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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 04-18-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
SharkmanBMW
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Wheel alignment - Ideal specs for lowered Xi ?

I have an alignment coming up that will be done by a shop willing to set it to my liking, is there a 'best' or recommended way to align a 330Xi on H&R / Bilstein ?

Just want something to go by, personal experience input, other than whatever the machine spits out. The last shop that did it used to Be the best but i recently lost all faith in them. Whatever they did feels like crap.

Anything special to consider?
Thanks
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:18 PM   #2
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I too would like to know this as I may be getting a new set of wheels ad I'm lowered on FK coilovers.

Bump!

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Old 04-18-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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Are you doing any motorsports or is this just for the street?
Do you value cornering speed (toss-able) over high speed stability (planted feeling)?
Do you have square tires/wheels?

I would go with as much negative front camber as you can get, set the front toe to zero (or ever slightly toed-in), and keep the rear in spec, but on the aggressive side (minimum toe and max camber).

Front camber: -1.5 to -2.5 degrees (spec is -.5 to -1.2)
Front toe: .01 degrees (in) (spec is .01 to .09)
Front caster: 5.0 to 6.0 degrees (spec is 5.0 to 6.0)

Rear camber: -1.0 to -2.0 degrees (spec is -1.0 to -1.5)
rear toe: .08 degrees (in) (spec is .08 to .18)

Zero toe is a "fast" alignment- that is, fast in a straight line.
More negative camber up front will allow you to corner quicker.
Both of the above will reduce the high-speed stability slightly.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Are you doing any motorsports or is this just for the street?
Do you value cornering speed (toss-able) over high speed stability (planted feeling)?
Do you have square tires/wheels?

I would go with as much negative front camber as you can get, set the front toe to zero (or ever slightly toed-in), and keep the rear in spec, but on the aggressive side (minimum toe and max camber).

Front camber: -1.5 to -2.5 degrees (spec is -.5 to -1.2)
Front toe: .01 degrees (in) (spec is .01 to .09)
Front caster: 5.0 to 6.0 degrees (spec is 5.0 to 6.0)

Rear camber: -1.0 to -2.0 degrees (spec is -1.0 to -1.5)
rear toe: .08 degrees (in) (spec is .08 to .18)

Zero toe is a "fast" alignment- that is, fast in a straight line.
More negative camber up front will allow you to corner quicker.
Both of the above will reduce the high-speed stability slightly.
My wheels and tires are not square. Would this apply to me as well?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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Here is my allignment from a while back. I am sitting on KW V1's putting me to a ZHP height, not slammed. These are probably not "ideal" but this is what I had done. I have no premature tire wearing.

Allignment Google Pic

any feedback would be great, as I am about to replace some more suspension components and I will most likely return to the same shop for my next allignment
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by chaso View Post
My wheels and tires are not square. Would this apply to me as well?

Thanks for your help.
Yes, but a lot of front camber will wear the inside of your front tires quicker- not as much of an issue if you can rotate.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Are you doing any motorsports or is this just for the street? STREET/ Very Agressive braking/cornering
Do you value cornering speed (toss-able) over high speed stability (planted feeling)? YES
Do you have square tires/wheels? NO, I don't care about rotating, my best friend sells tires and I only drive 10k miles /yr anyways, driving JOY is all I want

I would go with as much negative front camber as you can get, set the front toe to zero (or ever slightly toed-in), and keep the rear in spec, but on the aggressive side (minimum toe and max camber).

Front camber: -1.5 to -2.5 degrees (spec is -.5 to -1.2)
Front toe: .01 degrees (in) (spec is .01 to .09)
Front caster: 5.0 to 6.0 degrees (spec is 5.0 to 6.0)

Rear camber: -1.0 to -2.0 degrees (spec is -1.0 to -1.5)
rear toe: .08 degrees (in) (spec is .08 to .18)

Zero toe is a "fast" alignment- that is, fast in a straight line.
More negative camber up front will allow you to corner quicker.
Both of the above will reduce the high-speed stability slightly.
As usual, you have the right info
The alignment shop builds race cars, so they told me the same thing about straight line stability... I am willing to sacrifice some for better cornering.
I remember telling you I had no understeer awhile back, that was 100% due to alignment, I re-aligned a few months later and they removed neg camber and I lost the great feel. The M3 rear shocks also seem to cause more oversteer...
I also never used to wear tires unevenly, so, I am willing to try a more extreme setup.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:35 PM   #8
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whoops. the google link I provided was private it should be public now
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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OK, found a few issues that needed to be fixed prior to aligning.
Needed to replace rear trailing arm bushings & cam bolts before they could start. One was seized and the other cam bolt wasn't adjusting.

It was recommended that I get Camber/Caster plates to fine tune it better, my front Caster is .4 degrees off, but it feels pretty good.
Anyone have experience with camber plates??
I saw Turner has a few models, but only the KMAC seem to fit the Xi. I would likely go with the stage 1 street/race, but for $315, I will definitely try it as is before placing an order.

Here is a copy of the alignment specs - What do you guys think?

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Old 04-20-2012, 10:39 AM   #10
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Well your caster is within spec, but I don't agree with your camber and toe in settings - unless you are looking for aggressive turning and street driving. I know you said this above, but you might want to dial back those settings closer to factory.

Caster affects your steering attack angle, it will affect your over/understeer and return to center of the steering wheel.
Toe in affects your over/understeer also, but more importantly affects how your car reacts to pot holes and bump steer. A car with more toe in (around 1/4" / .025) will have less bump steer and better overall control. Toe in naturally goes closer to 0 from the drag of the wheels + bearings at higher speeds, the suspension flexes outwards..

However, having less toe in will make the car dart into a corner and dart over a pothole from bump steer.

Personally, for the best compromise between ease of driving, tire wear, and handling, I prefer:
-1 degree front and -1 to -1.2 rear camber.
5.5 degrees caster
0.1 - .25" toe in.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:49 AM   #11
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when i had mine done, i told them to put it to the same specs as a zhp and i ended up with -1front, -1.2 rear and 5.5 degrees caster and pretty much 0 toe
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #12
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^^ anything less than about -1.8 front camber is not enough for hard cornering- you will roll the front tires over and ride on the sidewall. Even at 42-44psi and tires with the stiffest sidewalls.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:52 PM   #13
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Good point, but here is a little extra reading from some guys at the F1 forum and another relevant post about "tire camber".

http://www.f1technical.net/forum/vie....php?f=6&t=298
http://www.f1technical.net/forum/vie...hp?f=6&t=12268

I agree, if you need a lot of sharp cornering at high speed, you can roll the tire over and ride the sidewall. I don't experience a lot of outside tire wear, only inside, so I don't suspect that to be a problem on my car.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:21 PM   #14
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Re-opening a not so old thread.. I have 325ci convertible 18" wheels, dropped using H&R springs (sports version; not race). Am a street driver, but take backroads once a week and go as high as 75 on a curve. I certainly care about tire wear. Cant afford $800 every year or so..

Based on the recommendations above, what would be the ideal alignment settings:
CAMBER: -1.2 degree Front and -1.2 Rear
CASTER: 5.5 degrees
TOE IN: 0.1"

Thoughts? Anyone?
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:55 PM   #15
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How are you guys adjusting camber? Camber bolts? I got konis with eibach springs and they told me there's no camber adjustment on these cars

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Old 07-24-2014, 01:26 PM   #16
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How are you guys adjusting camber? Camber bolts? I got konis with eibach springs and they told me there's no camber adjustment on these cars

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Camber plates up front and adjusting the eccentric bolts in the back.

The "alignment pin" should be removed from the front strut mounts so you can get about -1.6 degrees up front.
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:51 PM   #17
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Camber plates up front and adjusting the eccentric bolts in the back.

The "alignment pin" should be removed from the front strut mounts so you can get about -1.6 degrees up front.
Thanks. . Too late for that now, except I already have -1.4 deg on front according to the print out. I'm most concerned about drastic uneven tire wear. Will it happen or I'll be OK? Cause I have fresh tires on there and I don't wanna ruin them

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Old 07-25-2014, 06:01 PM   #18
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Thanks. . Too late for that now, except I already have -1.4 deg on front according to the print out. I'm most concerned about drastic uneven tire wear. Will it happen or I'll be OK? Cause I have fresh tires on there and I don't wanna ruin them

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No, -1.4 degrees of camber will not cause any uneven tire wear. Just make sure you don't have more toe-in than a stock alignment. The closer you get to zero toe, the longer your tires will last. It's also technically faster in a straight line.

I am currently running -3.6 deg of camber up front, -2.5 deg in the rear with all four corners toed-out just a cvnt hair with sticky direzza 2's. They are wearing fairly evenly.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:24 AM   #19
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Bump again for more info.

Kubica, with front toe at 0.01/0.02, is this the enough to wear the inside tire? The passenger side which was dialed in at 0.02 smoked the inside of a tire in 7,000 miles while the other side is fine.

Here are the specs.

Front:

Camber: -1.33/-1.44
Caster: 4.34/4.53 - Due to Powerflex Directions saying to put them in backwards, I'm fixing soon.
Toe: 0.01/0.02

Rear:
Camber: -1.10/-1.09
Toe:0.07/0.07
Total Toe:0.14
Thrust Angle:0.00

This was aligned at the BMW Dealership for All Models w/ AWD 17" Wheel 1998-2006 E46

The issue is both my passenger side wheels wore so heavily to the cords.

All the front suspension has been replaced beside the shocks and I ordered new M3 RTAB w/ Limiters to see if that will solve the rear issue? Perhaps they are bad and changing the Toe?
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