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Thread: E46 Center Support Bearing Question

  1. #1
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    E46 Center Support Bearing Question

    I read somewhere that to replace the center support bearing on an E46 3 series you have to replace the whole drive shaft. Is this true?

    I'm buying a '99 328i 5 speed manual soon and the owner claims the noise coming from the drive train is caused by a bad center support bearing (sure sounds like it). I need to verify that it's only going to cost me $30-40 for the bearing, not a whole drive shaft.

    Thanks in advance.

    Anyone?
    Last edited by M3Power1; 01-20-2010 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  2. #2
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    it really depends. i have repalce just the guibo and center bearing with no other vibratrions, and then i have replaced some that the u-joints wer shot and it needed a drive shaft. it also depends on how long its been banging. The less miles its been banging the better. how many miles are on the car?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02325 View Post
    it really depends. i have repalce just the guibo and center bearing with no other vibratrions, and then i have replaced some that the u-joints wer shot and it needed a drive shaft. it also depends on how long its been banging. The less miles its been banging the better. how many miles are on the car?
    It's not a banging sound, it's more of a whining sound sort of like wheel bearings. 169k miles on the specific car.

  4. #4
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    Don't replace the whole driveshaft... Most of the time, the guibo is the failed part that eventually knocks out the CSB. So replace the guibo then replace the CSB... The only reason you should replace the driveshaft is if it got hit by something and is bent/out of round.

    A lot of times, searching for parts will lead you to belive that the u-joints and guibos are sold in conjunction with the driveshaft...


    However, if you search hard enough you will find that individual parts are replacable...


    Search realoem.com using the last 7 digits of the vin number to find out exactly which parts are replaceable on your car...

    MR M3Fanatic... BUY MY WHEELS DAMNIT!!
    Last edited by slvrXI; 01-21-2010 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  5. #5
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    Thanks a lot Mike, really appreciate the pictures.

  6. #6
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    1999 323i 3 series

    bearing

    Quote Originally Posted by M3Power1 View Post
    I read somewhere that to replace the center support bearing on an E46 3 series you have to replace the whole drive shaft. Is this true?

    I'm buying a '99 328i 5 speed manual soon and the owner claims the noise coming from the drive train is caused by a bad center support bearing (sure sounds like it). I need to verify that it's only going to cost me $30-40 for the bearing, not a whole drive shaft.

    Thanks in advance.

    Anyone?
    I just bought a '99 323i 3 series from a small dealer. They claimed it tire noise but discovered it was a bearing. It was melted to axle and they had to replace bearing. Took forever to break it loose. That with labor was over $500. I am new BMW owner so that's how I started my ownership. Could not pass it up though. Only has 55,000 miles.

  7. #7
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    I rebuilt mine with new CB and flex disc a couple months ago....

    Here is a quick overview -

    Drop the exhaust, undo bolts on flex disc, center bearing and driveshaft to input flange on rear diff then you can unbolt the center bearing and remove entire driveshaft. Mark the two ds parts so you will install the two pieces and splines in the exact same orientation. I used a silver perm sharpie pen.

    You will need to loosen driveshaft coupling with large wrench (I used a 20" pair of channelock pliers) and then you can pull the two ds parts apart. Then use a small bearing puller to pull off the CB.

    Carefully install new CB with brass drift and reinstall back half of driveshaft and you can then reinstall ds into the car.

    Overall, took about 2 hours and I am not a pro.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Reaper View Post
    I rebuilt mine with new CB and flex disc a couple months ago....

    Here is a quick overview -

    Drop the exhaust, undo bolts on flex disc, center bearing and driveshaft to input flange on rear diff then you can unbolt the center bearing and remove entire driveshaft. Mark the two ds parts so you will install the two pieces and splines in the exact same orientation. I used a silver perm sharpie pen.

    You will need to loosen driveshaft coupling with large wrench (I used a 20" pair of channelock pliers) and then you can pull the two ds parts apart. Then use a small bearing puller to pull off the CB.

    Carefully install new CB with brass drift and reinstall back half of driveshaft and you can then reinstall ds into the car.

    Overall, took about 2 hours and I am not a pro.
    Really appreciate the quick DIY, I'll save this for when it's time to change the guibo/csb.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Reaper View Post
    You will need to loosen driveshaft coupling with large wrench (I used a 20" pair of channelock pliers) and then you can pull the two ds parts apart. Then use a small bearing puller to pull off the CB.

    Carefully install new CB with brass drift and reinstall back half of driveshaft and you can then reinstall ds into the car.
    Was it hard to pull the two halves apart?

    Also do you know where I can get a brass drift? Do you remember what size?

    Thanks

  10. #10
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    remember to mark the two halves of the shaft before disassembly. they are balanced and need to go back together the same way.

    a whine will be the center bearing, not the guibo. they are both wear items, so replace them both while your there.
    Last edited by Tom D; 01-16-2011 at 12:02 AM.
    Tom D

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  11. #11
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    Thanks Tom! I was just reading about that in the Pelican write-ups:

    http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech...ft_Bearing.htm

    http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech.../E36-Guibo.htm

    I'll be diving into my Bentley next

  12. #12
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    its going to be more than $30-$40, more like $200 by the time its all said & done.

    make sure to replace the guibo/flex disk and make sure you put the bolts in properly, if you switch the bolt head and the nut around (sometimes you'll find it fits easier that way) it will cause premature wear on the flex disk and you'll ruin all the work you just did.

    Also, when you split a driveshaft it is VERY IMPORTANT that you mark the halves and put them back together the same way - if not you'll throw it off balance and tear through your new CSB in weeks (or sooner).

    This is either a 2002 or an e21 driveshaft but its the same idea. You can use a pipe wrench on the weld of the tube and interlock some open-end wrenches like shown - idk what size you'll need but I bought a craftsman wrench and needed to grind it down thinner so it would fit in there. Use locktite when you reinstall.




  13. #13
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    winstontj: thanks for the pics, it helps out much better than Pelican Parts':

    http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/tech.../E36-Guibo.htm

    I do have a question about the bolts going into the guibo and tranny output flange.

    When I took my drive shaft off originally, the bolts that go into the guibo/driveshaft/trans output flange looked just like theirs (figure 5):



    The bolts were all facing the same way...you are looking at the bolt heads and the nuts were facing the transmission.

    However, upon reassembly, they had the bolt heads facing the transmission for mounting the guibo into the driveshaft first, then when mounting the guibo to the trans output flange, they had the bolts facing the installer (figure 15):



    Is this what you were talking about when you said make sure you put the bolts in properly? I wonder why it came from factory with the bolts all facing the same way?

  14. #14
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    Correct, Since you "turn" the nut, and kindof keep the head of the bolt in place, you should be turning the nut against the flanges NOT against the metal in the Guibo. It will be MUCH easier to install them the first way shown - but that will "flex" the metal tube inside the rubber and pre-load it, which makes it break down much sooner as the flex disk needs to be as neutral as possible.


    Also, they sell fancy "driveshaft allignment tools... That's kinda a bunch of BS, though it makes the job much easier its also just as easy to use safety wire (or even a zip tie or copper wire) and hang a long level or straight edge a set distance below the driveshaft - remember the DS is supposed to be STRAIGHT (lol i hope that's the case in the e46 better check i've only messed with 2002/e21/e30's) so hang a straight edge like a longer level, go to Home Depot and buy a piece of black pipe (and hold it up against one of their levels if you don't have one) then hang it below the driveshaft and use a quarter or a socket as a feeler gauge between the two to make sure the driveshaft is level and even the whole way - make sure you put the gearbox in neutral and spin the driveshaft as well. Also, the CSB dust cover is very important when putting things back together.

  15. #15
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    slightly off topic but does anyone sell just the u-joints. i was wanting to replace them last time mine was out but couldn find them.
    Now:2000 328i 5spd only:cdv mod,cai, lost resonator,clear corners and markers, bav autosport race springs, uuc trans mounts, turner solid diff mounts and sub frame reinforcement,3.46 diff, ebay headers.
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  16. #16
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    Mine started vibration, it comes from the center. When I start to move it is more and when i'm accelerating it decreases but still remains. Before it was noise from back when I was switching between R and D. I think it is Center mount.

    Car is 2003 330xi with automatic transmission.

    Any ideas?

  17. #17
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    I have a question, for the driveshaft coupler "guibo" why is their 6 bolts when the only ones that fasten are 3 don't know much please help

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