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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:18 PM   #1
ryannel2003
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Inner front tire wear

Just noticed today on my 323i that the front passenger side tire is starting to wear down on the inside. It's not slick yet, but in about 10k miles or so it most likely will be done. The strange thing is the rest of the tires are wearing normally with no issues at all. From what I've been reading online the biggest cause of this is FCAB but I replaced mine along with the control arms with Meyle HD's about 5k miles ago and had an alignment done at the same time. Tie rods were in good shape; boots looked like new. Car tracks straight and handling is fine. I am going to replace the entire suspension very soon on the car and get a new set of wheels (these wheels are trashed) so before I get a new set of wheels and tires I wanted to make sure the suspension was ok.

I just think it's strange it's wearing on one side only. Front psi is 29 and rear is 32 (or 33) per door label. I'll have my buddy put it on the alignment rack and check it out. Curious to know what you all think.

Driver side front


Passenger side front
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
RayPooley
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Track rod adjustment? Track rod end wear? Lower front control arm bushes worn and need replacing? Front strut or spring damage or wear. In short, all of these things have to be right in order to ensure that steering geometry is correct under load when subject to driving road forces and the tires are a part of that geometry. This is fairly routine stuff and any decent indie will be able to measure your steering geometry and correct it. That correction might be a simple ajustment or a replacement of components. The lower control arm bushes are a fairly common replacement but they are not expensive by any means. Do it before it ruins your tire.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:03 PM   #3
asma123
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I think this is probably camber related.
Check your alignment make sure it is within specs.
My suspicion is probably the knuckle if you say that your fcab is new.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
ryannel2003
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The control arms and the control arm bushings are brand new with +/- 5k miles on them. Tie rods seem to be in good shape and the boots looked like new when the car was on the alignment rack. I'm gonna have my friend check the alignment this weekend and see how off it is. Strange thing is that car still tracks straight. It does tramline sometimes, but not as bad as it was before I replaced the bushings and control arms.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:15 PM   #5
ryannel2003
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Oh and just to add that other than the control arms and maybe the tie rods, everything on this suspension is original. I bought the car in April and the previous set of tires were wearing terribly. On the front both sides of the tires were wearing on the outer edges, and the passenger side was wearing just like it is now. The passenger side rear was also wearing on the inside as well. Now the only part that is still wearing is the passenger side inner tire. It's not wearing as bad as it did before, but obviously something still isn't right.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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If you rotate the tires, then the wear from the rear will be evident as the tire gets more miles on it. Even if the front suspensiion is in good shape, if the rear tire is worn more on the inside edge than the rest of the tread, then when that tire is moved to the front and the tire wears normally, the inside edge will look worse sooner than the rest of the tread.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:09 PM   #7
ryannel2003
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Reading various things on the internet is leading me to believe a couple of things about what is happening:

1. The toe/camber is an issue here with this car. Now since the camber on these cars isn't adjustable, this could be an issue of strut tower mushrooming, correct? I know the struts are original and since the car has 150k miles, they are way overdue for a refresh. I'm looking at this kit for the suspension: Shocks/Struts. I was planning on either re-using or buying a used set of non-sport springs for the car since I like the way it rides and handles now.

2. I didn't buy these tires new because the Style 45 rims on this car are trashed. One is bent, the others have tons of curb rash and I knew that I was getting a new set of tires and wheels soon and until that time I cheaped out on the tires. I doubt the used tires had anything to do with it because when I received them they didn't have any noticeable signs of wear .

3. This car was previously in a sideswipe type wreck on the passenger side... coincidentally where the tire is wearing now. I've been suggested and read a few times that the knuckle could be the cause of this?

These tires haven't been rotated since I had them put on 5k miles ago. Probably a good idea to rotate them now and then see how the wear is afterwards.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:15 PM   #8
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Tires wearing on both edges is a sign of under inflation. The fact that both front tires were worn on the outside edges means that both front tires were under inflated.

The rear passenger side tire (right side) is the tire that is driven with more force when the car has an open differential. If the car is driven with frequent fast starts then the inside edge of the right rear tire will show wear at a faster rate than the other parts of the same tire and faster than the other tires.

The proper way to rotate tires is to not rotate tires. If you do rotate them and keep the left side tires on the left side and the right side tires on the right side, then you move the wear pattern of the right rear (inside edge is worn more than the rest of the tread) to the front. As the tire continues to wear at an equal rate across the tread, then the advanced wear that occurred when the tire was on the back will eventually appear as excessive wear on the front that really is not excessive at all. If you have NOT rotated the tires, then you need to pursue a remedy. But if you DID rotate the tires then it is entirely possible that the wear you see now actually _started_ when the tire was someplace else on the car, and you have nothing to be concerned about.

Just be careful before you open your checkbook for parts that won't fix a problem that comes from a heavy foot on the little pedal.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:18 PM   #9
ryannel2003
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No that issue is fixed now. The only tire that is wearing is the inner part of the passenger side front tire. The rest of the tires are wearing evenly and normally.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:22 PM   #10
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Get on an alignment rack.

Inner wear is going to be caused by negative camber. Camber can be adjusted slightly, but you have to drill out the pin in the strut mount. That pin is set for correct camber from the factory aka new everything. The accident could have knocked your alignment out, or bent something. The rack will tell you. Read up on drilling the pin to allow for a little camber adjustment.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannel2003 View Post
Reading various things on the internet is leading me to believe a couple of things about what is happening:

1. The toe/camber is an issue here with this car. Now since the camber on these cars isn't adjustable, this could be an issue of strut tower mushrooming, correct? I know the struts are original and since the car has 150k miles, they are way overdue for a refresh. I'm looking at this kit for the suspension: Shocks/Struts. I was planning on either re-using or buying a used set of non-sport springs for the car since I like the way it rides and handles now.

2. I didn't buy these tires new because the Style 45 rims on this car are trashed. One is bent, the others have tons of curb rash and I knew that I was getting a new set of tires and wheels soon and until that time I cheaped out on the tires. I doubt the used tires had anything to do with it because when I received them they didn't have any noticeable signs of wear .

3. This car was previously in a sideswipe type wreck on the passenger side... coincidentally where the tire is wearing now. I've been suggested and read a few times that the knuckle could be the cause of this?

These tires haven't been rotated since I had them put on 5k miles ago. Probably a good idea to rotate them now and then see how the wear is afterwards.
WAIT A MINUTE HERE!

You have Used Tires on a car that was wrecked on the side where the tire wear is excessive? There is way too many variables here, the tires were worn before you put them on, and the car might not be straight. You need to figure out if the car is straight before you do anything. And what's the point of taking off springs and replacing them with used springs? If you are going to replace springs, get new ones. Why introduce variables of age into a suspension that is already old? The point is to make the suspension new, not just replace parts.

You asked about the towers mushrooming, but what about them being pushed around to a place where they are not even supposed to be? This is a far more likely problem on your car because it was wrecked.

You might have bought a car that will forever wear out the right front tire because the mounting locations for the main suspension parts are not in the right place anymore.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ryannel2003 View Post
No that issue is fixed now. The only tire that is wearing is the inner part of the passenger side front tire. The rest of the tires are wearing evenly and normally.
It doesn't matter what is happening now.

If the tire came from somewhere else and the wear _looked_ okay because there was ample tread, but it was really worn 10% more than the rest and you simply did not notice, then here we are several thousand miles later and the part that is 10% more worn is more visible than it once was.

But, you are driving around on used tires that you don't know much about, and they are on a car that was wrecked on the side that the tire wear has made you take notice.

You can have brand new control arms, brand new bushings, brand new tie rods, and still have a car that will wear the inside edge of tires for the rest of its life.

You need a good alignment on a fresh suspension set up to know if the car is straight or not.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:29 PM   #13
ryannel2003
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The springs I were looking at had 30k-40k miles on them, versus the 150k miles the current set has on them at the moment. The car itself tracks and the alignment fixed most of the tire issues I was having other than what is going on now. My plan was to replace the struts and get new mounts as well because they are worn slam out. The entire suspension is original other than the control arms and bushings. Looking at the strut towers, they don't look mushroomed at all. Look level to me.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #14
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You make a good point about the tires. My plan was to get the suspension parts for Christmas and get it installed and then I'll know what I'm dealing with here. If the car won't ever straighten itself up, I will sell it and find another E46 at that point.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #15
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Camber is not an issue. It is not adjustable, but if the car is straight then it does not need to be adjustable. You might have a shock tower that has been moved, and this could reasonably be mitigated if there was a camber adjustment, but this is a problem with this particular car, not with BMW 3 Series cars in general.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:36 PM   #16
ryannel2003
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Reading online the camber issue does seem to be an issue with these cars pretty commonly due to mushrooming strut towers, correct? At this point I will get it on an alignment rack and see what I'm dealing with. I won't know until probably Sunday so I will report back then.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:51 PM   #17
jdstrickland
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Originally Posted by ryannel2003 View Post
You make a good point about the tires. My plan was to get the suspension parts for Christmas and get it installed and then I'll know what I'm dealing with here. If the car won't ever straighten itself up, I will sell it and find another E46 at that point.
Personally, I think the car should be able to be straightened BEFORE I invested the money on a suspension. I think you should put the car on a rack and see exactly what is bent, and then buy a set of new tires and put it on the corner with a For Sale sign in the window.

If the car cannot be aligned now, then it cannot be aligned later.


CASTER
If you could draw a line from the lower ball joint through the spindle to the upper ball joint, this line would intersect the pavement at an angle, this angle is Caster. Your car has been wrecked and this angle is now not correct.

CAMBER
If you were a worm poking your head out of a hole looking at the car coming straight at you, the tires would be at an angle to the ground, this angle is Camber. In a perfect world, you want the tires to be perpendicular to the ground (exactly parallel to each other). As a matter of physical geometry and the design of the car, the tires might be closer at the top than at the bottom. Your car (due to the wreck) might have the left side tire perpendicular and the right side tire tilted in at the top, causing the inside edge to carry more weight and therefore have more wear than the rest of the tire.

TOE IN/OUT
If you were a bird with the ability to see through steel, you would see the front tires parallel to one another when the car is going straight. The angle of difference from parallel is Toe, and toe can be either in or out. Toe in means the front of the tires are closer together than the back, toe out means the front of the tires is further apart than the back. Your car can have the left front on a perfect line with the rear tire, and the right front tire pointed outward relative to the rear. One should be able to draw a straight line through the rear tire and the front tire on the same side of the car, and the lines should be parallel. Keep in mind that the front track and the rear track are not the same -- the distance between the front and rear tires is different -- so a line through the center of the front and rear tires would not overlay on each other, they would be parallel to each other.)

You have three different axises (axii?) that could be moved as a result of the car being sideswiped. Of the three, the top of the shock tower is one that would be easiest to move in a wreck and would cause precisely the wear pattern you are observing if all that was done in the repair was to bolt on a new fender.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:00 PM   #18
ryannel2003
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I didn't own the car at the time of the wreck so honestly I don't know what was fixed and where it was done. I know it was wrecked sometime in 2008-2009 so it was awhile back.

I hate to have already spent so much money on the car to possibly have an issue like this one. I will have to see what is going on
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:25 PM   #19
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For reference, here are a few pics of the strut towers:



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Old 11-09-2012, 04:56 PM   #20
ryannel2003
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Here is what the alignment came out to be:

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