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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-13-2013, 01:20 AM   #1
soneracar
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diy alignment? advice needed lads!

My buddy and I were thinking about splitting this to align our own cars. He has a GTO with custom suspension and I my vert e46. We are all about diy so it only makes sense to get this. :p

Would these work or has anyone tried these before?
http://www.jegs.com/p/Specialty-Prod...59610/10002/-1
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:38 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by soneracar View Post
My buddy and I were thinking about splitting this to align our own cars. He has a GTO with custom suspension and I my vert e46. We are all about diy so it only makes sense to get this. :p

Would these work or has anyone tried these before?
http://www.jegs.com/p/Specialty-Prod...59610/10002/-1
Can't see why these tools wouldn't work but you would have to ensure that the floor that you use them on was perfectly flat and level. Its just geometry.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:40 AM   #3
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If you're going to go that route, make sure you get the "no lip adapter" as well.
Otherwise you will leave marks on your wheels.
Personally I wouldn't trust it. Modern alignment equipment is computerized.
You have to "compensate" for the orientation of the alignment device to the wheel.
Computerized equipment does this.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:54 AM   #4
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You would also have weigh the car down per BMW institution
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:28 AM   #5
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You would also have weigh the car down per BMW institution
Behave yourself. Never had a car weighed down yet during an alignment. Can't imagine anything more impractical than having to find 4/5 people to sit in the car, or load it up with the equivalent weight, while you adjust the alignment. Sure the actual camber is going to change as load increases and coils compress but that would all be taken into consideration when determing the unladen camber setting.

Last edited by RayPooley; 01-13-2013 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:30 AM   #6
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You can diy an alignment without any fancy tools...an entertain thousands at the same time.

Search the author GoingNuts with thread title "Alignment."

I'm thinking of doing it with fog, mirrors, and laser beams. Still working on the fog part though.

...oh, then there's this thought...

An alignment might cost you $75-100 and with proper research, you'll find a capable shop with a $10-20,000 alignment tool. My alignments haven't ever gone bad from taking knocks while driving...they can and should last for years in reasonable driving conditions.

Do you really want to spend 3-4 times as much, spend hours getting things aligned, spending hours more with your tool to dial things in better?

It's up to you...it's your hobby, but this is one of those things where the payback time could be 5 years or more. And, even then, you'll have a $100 tool and not a $10,000 tool. I also think of all the iterations you'd need to do on the front to get them right. The big machine looks at all four wheels together relative to one another...can compensate for load/no load in the car too.

Read that thread, though, it was very interesting!
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:37 AM   #7
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Behave yourself. Never had a car weighed down yet during an alignment. Can't imagine anything more impractical than having to find 4/5 people to sit in the car, or load it up with the equivalent weight, while you adjust the alignment. Sure the actual camber is going to change as load increases and coils compress but that would all be taken into consideration when determing the unladen camber setting.
The alignment machines compensate for the lack of weight, BMW specifies in their alignment procedure the proper ballasts to be placed throughout the car.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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That thread was epic.

OP, take it to a shop you trust. It will be a huge pita using this cheap tool, will take many adjustments and countless hours to get things right.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:45 AM   #9
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That thread was epic.

OP, take it to a shop you trust. It will be a huge pita using this cheap tool, will take many adjustments and countless hours to get things right.
Not to mention you will need a lift, to make the adjustments while the car is on it's wheels
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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Noted. While I was only going in $100 because he was paying the other $100 we both have our wife's cars as well. It would be a pita, but as you know, when working on your cars with friends and some beers it is priceless. :p I can see how BMW spec might be a bit hard with a $200 tool vs a 10k tool. I see everyone say don't do it but has anyone actually tried this method yet? Just for shits&giggles.

I will probably get it anyway and try it out, then take it to the shop and see how well I did. Will keep you updated.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:42 PM   #11
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I juist don't see how you can make adjustments without a 4 post lift, even if you raise the car to make the adjustment with a jack, once you lower you will have to drive it again to let the spring/shock settle. Now that seems like a huge pain considering you will have to raise and lower it countless of times to get the adjustments right.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:42 PM   #12
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you can get an alignment for $50-80. you'll save money and time than doing this.

bmw is a PITA to align. i know so because the tech spent over 40 mins working on just adjusting the front. it usually takes 20 mins for him on other cars, including the setup.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:44 AM   #13
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you can get an alignment for $50-80. you'll save money and time than doing this.

bmw is a PITA to align. i know so because the tech spent over 40 mins working on just adjusting the front. it usually takes 20 mins for him on other cars, including the setup.
That might have something to do with the fact that the track rod adjustment nuts tend to seize and it often takes a blow torch to expand and free them them up.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:40 AM   #14
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Adjusting your camber is pretty easy IF you can get your car raised up enough to reach the adjustment bolts. The wheels need to stay on the ground, fully settled. You can't adjust it, lower the car, and remeasure because the suspension won't settle because of tire scrub. There is no reason you can't accurately do your camber yourself. Toe on the other hand is going to be very difficult without a 4 wheel rack or computer alignment tool. If you do front and back separately, you'll end up with a weird thrust angle and you'll go down the highway diagonally. Basically these tools would be a waste of time because you'd adjust the camber and still have to get a shop to do toe.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:22 AM   #15
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Toe on the other hand is going to be very difficult without a 4 wheel rack or computer alignment tool. If you do front and back separately, you'll end up with a weird thrust angle and you'll go down the highway diagonally. Basically these tools would be a waste of time because you'd adjust the camber and still have to get a shop to do toe.
This is truth.

<-from someone who's done dozens of alignments on an expensive John Bean lasar alignment machine.
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Does anyone have a recommendation on which is the best high performance valve stems?

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