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Old 03-13-2010, 10:40 PM   #1
pstrizz
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please explain Toe settings

I had my alignment done recently and they said they couldn't get the rear passenger toe within spec, and that they put it as close to within alignment as they could, but from what I can tell they made it worse that It had been. I don't understand why they couldn't at least leave it the way it was... Someone who knows this stuff please chime in!

I've read that this-> /-\ is toe in and this -> \-/ is toe out. but I keep finding contradicting info on which is negative and which is positive??! Could someone please put my mind to rest as to what is correct and maybe do a quick ms paint diagram to show how mine looks and how to calculate the total toe. PLEASE!

Left Rear: Toe
Actual: 1.1mm
Before: 1.5mm
Range: 1.1mm to 2.3mm

Right Rear: Toe
Actual: -4.6mm
Before: -4.0mm
Range 1.1mm to 2.3mm
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:41 PM   #2
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:43 PM   #3
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Old 03-13-2010, 10:44 PM   #4
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thank god, it all makes sense now! lol
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:32 PM   #5
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Take it to a different shop? This is something that is hard to DIY without the proper equipment.


Odds are the rear suspension elements are worn out and they adjusted it fully to 1 direction. Your probably looking at a very expensive bill to replace all of those components to make it right.


I would reccomend you take it to another shop, and have them tell you what parts you would need replaced. Then go buy those parts yourself and install them.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:53 AM   #6
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I'm already looking into it... I know two mechanics that might be able to help me, but until I can get a hold of them I was hoping to at least know what I'm looking at
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:08 AM   #7
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good one Chad, is that toe in or toe out?

Seriously, i've been meaning to find out the same stuff. Have you tried googling automotive alignment? Maybe there's a WIKI page out there explaining what's going on. Of course, that wouldn't be BMW specific, but it might help you understand it better.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:20 AM   #8
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Although I don't know for sure, I'm going to make an educated guess that toe in is with the toes in...that toe out (or a negative number) means that the toe is out.

Usually, these things make sense even when you don't know what you're talking about like me!

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Old 03-14-2010, 11:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Although I don't know for sure, I'm going to make an educated guess that toe in is with the toes in...that toe out (or a negative number) means that the toe is out.

Usually, these things make sense even when you don't know what you're talking about like me!

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that's one for the manual lol
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:36 AM   #10
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toe in is when the wheels are pointing inwards. I have the fronts set at 2.0mm toe in for each wheel. Is stabilizes the car at speed. You would call that negative toe, but in fact the toe setting doesn't have a negative value as it's been simply referred to as 'toe in' and 'toe out'.
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by lestat103 View Post
toe in is when the wheels are pointing inwards. I have the fronts set at 2.0mm toe in for each wheel. Is stabilizes the car at speed. You would call that negative toe, but in fact the toe setting doesn't have a negative value as it's been simply referred to as 'toe in' and 'toe out'.
so toe in is referred to as negative toe, but is in fact positive values?
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:36 PM   #12
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Stand up, and look at your feet. Make sure they're both pointing straight ahead, parallel heel-to-toe. That's zero toe. If it were your car... Front wheels are tracking perfectly straight.

Toe in, as inferred above, is your toes pointing slightly inwards as you pivot from your heels. If it were your car, that means the front wheels are pointing slightly inwards, and this condition can help with straight-ahead tracking with some suspension set-ups. As long as the toe-in is not very pronounced, that is; otherwise you'd be chewing up expensive rubber continuously.

Toe out is the opposite, toes pointing slightly out as you pivot from your heels, like pigeons walk ("pigeon-toed" refers to this condition). In my experience, making the front tires toe out like this can make a car skittish, again depending on the suspension. And again, not good for tires.

Notice I have specifically only mentioned front tires. Rear tires should ideally have zero toe. Some cars have the capability of adjusting the rear tires for modest toe in or toe out, although most are set at the factory with the zero toe setting, and adjusting it can involve replacement of suspension parts. Some cars have one side adjustable, not both, so minor corrections can be made to account for accident damage, poor assembly, or some other situation. Used to be, 25-30 years ago, in the bad old days, you'd see some cars "crabbing" along, rear end slightly to one side or the other of the front end. That would be a sign the rear toe was seriously messed up. Don't see much of that anymore, what with robotic assembly the way of the world.

Talk to an alignment shop that knows our cars, that knows our cars should be aligned with the weight of the driver on the front seat (yes, our cars are that adjustable), and that knows that any car can be correctly aligned if... if... you're willing to spend money if parts need replacement in a worst-case scenario. I'm willing to bet, though, they're just doing just enough to get by, and are trying to blow you off instead of giving you intelligent answers. Good luck!
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:38 PM   #13
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it's all positive values as long as you mention if it's toe 'IN' or 'OUT'.

Negative means 'IN', as in 2.0mm negative toe. It is redundant to say -2.0mm negative toe. Hope that's a bit more clear for you.

To conclude, your chart should say:

Left rear: TOE IN
Right rear: TOE IN

... and all positive values and by the way, those values are for each wheel, not total.

Last edited by Lestat_; 03-14-2010 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 03-14-2010, 01:07 PM   #14
pstrizz
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thank you lestat103. It finally all makes so much more sense now!
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:54 PM   #15
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I would inspect the RTABs first and then for any bent control arms.
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