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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 07-31-2012, 05:17 PM
BStanton BStanton is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW Z3
Z3 tramlining ... Sometimes pretty severe

I have a 1998 Z3 2.8 that is experiencing tramlining and at times pretty serious. Sometimes it feels like there is a huge magnet pulling the car. I took the Z in to be checked out and it was determined that rear subframe mounts are worn out as well as the front bushings. Both of which I will have fixed. The place that will do the work recommends that I consider an adjustable rear trailing arm.

Any thoughts on having an adjustable rear trailing arm?

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2012, 06:38 PM
tohbi tohbi is offline
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Mein Auto: z3 '97 atlanta blue 2.8
the major tramlining issue seems to be the tires. upon purchasing my z3, i thought it was the twitchy-est car i had driven so i put a brace across the front strut posts under the hood. still, it was all over the road but i wasn't going to dump more money in it until i had driven it for awhile.

now, i find the car needs to be driven. that is, it won't drive itself; it requires attention, constant driver input. it's not like most road cars. feels more like a race car. i don't have a problem with it now. i expect, when i was racing many years ago, i wouldn't have had a problem then.
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  #3  
Old 08-01-2012, 05:31 AM
Benjamin757 Benjamin757 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW Z3 2.8
Thumbs up

I have the exact same model, it also does the same thing. i figured a suspension upgrade would fix it, maybe in a few years. Did you re-finnish your rims or is that what mine are supposed to like like? they look great
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  #4  
Old 08-01-2012, 06:37 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BStanton View Post
...

The place that will do the work recommends that I consider an adjustable rear trailing arm.

Any thoughts on having an adjustable rear trailing arm?

Thanks in advance.
You must mean the adjustable KMAC eccentric trailing arm bushings. Some people have had success with these, others could never get them to stop slipping. Do some searching. Given the mixed record I would pass.

But WHY does the shop recommend them? If you need/want adjustability, I would install the Ireland Engineering camber and toe kits - http://www.iemotorsport.com/bmw/Z3-s...-steering.html
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  #5  
Old 08-01-2012, 06:48 AM
dkindig dkindig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BStanton View Post
I have a 1998 Z3 2.8 that is experiencing tramlining and at times pretty serious. Sometimes it feels like there is a huge magnet pulling the car. I took the Z in to be checked out and it was determined that rear subframe mounts are worn out as well as the front bushings. Both of which I will have fixed. The place that will do the work recommends that I consider an adjustable rear trailing arm.

Any thoughts on having an adjustable rear trailing arm?

Thanks in advance.
Bushings are a common wear point on these cars and will definitely help with getting rid of some of the tramlining. As pointed out, these cars are sensitive to tire choices and often a lot of the tendency to tramline will be dependent on that.

I'm not sure how you feel about NVH (noise, vibration, harshness), but there are a few choices along the continuum for bushings. You can go with stock or you can make incremental upgrades.

Polyurethane bushings will give you the most precise handling and performance but the trade-off is increased NVH and having to pull them apart once a year or so and grease them again so they don't squeak and creak.

OEM bushings are the most comfortable and lowest maintenance but also have the most "give", so your handling won't be as precise as with poly.

An alternative OEM bushing for the front control-arm-bushings (FCAB's) is to go with the M bushings. These are rubber but are solid instead of having the gaps in the rubber like the non-M bushings and they have less give. That's what I used for my FCAB's.

For the rear subframe bushings, poly is definitely the way to go. You can get those in several different hardness ratings with the softer ones (approx. 80A durometer rating) being appropriate for the street. Ireland Engineering green or Powerflex purple are two of the most common choices for those. These bushings aren't in a rotating assembly so the issue of squeaking and creaking isn't a consideration in this application.

The general train of thought on the rear suspension bushings is poly for the subframe bushings, OEM rubber for the trailing arm bushings and the standard non-M differential bushing for the diff housing. This locates the suspension solidly yet allows for some give where the diff attaches to the body. The logic for this is that it reduces the potential for placing stress on the trunk floor and popping spot welds back there.

I would definitely go with the adjuster tabs (Ireland Engineering weld-in tabs) on the trailing arms. It's not that much more labor, especially when you already have the rear suspension apart for other things. You will be able to dial in the camber and toe-in on the rear tires to fit your driving style and it will save you money on tires and mounting. I generally have my rear tires dismounted and swap sides about halfway through their service life because of the excessive wear on the inner edges due to the aggressive camber, just to get the most wear out of them.

The other advantage to having adjustments in the rear is if you ever go with an aftermarket suspension that lowers the car, you can use the adjustments to compensate for the increased camber and get your camber and toe-in back to specs.

Just my $0.02. Hope this helps...

Last edited by dkindig; 08-01-2012 at 06:52 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-01-2012, 04:50 PM
BStanton BStanton is offline
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Thanks Benjamin757 and dkindig ... The rims are original. They do have some deep nicks that cannot be seen in the pictures. I do think that I'll go with the adjustable rear trailing arm... It will give the Z a more stable ride as well as wear the tires more evenly. Once I have the front bushings replaced and the rear subframe mounts replaced, it will handle as close where it handled when it was new. Normal tramlining is fine, my Z4 tramlined... My Z3 has to much play in the rear wheels due to the worn out mounts, it is as if the rear wheels are trying to steer to compensate for the front wheels.

Thanks for the replies and suggestions everyone.....much appreciated.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2012, 06:56 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Before you go through the expense of making the rear trailing arms adjustable, have the alignment checked and see if any of the parameters are way out. If they are normal, adding adjustment will not change anything.
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2012, 07:04 PM
DKane DKane is offline
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Mein Auto: '97 2.8 Z3 bg R
agree with Pinecone on this one ..plus..

1) check you tire air pressures..add some!..Low air causes greater tramling..and older tires tend to trammel as well..plus some designs with squishier sidewalls also trammel more..If shocks or struts are worn: more trammeling...Pinecone is right-on re adjustible rears...also BMW has an oe adjustible bushing set(for smaller adjustments)..if your suspension is whacked(and oh so many are) then you need new suspension parts, not adjustible bent parts, if you know what I mean..My '97 on Michelins(38f/40r), Bilsteins,Racing Dynamics frt strut(plus Z-Kane Custom SS top/bottom struts)..trammels not, Except on those really obnoxious siped roads(deep grooves) we sometimes find out here..but then not horribly..Z3Cheers! dk
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2012, 09:07 PM
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EOD Guy EOD Guy is offline
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Mein Auto: 98 Z3 // 06 X5
Same problem on mine so I purchased the Ireland kit, new rear shock mounts and shocks. My tires were worn so i purchased new tires...... they fixed all that I thought was wrong with it........ kit, shocks, and mounts are still in the box.... runs straight and corners as if it were on rails!
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