E39 back axle whine.

The noise from my back axle is now noticeable enough to warrant repair. I have been told to ignore it previously as the 535i models were prone to back axle whine from the differential. I am not sure
that is the case and I am hoping it is a wheel bearing. Has anyone else had a BMW V8 with a noisy back axle that was cured by replacing the wheel bearing or any other way cheaper then replacing the differential? pete
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On Sun, 08 Jan 2006 23:55:38 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I should add the car is a 1998 and has done nearly 130K miles. pete
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Pretty low mileage to be having differential problems. If it is the differential the noise should be very sensitive to throttle setting, that is you should be able to make it sound very different by accelerating or decelerating. A wheel bearing noise would not be sensitive to throttle setting. Differential noises often become noticeable at very low speeds as well while a rear wheel bearing noise shouldn't get 'whiny' until the speed is up over 30 mph. It would be prudent to drive the car some more until it becomes obvious what the problem is. Noisy differentials and wheel bearings can usually be driven for several thousand miles without significant risk of a disabling failure. In the meantime you can be finding an economical source for a replacement differential. The typical service life of a differential is something more than 500,000 miles so there are plenty of serviceable units at the salvage yard that will cost less than 25% of what you would have to pay for a rebuilt one.

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On Mon, 09 Jan 2006 12:47:57 GMT, "Jack"

Thanks Jack. I enjoyed your post because it told me what I wanted to hear and because it also fits in with what I had thought too. From my own experience and from what you say I am now certain it is a wheel bearing. I have to take it to the local BMW garage on Thursday to have it fixed so hopefully I will not be facing a huge bill;-) pete
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My last 735i had diff' noise at low speed in reverse, especially if turning. Never caused a problem.
If your diff is limited slip then the repair is more difficult, and you may need to use a main dealer (IIRC the book said that 'preloaded stressed items require care in assembly...', which was code for they can jump apart and hurt you if you don't know what you are doing)
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On Mon, 9 Jan 2006 13:24:32 +0000 (UTC), "R. Mark Clayton"

Well I am pretty sure it is a wheel bearing now Mark so it should be quite straight forward hopefully thanks. pete
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Differential noise tends to change with speed and load - it may be noisy under drive but not on the overrun. Also tends to get worse as the final drive heats up. Wheel bearing noise may alter with speed and sometimes when cornering.
FWIW, a noisy final drive can be noisy for the life of the car...
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On Mon, 09 Jan 2006 19:43:17 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Plowman (News)"

It has been noisy for a couple of months or so and I did ask the local mechanic to fix it but he said it was just a noisey final drive. However I believe it is the wheel bearing as it has become more noisey and it is only noticeable after 35 mph. I have not heard any difference when cornering though or when on over run which again makes me think Jack is correct when he says it is wheel bearing noise. I also not from the TIS there was a fault with rear wheel bearings but although that work could be done under warranty it only applied to vehicles under 3 years old and less than 100Km which must mean mine has already been done or it never had a faulty bearing in the first place when manufactured! pete
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On Mon, 09 Jan 2006 19:43:17 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Plowman (News)"

I had a wheel bearing fitted. 120 and all is sweet now:-) pete
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