BMW Coupes and Sedans 1970-1988 Repair Guide

Body Lubrication and Maintenance




The front wheels each rotate on a set of opposed, tapered roller bearings. The grease retainer at the inside of the hub prevents lubricant from leaking.

To check the condition of the grease, proceed as follows:

  1. Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jackstands.
  3. Remove the grease cap and remove any excess grease from the end of the spindle.
  5. Remove the cotter pin and nut lock shown in the illustration.
  7. Rotate the wheel, hub and drum assembly while tightening the adjusting nut to 17-25 ft. lbs. (22-32 Nm) in order to seat the bearings.
  9. Back off the adjusting nut 1 / 2 rotation (180°), then retighten the nut to 10-15 ft.. lbs. (13-19 Nm).
  11. Locate the nut lock on the adjusting nut so that the castellations on the lock are lined up with the cotter pin hole in the spindle.
  13. Install the new cotter pin, bending the ends of the cotter pin around the castellated flange of the nut lock.
  15. Check the wheel for proper rotation, then install the grease cap. If the wheel still does not rotate properly, inspect and clean or replace the wheel bearings and cups.

Sodium-based grease is not compatible with lithium-based grease. Read the package labels and be careful not to mix the two types. If there is any doubt as to the type of grease used, completely clean the old grease from the bearing and hub before replacing.

  1. Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jackstands.
  3. Remove the wheel cover. Remove the wheel.
  5. Remove the caliper from the disc and wire it to the underbody to prevent damage to the brake hose. See Brakes .
  7. Remove the grease cap from the hub. Then, remove the cotter pin, nut lock, adjusting nut and flat washer from the spindle. Remove the outer bearing assembly from the hub.
  9. Pull the hub and disc assembly off the wheel spindle.
  11. Remove and discard the old grease retainer. Remove the inner bearing cone and roller assembly from the hub.
  13. Clean all grease from the inner and outer bearing cups with solvent. Inspect the cups for pits, scratches, or excessive wear. If the cups are damaged, remove them with a drift.
  15. Clean the inner and outer cone and roller assemblies with solvent and shake them dry. If the cone and roller assemblies show excessive wear or damage, replace them with the bearing cups as a unit.
  17. Clean the spindle and the inside of the hub with solvent to thoroughly remove all old grease.
  19. Covering the spindle with a clean cloth, brush all loose dirt and dust from the brake assembly. Remove the cloth carefully so as to not get dirt on the spindle.
  21. If the inner and/or outer bearing cups were removed, install the replacement cups on the hub. Be sure that the cups seat properly in the hub.
  23. It is imperative that all old grease be removed from the bearings and surrounding surfaces before repacking. The new lithium-based grease is not compatible with the sodium base grease used in the past.
  25. Install the hub and disc on the wheel spindle. To prevent damage to the grease retainer and spindle threads, keep the hub centered on the spindle.
  27. Install the outer bearing cone and roller assembly and the flat washer on the spindle. Install the adjusting nut.
  29. Adjust the wheel bearings by torquing the adjusting nut to 17-25 ft. lbs. (22-32 Nm) with the wheel rotating to seat the bearing. Then back off the adjusting nut 1 / 2 rotation (180°). Retighten the adjusting nut to 10-15 ft. lbs. (13-19 Nm) Install the locknut so that the castellations are aligned with the cotter pin hole. Install the cotter pin. Bend the ends of the cotter pin around the castellations of the locknut to prevent interference with the radio static collector in the grease cap. Install the grease cap.
  31. Install the wheels.
  33. Install the wheel cover.


Apply graphite lubricant sparingly thought the key slot. Insert the key and operate the lock several times to be sure that the lubricant is worked into the lock cylinder.


Spray a silicone lubricant on the hinge pivot points to eliminate any binding conditions. Open and close the door several times to be sure that the lubricant is evenly and thoroughly distributed.


Be sure that the drain holes in the doors and rocker panels are cleared of obstruction. A small screwdriver can be used to clear them of any debris.


Wash the car either by hand or in an automatic car wash. Rinse the car first with a light stream of water to loosen any dirt on the painted surfaces. Soak any dead bugs with water and car washing solution, then wipe off. Wash the car out of direct sunlight as water spots can form if water is allowed to evaporate from the painted surfaces.

Use only waxes with carnauba or synthetic formulations. Keep a good coat of wax on the car to protect the surface from contaminants. Use only high quality paint care products as available through your dealer or specialty boutique.

Wash the car often in the winter months to keep road salt off the car. Touch up any paint damage with matching paint. Do not allow moisture to collect under a car cover if one is used.


The engine compartment should be cleaned and treated once a year. This will clean away any accumulated dirt, grease and oil that may be hiding leaks or other problems. A clean engine runs cooler and makes routine maintenance more pleasurable.


Interior glass surfaces can be cleaned with a commercial cleaner or a one to one mixture of water and white vinegar. Do not use any cleaner containing an abrasive. Exterior glass and lenses can be cleaned with water and car washing solution or with the same mixture used for the interior glass.


Clean with water and treat with silicone spray. A commercial rubber treatment can also be used. Do not use harsh solvents as these will damage the rubber.