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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 09-12-2008, 02:39 PM   #1
BuckwheatOne
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Chicago
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My Ride: '02 330Ci
jpr......your time to shine (again)

In previous posts I mentioned I'm getting Koni FSDs and new CAs/bushings installed soon. I also just purchased some 18" CSLs with PS2's, and I intend on getting an alignment after all the parts are installed.

My question concerns whether I should get a different alignment for the 16" winter wheel/tire combo that I'll be putting on in mid-october. I think that tirerack recommends using the stock alignment settings for the winter wheel/tire combo that I have, but will the tech do something different when the 18's are on there for the alignment?

Thanks for your help,

(Clueless about alignments) BW
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:16 PM   #2
jpr
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Depends upon how they measure it. The best way to specify the alignment settings, and coincidentally the way BMW specifies them, is by fractions of degrees. What is slick about this method is it is completely independent of dimensions such as wheel size.

The other way to measure it is by inches or mm or deflection. When you do that, you do need to know the length of the other leg of the triangle in order to convert to degrees and make sure everything is same-same. The newer and fancier alignment machines do this automatically by having a known fixed baseline and/or measuring angles directly. The older machines need the baseline info, typically wheel size, inputed automatically.

What this means to you in practical terms is look at the alignment report they give you. If it indicates wheel size and it's incorrect, you'll need a do over.

As for changing alignment settings between the 16's and the 18's, personally I wouldn't sweat it too much. Ideally, you can a little less toe with the 18's than the 16's since you'll have less sidewall flex for which to compensate. But I think you can be perfectly happy with a good enough setting for both and not have to get the car aligned twice a year.
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Old 09-15-2008, 08:37 AM   #3
BuckwheatOne
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Thanks. That's good stuff. I'm probably going to have the local dealership do it, so I'd imagine they'll be using the "fractions of degrees" that you mention.

BW
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