Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 
Get FREE Ground Shipping with the purchase of $75 in qualifying parts!
 


Pelican Technical Article:

Alignment on
Your BMW

Difficulty Level: 4
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

  This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series.  The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts.   With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
 
Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!

[click to enlarge]

     The BMW 3 Series cars are known for good handling and an excellent suspension system. Of course, precise handling and cornering are nonexistent if the car is not aligned properly. There are five suspension specifications that must be met to properly align the chassis: front-end caster, camber, and toe; and rear-end camber and toe. Unfortunately, on the stock 3 Series, all but front toe setting are fixed and nonadjustable. Aftermarket racing components can be substituted if you need additional adjustment, but the street cars don’t have this ability in their stock form. If the alignment of the suspension is slightly off, you may experience significant tire wear and a loss of power and fuel economy. The most common sign of a misaligned front suspension is the car pulling to one side of the road while you are steering straight.

     Although the home mechanic can adjust basic front-end toe-in setting, have a trained professional with an alignment rack make the other adjustments. It’s nearly impossible to determine the correct angles and settings for your car without an alignment rack.

     “Camber” refers to the tilt of the wheel as measured in degrees of variation between the tire centerline and the vertical plane of the car. If the top of the wheel tilts inward, the camber is negative. If the top of the wheel tilts outward, the camber is positive. On the BMW 3 Series, the camber should be slightly negative and within the standard stock settings. On some older BMWs, chassis deformation due to rust and age can cause the camber adjustments and measurements to be slightly off. If the car has been in an accident, the resulting chassis damage is often reflected in alignment values not within spec.

     With E30 cars, BMW makes an eccentric upper strut mount for the front suspension that allows you to subtract half of a degree from your camber setting (part number 31-33-1-139-484). This upper strut mount can correct the chassis camber when it falls out of factory specifications.

     Worn suspension bushings may also add to odd alignment measurements. As the bushings and suspension mounts age, they tend to introduce slop into the suspension system, which can result in poor alignment readings. Lowering your BMW will also change the alignment specifications from the factory defaults. If your alignment specialist says your car’s fixed specifications are outside the factory ranges, but your car has not been in an accident, it’s likely some of the suspension bushings are worn and need replacement (see Project 59). If you have difficulty achieving proper camber settings, a good-quality camber strut brace can help you tweak the chassis (see Project 64). Tightening or loosening the adjustment nut on the camber bar can move the upper strut towers in or out very slightly.

     The rear wheels should be set from the factory for a slight negative camber (about –1 to –2 degrees), as the trailing arms tend to bend slightly outward as the car accelerates under power. Since one-half of the wheel is mounted firmly on the ground, the top of the wheel has a tendency to twist outward. Setting the rear wheels for a slight negative camber means that under power they will be mostly neutral.

     “Caster” is the angle that the steering axis is offset from the vertical plane. On the 3 Series, the strut points toward the rear of the car, resulting in a positive caster angle. This angle varies over the model years from 3 to 9 degrees.  The amount of caster in the suspension directly influences the control and stability of the wheels when traveling in a straight line. Since the BMW rear suspension utilizes a trailing arm design, which has a tremendous amount of built-in caster, there is no specification for the rear caster. Front suspension caster is very good for high-speed stability because it helps to keep the wheels aligned and straight.

    
“Toe” refers to the angle of the two wheels with respect to each other. If a car has “toe-in,” the front edges of the wheels are closer to each other than the rear edges. Toe-in is adjustable by changing the length of the tie rods (see Project 58). With rear-wheel-drive cars like the BMW 3 Series, the front wheels may try to move toward a toe-out position under power. Setting the wheels to have very slight toe-in can help neutralize this effect. “Toe-out” occurs when the front edges of the wheels are further apart than the inner edges. Some toe-out is necessary when turning, since the angle of inclination of the inner wheel must be tighter than the outer wheel. The rear toe should be set as close to neutral as possible.

    
So how should your BMW be set up? If you plan to race your car, you will need aftermarket suspension components and as much negative camber as allowed by the racing rules. The car will tend to straighten out in turns, and you want the maximum tire patch on the road when cornering. When the camber starts to change to slightly positive through turns, a negative camber setting will help neutralize the effect.

     There’s a common misconception that a lot of caster is good for racing. While adding more caster to the suspension can indeed make it handle better, introducing too much caster into the suspension can negatively impact your track times. On a perfectly balanced rear-wheel-drive car, adding too much caster can transfer load from the outside front and inside rear tires to the opposite corners. This can upset the balance and cause a corner entry push.

     Seek professional help for alignment specifications and answers to questions you might have, and don’t accept blanket statements about suspension upgrades—they’ve led to many common misconceptions. Do your own research. Two books I refer to on these topics are Race Car Engineering by Paul Van Valkenburg and How to Make Your Car Handle by Fred Puhn.

     If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs.  If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one.  Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Figure
Figure 1
Zero camber. When the car is aligned with zero camber, the wheels are directly perpendicular to the ground. The tires make even contact with the road and exhibit minimal wear and friction when turning. The weight of the car is distributed evenly across the tire tread, but the steering control can be a bit heavy. For ease of illustration in these diagrams, tire sizes are shown smaller than scale and camber angles are exaggerated.
Figure
Figure 2
Negative camber. The lower parts of the tires are angled outward, causing more wear on the inside edges. The 3 Series cars have an independent front suspension that creates a slightly negative camber when traveling over bumps. As the suspension compresses upward, the top of the wheel tilts in slightly to avoid changing the track (distance between left and right wheels). Although this momentarily changes the camber of the wheel, it prevents the tires from scrubbing and wearing every time that the car travels over a bump. At factory settings, each 3 Series car should have a slight negative camber (between -2 degrees and -1/2 degree, depending upon the year).
Figure
Figure 3
Positive camber. This can cause the outer edges of the tires to wear more quickly than the inside. Positive camber is sometimes designed into the suspension to provide increased stability over bumpy roads or through turns on the typical high-crowned roads.
Figure
Figure 4
Positive caster. The wheels of a shopping cart best demonstrate the concept of positive caster. The steering axis of each wheel is located in front of the point where the wheel touches the ground. The load of the cart is in front of the wheels, and, as the cart moves forward, the wheels rotate on their axis to follow the cart’s direction. This creates an inherent stability that keeps the wheels straight, unless they are forcibly steered in a different direction.
Figure
Figure 5
Positive caster. All BMWs have slight positive caster, which creates an inherent stability when the car is moving in a straight line. With the angle of the strut tilted back, it places the steering axis, and the load, in front of the contact patch where the tire meets the pavement. Like the shopping cart example in the previous illustration, the car tends to move forward in a stable, straight line until the wheels are turned in a different direction. The rear trailing arm of the BMW 3 Series cars, by its design, has extensive positive caster built in.
Figure
Figure 6A

Figure
Figure 6B
Toe-in and toe-out. The toe of the front suspension refers to the angle of the two wheels with respect to each other. Significant toe-in or toe-out will cause extreme tire wear, as the wheels constantly try to move toward each other (toe-in) or away from each other (toe-out). The result is severe friction on the tires, and at highway speeds, the tires will wear significantly and power/fuel economy will suffer.
Figure
Figure 7
Toe-out through turns. When going around a turn, the inner wheels will turn to a tighter radius than the outer ones. This minimizes the amount of tire scrub on the pavement as the car turns.
Figure
Figure 8
To get the proper alignment measurements your car, have a professional perform the work on an alignment rack.  Alex Wong of Precision Tech Motorsports owns this alignment rack, which cost in excess of $18,000. The proper BMW alignment is not something the home mechanic can reliably perform. Just don’t get snookered into paying for more than you should—the only adjustment on the BMW 3 Series cars is the front toe-in, which should be measured against the fixed rear wheels in a simple four-wheel alignment.
Figure
Figure 9
If you’re racing your BMW, upgrade to an adjustable suspension that allows you to easily change caster and camber. This trick setup for racing includes adjustable camber and caster plates from Ground Control. The outer three bolts are used to adjust camber, and the four center bolts adjust caster. This allows you to dial in your suspension for just about any track condition.
  Looking for more photos?  Click to see bonus pictures for this project.
Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!
Comments and Suggestions:
Dick Comments: 2007 BMW 550i with sport; rear tires worn down to cord on the inside two inches of both tires, does this indicate camber on rear tires is out of adjustment? No accidents, pot holes, etc, Florida car with 103,000. Last 45,000 mile tires completely worn at 25,000. Can a local shop adjust rear end?
November 27, 2014
Dominic Comments: Hey nick I have an 06 330I e90 just put new tires on back of car noticed that when I go around 3corners feels really loose in rear end of car at around 70 something is definitely not right didn't feel this with warn tires is this something an alignment can fix or do I have warn bushings or something of that nature also my front and rear tires are Warn on the inside back ones really bad had to replace them then noticed this issue my front are just starting to ware a little bit can alignment take care of this thanks
November 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it feels loose, I would suspect a suspension component is faulty. Give the suspension a shake down. You could have a bad ball joint or bushing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
danielmoabi Comments: 2006 bmw 320i E90
Just replaced 2 rear tires and did wheel alignment and balancing. All was well until I got on the free way my car my car started swaying uncomfortabley then I took it back the next to the wheel alignment centre the following day nd the technician called me to say that left rear wheel keeps on going out of alignment. Don't know if it makes sense for the experts to give advice. Just dont to spend money I things that might not help fix the problem

please advise am desperate
October 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the rear end moved after being aligned, it is possible something was not tight and came loose. Especially if the issue was not present before you replaced the tires. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chris Comments: Hay guys I'm doing up an e30 and ran into a problem with my font suspension my Front wheels seem to sit to far back for my guards to fit, thy look about 2" back from the center of the wheel arch. I have changed my hubs to e36 and kept the e30 LCA, have upgraded to coilovers and have adjusting plates on top. Its almost as if the control arms need to be longer??
October 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have any experience with that swap.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
rich Comments: Hi
I have a 2013 335i convertible, the rear end jumps whenever there is a break in the pavement, on a turn and feels like it is going to flip over. I cant even keep up with a prius around turns. The car has 8k miles on it and is babied, the dealer tried to cop out by saying "the tires are near the wear bars" the tires are fine and it is not skidding, the ass end hops over. You can not peel out with the car and in my opinion if the tires are bad at 8k miles something in the suspension is causing them to wear. The car is actually scary to drive. I have an appointment with the regional BMW rep on monday, any info is helpful, thanks
September 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would guess one of the lower control arms are loose. Maybe a bushing or mayeb even a lose bolt. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Shawn Comments: HI, I have a 2009 Bmw 528i, not the all wheel drive one. once i bought this car used at Bmw Dealership, the steering wheel was felt so firm and accurate. I used to hold it with a finger on the regular roads where i commute every day, but now after 30,000 km is not like the 1st year, i have to hold it. it doesn't go to the right or left, besides no wearing on tiresnot inside, not outside.
September 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's possible there are worn front end components, maybe bushings. I would inspect the front suspension for loose or worn parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BMWowner Comments: Just to clarify my previous question, it is the right Rear axel that is now has out-of-specs camber. I believe I stated it was the FRONT axel in my previous email.
August 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BMW Owner Comments: My 2012 3351 convertible was pulling slightly to the right. Had BMW perform alignment, and per the after-aligment print-out they provided me, everything is now within specs except front right camber which is -1.14 versus -1.19 measurement before they started which was within tolerance. Target data is -1.30 with a +/- tolerance of .15. When I inquired about the after-alignment out-of-tolerance measurement, they said it was unajustable and not a big deal. Please advise.
August 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You are talking about it being out of spec at 0.01°. I would think this is a negligible amount and would not worry about it.. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JaMieG2177 Comments: Hi I have a bmw 316i 2001the camber on my rear wheels are really negative and they wont ajust and when I reverse the car the wheels go back to normal camber but when I go forward they go back to how they were and it drives likes a pig swaying over 50+ mph hit a bump and the car skips and its wearing the inside of the tires badly Iv had a few people look but they are baffled my mechanic thinks it could be the trailing arms ???
August 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like bad bushings. Have the rear swing and control arms inspected. Check the ball joints and bushings that they attach with, - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bruno9 Comments: I own a 2001 Z3 3.0 L with 45000 miles on it. I don't beat it, and take very good care of it. I went to get new tires and an alignment the other day at the local tire shop and they said they could not do the alignment because my control arms and ball joints needed to be replaced. I found the old tires that they took off, they look good no uneven wear. My car drives great, no excessive noise or sloppy steering, and the Z3 does not wander. I think I checked everything I could. I jack up the Z3 and tried to move the tires vertically, they did not move at all. Had my son put a pry bar under the tires and move them up and down while I watched the ball joints and control arms, everything was tight, nothing moving. All boots are good, no grease coming out of anything. Now my question is, am I missing something or is it possible and I know this probably never happens that the tire shop might be mistaken. Oh, they said they fixed it for only $700. compared to $83 for the original quota for an alignment.
July 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the front end is tight, it is tight. I would ask them to lift your vehicle and show you what they found. Maybe something you're missing, maybe nothing at all. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Huckster Comments: Help! I have a 2005 325i w/ sport pkg. I replaced both sway bar links and springs. It drove ok, had it aligned at a tire shop that does BMW alignments, now it pulls/drifts left when on the highway. Next, replaced both front control arm bushings and a rear control arm bent. Had it align at the BMW dealer and it still pulls/drifts left. I swapped front tires left & right, rears moved them everywhere, tire pressures are good, replaced brakes & rotors, still pulls/drifts left. The tire store is going to "road force" the tires looking for defects. Otherwise...what's next? I'm out of ideas.
July 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the suspension is tight and the alignment is correct, it could be a bad tire, or road crown. However, if road crown, it would not always pull left. I would suspect the tires. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
celo Comments: I bought my 2008 328i conv. knowing that it had been in a accident. The body looks great but the rear passenger wheel is 1 inch further back than the driver side. I am able to align the car but I cant fit wheels on it. Please help.
June 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like something is bent. You'l have to figure out if it is a suspension component or the rear subframe. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
a Z1 owner in the UK. Comments: Geo wrote "The 6 link suspension in the E36 is the first use of the M1 super car suspension in a regular production vehicle."

I don't believe this is true. The M1 used a suspension design by Dallara. The E36 used a "productionised" version of the Z1's suspension - the Z1 was the first BMW to use the Z arm. Indeed, late build Z1s use E36 rear suspension parts.
June 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bjohn Comments: I swear I got the springs off a car just like mines at the junk yard, and they're exactly like the ones I took off
May 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You'll want to double check the part number. Something looks wrong. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bjohn Comments: I have not aligned it yet, I'll do that, do u think that will also make it really low in the rear? Look at my picture and u'll see how low it is and that's with the new struts and springs, which is making my tires look like figure 2 in ur picture, look at my pic that's how it is on both sides low
May 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Whoa, Ride height is set by the springs. Can you double check the part numbers? You may have installed the wrong part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
CAS Comments: THE DTC/DSC LIGHT COMES ON ONCE IN A WHILE ON MY 2008 328I REAR WHEEL DRIVE/ 6 SPEED MANUAL WHILE I'M DRIVING AT HI-WAY SPEEDS 50-70MPH I JUST TURN IT OFF AND NO PROBLEMS. WHAT COULD BE CAUSING THIS???
May 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a faulty sensor or actuator. I would start by checking the vehicle for fault codes. If multiple systems are not working properly, fault codes will be set. This will be your best bet when diagnosing.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bjohn Comments: Hi I have a 99 bmw 328i, it's a rear wheel drive, I changed the struts and springs, to the original aftermarket kind, and the rear of my car well my two back wheels looks like figure 2 what can I do to fix this? Please help. I don't think that's normal, and whenever I go over a bump the tires rub in the back, I currently have on there 225 50, 17. And it's too low in the back still, it looks like figure 2 in ur picture,
May 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The vehicle needs to be aligned. Have you it done? I would start there. The alignment mechanic will be bale to identify any bent or faulty components that may be causing the issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Boon Comments: I have a 2008 328i with the Sports package. I had the winter tires/wheels removed and the the OEM wheels and a new set of rear tires put on with an alignment. The cars rear end now jumps right or left when traveling over a big break in the pavement or a manhole cover. Is this a bad alignment?
April 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume no if it was just aligned. You may have a faulty rear trailing arm bushing or a loose suspension fastener. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
malibusa Comments: 328 conv 2009 w/sportpakg tires wear for 8000 miles most highway driven
front perfect wear would say 65% life, but rear perfect wear with10% life???
never seen such fact, alignment? traililng arms gone?
would appreciate advise on this issue as I have to replace rear tires asap.
February 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your best bet is to inspect the rear end for looseness. If it is tight and all components seem OK, I would have the vehicle alignment checked. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ducky Comments: i have a 1992 bmw 325i what would i need to create negative camber in my rear wheels?
January 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Depends on how much. There is some room for adjustment from the factory with the alignment adjustment points. If that is not enough, you can use shims. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bmrboy2008 Comments: Does a 2008 E60 528i Sport require weighting before performing an alignment to BMW spec. How much weight and where is it required?
January 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes it does. 150 lbs in both front seats, 150 lbs in center of rear seat and 50 lbs in trunk. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John B. Egan Comments: I have a 1998 BMW 323i Convertible. When I go to look for replacement front struts, one of the questions asked is if it has 'performance suspension'.... Based simply on photos I've seen, the suspension is stock and looks about the same as any other similar year. Are there factory cars with performance suspension? If so, how can you determine this?

Also, in looking at the specs for struts, I notice that the Convertible mine has similar strut specs to the hard top, except for the travel. Travel is marginally longer on the hard top. Does it really make any difference?

Thx jegan
December 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You'll want to put the shocks in the vehicle cam equipped with. Your VIN can be sued to get as-built data which would tell you the type of package you have. This article discusses different options:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E46/83-MISC-Identifying_BMW_E46_Vehicle_Options/83-MISC-Identifying_BMW_E46_Vehicle_Options.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Nicolas Comments: Please help. 1987 325I Convertible. I have replaced everything that is rubber under the car, everything. In addition, of course, I replaced the shocks/struts. Bought everything from you guys and ONLY bought the OEM supplier parts, no aftermarket.

Still alignment is not all within specs according to my printout:
Front: Left Side front.....-0.6 Camber, 7.7 Caster, 0.16 Toe.......Right front -0.5 Camber, 7.9 Caster, 0.16 Toe..... Total Toe 0.31......not concerned with the front as these alignment machines are not 100% accurate and the front is within specs......

left rear side -1.5 Camber, Toe 0.10........ right rear side -1.1 Camber, Toe -0.06, Total Toe 0.05, Thrust Angle 0.08.......how off is my rear alignment specs?

Also, what is the correct front and rear alignment specs in degrees for a 87 325I convertible?
October 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the car properly loaded with weight while you are checking the alignment, I would also measure the ride hight and make sure the springs are not sagging.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Babs Comments: 2006 325 ci had alignment today. shop said front was out of spec and adjusted it into spec. Rear was also out but shop said rear is unadjustable. car has never been in accident, what would be cause and what can be done?
October 14, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The rear is adjustable. What was out of spec? You might want to go to an alignment shop familiar with BMWs.


Unless of course it was too far out to adjust. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
GREG Comments: 2004 M3 SEDAN REAR CAMBER AT MAX-.08 RIGHT,-1.1 LEFT. VEHICLE WENT THROUGH MEDIAN AND UNIBODY AT FRONT BUMPER UP .7 OF A DEGREE. REPAIRED. REMAINDER IF VEHICLE MEASURES WITHIN ALL UNIBODY DATA WITH COMPUTORIZED MEASURING SYSTEM. HAVE REPLACED LOWER CONTROL ARMS,DIFFERENTIAL HOUSING COVER ALL SUBFRAME BUSHINGS CONTROL ARM BUSHINGS. CENTERLINE COMPARISON MEASUREMENTS ON SUB FRAME AND SUSPENSION POINTS EQUAL SIDE TO SIDE.HAS ALL THE POSITIVE CAMBER YOU WANT NOT.CAN NOT GET ANY MORE NEGATIVE REAR CAMBER ANY THOUGHTS
October 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is e car loaded properly while you are trying to adjust the alignment specs.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
diva_3181377 Comments: On the Z3, after tie rod, structsmount not replaced and control arm bushing replacement, did the alignment and.
Front - Caster 3.3 Left, 3.2 Right
- Camber -2.2 Left, -2.4 Right
- Toe 0.15 on both sided
Rear - Camber -2.1 Left, -2.4 Right
- Toe .05 Left, .15 Right
Thrust angle .1

What can cause -ve camber on front? Rear seems to within spec. Car is not used for racing and mounts, bushing are non M type Lemforder from pelican with voids on horizontal direction of the car. As far as i know, no accidents. The mount is centered properly.
September 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Some negative camber in the front is normal, it is the difference from left to right that will make the car pull. Negative camber can be caused by sagging front springs, a bent strut, steering knuckle, or control arm.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
alton Comments: how do you adjust the front camber on 2000 328 ci,that wear the tire on the outer edge thks
September 2, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a small adjustment at the top of the strut mount under the hood. Loosen the three bolts holding the strut and use a small punch to drive out the pin that holds the factory setting. You will only get about .25 to .50 degrees of adjustment.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
davidweesleeve Comments: hi, thanks for this service. 94 325is
I'm having trouble finding part numbers and makers for the rear alignment kits and shims to adjust the alignment. I can only find it for the front end. any direction would be very appreciated.
August 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
e46m3cs Comments: Hi I am running -2.8 front, 2 way MCS suspension and front ground control sway bar medium size 265/35R18 on 9.5 ET 22 ARC 8 wheels, driving the car on street is great, but anything over 200 km the car feels unstable the front is not stable what might be the problem,
need help.
July 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Assuming you are on the track, I would see an track alignment specialist. You could need to make changes to the front suspension to smooth it out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
panama ed Comments: I have a 1998 BMW 323is. The rear tires has wore out on the inside like it has a negative camber. But can a wheel wheel alignment be done on this car? I was told yes by a alignment shop but I read on this site that it can only be a front end alignment. If not a 4 wheel what else could cause this problem?
May 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A four wheel alignment can be performed. If there are no rear adjustments, shims can be added to the axle to move it into spec. There are aftermarket alignment kits to do this. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tonyvic Comments: when performing an alignment, what type of alignment is required by the oem on a 2013 bmw 328xi? two wheel or 4 wheel. and why?
April 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Four-wheel, there are possible adjustments at each wheel, (if not in spec). - Nick at Pelican Parts  
wikid1 Comments: I had my 328i X-drive in for oil and the dealer told me that I needed a wheel alignment. My tires do not show any sign of wear on the inside or on the outside. How would they know that I need an alignment?
March 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They would be lookintg for uneven tire wear or cupping. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
James Comments: My 2003 E46 325I front wheel camber is -1.2 degree on the right hand side and -0.9 degree on the left hand side. Do you think I have problems for my brand new set of tires.

The right hand side camber adjustment is max-out. Where can I get the camber adjustment bolt if I needed.
March 7, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Camber on an E46 is handled at the top strut mount. You knock the centering pin and adjust using a BMW specail tool. This would need to be performed using an alignment rack to measure the angles. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
leduclevert Comments: Good Day, I read up for the camber, my care is good, but for the toe-in how much degree is too

Thanks a lot

Eric
April 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Leduclevert Comments: Good Day I have a Question about Alignement on E46 328Ci 2000 The target for the front camber is 0.43 but the top of the shock it is on a maximum with -1.1, what i need to do ?

Thanks

Eric
April 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you can't get it in spec, that means something is bent. Look at the strut and the steering knuckle. Something will be off.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
vistablue Comments: ...dont forget to allways put load in your bimmer before doing the aligment as stated in the BMW TIS, both front sitz in the middle position loadet with 75kg, middle back seat loadet with 75 kg and even the trunk must be loadet and the gas tank must be filled up.
If you don´t do that your aligment will not be correct and then, you could set camber and toe on the rear axel also without any problems on each e36 except the compact model because the suspension system from the compact is based on the E30.
March 31, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
John Comments: Hey I was just reading this thought I would chime in. My RTAB mounting brackets are also slotted for rear toe in adjustment on my 2/94 325i. Just replaced bushing with Poly ones after 220k miles the originals were pretty torn up.
February 10, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Thunderboat Comments: what are the procedures for repairing a car that needs a front wheel alignment? Can you do one side of the car alignment?
January 15, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Adjustments usually need to be made at all four wheels, you can't do just one. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
chiroshooter Comments: I have a 2003 330i ZHP and I did the alignment every year and keeping the spec within the factory 18" sport suspension spec. But this is how the rear tires look after 20000 miles. The shop said because of the bmw -2.0 camber angle cause that wear. So, is that means it is normal ? thanks
October 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the BMW cars with the sport package typically have wear patterns that look like this due to the higher camber values. I even think there was a class action suit against BMW started a while ago because people didn't know this. 20K for the tires should be about right. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Bob Comments: 2000 328Ci. Just over 100K. Vehicle ran off the road and into ditch during the winter. Right front bottomed out at edge of road, radiator and radiator mount damaged and have been replaced along with basically entire cooling system while it was apart. Took the opportunity to also rebuild front end with new struts, springs, control arms, inner/outer tie rods. Still, the right front wheel is toed out about a half inch even when tie rod adjustment is maxed. No indication of anything else damaged. Strut tower appearance and strut angle is identical on both sides. Could the issue be the steering rack or sub-frame? I can see no damage but someone suggested the steering rack could have jumped a tooth. I've never heard of such a thing. What would you suggest I replace next? I could take it to pro shop, but I kind of enjoy working on it in my spare time. Thanks for any advice.
May 3, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think the rack jumped a tooth, but the sub frame could be bent, along with the steering knuckle, check the mounting point for the subframe and see if they look like they are shifted. also check to make sure the steering rack is centered before you adjust the toe.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Beemer Comments: Hi...big big help needed on alignment pls. I own a Bmw 330 XI so seadan 4x4. can you please tell me the best grades car? alignment for my car? all information can help me a lot. Like
toe, camber, caster and thrust? Thank you in advance.

My bmw is a 330 xi from 2001 4x4 so would appreciate alignment grades for a 4x4 seadan version
March 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Any good alignment should have that info, which is specific to your car. I don't happen to have these specs for you. I would also avoid trying to align your car yourself - it can't be done easily without specialized equipment. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Grandpa Ripper Comments: I am unclear about the rear toe-in on a 1998 Z3 2.8. Mine is out of spec and wearing out tires fast on the inside, which makes sense with a little camber. It has 130K miles, so it is possible there is wear. My understanding is there is no adjustablity, just pay to replace parts at the dealership until it returns to profitability. Can I protect myself from BS in any way? Does anyone make aftermarket adjustable bushings? Does BMW tech advisory 33-01-98 refer to my situation?
Thanks so much!
September 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is no adjustments on the rear of a Z3. if your alignment is out something is worn out, take a close look at the all of the bushings and control arms, something is not right.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jay Comments: Hi, I have a 1998 BMW 328i and was in an accident
where my driver side wheel hit a curb badly.
Now my car is misaligned and shakes very bad
when on the highway. I changed my control arms
and tie-rods but it still shakes now even worst.
So now I want to get it aligned maybe the problem
will go away. Before I do I’m going to change the
control arm bushings and put new tires on it,
my question is what else should I change before
aligning it? Also my shocks are bad could I
change them after the alignment and it won't
affect the alignment or should I do it before.
Please help I want this shaky front-end and
vibrations to go away. E-mail me at garcia_jimmy45@yahoo.com Thank You.
March 22, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should find what is causing the shaking first, bent wheel, tire with a shifted belt, something loose? Solve that problem first, then I would take it to get an alignment done.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
allen Comments: Re: E36 rear toe and camber,

Toe on the E36 other than ti which uses the E30 rear suspension is adjusted via the trailing arm front mounting bracket. The mounting holes on the bracket are oval, allowing the plate position on the chassis to be adjusted with the bolts loose.

Camber is adjusted via the eccentric bolt on the lower control arm, with a range at the mounting point of about +/- 5mm. This is enough for a stock suspension but with a lowered car is usually not enough to bring the camber back close to zero; zero camber or close is desireable on the E36 rear end as, unlike the front, camber does vary with suspension travel thanks to the difference in mounting point position of the upper and lower control arms on the hub.
September 15, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: hanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Geo Comments: The front of the rear trailing arm attaches to the "toe plate" and this is where toe adjustments are made. The front of the control arm moves laterally thereby adjusting toe in or out.
All the urethane RTAB offered are bolted to this plate with 3 bolts and there are raised tabs on the plate to facilitate adjustment. Camber is adjusted with the eccentric bolt on the outside of the lower control arm. My car is a '92 325iS. I am in the process of rebuilding the suspension with '96-99' M3 spherical bearing bushings on the upper and lower control arms, new stock bushings on the inside of the control arms, UUC urethane for the subframe and RTABs. I am also installing the TMS chassis reinforcement kit at this time.
I will be getting a "4 wheel" alignment when I am done this weekend.
My information came with the bushings and is also on page 10-10 of my Haynes repair manual for 1992 - 1998 3 series BMWs. This manual makes specific reference to the differences between the ticompact and Z3 models' "trailing arm" suspension compared to the "6 link"all other E36 variants.
The 6 link suspension in the E36 is the first use of the M1 super car suspension in a regular production vehicle.
July 23, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Geo Comments: E36 cars, with the exception of ti and Z3 models, also have rear camber adjustment.
July 23, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The BMW TIS system bulletin Group 32 states that toe deviation on the E36 (for a 1994 E36 325is) is solved by replacing various suspension components and/or bushings. There is no adjustment for rear toe listed in this document.

However, in document RA3200620, there are instructions for modifying the rear camber and toe! I have referred back to my E36 photos from the book (I don't have those cars here), and I cannot see these adjustments on the trailing arm (I might be looking at the early 1992 318 photos, I cannot tell from my archive). So, perhaps this may have been a later-year addition, or something that was not included on all E36 cars.

In addition, the Bentley manual has this statement:

"There is no provision for routine rare wheel toe-in adjustment. If any alignment angles deviate from specifications, carefully inspect the rear trailing arms, rear suspension subframe and all associated bushings and flexible mounts for wear or damage. After replacing any parts that appear worn or damaged, re-check the toe-measurements"

It's a given however, that the Bentley manual may have errors as well.

- Wayne at Pelican Parts
 
Geo Comments: In reference to the comments on figure 8, the toe in is adjustable on all E36 cars with the exception of the ti models which still have the semi trailing arm rear suspension.
July 22, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

Got more questions?  Join us in our BMW Technical Forum Message Board, and ask a question to one of our many automotive experts.
  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Privacy Statement]
 [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Map to our Location]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc.