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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
1999 E39 523i Noisy wheel bearing. I think

My 523i had a very faint groaning noise which increased in pitch as i speed up. Cant hear it after about 30mph. comes from o/s front I think.
Took it to a garage and they said they couldnt drive it ( insurance!) but put it on a ramp and spun the wheels/checked for play . Couldnt hear or feel anything. Course soon as I get back on road it starts.
Why is it it is noisy when under load/weight but not when on a ramp. They said wait till it 's very noisy then it would be come an obvious fault.
is that OK?
 

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Shame you couldn't have taken them for a drive for them to hear the noise. Does the noise change when you steer?

I'd probably take it to a different garage for a second opinion. My mechanic is a bit like that, says the bearing will make more noise making it easier to diagnose or the wheel will fall off!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No.
I have tried driving at about 25mph, when its at its loudest and turning full lock L to R. Makes no diference to sound.
Just been to Manchester (400mile round trip) I think its got a bit louder so will go back to garage this week and get another opinion.
As an aside car seems very economical , its showing 35.7mpg and we were doing 75 - 85 all the way!
 

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Had a noisy drivers side bearing on front of my 94 tds,it made a noise when the wheel was spun with car in the air but there was no play and it could only just be heard when driving.I have since changed it but it did near 20k and never got any worse.Upshoot is and this is my first Bmw that if it was an old escort or vectra it would have fell apart a week later.
 

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Hi, Could be you have the same tyre problem I have recently experienced, are there any tiny lumps or bumps on the tyre walls? Once even slightly damaged runflats seem to transmit a noise remarkably similar to bearing wear sounds. As found on my 2007 E61 525i M Sport touring. Replacing the tyre with a slight bulge in it and a 4 wheel alignment seems to have sorted my 'wheel bearing' problems completely!

Hope this helps!
 

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Hi - yes before my current e39 I had an e46 320 which had 18" alloys and tyres on it. Had 3 bearings changed which cost a tidy sum of £70 each yet made no difference to the so called bearing sound! Mechanic then suspected that the material the tyres are made from too hard (cheap tyres) hence the groaning or whining sound loudest at around 30mph. Hope that helps
 
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When I first bought my e39 528i it too was making a groaning noise from the near side rear, couldnt hear it til about 35mph then the noise stedily increased in pitch along with the speed. Mechanic claimed he couldnt hear it but but after using a stethoscope (of all things) he too thought it was the wheel bearing. It was changed the next day and has been fine ever since.
 
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