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Old 04-20-2014, 10:33 PM   #1
Chrsb5
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2 alignments later and stilling pulling to the right, RTAB time ?

It was a brutal winter on the east coast with the resulting potholes and destroyed pavement. Before putting my summer wheels and tires back on a couple weeks ago, I took the car in for an alignment, I could tell it had been knocked out of whack by some of the monster cracks and holes that were everywhere on the roadways. After the alignment it still pulled to the right, both under acceleration and while coasting/steady throttle. I took it back to the shop last week, and I do have confidence in the quality of the work there, and they but it back on the rack again to make sure it was all in order. Everything checked out but the car is still pulling to the right.

With the front control arms and bushings replaced in September 2012 at 68k miles, am I on the right path thinking it could be the RTABs ? The only other thought I had is the tie rods, but there's really no play when I jack up the car and wiggle the front wheels side to side.
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:56 PM   #2
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whats your tire wear lookin like. if you have more wear on one side then the other then bingo. do you have a print out of the alignment you could post. I work at bmw and will see if and what they adjusted and what could be causing this pull
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrsb5 View Post
It was a brutal winter on the east coast with the resulting potholes and destroyed pavement. Before putting my summer wheels and tires back on a couple weeks ago, I took the car in for an alignment, I could tell it had been knocked out of whack by some of the monster cracks and holes that were everywhere on the roadways. After the alignment it still pulled to the right, both under acceleration and while coasting/steady throttle. I took it back to the shop last week, and I do have confidence in the quality of the work there, and they but it back on the rack again to make sure it was all in order. Everything checked out but the car is still pulling to the right.

With the front control arms and bushings replaced in September 2012 at 68k miles, am I on the right path thinking it could be the RTABs ? The only other thought I had is the tie rods, but there's really no play when I jack up the car and wiggle the front wheels side to side.

OP, you easily could be right about the possible theory's causing your Bimmer to pull to the Right. But........


The very first thing I always check when I encounter this type of problem is tire air pressure. If one front tire is a good bit off from the other, this will create the same problem.


Good luck.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:07 AM   #4
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Check the front lower control arms and bushings after checking your tire pressures.


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Old 04-21-2014, 10:03 AM   #5
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Who did your alignment?

Did they put weights in the car when they aligned it per specifications? If not this could be the cause of your problems.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:17 AM   #6
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I would need to see your alignment sheet first. But it doesn't matter... RTABs should be done anyway. You're likely 5-6x overdue. Your pulling while cruising problem, I have a strong suspicion as to what that is. May have to PM you on it.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:11 PM   #7
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OP, you easily could be right about the possible theory's causing your Bimmer to pull to the Right. But........


The very first thing I always check when I encounter this type of problem is tire air pressure. If one front tire is a good bit off from the other, this will create the same problem.
Good luck.
Tire pressure was the very first thing I checked, tires are all properly inflated. I even swapped the front wheels to make sure it wasn't a tire related problem.

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Check the front lower control arms and bushings after checking your tire pressures.


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Already checked that too, jacked up the front of the car and gave each wheel a good shake, no wiggle or play and the bushings looks good upon a visual inspection as well. The are less than 2 years old and have about 14k miles on new bushings and control arms

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Who did your alignment?

Did they put weights in the car when they aligned it per specifications? If not this could be the cause of your problems.
American Tire in Trenton NJ, I am not sure if they put weights in the car, I've actually never heard of that.

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whats your tire wear lookin like. if you have more wear on one side then the other then bingo. do you have a print out of the alignment you could post. I work at bmw and will see if and what they adjusted and what could be causing this pull
No uneven wear at all. I checked with a coin and the tread depth is consistent.

Here are scans of the printouts.



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Old 04-21-2014, 07:17 PM   #8
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Can you post the lower scan larger please I can't read it too well. Based on what I am able to read from the small scan, it looks like your alignment was fine both before and after. How many miles do the current tires have on them?

BTW not sure if you've addressed this (hard to tell) but have the RTABs been replaced? If not, replace them. They can still look "fine" but be worn out. If it's worn out on one or both sides this could also cause your pulling.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:18 PM   #9
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I'm not able to see / enlarge those pics.

Last guess,.........one of your brake calipers is "grabbing" a little. Causing your Bimmer to pull. Jack it up & check it out.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:18 PM   #10
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I would need to see your alignment sheet first. But it doesn't matter... RTABs should be done anyway. You're likely 5-6x overdue. Your pulling while cruising problem, I have a strong suspicion as to what that is. May have to PM you on it.

I've just ordered a RTAB tool from Amazon and Meyle HD RTABs and limiters from ECS, so they're getting done regardless. If you have another theory on thought, please do PM me.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:20 PM   #11
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I've just ordered a RTAB tool from Amazon and Meyle HD RTABs and limiters from ECS, so they're getting done regardless. If you have another theory on thought, please do PM me.
Great. Do those and report back. As long as your settings are relatively similar (if not the same) left to right then you won't cause pulling. At that point, any pulling you'd experience would be down to something worn out causing dynamic changes. My alignment settings are pretty close to yours and my car tracks straight and true.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:21 PM   #12
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Lets try this again...



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Old 04-21-2014, 07:23 PM   #13
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Looks like your front toe would cause pulling to the right before you got the alignment. How long were you driving like this on the current tires? This could've worn them in a certain way.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:33 PM   #14
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The tires that are on the car now Continental Extreme Contact DW in 235/40/18 mounted on 18x8 wheels , my summer wheels and tires have very few miles. They were installed last summer 7/24/13, at 76k on the car. I put the winters on in mid October and just two weeks ago switched back to the summers. I would estimate they have less than 4k miles.

I got the first of the two alignments no more 3 weeks after I suspected it needed one.

I can post pictures of the winter tires I just took off, but I really didn't see any uneven wear at all.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:40 PM   #15
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Your best bet is to get the RTABs replaced. Anything worn out that can cause dynamic toe change will cause wandering or pulling. That's a lot more likely to happen as a result of worn out stuff in the rear. Check out my suspension thread and check out the sea of parts in the rear. You may want to consider double balljoints.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:49 PM   #16
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Have you ruled out tire pull by swapping the two fronts? My Michelin pilots have a very small pull to the right, even after 3 alignments and a full suspension refresh.

Just a thought, it is uncommon on quality tires like michelins continentals etc but it can happen....


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Old 04-22-2014, 05:12 PM   #17
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Sure it's not just road crown? Maybe try a little more front toe in might help. Low front toe will make the car pull to the low side. I doubt rtabs are causing it. Even if you were getting some slop back there, you would compensate with the steering wheel. In other words, slop in the rtabs would cause the rear end to be a little squirelly not pulling to one side.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:23 PM   #18
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Have you ruled out tire pull by swapping the two fronts? My Michelin pilots have a very small pull to the right, even after 3 alignments and a full suspension refresh.

Just a thought, it is uncommon on quality tires like michelins continentals etc but it can happen....


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I swapped the front wheels after ruling out tire pressure. There was no change, still pulled

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Sure it's not just road crown? Maybe try a little more front toe in might help. Low front toe will make the car pull to the low side. I doubt rtabs are causing it. Even if you were getting some slop back there, you would compensate with the steering wheel. In other words, slop in the rtabs would cause the rear end to be a little squirelly not pulling to one side.
Absolutely certain it's not the road. Several different roads, highways in the center lane, an empty parking lot ect. Even had the Mrs drive it

RTABs are due for replacement and already ordered. If they end up not being the cause of the pull, at least I'll know they've been taken care of.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:35 PM   #19
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Your best bet is to get the RTABs replaced. Anything worn out that can cause dynamic toe change will cause wandering or pulling. That's a lot more likely to happen as a result of worn out stuff in the rear. Check out my suspension thread and check out the sea of parts in the rear. You may want to consider double balljoints.
I've been thinking about replacing the other two, the bushing and bearing at the same time as the RTABs. I'm a big subscriber to the "while I'm in there, have the car up in the air" school of thought. My hesitation come from the fear that I won't be able to get the damn things out and/or the new ones in. The toolkit you referenced in the Definitive Trailing Arm Guide is pretty spendy at over $300, but I have a feeling I'll be setting myself up for nothing but frustration and scraped knuckles if I try to use something like one of the loaner tool sets from Advance Auto or Pepboys.
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:24 AM   #20
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You need to change RTAB for sure, with out it, you're pissing in the dark...Reason, when stationary, the alignment numbers will look good, but once you start driving, applying pressure and torque to the rtab, the busing let the control arm move more than needed, thus introducing unnecessary steering motion to the trailing arm.

If you are concerned with pressing in and out the RTAB, then go the easy route. Use poly bushings, no need to press those in, you can do it by hand. No special tools necessary.
Taking old bushing out is super simple. Take a hole saw and drill through the rubber center, knock out the outer edge with the chisel.

The draw back is the poly can squeak, but if you grease it enough you should be fine.
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