caps front and rear (rear is likely disintegrated or severely rusted)

    SKF: *The races of the SKF hub have "France" printed on them. The internals and the two races differ in the following ways from the FAG bearing. Neither the inner nor outer race have a track ground into the race nor a flared tip at the end or a track ground in. Essentially each race is ground flat towards the ends. The internal bearings appear to be held in by a slightly different fixture than the FAG and appeared to be in good condition without as much internal movement as the FAG. This may perhaps contribute to the flange-less design of the SKF vs. FAG races and in the case of the FAG did not appear to be caused by the broken inner tracking which moved along with the bearings. Upon removing the SKF hub, both the inner and outer race slid right off with very little effort which at first led me to believe they were no longer ok, however upon further inspection I believe is is simply the inner bore diameter of the race being of slightly looser fit than the FAG. Both are a tight fit and spin smoothly as they should but the SKF was definitely the looser of the two. The bearings themselves both look to be in perfect condition despite old grease and not enough of it.

    FAG: *The races of the FAG hub have "German" printed on them. Each race has a flared end and a track behind it, it appears that this holds the race in place against the bearings because it takes some physical pressure to press each race into the hub over the bearing. The bearings themselves have a lot more free play inside the hub than the SKF, and are held together by a more prominent plastic track which in all 3 of my FAG bearings (two on the car, and the one that came with the strut tower) were broken into small 1/4" peices. Not sure of the cause as I was particularly careful during removal using a puller and moving slowly and evenly to remove them from the spindle.

    Neither look to be of particularly bad design, and both spin free and smooth despite the plastic tracking having been essentially destroyed in the FAG and then removed during repacking but due to their age and the fact that they do appear to have suffered a failure to some degree (not sure how serious that is) I will be replacing each bearing in the coming week with new FAG.

    A note about the fit. The FAG has a significantly tighter fit on the spindle than the SKF. I'm not talking a slight difference. It took a 3 foot puller and a lot of patience to remove the FAG, and a 3# dead fall + 46MM socket to reinstall. The SKF literally slid on and off with hand pressure.

    Remove your wheels, unbolt your calipers (this will suck. Breaker bar and an extension probably required) and hang them from your springs. Unscrew your 6mm brake disc screw and remove the disc. This will expose the hub. Remove the dust cap with your pliers, it's a tight fit and you'll bend the sh#t out of it pulling it off, hence the new ones. This will expose the hub nut. My first attempt with a 24" breaker and 3" pipe extension proved pathetically futile. To give you an idea of how tightly secured this nut is, my deadlift on an average day might top out at around 350# and I did not budge that nut on 3'+ of breaker bar. Now it's entirely possible it was over torqued by an ambitious PO or mechanic, but that little bastard did not move. A Milwaukee M18 battery powered impact gun however, had it off in less than 3 seconds. Best purchase I've made in years.

    If you left the brake disc on, you might try removing the hub slowly by hand. If it doesn't move, remove your brake disc, hook up your puller, and slowly back it out. Your inner race might be stuck, some gentle persuasion with a pry bar or plastic deadfall will help here. Carefull not to damage the race OR the spindle.

    Put your fresh new hubs on the spindle, noting the orientation of the originals, and push them on with hand pressure. You might only get the inner race over the end of the spindle at which point you'll want your dead fall hammer and a large socket, I used the 46mm which conveniently fits perfectly into the hub on top of the outer race providing a nice even contact surface from which to spread the load. Start tapping with the dead fall gradually applying more force, but not to much. The hub should slowly, blow by blow, move down the spindle. The bearing should completely surround the rear dust cap once installed far enough.

    Re-attach your hub nut and grab your 250# torque wrench. Set it to 250# and prepare to deadlift like you haven't done since high-school.. Remember - DON'T ARCH YOUR BACK. You don't need to be firing vertebrae out of your back like a rail gun installing your wheel bearings. Or buy an impact gun. You do own a BMW after all.

    Pics in order:
    First four photos - FAG races, FAG mfg stamp, FAG bearings, FAG assembled *note the larger gap between races, and the flared tips on the inner and outer races.

    Second four photos - SKF races, SKF mfg stamp, SKF bearings, SKF assembled *note the significantly smaller gap and the smooth inner/outer races.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/madhaki...th/8377558468/

    Quote Originally Posted by acet View Post
    Just got my car back about a week ago and I need to replace the wheel bearing. When I jack the car up and grab the wheel at the opposite sides, it wobbles violantly. I also sometimes hear a sound as if I have some lose metal tools in my gutted trunk. When I make the wheel wobble, I hear something hitting but am not sure what. I'll get a friend to jerk the wheel while I look.

    Either way, I have some questions:

    1.) I checked autohaus and pelican. Autohous has FAG bearings for $35 a piece. Pelican has FAG for $39 and also has SKF (which is said to be the OEM German brand) at $60. What would you guys recommend??


    2.) I'm waiting to get all the parts I need to install my diff. I'm getting axle rebuilt kits, diff mount, bolts, exc. Would it be ok to drive with a bad wheel bearing for a little while longer? Would my wheel eventually fall off(flame suit)?? Also, can I reuse the wheel bearing nut or should I replace that while I'm at it?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by madhakish; 01-13-2013 at 02:10 PM.
    525i / Dinan Tune / Morimoto MH1 HID / BC Racing Coil-over
    540i Dinan 5 / 6 Speed+M5 drivetrain / M5 HID / M5 Alcantara Interior


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