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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:22 PM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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2003 ZHP Camber

Isnt the camber supposed to be adjusted to -0.5 on the 2003 ZHP? I just got new tires and they did an analysis on the wheels/axle, and it shows in the attached image.....

Are these numbers within acceptable tolerance? I assume more neg camber means it will help hold turns better but it will create more uneven tire wear on straight line driving?
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:06 AM
heztheone heztheone is online now
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RWD cars usually get that neg camber on the rear wheels due to the power being inflicted on the rear tires from the diff, nothing to worry about if u get it aligned in the near future.
and yes it will cause uneven tire wear
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2012, 05:52 AM
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This comes up a lot. Did the shop weigh down the car before doing the alignment? If they didn't, it will be near impossible to get an "in-spec" alignment on paper. It doesn't mean it's wrong however.

Here's the thing... front camber is fixed. There is a pin in the shock tower/strut assembly that prevents any adjustment. Without weight in the car you will not see a "perfect" alignment on paper. One other factor that can contribute to camber settings up front is shock tower mushrooming. You can surf the forum and WIKI for info on these things... lots of discussion.

In my experience, that small amount of negative camber has less impact on tire wear than too much toe. Toe is more important to tire wear.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:08 PM
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The quality of the shop is the biggest factor I have found. My first alignment on my ZHP was excellent. Car tracked straight, had even tire wear at all 4 corners. The second time I went to a different shop. They screwed up so bad my back left tire exploded in 2000 miles from exposed belts. When I took it back to them they said "BMW's all have negative camber in the rear and will always wear out the inner edge (I said, "really dumba$$, within 2000 miles?"). They re-did it at no charge but I still had to pay for a new tire and now some 6000 miles later, my rear tires are both massively worn on the inner edges.

You get what you pay for. A GOOD alignment is hard to get on a BMW.
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
This comes up a lot. Did the shop weigh down the car before doing the alignment? If they didn't, it will be near impossible to get an "in-spec" alignment on paper. It doesn't mean it's wrong however.

Here's the thing... front camber is fixed. There is a pin in the shock tower/strut assembly that prevents any adjustment. Without weight in the car you will not see a "perfect" alignment on paper. One other factor that can contribute to camber settings up front is shock tower mushrooming. You can surf the forum and WIKI for info on these things... lots of discussion.

In my experience, that small amount of negative camber has less impact on tire wear than too much toe. Toe is more important to tire wear.
+1 but it does seem a little low at -0.5. Don't forget you avg the front left and right to get the total camber -0.8 + -0.5/2= -0.65 avg camber.

You can probably get more but will require the alignment shop to know what to do.

I finally found my specs after rummaging through my emails. Ran less camber in the rear and more in the front to allow for a more neutral rotation countering the staggered setups understeer. Important note: If you run that much negative camber up front, you will be wearing out the tires faster on the inner edge; however not as fast as 6k miles like Smolck pointed out. Mine lasted about 20k miles.

Staggered set E46 ZHP- 225/40/18x8 Fronts, 255/35/18x8.5 Rears on PS2s all around.

-1.5 front camber
-1.1 rear camber

0" front total toe
1/8" rear total toe

Hope this helps

Last edited by av98; 11-30-2012 at 03:56 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by av98 View Post
Mine lasted about 20k miles.
JVR826 runs something like -3 up front and -2 out back. I think he said he gets 9k miles out of his tires. (and some serious lateral G's)
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
JVR826 runs something like -3 up front and -2 out back. I think he said he gets 9k miles out of his tires. (and some serious lateral G's)
Yep, that's an aggressive track setup. We both use the same alignment guy in Milpitas called TC Designs. He's awesome at setting up alignments.

I compromised since I only do about 1-2 track days a year. I'm getting close to my 2 year mark from my last alignment and I'll get all my brakes + alignment done at the shop beside called Bavarian Motorsports next door.

Last edited by av98; 11-29-2012 at 02:29 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2012, 04:14 PM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by av98 View Post
+1 but it does seem a little low at -0.5. Don't forget you avg the front left and right to get the total camber -0.8 + -0.5/2= -0.65 avg camber.

You can probably get more but will require the alignment shop to know what to do.

I finally found my specs after rummaging through my emails. Ran less camber in the rear and more in the front to allow for a more neutral rotation countered the staggered setups understeer. Important note: If you run that much negative camber up front, you will be wearing out the tires faster on the inner edge; however not as fast as 6k miles like Smolck pointed out. Mine lasted about 20k miles.

Staggered set E46 ZHP- 225/40/18x8 Fronts, 255/35/18x8.5 Rears on PS2s all around.

-1.5 front camber
-1.1 rear camber

0" front total toe
1/8" rear total toe

Thanks guys! Makes me feel a lot better.. will have to take it to my lifetime free alignment at Firestone since I just got new tires but nice to know.

Should I actually take the #'s above and take it to them? I wouldnt be surprised if they were not familiar with a ZHP's specs. I hope they dont do a bad job but I have been going to them for like the last 10 years. They always give me a computer report when I ask for it etc... (P.S. I have 17" BBS, not sure if that matters)
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Last edited by Dathaeus; 11-29-2012 at 04:17 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2012, 05:10 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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According to the Hunter machine at the Firestone shop I just went to, the front camber spec on my 01 330ci is:
Front = -0.4 to -1.1
Rear = -1.8 to -2.3
I also thought that was a lot of camber but tech stated it was toe that impacts tire wear and not so much the camber?

Also, does anyone ballast their car prior to alignment? Car requires 497 Lbs of ballast (150 lbs in each front seat, 150 in the middle of rear and 47Lbs in the trunk) oh, and don't forget, the fuel tank should be full too....prior to alignment and according to spec and Hunter machine in order to have an accurate alignment, at normal riding conditions, car needs to have ballast installed.

http://www.bmwmotorsports.org/BMW_docs/x5align.pdf

Reference page 34 for loading instructions.

Last edited by QAfred; 11-29-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2012, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dathaeus View Post
Thanks guys! Makes me feel a lot better.. will have to take it to my lifetime free alignment at Firestone since I just got new tires but nice to know.

Should I actually take the #'s above and take it to them? I wouldnt be surprised if they were not familiar with a ZHP's specs. I hope they dont do a bad job but I have been going to them for like the last 10 years. They always give me a computer report when I ask for
it etc... (P.S. I have 17" BBS, not sure if that matters)
If you are running a square setup (both the front and rear 17" BBS wheels have the same spec. EG: 17x7.5.) Then, DO NOT use my alignment setup as it's for a staggered wheel set. You may want to have them figure out the correct numbers by describing you want a neutral non-understeer biased alignment. If they know what they are doing then they should be able to give you some numbers for your car; if not I would go with the stock settings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by QAfred View Post
According to the Hunter machine at the Firestone shop I just went to, the front camber spec on my 01 330ci is:
Front = -0.4 to -1.1
Rear = -1.8 to -2.3
I also thought that was a lot of camber but tech stated it was toe that impacts tire wear and not so much the camber?

Also, does anyone ballast their car prior to alignment? Car requires 497 Lbs of ballast (150 lbs in each front seat, 150 in the middle of rear and 47Lbs in the trunk) oh, and don't forget, the fuel tank should be full too....prior to alignment and according to spec and Hunter machine in order to have an accurate alignment, at normal riding conditions, car needs to have ballast installed.

http://www.bmwmotorsports.org/BMW_docs/x5align.pdf

Reference page 34 for loading instructions.
As JVR mentioned, really depends how good your alignment shop is. I believe the place we go to has lots of experience with other similar cars and ballast weights so he probably uses his database to figure out what works best on what the customer wants.

Toe on a stock setup; however, if you exceed the stock settings for camber, then camber absolutely affects tire wear.
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  #11  
Old 11-29-2012, 05:37 PM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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Shop I went to the tech stated they (management) would not buy him any ballast since only bimmers, mini's and I think he said a few Fords and Mercedes require it and they think it is bunk science basically.

I bought a lifetime alignment there so considering weighing it down per spec myself and ensuring tank is full etc. when I take it back in there sometime after New Year for another alignment check.

Also, per the chart on page 26, on attached pdf, the camber is adjustable on the front of an E-46. See page 13 for how it is done. I have seen this done on my daughter's 325ci and photos of others on this forum that were pissed when some hack chisled away the alignment pin to shim for camber. You are supposed to drive the pin down and use a tool to move the strut tower for camber adjustment up to .5 degrees.

http://www.bmwmotorsports.org/BMW_docs/x5align.pdf

Last edited by QAfred; 11-29-2012 at 07:26 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-01-2012, 01:44 AM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by av98 View Post
If you are running a square setup (both the front and rear 17" BBS wheels have the same spec. EG: 17x7.5.) Then, DO NOT use my alignment setup as it's for a staggered wheel set. You may want to have them figure out the correct numbers by describing you want a neutral non-understeer biased alignment. If they know what they are doing then they should be able to give you some numbers for your car; if not I would go with the stock settings.
I am now running on

Hankook Ventus V12
Front: 225/45ZR-17
Rear: 255/40ZR-17

I am not sure how often I will be going to the road course since its expensive, but I do drive as legally aggressively as I can on the streets, so what camber settings would be good for me without excessive, unnecessary tire wear?
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Front: 225/45ZR
Rear: 255/40ZR



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  #13  
Old 12-01-2012, 10:47 PM
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SilvrZHP SilvrZHP is offline
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Excellent info gentlemen will be getting mine done next week and will shoot them some of these specs and see what they say
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:29 AM
QAfred QAfred is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dathaeus View Post
Thanks guys! Makes me feel a lot better.. will have to take it to my lifetime free alignment at Firestone since I just got new tires but nice to know.

Should I actually take the #'s above and take it to them? I wouldnt be surprised if they were not familiar with a ZHP's specs. I hope they dont do a bad job but I have been going to them for like the last 10 years. They always give me a computer report when I ask for it etc... (P.S. I have 17" BBS, not sure if that matters)
BMW tech told me as long as you stick with stock set-up you will not have excess tire wear. He claimed the issue is; that most shops do not ballast the car, and therefore you cannot get an accurate toe adjustment. He said he has noticed that camber was not impacted as much as toe was once the car had the prescribed ballast installed and stated without the ballast toe will be out, especially in the rear, and abnormal tire wear will result.

The Hunter alignment machine automatically brings up the spec on all cars and it too states to load the E-46's with ballast. Firestone tech told me they won't buy it for him so when asked by the machine if ballast is installed he pushes the yes button and drives on...hence the error in toe and camber- since BMW says you are tricking yourself/the machine if you think you are going to get a good alignment without ballast.

Last edited by QAfred; 12-02-2012 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QAfred View Post
BMW tech told me as long as you stick with stock set-up you will not have excess tire wear. He claimed the issue is; that most shops do not ballast the car, and therefore you cannot get an accurate toe adjustment. He said he has noticed that camber was not impacted as much as toe was once the car had the prescribed ballast installed and stated without the ballast toe will be out, especially in the rear, and abnormal tire wear will result.

The Hunter alignment machine automatically brings up the spec on all cars and it too states to load the E-46's with ballast. Firestone tech told me they won't buy it for him so when asked by the machine if ballast is installed he pushes the yes button and drives on...hence the error in toe and camber- since BMW says you are tricking yourself/the machine if you think you are going to get a good alignment without ballast.
+1, both the alignment shops I go to add the ballasts from spec to make sure the car's load is properly balanced. As for toe adj, don't forget that this will also affect turn-in.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dathaeus View Post
I am now running on

Hankook Ventus V12
Front: 225/45ZR-17
Rear: 255/40ZR-17

I am not sure how often I will be going to the road course since its expensive, but I do drive as legally aggressively as I can on the streets, so what camber settings would be good for me without excessive, unnecessary tire wear?
Technically your tire selection is a staggered set from the tire sizes- 225 fronts and 255 rears but the wheel size is 17 which is a smaller contact patch. I'd stick with as aggressive a combined neg camber they can give you within the stock specs. Plus a similar toe and stock caster as what I previously posted. This will keep the tire wear to a pretty reasonable rate. As for how you want the car to handle, in a staggered setup the car is more likely to understeer due to more grip in the rear. The less grip you have in the rear allows it to rotate more easily to get a more neutral setup (the whole car rotates evenly front & rear with out a biased understeer or oversteer from either end). Just describe what you want the car to do along with what your comfortable in driving. Hopefully the alignment shop is experienced enough to know what setup works best. Faster turn-in is affected by the toe setting. If you like the car to respond right away with steering inputs that is a faster turn in.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:25 AM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by av98 View Post
Technically your tire selection is a staggered set from the tire sizes- 225 fronts and 255 rears but the wheel size is 17 which is a smaller contact patch. I'd stick with as aggressive a combined neg camber they can give you within the stock specs. Plus a similar toe and stock caster as what I previously posted. This will keep the tire wear to a pretty reasonable rate. As for how you want the car to handle, in a staggered setup the car is more likely to understeer due to more grip in the rear. The less grip you have in the rear allows it to rotate more easily to get a more neutral setup (the whole car rotates evenly front & rear with out a biased understeer or oversteer from either end). Just describe what you want the car to do along with what your comfortable in driving. Hopefully the alignment shop is experienced enough to know what setup works best. Faster turn-in is affected by the toe setting. If you like the car to respond right away with steering inputs that is a faster turn in.
So u r saying pretty much trust the guys at Firestone and just talk to them, i.e., I dont have to take specific numbers to him? Last few times I went there, they did seem like they knew what they were talking about, and I am sure they see a ton of BMW's esp in my area so its not a rare thing etc.... And I guess definitely tell them to weigh down the car, or should that be standard for these cars?

I do prefer slight understeer, maybe its my type A, i.e., if I wanna turn hard, I'll turn it hard, lol... I dont like my steering super responsive and jumpy esp for higher speed driving, not sure if that makes sense overall since I am not a race car driver, but I do love driving.

Thanks, your awesome!
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Rear: 255/40ZR



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  #18  
Old 12-03-2012, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dathaeus View Post
So u r saying pretty much trust the guys at Firestone and just talk to them, i.e., I dont have to take specific numbers to him? Last few times I went there, they did seem like they knew what they were talking about, and I am sure they see a ton of BMW's esp in my area so its not a rare thing etc.... And I guess definitely tell them to weigh down the car, or should that be standard for these cars?

I do prefer slight understeer, maybe its my type A, i.e., if I wanna turn hard, I'll turn it hard, lol... I dont like my steering super responsive and jumpy esp for higher speed driving, not sure if that makes sense overall since I am not a race car driver, but I do love driving.

Thanks, your awesome!
Yep, trust the guys at Firestone but do describe what you just told us here. They should get you an alignment that gets you to where you want the car to get to. If they can't do it they should be able to tell you what's possible with their alignment equipment.

Get them to align your car within the stock spec, that should be sufficient for your driving needs. As for weighing down the car, it should be part of the process since it's what the alignment machine requires.

Forgot to mention, great choice on the tires. The V12s are pretty good tires.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:14 AM
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BTW, if you are experiencing mushrooming this can be fixed by using reinforcement plates. I didn't have this problem but as preventive maintenance, I had some put in when I upgraded my shocks/struts.

http://store.bimmerworld.com/e36e46e...tes-p1219.aspx
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:49 PM
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I do prefer slight understeer, maybe its my type A, i.e., if I wanna turn hard, I'll turn it hard, lol...
I'll never forget the time I overcooked it going into a hard right hander and my car wanted to keep going straight. If not for BMW's legendary brakes, the ZHP would have eaten a tree. No, understeer SUCKS when hanging it all out there and driving the car near the limits of adhesion.

I'd much rather have the tail kick out and correct it with some opposite lock than plow into a tree.

EDIT: Then again, I grew up driving fox body 5.0 mustangs so steering with the gas pedal is second nature.
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