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Vincent Hill 11-23-2017 02:45 PM

Old E21 BUT it may be a BMW Thing! Play in the Left Front Wheel?
I Have a 82-911sc and usually post on that Forum, But I hope one of you Guys May have Experienced this Problem.

My 1982 E21 (260,000 Miles with New Koni’s, New OEM Steering Rack, Tie Rods, Grease Fittings on the Ball Joints And Tie Rods AND LARGE Greased washers on Both Sides Of the Swaybar / Brake Reaction Rod where it goes through the Lower Control Arm)

has a Loose Sound coming from the Left front when the wheel goes over a Depression in the Road.

It is Not Lowered or Loose Ball Joint or Tie Rod End or Shock Play or Strut End Play.

Holding the wheel at the 12 o’clock position (On the Ground and a Jack under the Control Arm) while pulling and pushing in and out, there is a slight bit of Play AND you can hear the Knock Of 2 pieces hitting each other.

I had my wife make the Movement while I felt around and know it is in the Wheel Bearing / Spindle!

I first tightened the castle Nut while turning the wheel but that did not resolve it.

I Removed the wheel and Hub assembly and Removed the Rear Seal And Bearing. Cleaned it a little and checked to see how Tight it felt on the Spindle at the Back Of the Shaft. For sure it was not a “Press Fit” but it felt close to Normal but Looser Than I can Remember Feeling?

My question is, has Anyone ever had To Replace their Front Wheel Spindle from Being “Worn”? “OR” Was the inside of the Wheel Bearing Worn And Replacing the WHEEL BEARING Cured the Problem?

Vincent Hill 11-24-2017 10:45 AM

Spoke to someone who had a similar problem, His was that the Hub was cut too Deep for the recess of the Inner Race Which Gave the Wheel Play like I have. So I am also getting a New Hub!

tomgalloway1 11-29-2017 04:17 AM

Hi Vince -

Had several e21's and it was always the sway bar to control arm connection that went bad. Maybe tighten up the wheel bearings but IMHO its the arm.


Vincent Hill 11-30-2017 03:02 AM


Originally Posted by tomgalloway1 (Post 9830446)
Hi Vince -

Had several e21's and it was always the sway bar to control arm connection that went bad. Maybe tighten up the wheel bearings but IMHO its the arm.


99 times out of 100, you are 100% Correct! That was one of the worst designs BMW Made. Trying to use the Swaybar also as the “Brake Reaction” Rod WITH Rubber Bushings. I used to Replace the Lower Control Arm About Every 20,000 Miles until I used Large Thick steel washers that I Lube a few times a year. Now people are making Urethane Bushings Kits to fix that problem.

It is Also the FIRST Place I looked at. But there was No movement. The Second Place I looked was the Ball Joint And No Movement there either.

Then with a Bright Lights And Hands In Place I watched and Felt Movement between the Brake Disc And Brake Caliper And Between the Brake Disc And Backing Plate. So I KNOW The Problem is in the Wheel Bearings.

My work Model when I do Not know what is wrong is to make a List Of the Parts involved and Replace them by Cost And Ease Of Replacement. In this case, Bought New Hubs And Bearing Kits From Ireland Engineering. If that does not cure the Problem, Then Replace the Spindle (the Strut Spindle assembly) which I am not looking Forward to!! I will have the Hubs in a few days and report back.

tomgalloway1 12-03-2017 04:41 AM

yeh your right about e21's - the best one I had was a '77 and the front end was different -

That car took a lot of abuse on the streets of Washington DC. Yours is not as rugged.

Good luck - PS I have a LOT of K Jet stuff and other e21 stuff - bring a trailor friend.


Vincent Hill 12-04-2017 03:43 AM

Thanks Tom! I saw that there is A Pre 1979 And Post 1979. I never knew what the Difference was but it sounds like as usual with most companies, that they “Improved” (Read Cheaper to make) the car by making it Worse! I bought the Car in Arlington VA in 1999 as a Spare car so I could finish the Fender Flares on my wife’s 1976 911s that she later totaled at 130 mph on the off ramp on I-95 at 198 for Laurel:( (a Saturn cut her off twice not intentionally scared of a Truck parked on the side of the Road. She was barley bruised!) We lived in Washington DC until 2014.

Saturday I got the New Ireland Engineering Hubs and Bearing Kits. Sunday I did the Left side of the car and the Wheel Play is Gone! Took it for a Ride and checked it again and still gone! My feeling is that the inner Race of the bearing must have worn on the Axle / Spindle just enough to give it play. Now as soon as I get another set of Hubs from Ireland (the Hubs were Re-Drilled for the Lug Bolts but they did not relocate the Brake rotor hold down screw). You KNOW I am happy that I will not need to spend $3-400 for a set of Struts!:):)

johnsontsui 12-27-2017 05:34 PM

nice job

Vincent Hill 12-28-2017 02:17 AM


Originally Posted by johnsontsui (Post 9863454)
nice job

Thanks! Update. When I went to Remove the Installed Hub, I found that the Inner Bearing And Seal we’re sitting on the Spindle! I then remembered that the seal did not go in as tight as I thought it should so o measured the ID of the New Hub with the Old Hub. The Factory was 52 MM and the New Hub was 52.3mm (0.012” larger) so I sent the Hubs back for a refund. I installed the new Bearings and Races in he Old Hubs and the Problem STILL went away.

After cleaning the Old Bearings I could see that they were Copper In color. Worn past the hard Chrome and Nickel down to the Copper Plate on the steel. KISS! Keep It Simple Stupid” applies here. Hard to believe, but the entire problem was the wheel bearing had worn out! All I can think is since they were “Only” about 90,000 Miles Old was originally Installed too tight or not the best Quality Bearings! I appreciate everyone’s help and PM’s.

johnsontsui 01-02-2018 04:26 PM


Rockyjonsan 01-29-2018 10:28 PM

i am loking for my old e21 and try bmw are better for playing.

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