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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 09-02-2013, 06:50 PM   #1
mistershhh
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What can cause negative camber?

So I've had problems with front tires wearing out on the inside edge for some time now... The tire shop pointed out that I needed new control arms and ball joints, and said once that's done they could sort out the alignment.

Long story short, I had the suspension work done, and still 3-4 degrees of negative camber. As I have since learned, there is no camber adjustment on these cars, so the question is, what is causing it? I have an idea that it might be broken strut mounts... Is that a possibility? The strut towers don't seem to be mushroomed, at least not that I can tell. The alignment shops around here keep telling me that I have the wrong control arms, but I know that's not the case, and this problem existed before they were replaced.

It's a 2004 330xi... This may or may not be an xi related issue, but I figured to post here first. The car drives ok, but I'd like for tires to last more than 15k miles.



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Old 09-02-2013, 07:00 PM   #2
dwtaylorpdx
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I'd look the part number up on real OEM and then crawl under there and check.
Or make the yoyo's telling you they are the wrong ones, tell you how they know?

I didn't think there were any arms that interchanged but haven't looked.
Someone (PO?) may have done something silly like trying to put M3 arms on the
X but don't know if there are any that where close enough. But if everything is correct, a
body shop that has a clue should be able to tell you if the chassis has an issue.

Find out if there is a reasonably nearby shop that deals with road race cars for track use.
They will have dealt with extreme camber issues.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:19 PM   #3
Kubica
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Is there an aftermarket suspension on it?

Post pictures of the suspension and strut towers.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:48 PM   #4
mistershhh
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Shocks and springs are factory original, i believe... bought the car off lease at 50k miles, and it currently has 120k. The control arms, CABs, and inner ball joints were just replaced 3 weeks ago. The control arms aren't the best quality (Raybestos), but I doubt if they're a "half inch too long". They are correctly spec'd replacements... I'm pretty sure no other BMW control arm would come close to fitting, the 2wd ones are completely different. Besides, the tire wear issue has persisted since at least 80k miles, so it's not something caused by the new parts. I'll get pics and post tomorrow.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:12 AM   #5
dwtaylorpdx
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I just thought of something.. I have a Mtech 1 haven't ever really looked at the parts list,, but does my lower suspension use different struts and arms? My car is about 1.5 inches lower than most XI sedans I run across.. According to the PO its all stock he special ordered the car new..

Wonder if there is a different set of arms and struts from BMW? And your car had them mis matched..

Dave
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:28 AM   #6
vladbimmer
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What can cause negative camber?

You just have sport package. Which is why your car is lower than most xi, and has the mtech 1 kit.


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Old 09-03-2013, 12:29 AM   #7
vladbimmer
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What can cause negative camber?

They're all the same other than regular, xi, or Zhp.


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Old 09-04-2013, 01:53 PM   #8
chilone
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I have the same car but it's lowered and I had too much negative camber. Specialty Products part #72080 fixed me right up
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:37 PM   #9
mistershhh
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Re: What can cause negative camber?

Here are pics of the strut towers... Didn't have enough light for pics from below, but there are no unusual parts there. It definitely hasn't been lowered.

Any thoughts appreciated!

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Old 09-04-2013, 08:03 PM   #10
vladbimmer
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What can cause negative camber?

You can knock out the strut pins to give you a bit more adjustment, but it's not much.


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Old 10-25-2013, 06:14 PM   #11
JavierSegura
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Hi all.

I have the same problem in front left wheel of my E46 323i year 2000. I changed all front suspenssion, including these parts: Control Arm, Ball Joint, Tie Rods Links and Bushings. The camber decrease but actually is in -1.5.

I'm thinking change the Strut Shock Mount Mounts to check if the value improves but to be honest I'm worried to change the part and don't have good results.

Any recommendation?
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:22 AM   #12
tomoyer
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One thing that makes all BMWs handle extremely well from new is the fact that they run Negative Camber. On the top of the strut towers is an alignment pin that was installed when the car was built to "pre-set" the camber to within factory specs. If the alignment shops around you tell you that there is no way to adjust camber, they are not very good at what they do!! With age, damage, suspension changes, it is often necessary to have this pin removed when alignment is done. This will give a few more degrees of adjustment. Looking at the factory specs for Camber, it sure doesn't seem as though your Camber is out of spec. Usually camber kits are installed when a car is lowered, as lowering the car changes the camber and the kits allow to bring it back to with-in spec or customize the amount of camber (negative or positive) that the driver likes. You did tell us that you believe all suspension is stock or stock replacement, and either just replaced or in good shape. You didn't tell us if the wheels are stock. You also didn't say if you are using wheel spacers or not. You also didn't say what size tires you are running, what brand(s) and the air pressure you are running. In any case 15,000 miles for tires is a bit low, but most high performance summer tires will not last much over 25,000-35,000 miles depending on several factors. Also, if the alignment was off due to worn parts and now corrected with the replacement of the parts and re-alignment, the tires are already worn this way and they WILL NOT correct themselves (many people have the notion that worn tires will "correct" themselves after an alignment is done), once they take a wear "set/pattern" they will continue that way until worn-out.
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:33 PM   #13
AWDBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JavierSegura View Post
Hi all.

I have the same problem in front left wheel of my E46 323i year 2000. I changed all front suspenssion, including these parts: Control Arm, Ball Joint, Tie Rods Links and Bushings. The camber decrease but actually is in -1.5.

I'm thinking change the Strut Shock Mount Mounts to check if the value improves but to be honest I'm worried to change the part and don't have good results.

Any recommendation?
What do you mean by "strut shock mount mounts"? The strut housing fits into a pinch clamp mount that requires that the the housing be as far down in the clamp as possible and aligned with the clamp. If it is setting too high in the clamp wouldn't it tend to give more positive camber since it effectively lengthens the strut assembly and gives a higher ride height?

I have about the same negative camber as you and I'm thinking that lifting the strut slightly in the clamp might help. The top adjustments in the sturt tower have already been maxed out.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:47 PM   #14
JavierSegura
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Re: What can cause negative camber?

I mean the upper mounts for shocks, maybe if they are damaged can cause a little dealignment in wheel. But firstly I need to check the specified by tomoyer. The shock tower has a little adjusment that can help with the negative camber problem.


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