Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Kokomo, IN, USA
Just got a "New" 19-ball Crown Bearing from Chicago BMW this week?
I month or so ago I asked the question about what parts and tools I needed to perform a 36K service and to change crown bearings. I made my list, checked it twice, and placed an order with Chicago BMW.
My box finally arrived last week and today I planned to 1) install the crown bearing and (depending on time) 2) change the timing chain tensioner lining.
So, I open my $215 box of goodies and grab the crown bearing. I count the balls and find there to be 19. Hmmm. My good friends on the K12LT forum are recommending the 17 ball one. So, after waiting for Chicago BMW to open, I give them a call.
He says that about 2 years ago, BMW superseded the part number from the old part to the new one, which is 33121468899 or "899" as the parts guy called it.
He says he has sold about 60 of the "899's" and never heard of a failure and has never counted the balls.
So, I have a '99 with 39,500 on the clock. I bought it last fall with ~33K and the previous owner never changed the bearing. I changed the rear drive oil a few weeks ago and found only a small amount of metal powder on the magnet and no flakes, plus the wheel does not rock, so I don't think I have a problem...I am just changing it for piece of mind.
Now, do I change bearings and put this one in, or should I send it back and shop around for a 17-ball version?
Or, do I not get the bearing from BMW at all, and go directly to a bearing distributor and buy from them? The bearing I was sent from Chicago BMW was in a BMW box, but it was a FAG bearing, so BMW is just a reseller for this part anyway.
What is the consensus? Did BMW supersede the original bearing with the new and improved 17-ball version, and supersede it again with an even better 19-ball version?
Or is the 17-ball version the best there is there is a warehouse somewhere in Germany with stacks of bearings and it is luck of the draw which one you get?
"There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't"