If you’re starting to experience noise coming from the wheel area of your E46 M3 that gets louder as the rotation spins faster, you may have a bad wheel bearing. You can test your wheel bearing by taking off your wheel and rotor to test for any irregular play, rotation and noise. It’s very important to take care of any wheel bearing issues because it can lead to a full lock up while you’re driving on the road. In this DIY we will be doing just the front wheel bearings.

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Tools Required

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

Install Directions

1. Remove caliper

1.1 Get your car on a nice even surface and jack up the front end to remove the wheel and access the brake caliper/rotor.

1.2 Remove your brake caliper and rotor.

Disclaimer: This DIY does require you to lift your car so please use proper tools and follow all safety procedures if you choose to attempt. This guide is for your reference only. We are not liable for any damages or injuries that result from this guide.

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

2. Remove wheel cap

2.1 Get a flat head screw driver and pry out the center cap. If you do a clean pry you can re-use the center cap. I’ll tell you right now though, there’s a good chance yours is gonna be a bit mangled after chiseling it out.

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

3. Pry metal security tabs

3.1 Get a flat head screw driver and hammer out the two metal tabs that are bent inwards towards the center lock.

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

4. Remove 46mm nut

4.1 I tried using my Li-ion Milwaukee impact driver to remove the 46mm nut, but it wasn’t enough. I had to use a large 4 ft pry bar. You can also try using the handle bar from your jack if it fits over the ratchet.

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

5. Remove old wheel bearing

5.1 This is the trickiest part. You need a 3-jaw puller to remove the old wheel bearing from the spindle. I recommend getting two different sizes to borrow from your local auto parts store because the jaws need to reach the wheel bearing. The first one I borrowed did not and I ended up making another trip.

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY
BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

6. Remove left over wheel baring parts

6.1 There’s a really good chance your wheel bearing isn’t going to come out in once piece. In my case, half of the bearing got stuck on the spindle and I had to use a smaller 3 jaw puller to remove this.

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

7. Grease up the spindle and wheel bearing

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY

8. Install new wheel bearing

8.1 Once installed, torque the 46mm nut to 214 ft-lb.

8.2 Use a flat head to pry back the security tabs back in to the center hub.

8.3 Reverse the order to install your caliper and wheel back on.

BMW E46 M3 Wheel Bearing DIY