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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a beck & Arnley driveshaft center support bearing to fix the OEM bushing that had failed when I bought it. I installed it myself and it was fine with aggressive takeoffs etc. Now after only about 100km of driving it is starting to vibrate during hard accelerations and driving. Could it be bad already or is something else at play here? I've seen people say that their 25$ support bearings have been fine and I spent 45 on mine. I dont have the the time to take apart the exhaust and shield to check it. Any ideas?
 

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BMW 320i 2002 e46 5spd manual RHD
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Could be the guibo? (rubber coupler between drive shaft and gearbox)
 

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E30M3 Race F10 535 R1150Rt M Coupe
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Very often the center support failed in the FIRST place, because of a stiff U Joint.
Bet you that's what is happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very often the center support failed in the FIRST place, because of a stiff U Joint.
Bet you that's what is happening.
Last time the support bearing was completely gone. There was no rubber supporting it anymore so it just vibrated. This feels like the exact same thing. I can't seem to figure it out myself so I might take to mechanic.
 

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2004 325i automagic
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Last time the support bearing was completely gone. There was no rubber supporting it anymore so it just vibrated. This feels like the exact same thing. I can't seem to figure it out myself so I might take to mechanic.
To check if the driveshaft u-joint(s) are binding or stiff you need to drop the driveshaft again and slowly move each u-joint through its entire range of motion while feeling for any sign of binding or catching. It only takes one spot of binding to cause issues. A few years ago I replaced the giubo and center support bearing only to still have vibrations and it turned out that one half of the rear u-joint had one little rough spot that was binding and causing the problem.
 

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I'm also going to guess driveshaft U-joint based on my own personal experience. Specifically, the rear joint near the differential input. This rear u-joint fails before the front joint for whatever reason. First the grease slings out of the bearings, then it gets stiff from lack of lubrication. If it doesn't seize up completely it will wear from the additional friction and will eventually get sloppy and loose.

I'm on my third drive shaft at 345k miles. Both of the replacements I bought used from salvage cars and paid around 100 bucks each time. I also installed a new guibo and CSB each time while I was in there (parts were free because FCP Euro warranty).

It's difficult to diagnose the driveshaft joints without pulling it from the car, unfortunately. The first one that failed on my car, the U-Joint bearings were gritty and notchy feeling with very slight play. The second was more obvious as the joint was completely stuck in one direction and would barely move in the other. Both types of failures will cause vibration issues. There is typically a harmonic resonance associated where it will seem better or worse depending on what speed you are driving.

If you didn't get a chance to check the condition of the U-joints when you replaced the CSB last time, it's probably worth your time to pull it back out and check. I know it's a pain in the ass to drop the exhaust and remove all the heat shields, etc. but even if the driveshaft check OK, you've at least eliminated it as a potential cause of the issue.

Other things to check: Did you preload the support bearing by pushing it forward towards the transmission when tightening it down? Did you make sure the guibo was installed correclty with the arrow heads pointing towards the mounting flanges? If you had to separate the two halves of the driveshaft, did you mark the spline positions and reinstall in the same position? The shaft is balanced as an assembly so you don't want to index the two halves relative to one another.
 

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And don’t buy a B&A center support bearing. B&A parts are typically junk.
Beck- Arnley doesn't make their own BMW parts, so while at the store,
open the box and see who really made it. They TEND to sell
good- quality OE suppliers-
but for the exact same price, an un- named
low- quality part could be in that box.

t
misses the days when you walked into a parts store and...
 

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I'm also going to guess driveshaft U-joint based on my own personal experience. Specifically, the rear joint near the differential input. This rear u-joint fails before the front joint for whatever reason. First the grease slings out of the bearings, then it gets stiff from lack of lubrication. If it doesn't seize up completely it will wear from the additional friction and will eventually get sloppy and loose.

I'm on my third drive shaft at 345k miles. Both of the replacements I bought used from salvage cars and paid around 100 bucks each time. I also installed a new guibo and CSB each time while I was in there (parts were free because FCP Euro warranty).

It's difficult to diagnose the driveshaft joints without pulling it from the car, unfortunately. The first one that failed on my car, the U-Joint bearings were gritty and notchy feeling with very slight play. The second was more obvious as the joint was completely stuck in one direction and would barely move in the other. Both types of failures will cause vibration issues. There is typically a harmonic resonance associated where it will seem better or worse depending on what speed you are driving.

If you didn't get a chance to check the condition of the U-joints when you replaced the CSB last time, it's probably worth your time to pull it back out and check. I know it's a pain in the ass to drop the exhaust and remove all the heat shields, etc. but even if the driveshaft check OK, you've at least eliminated it as a potential cause of the issue.

Other things to check: Did you preload the support bearing by pushing it forward towards the transmission when tightening it down? Did you make sure the guibo was installed correclty with the arrow heads pointing towards the mounting flanges? If you had to separate the two halves of the driveshaft, did you mark the spline positions and reinstall in the same position? The shaft is balanced as an assembly so you don't want to index the two halves relative to one another.
Years ago I was able to source Lakewood U-joint bearings/spider from Gratiot Auto (probably Summit Racing today as alternative) with a zerk fitting in the spider. You had to be careful to install the spider so the zerk was in compression with driveshaft torque (acceleration) rather than deceleration. Even so people would install them with the zerk pointing forward toward the driveshaft rather than toward the much longer diff flange so you couldn't get a grease gun fitting on there. Spicer probably made the joint/bearing and Lakewood sold them. Used them on GM cars/trucks. NEVER had a replaced Joint fail.
 

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2005 330ci
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I’ve looked at RealOEM and have not seen a u joint available for our driveshafts. Does anyone know if it’s available and rebuildable? Seems like it would be a waste of a good drive shaft because of the u joint.
 

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If the replacement center support bearing has failed again, you need to find the cause of the failure. Most likely as mentioned already a bad or binding U joint.
 

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2004 325i automagic
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I’ve looked at RealOEM and have not seen a u joint available for our driveshafts. Does anyone know if it’s available and rebuildable? Seems like it would be a waste of a good drive shaft because of the u joint.
There are companies that rebuild them. I believe the u joints are staked in, which deters replacment of just the joints.

Not vouching for this, but the guy in the YouTube video below replaces them and has a u-joint part number reference.

 

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E30M3 Race F10 535 R1150Rt M Coupe
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At one time, Universal Joints were available. However almost none were sold. Owing to two factors.
The aforementioned staking them in. Also the walls of the metal surrounding the U Joints is very thin compared to the American driveshafts that most driveshaft shops are used to. Many have broken them.

Most driveshaft shops avoid BMW driveshafts, tantamount to inexperienced shops that do NOT service any BMW automatic transmissions.
 

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2016 340i xD 6-spd
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...and I didn't see it guessed yet, but if the guibo (aka "Universal Joint", aka flex disk coupling) is mounted one bolt off, it'll be off by a mile and rip the csb apart in 6 months. I've seen it.

I don't mean the other 'universal joint' referred to here which is in my mind nearly bombproof since mine lasted almost 400k miles. Also, if the driveshaft wasn't reassembled properly and the splines are off, you'd have even more work for the csb to do and it'd rip apart too, I'd guess.

OP, maybe post pic of your guibo--easy to eliminate as a source.
 

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2005 330ci
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I got the part number from the YouTube video, looked it up and see the attached link.

I guess the question is how to stake it or secure it, so it doesn’t come loose. I saw where he manually staked it and mention welding. What do you think? Would staking it with a hammer and punch/chisel or a few tack welds?

GMB 220-1670 Universal Joint Amazon.com: GMB 220-1670 Universal Joint : Automotive
 

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Perhaps others feel differently, but it seem to me that welding could upset the balance of the driveshaft or cook the u-joint, but also might make it a near permanent installation and unable to be serviced or rebuilt without real machine work. If the new joint has a grease nipple that might affect balance as well.

Staking with a punch and hammer seems less risky and would be closer to the original. You should be able to see how many stakes were originally used and replicate that.

Normally, I'd recommend getting a rebuild, but today I am not sure the quality of the rebuilds is what it was before covid.
 

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^^^ I did not look at it close enough to see the u joint and how it was staked last time I pulled it. Next time I will.

I don’t know if it was staked with a machine or Franz hitting it with a chisel and hammer, but I would worry about it coming loose under high RPMs if I did not stake it properly.

If you put a tack weld on either side of the caps, for a total of eight, it seems like it would stay within tolerances for balance. Of course, I could be completely wrong.
 

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The cup of a u- joint's also the outer race of the bearing, so be gentle with it.

BMW machine- stakes them- it's a cool process, just judging from the result.

I've never really tried re- u- jointing one. We used to have a good shop regionally
that remachined them for replaceable spiders.
SInce they no longer do it, maybe I get to look at 'em now...

t
can you do it with a Bridgeport?
 
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