Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-21-2007, 07:30 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,766
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Align Front Wheels Yourself After Tie Rods Replacement

Hi,

I just want to share this little trick to save you $70-80 on Alignment cost after Tie Rods replacement. This is trick on my 98 Volvo V70 but the idea is true for many cars, E39 included.

My OUTER Tie Rods have some play so I decided to replace them (The INNER Tie Rods are still OK @ 83K).

ASSUMPTIONS:
1. Front Tires same brand and wear is the same between R and L sides.
2. All tires pressure at mfg recommended level, I use 38 psi.
3. Car's alignment is 'perfect' before Tie Rods replacement, i.e. recent aligment was done or car runs in straight line on highway (I know this is not really scientific but close......)

For Details of INNER and OUTER Tie Rods, search the forum.

My Tricks:
1. Keep Steering Wheel Straight
2. Park in a Flat Garage.
3. Use a Carpenter Square and Masking Tape, mark the Equator of the Tires where the Carpenter Level is flat, as shown in picture.
Depending on car model, you may need to use a piece of wood or something on the body panel so the REAR of the Carpenter Square is resting on a Fixed Part (Body Panel).
4. Record the distance between the Wheel Rim (make sure there is no curbside damage at where you measure) and the carpenter square (which is held at the Equator's Level), be careful to make a diagram so it is accurate between Wheel's Front and Back values and R vs L (do not get confused!!).
5. Install new OUTER Tie Rods using DIY you find elsewhere.

6. You may need to roll the car forward and backward 2-3 inches to remove any flat spot when you lower the car after installing the wheels.
But make sure you do not drive it more than 2-3 inches. Bring it back to the same original place in the garage. Use chalk to mark garage floor if necessary.
7. Periodically check the Steering Wheel to be sure it is still straight.
8. Restore the R and L Wheel Rim Values as "original".
9. Once happy, do NOT forget to tighten the lock nut on the INNER Tie Rods.
10. Test Drive the car and it should be dead straight on the highway!

You just saved $70-80 for some beers.....
Again this assumes that the car's alignment was 'perfect' beforehand.

Otherwise, if the above procedure fails, then go for Alignment. But you have to stop drinking beers for one month!!!!!!!

Hope you guys find this useful for the cars that you own. Not scientific but very close and to my surprise it is dead straight on the highway after my Tie Rod job!

cn90
98 BMW 528i 96K miles
98 V70 83K miles
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Volvo-Aligment.jpg
Views:	501
Size:	57.6 KB
ID:	124610  

Last edited by cn90; 10-21-2007 at 07:32 PM.
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 10-21-2007, 10:28 PM
Eddie Bimmer's Avatar
Eddie Bimmer Eddie Bimmer is offline
.
Location: The City of Champions
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 10,678
Mein Auto: X5
I've used this and marked the laser dots on the wall. The further you are from the wall, the more accurate it gets. It's a piece of cake, actually.



__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-22-2007, 08:05 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,766
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
The laser carpenter level idea is brilliant! But only works if you do not move the car one inch!
The problem is, when raising the lowering the car, it moves sideway a bit (not much but a bit).

My technique relies solely on the car's body panel, so it is not affected by the little movement associated with raising and lowering the car.

So far so good, car is dead straight as new!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-22-2007, 11:43 AM
tomibriggs's Avatar
tomibriggs tomibriggs is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Los Angeles, CA
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 577
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 528i
I haven't had an alignment since I replaced the shocks & springs on my car but my car drives straight on the freeway. Will this procedure apply?

My steering wheel is not straight/aligned though so I cannot rely on that. Any alternative for trick #1?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-22-2007, 12:45 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,766
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
My technique has its own limitation

Assuming your car's alignment is good, and if steering wheel is not straight, then do this:

Mark the INNER Tie Rod with black marker.

Turn the INNER Tie Rod the same amount for both side: let's say to drive straight on the hwy the steering wheel is rotates a bit toward the R. See Picture a.

So when straightening the SW, the Front rims now point slightly (1-2 mm) to the L.
See Picture b.

So if you:
-Toe-in the L side a bit (maybe a 90 to 180 turn of the Inner Tie Rod)
-Toe-out the R side a bit (maybe a 90 to 180 turn of the Inner Tie Rod)

Final Result is Picture c.

Make careful notes of the original setup and count how many degrees you roate the INNER Tie Rods. Turn the same amount for both sides.

Then tighten the lock Nuts.

Test drive it. You may have to adjust a bit more by trial and error.

In my Honda Odyssey van, they aligned the car after transmission work but the steering wheel rotates a bit to the R when cruising on hwy; I know it drives straight but the SW rotating a bit to thr R was annoying. I adjusted it about 180 degree twist on the INNER Tie Rod. All is fine and the SW is dead straight.

Since you did spring, shocks etc, I think you are better off with a proper wheel alignment at the shop.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Alignment.JPG
Views:	4140
Size:	15.3 KB
ID:	124705  
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-23-2007, 10:35 AM
e39dream's Avatar
e39dream e39dream is offline
L C B
Location: Northwest Indiana
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,283
Mein Auto: 1998 528i sport, DOB 5/28
if the wheel is as seen in the upper left of your illustration while going straight could/ would that cause excessive inner tire wear of the front tires?
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-23-2007, 07:07 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,766
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Quote:
Originally Posted by e39dream View Post
if the wheel is as seen in the upper left of your illustration while going straight could/ would that cause excessive inner tire wear of the front tires?
Actually in the UPPER Left pic: the car goes straight, wheels are perfectly aligned, it is just the steering wheel not set at center: annoying but no issue.

On the contrary, sometimes the SW is set straight but the wheels are mis-aligned.

Where the SW points to has nothing to do with wheel alignment.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-01-2008, 11:41 AM
Test_Engineer's Avatar
Test_Engineer Test_Engineer is offline
Drives cars for a living!
Location: Ann Arbor, MI (USA)
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 3,935
Mein Auto: 2011 BMW 335i
Typically if you are replacing a worn suspension part that locates the knuckle(tie rod, lower control arm....), your "BEFORE" measurements will be out of alignment due to the worn part you are replacing. So by using this method, you are essentially putting the car back to a poor alignment condition it was in before you changed the part. Doesn't make much sense to do that.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-20-2012, 10:35 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,504
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
May I ask the simple (possibly loaded) question of what ACCURACY is 'needed' for a home front toe alignment for the E39?

BMW specifies 10' in the Bentleys (specifically from -05' to 015') given the front total toe spec below of 05' 10'.

I must admit, I've never measured anything to a degree, let alone to ten minutes; so may I ask what may be obvious to others:

Q: What accuracy is 'needed' for a front toe alignment for our E39?
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-20-2012 at 10:38 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-20-2012, 01:17 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,163
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Q: What accuracy is 'needed' for a front toe alignment for our E39?


See Section 4.3 and 7.1 of this: http://www.howtopdf.com/?zV9cFDPQ
Now this is per BMW. Can you feel differences at those tolerances? Doubtful. Will your tires wear differently at those tolerances? Maybe.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-21-2012, 05:05 AM
shaftdrive's Avatar
shaftdrive shaftdrive is offline
Matching beemer & bimmer
Location: USA
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 583
Mein Auto: 1999 K1200 & 2001 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
See Section 4.3 and 7.1 of this: http://www.howtopdf.com/?zV9cFDPQ
That links took me a few tries and resolved to bimmerboard.com members snitch740i original BMW_Wheel_Alignment_Systems[1].pdf
1170 views Original Link: http://www.bimmerboard.com/members/s...tem%5B1%5D.pdf

Code:
7.1 Measuring options
An overview of all measuring options and values (VA = front axle, HA = rear axle) is shown below.
Measuring options Measuring accuracy In measuring range Total measuring range
Total wheel toe (VA + HA)  2'  2  18
Single wheel toe (VA + HA)  2'  2  9
Camber (VA + HA)  1'  3  10
Wheel displacement (VA)  2'  2  9
Geometrical drive axis  2'  2  9
Castor  4'  18  22
Kingpin inclination  4'  18  22
Toe-differential angle  4'  20  20
Maximum steering angle (VA )  4'  60  300
Maximum steering angle (HA )  4'  9  9
Castor correction range  4'  7  10
Note:
The measuring accuracy details only apply when using the precision rotating and sliding plates as well as
the BMW quick-acting clamps.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-21-2012, 11:18 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,504
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I took the liberty of attaching the document Fudman kindly referenced.

I asked in the philosophical thread what the 'claimed' accuracy is of the BMW alignment tools, based on that document.

But I'm confused by the information in that document.

Q: What do these columns actually indicate with respect to accuracy for rear camber and for front/rear toe?

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	bmw_alignment_professional_measuring_accuracy.png
Views:	102
Size:	83.5 KB
ID:	338119  
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BMW_Wheel_Alignment_System.pdf (455.5 KB, 39 views)
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-21-2012 at 11:20 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-21-2012, 12:16 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,163
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
BB:
"With respect to accuracy for rear camber and front/rear toe",
The required accuracy of the measuring system is column 1 of Table 7.1
That accuracy must be held within the range specified in column 2 of Table 7.1
The required tolerance of the specification is the =/- value in the Bentley Table.

The table you attached from Bentleys are the actual alignment specifications for the e39. These specs are within the ranges specified in Table 7.1. So it is all consistent.

The Note from Table 7.1 "The measuring accuracy details only apply when using the precision rotating and sliding plates as well as the BMW quick-acting clamps" suggests that this required accuracy only applies to the BMW Kinematic Diagnostic System (KDS) alignment system and that other alignment systems would use different accuracy levels.

Looking at the values in column 1, I'd say the BMW system is pretty accurate.

However, going back to comments made about the tech being the variable in measurement, I'd say that the system may not be so precise (repeatable) as we would like, given the human dimension.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-26-2014, 11:33 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,504
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I'd say that the system may not be so precise (repeatable) as we would like, given the human dimension.
I think also, that adding the Bently-suggested weights, would also add an element of variability (since it's such a pain, most people don't).

So others benefit from my experience, here's how I weighted mine last I took mine in for an alignment...
Just in case anyone wants ideas for the proper weights, here's what I used:
- One users quest to diagnose uneven tire wear on the inside edge due to excessive and uneven alignment camber & toe (1) (2)





See also:
- Which of the dozen alignment specs are adjustable on the BMW E39 (1) (pdf) & cn90's front (1) (2) and rear (1) wheel alignment DIYs & how to keep the steering wheel (SW) straight during home alignment (1) (2) & what tools measure rear camber at home (1) (2) and what tools measure front/rear toe at home (1) & what tools lock the steering wheel & brake pedal at home (1) & the theory of alignment with weights (1) or without adding weight (1) (2) (3) & philosophically why most people prefer to let a professional alignment shop align their suspension (1) & what expensive equipment is used at the stealer to align your suspension (1) (pdf) & Internet references for how to DIY caster, camber & toe at home (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23) (24) (25) (26) (27) (28) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39)
__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms