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Thread: E36 M3 Front Wheel Bearing Life On Track

  1. #1
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    E36 M3 Front Wheel Bearing Life On Track

    I had the driver's side front wheel bearing go out on me at the track last weekend, fortunately I was able to find a replacement at a nearby O'Reilly's and get back out there.

    The bearings had about 20k miles and this was their 5th weekend on the track, but I was a little bit surprised that it went. How does this line up with other people's experience? Do these bearings need to be replaced preemptively? Are there large differences between the BMW part and OEM replacements?


  2. #2
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    Talking to the guys who run E36 race teams, it seems that some OEM brands do better than others. Even then, it is a bit hit or miss. The one team I talked to swears by FAG front hubs; they last at least a full season. I'm using the brand they've had bad luck with and currently have 10-12 hours on them without issues. Think it is a bit hit or miss.

  3. #3
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    I run the FAG brand bearings and replace them annually (GTS2 car).... down time is $$$$.
    GMC 2500
    1992 318is running in GTS2
    2014 Holden SSV

  4. #4
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    SKF brand usually for us, and typically 2 years. Cheap to replace. We've had a couple fail, but that was early in our career ... unknow age
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  5. #5
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    I read a while back that repacking them with redline CV2 High temp high speed bearing grease has doubled the life for some race cars.
    Joe

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Estoril View Post
    I read a while back that repacking them with redline CV2 High temp high speed bearing grease has doubled the life for some race cars.
    Yup. The problem is that the new design is almost impossible to take apart. Now I just take off the seal, wipe the old grease out, and shove some CV2 in it ... better than nothing, and it hasn't been an issue for us.
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  7. #7
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    I change both fronts yearly. (25-30 HPDE days/year). I've proven several times they last less than 2 years.
    I've been using FAG from FCPEuro (free replacements!)

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys, looks like I should start changing these on a regular basis


  9. #9
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    Can someone weigh in on the effects of a wheel bearing going bad mid track event? Noises? Wobble in steering wheel? Want to get a better idea for when it happens to me! Will order some spares....

  10. #10
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    From memory, none of mine (2 or 3?) that have gone bad during an HDPE event have had any symptoms other than noise...waaawaaawaaaa...at low speed. And I've always finished the day/weekend on said 'bad' wheel bearing. Even rotating the tire by hand, and yanking around on the wheel, showed no symptoms. IIRC, once removed, I could easily feel that 1 of the 2 bearings in the assembly was rough/bad, but 1 was still good.

  11. #11
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    Thanks aeronaut. Was hoping you would weigh in. I may swap mine this winter and keep one of them as a backup since they are fairly easy to change out.

  12. #12
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    That's a good plan! As expected, my left one is always the failure.

  13. #13
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    Holy cow, I had no idea these things only have like 30 track days in them.

    I hope they are easier than the rears were. That job was interesting.
    If God meant for man to motor-swap LS engines into track cars, He wouldn't have created Corvettes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by olemiss540 View Post
    Can someone weigh in on the effects of a wheel bearing going bad mid track event? Noises? Wobble in steering wheel? Want to get a better idea for when it happens to me! Will order some spares....
    It started as a 1/rev thumping for me, always worse when the bad bearing was loaded, but always present. I could also feel it through the steering wheel.

    We jacked the car up and tried to wobble the wheels to check the bearings, but they seemed fine. For troubleshooting purposes I rotated the tires, and the noise and shaking got better.... for a session.

    The second session after that the thumping got worse and my steering wheel started shaking badly. This time we jacked the car up and we could easily wobble the wheel on its bearing.

    So, you could start to hear thumping.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JBasham View Post
    Holy cow, I had no idea these things only have like 30 track days in them.

    I hope they are easier than the rears were. That job was interesting.
    We were able to change it at the track pretty easily. The bearing + hub assembly is just fitted on the spindle behind the rotors. The key is to have/find the right socket, and a strong electric impact wrench helped immensely.
    Last edited by Steage; 06-28-2018 at 08:05 PM.


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBasham View Post
    Holy cow, I had no idea these things only have like 30 track days in them.

    I hope they are easier than the rears were. That job was interesting.
    Tires make a huge difference in wheel bearing life. Wheel bearings don't get along with R-comps.

  16. #16
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    I’m surprised to see the kind of failure rate. I’ve replaced mine three times over the last 19 years and 30K track miles. Only one showed any sign of failure. No Hoosiers, but mostly Z214 and NT01.
    '95 M3 S54 Track Toy
    '12 X3 35i M-Sport
    '16 VW Golf R

  17. #17
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    Strange to see so many failures, my non-m has been run hard on r-compounds for at least 5 years, and to my knowledge are the original bearings from 1993. Guess I've been lucky and just not had to deal with it yet.

  18. #18
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    Its not so much failure rate, as a cheap preventative maintenance. For HPDE, not a big deal, but for a race weekend where you're in for several thousand $$$, you do everything you can to not have any preventable failures on track. When we were trying to be hard-core competitive, our moto was that if we had something fail once, it would automatically go into off-season maintenance schedule so that it never happened again.

    Also, big load difference between r-comps and Pirelli slicks
    Last edited by ScotcH; 07-02-2018 at 10:59 AM.
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScotcH View Post
    Its not so much failure rate, as a cheap preventative maintenance. For HPDE, not a big deal, but for a race weekend where you're in for several thousand $$$, you do everything you can to not have any preventable failures on track. When we were trying to be hard-core competitive, our moto was that if we had something fail once, it would automatically go into off-season maintenance schedule so that it never happened again.

    Also, big load difference between r-comps and Pirelli slicks
    I am usually in for several thousand $$$ on each HPDE weekend, so joke is on you I guess..

  20. #20
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    What are you guys doing if you have lug studs and the bearing fails? Do you have extra studs that you put into the new hub beforehand so it's ready to go? Or do you replace the hub and just run it with lug bolts until you can change the studs over to the new hub?

    I've only just bought my track only car and haven't had a bearing fail yet, but I want to plan for it.

  21. #21
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    They come out pretty easy with a little heat, and something like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/ABN-Universal.../dp/B077Y6JRP9

    I just put the stud remover over the non-threaded portion of the stud, and they pop right out without any damage.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goallie11 View Post
    What are you guys doing if you have lug studs and the bearing fails? Do you have extra studs that you put into the new hub beforehand so it's ready to go? Or do you replace the hub and just run it with lug bolts until you can change the studs over to the new hub?

    I've only just bought my track only car and haven't had a bearing fail yet, but I want to plan for it.
    Yeah, we prep the new hub with studs already. Good to replace the studs as well every few years, so this does both
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScotcH View Post
    Yeah, we prep the new hub with studs already. Good to replace the studs as well every few years, so this does both
    Ditto. Two hubs in the trailer with studs already installed and ready to go. Spare hub nuts as well and the big-ass socket in the same box.
    GMC 2500
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