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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:01 AM   #1
boongsin12
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2001 330Ci steeering problem

Hi all,

I went to an independent shop to get the wheel alignment for my car after replacing some suspension parts, front control arms and rtabs. Driving to work this morning, I have been getting slight steering pull to the left causing me to counter steer on a relatively straight road. As soon as I got out, I checked the tire pressures and they seemed to be the same left and right.

I have some doubts on the job the shop performed on my car. Here is the alignment result I asked for when I was checking out. The guy at the desk didn't even bother offer me the copy and I had to ask for it.
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Do you guys think that the alignment was not done right? Hence the steering issue?
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:52 AM   #2
Tangent_
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Just answered on your post in the suspension forum, but I'll just copy and paste it here...

They boned you. Based on how long they took and the results I suspect they have no idea how to properly align a BMW. I've taken mine to a local European specialist and they take about an hour to an hour and a half and charge $140. They also get everything in the green. My local BMW dealership doesn't even charge $240.


Front
The camber and caster technically should have been adjusted by knocking the alignment pin out and getting it right, but they're close so I'd let that slide. The front toe however, they took from being equally toe out on both sides to being less toe out (but still out of spec) on the right, and even more toe out on the left. You can see how the "Steer ahead" reading went from being centered to being out of spec. I'd guess your car want to drive to the left now right?

Rear
The camber they didn't adjust but that's fine, you'd need to replace parts to make that adjustable, and they're pretty evenly out of spec anyway. The toe however should definitely have been fixed and it looks like they just tapped on the left side. It's slightly less out of spec, but is still out of spec. the right was good before and after.

They took more money than a proper alignment should cost and made yours worse.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:31 PM   #3
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If that is before and after, that alignment job is terrible.

The toe on the front will cause uneven tire wear

up front should be a total toe of like .18, not 1.04... that's just stupid
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:10 PM   #4
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Agreed. They're crooks. Even though your car did need an alignment, going by the sheet (as best as I can tell because a couple of numbers were not readable. Next time scan the color original.) the alignment is actually worse than before they touched it! You should demand your money back.
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:45 PM   #5
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That thrust angle is also suspect. Has the car ever been in an accident? That, or the shop did a really bad job as pointed out.

For reference I've never had a value worse than 0.02 after 50k miles, easy reset back to 0.00 by a competent shop. Zero is the car pointed dead straight when rolling on the road. Either the frame is bent, or they did such a bad job and the fronts aren't riding the same line as the rear anymore.

Edit: Thrust angle is off before and after, so they didn't cause it. That said they didn't correct it either. Get a better alignment guy and it wouldn't hurt to look into accident history if you can.

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Old 07-17-2014, 08:52 PM   #6
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That is a very extreme graphic lol.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:02 PM   #7
boongsin12
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The car had a minor accident on the front passenger door, but not anything significant. Good info on thrust angle. Thanks for that. I will point that out to them tomorrow and hopefully get that fixed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvx5832 View Post
That thrust angle is also suspect. Has the car ever been in an accident? That, or the shop did a really bad job as pointed out.

For reference I've never had a value worse than 0.02 after 50k miles, easy reset back to 0.00 by a competent shop. Zero is the car pointed dead straight when rolling on the road. Either the frame is bent, or they did such a bad job and the fronts aren't riding the same line as the rear anymore.

Edit: Thrust angle is off before and after, so they didn't cause it. That said they didn't correct it either. Get a better alignment guy and it wouldn't hurt to look into accident history if you can.

image
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:18 PM   #8
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Finally, I have got my alignment done!



I think all look pretty satisfactory. But the car still pulls to the left. The technician was mentioning that the low profile tires on the car accentuates the road condition. Also, the proper alignment is revealing the unbalanced/uneven wear on the tires. As far as I can see, the steering ahead is now perfectly centered and cambers are pretty close on both sides.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:48 AM   #9
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I'm thinking the technician may be correct. The alignment is now decent. You might try rotating your tires to see if it helps. If you have staggered wheels then swap the wheels side to side to see if the problem changes.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
I'm thinking the technician may be correct. The alignment is now decent. You might try rotating your tires to see if it helps. If you have staggered wheels then swap the wheels side to side to see if the problem changes.
^ this

Also check your flex disc to see if there's issues there. I've heard in the past it can get softer/loose one one side if it is cracking or splitting and will cause less responsive steering.

It won't necessarily effect the pulling of a car but if the road and tires are uneven and you have extra give in your steering wheel, this might be where you can see benefit.

Also check tie rods and check for broken or missing swaybar end links.
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Old 07-19-2014, 01:18 PM   #11
boongsin12
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I have replaced the sway bars and checked the tie rods so i am quite certain that they are ok.

I have not checked the flex disc so i will do that in near future.

I guess i can try to swap the wheels side to side and if that causes the same issue. I have directional but i guess short time driving might be ok.

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Old 07-20-2014, 07:00 PM   #12
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When I worked at a Mercedes dealerships and did alignments, a pretty large percentage of cases of the car pulling one way or the other was due to radial pull from the tires themselves. The side-to-side-swap was always the best way to nail that suspicion down if the car still pulled after the alignment was fully in specs. Sometimes a front to rear swap fixed it too, but that's the downside to staggered sizes...
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