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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Suspension & Braking

Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 08-05-2008, 03:01 PM   #1
kuksul08
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General Alignment Questions

I need to get an alignment. Last time I did it, the guy at the shop adjusted the stuff with me sitting in the driver seat, and it was $90 for a four wheel align using his lift and optical dealio.

Now since i changed the struts, and control arms, I need to get another one. The local shop is saying $170 because they have to put weight all over the car (regardless of the fact that 95% of the time I am driving alone), and also reset the steering position sensor.

Input?
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:20 AM   #2
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hmmm,

what settings are you attempting to get dialed in at?
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:06 PM   #3
kuksul08
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Originally Posted by Vicious I6 View Post
hmmm,

what settings are you attempting to get dialed in at?
Whatever the factory specs are... Another shop quoted me $79 for a front end alignment today... they don't reset any electronics though.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:12 PM   #4
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did you want it corner balanced?

Not aware of any steering position sensor.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by keith_m3-4 View Post
did you want it corner balanced?

Not aware of any steering position sensor.
I don't need any corner balancing. The weight is just the specified weight that BMW recommends (to simulate a load, and passengers).

I am going to check another place to see what they say.


One more thing. I had the alignment before, and since then have only done the shocks in the rear. So the rear alignment should still be perfect right?
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:51 AM   #6
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bump. Setting an appt for this friday but I'd still like to know about the rear alignment and sensor.
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:53 AM   #7
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i have never had an alignment while sitting in the vehicle

I'd prob just get the whole thing aligned if you have done suspension work.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:29 PM   #8
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Send a PM to JPR, he knows everything about alignments.
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:16 PM   #9
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JPR is a genius, I will try that haha.
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S54 Valve Adjustment Spreadsheet & Info: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28231781/S54...ent%20info.zip
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:55 PM   #10
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I think you'll find all you need to regarding alignments in general and ballasting in particular in this thread - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=416660 - the short answer is that you don't need the wieghts, but you should have the car in an easily repeatable condition and you'll need to put some windage on the alignment specs for which you are shooting.

On the subject of the steering angle sensor, the full discussion is here - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=436527 - the short answer is you don't need to worry about since the E46's do not have the active steering system.

As for whether to do the full or partial alignment, do the full one unless you really are tight on cash flow. I'm guessing it's been a while since you've done one so you might as get the whole car rebaselined. Plus with the full alignment you've got better odds of getting a tech who really knows what he is doing. If you're in a pinch for cash, take a good look at the wear pattern on your rear wheels, assuming you've got some respectable miles on the tires. So long as the outside edge wear is comparable to the inside edge and the LR pattern is similar to the RR pattern, you could reasonably defer the rear alignment until the next time you get new tires.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:38 AM   #11
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I am putting in my control arms + bushings tomorrow, and getting an alignment on Monday from a guy who does them out of his garage. No worries though, he is very competent and routinely works on high end cars from a local shop. I think it will be fine to go 3 days without an alignment, right?

My tires are pretty weird now...the right rear is on the wear bars, and the left rear is still 50% or so. The fronts look even with a little excess outer edge wear.
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S54 Valve Adjustment Spreadsheet & Info: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28231781/S54...ent%20info.zip
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:57 PM   #12
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Just got the alignment. They used a Hunter D300 or something.

He had to pop the factory alignment pin out of the strut tower and pushed the whole thing inward on each side.

A few things kind of bugged me though. First off, he didn't weight the car anywhere, just drove it up on there. During the alignment he used an impact wrench to loosen AND tighten the bolts on the rear trailing arm...meh. He used a manual wrench on the strut tower and tie rods though. Also he didn't lock the steering wheel centered while doing the steering linkage adjustments, just eyeballed it...idk. It was different than the last alignment I got that's for sure.

While changing the strut tower adjustment (3 bolts on top), he had the wheels completely off the ground. I don't see how you can adjust camber if there is a foot of wheel gap, and the tires are angled 20 degrees outward

I don't know how much difference the weighting makes. The steering seems a lot less touchy now. Before I had to constantly make adjustments because the steering was so sensitive, and now its somewhat more planted feeling. I will upload the alignment sheet later.

Any input on those few things?

Oh yea, the full 4 wheel align was only $75.
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S54 Valve Adjustment Spreadsheet & Info: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28231781/S54...ent%20info.zip
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:21 PM   #13
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Here is some info. Please give your input even though that's a short story ^^



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S54 Valve Adjustment Spreadsheet & Info: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28231781/S54...ent%20info.zip
S54 VANOS DIY Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SkT2j3jsU0
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:29 PM   #14
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That's a decent enough alignment. My personal preferences would be for a little more camber all around and a lot less front toe, but hey, it's not my car. What you can be proud of you alignment guy for doing is getting the left/right settings so close to each other. Many less competent and/or lazier techs would have had a bigger spread.

Bottom line is drive it for a while and see how you like it. Based on that, you got a good foundation from which to tune it if you so desire.
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jpr View Post
That's a decent enough alignment. My personal preferences would be for a little more camber all around and a lot less front toe, but hey, it's not my car. What you can be proud of you alignment guy for doing is getting the left/right settings so close to each other. Many less competent and/or lazier techs would have had a bigger spread.

Bottom line is drive it for a while and see how you like it. Based on that, you got a good foundation from which to tune it if you so desire.
Thanks for the response I'm thinking that now with less camber it will make the tires last longer. I will still have to test it out in the twisties.
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S54 Valve Adjustment Spreadsheet & Info: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28231781/S54...ent%20info.zip
S54 VANOS DIY Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SkT2j3jsU0
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:32 AM   #16
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where did you get your alignment done at kuksul08??
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:56 AM   #17
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where did you get your alignment done at kuksul08??
"More Service", it's just a local shop, this guy converted his garage at his house and put an alignment rack in.

I meant to say above that he moved the strut mounts outward, effectively reducing front camber.



I just noticed that the rear camber tolerances on the above sheet say -1.8 to -1.3, and the other alignment I got said -1.8 to -2.3 .Typo?



According to this, it is -1.8 to -2.3. Hmmm...
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S54 Valve Adjustment Spreadsheet & Info: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28231781/S54...ent%20info.zip
S54 VANOS DIY Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SkT2j3jsU0

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Old 08-19-2008, 01:05 AM   #18
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where is it located at exactly if you don't mind me asking i usually check my alignment every 6 months and the last place i went to raised their prices to 140 bucks from 90 so i need a new reliable cost effective place to go. hopefully this is in the LA area i just thought of that
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:55 AM   #19
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where is it located at exactly if you don't mind me asking i usually check my alignment every 6 months and the last place i went to raised their prices to 140 bucks from 90 so i need a new reliable cost effective place to go. hopefully this is in the LA area i just thought of that
Unfortunately for you it's in the south bay area, kind of a long way to drive haha.
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S54 Valve Adjustment Spreadsheet & Info: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/28231781/S54...ent%20info.zip
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:36 PM   #20
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The -1.3 to -1.8 for the rear camber is the standard (non-sport) alignment value. The "sport" settings (which is what you car orginally came with) are indeed -1.8 to -2.3. Similarly for the front camber, the standard range is -0.7 to 0 while the sport range is -0.4 to -1.1. Bear in mind though that those settings are for the car in the specified load condition. Without the weights the front camber reading will change a little and the rear camber reading will change a lot even with no actual physical changes to the setting.

In regards to tire wear, is the toe setting that really determines the overall rate of tire wear while the camber only influences location. To put it another way, you can run a heck of a lot camber and not worry about the tires wearing funny so long as you've got the toe set correctly.
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