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 03-26-2014, 11:21 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Please post a PICTURE of what you use for BMW prescribed 500 pound alignment weights

The whole point of alignment weights is to get the ride height correct, but, it's hard to weight a bimmer since about 500 pounds are needed to position the ride height correctly.

Given that the ride height is crucial, the point of THIS thread is to have pictures of the weights actually used for alignment, so that all of us, in the future, can benefit from the ideas for our next alignment.

This comment by Fudman today got me thinking that we can pool our efforts to find something that we all already have, to use as 500 pound alignment weights:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Should I Attempt a Rear Alignment DIY
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
they wouldn't let me sit in the car like previous times. Since I don't have as many gas cans as BB, 100 lbs of gravel in the front seal wells was all I could do.
To help all of us, please post a picture of the weights you used when you had your E39 aligned, and, especially if you had the dealer do it.

For example, here is what one BMW owner used for his E28 alignment:


Please do NOT write that you had your vehicle aligned without weights, or that any particular shop or dealer uses or doesn't use weights, as we all know that most (but not all) dealers use weights and that most (but not all) independent shops don't use weights.

Since we like to do our DIYs correctly, the only point of THIS thread is to have pictures of the weights actually used for alignment purposes on your bimmer, so that all of us, in the future, can benefit from your ideas.

As usual, I'll show what I used for weights during my last alignment, but the key point of this thread is to find out what others used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I used 3 fully-filled 5-gallon gas cans in each front seat, plus a similar set of three in the rear, and a much smaller set in the center of the trunk.
With the jugs filled to the brim, that's more than 5 gallons of fresh water in each jug weighing about 8.3 pounds per gallon at room temperature, which comes to (roughly) about 45 pounds (give or take) per 5-gallon jug, which makes it roughly about 135 pounds in each seat and on the rear bench (with another fifty pounds in the center of the trunk).



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) & BMW_E39_Alignment_Specs_and_Procedures.pdf
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	alignment_weight.jpg
Views:	800
Size:	114.4 KB
ID:	430459   Click image for larger version

Name:	bmw_ride_height.jpg
Views:	1265
Size:	24.7 KB
ID:	430460  
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 03-27-2014 at 05:04 AM.
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 03-26-2014, 06:57 PM
First time's Avatar
First time First time is offline
INSANELY UNPREDICTABLE!
Location: in my house
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 537
Mein Auto: 1984 318i
Lol wow that is overkill.


Knownworldwide
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-26-2014, 07:41 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Orlando, FL
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 953
Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 740i
Your mom.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-26-2014, 08:14 PM
StRaNgEdAyS StRaNgEdAyS is offline
Registered Lunatic
Location: Caboolture
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 143
Mein Auto: E39 535i
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
Your mom.
__________________
Absinthe makes the tart grow fonder
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-27-2014, 01:07 AM
sixpot_simon's Avatar
sixpot_simon sixpot_simon is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 780
Mein Auto: E39 530i
Bluebee, I admire your dedication to doing things according to correct procedure.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-27-2014, 04:27 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by 530i_simon View Post
Bluebee, I admire your dedication to doing things according to correct procedure.
Thanks.
Most people find SOMETHING handy to use for the 500 pounds of weight.

For example, this Porsche owner used what he called paver's stones (on blankets and wooden boards for weight distribution).


But, even with this detailed thread on the weighting, I can't find a PICTURE of the weights that the alignment shops use:
- The theory of E39 alignment with weights (1)

However, from that thread, we know exactly how much weight to use and where to put it:


And, we know precisely WHY the weight is important:


We just now need to know WHAT people actually use for weights (e.g., sandbags, stones, pavers, gravel, water, weightlifting discs, etc.).

I chose water jugs because they were easy to transport empty, and to fill at the alignment shop, but, most people won't have ten water jugs conveniently handy.

Sandbags seem easier, but potentially messy, and again, how many people keep 500 pounds of sand handy?

So the quest is to find out what OTHERS used, so, that we can all benefit from the ideas.
It would be particularly nice to have a picture of what the dealer uses for alignment weights.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	E38 Wheel Alignment Weight.jpg
Views:	577
Size:	44.7 KB
ID:	430457   Click image for larger version

Name:	paverstones.jpg
Views:	541
Size:	56.3 KB
ID:	430461  
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 03-27-2014 at 05:10 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-27-2014, 07:05 AM
AnotherGeezer's Avatar
AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
Entwicklung 39
Location: ManchVegas, New Hampster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,983
Mein Auto: 2003 530i/5
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-27-2014, 07:12 PM
John in VA John in VA is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Leesburg, VA
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 310
Mein Auto: '74 tii / E28s / '03 530i
One of our local indy chains uses gym dumbbells.

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-28-2014, 08:34 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by John in VA View Post
One of our local indy chains uses gym dumbbells.
This seems like a good idea.

Steel weights or shot bags might be the most efficient form of weight since they're cleaner than sand or paving stones, and certainly smaller than five-gallon jugs of water.

I don't have any of these, but if you're a weight lifter, would you let us know where we can suggest folks find about 500 pounds of the stuff inexpensively?

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	shotbags.png
Views:	451
Size:	339.1 KB
ID:	430687   Click image for larger version

Name:	50pounds.jpg
Views:	46
Size:	6.8 KB
ID:	430688  
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-02-2014, 03:54 AM
jpseagle jpseagle is offline
Registered User
Location: Palo Alto CA
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 21
Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540i sedan
My priority is no storage and no cost. I want to buy something then return it. (Hello, HomeDepot). I tried sand bags. Ok--but they leak a little and are not easy to carry. Better: salt bags used for adding mineral to water. Cleaner, smaller bags, with a tough plastic handle. Anyway you slice it, the weight takes effort. My local alignment shop (Custom Alignment) talked me out of using weights. They charge double.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-02-2014, 04:16 AM
StRaNgEdAyS StRaNgEdAyS is offline
Registered Lunatic
Location: Caboolture
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 143
Mein Auto: E39 535i
I used plastic lube buckets filled with old wheel weights. Cost us nothing (we were a GoodYear store) and takes but a minute to load in.
I can't believe so many places charge extra to provide good customer service.
__________________
Absinthe makes the tart grow fonder
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-25-2014, 06:28 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by StRaNgEdAyS View Post
I used plastic lube buckets filled with old wheel weights.
Get those old lead weights now, as they are banned in some states already!
- NY law banning lead in wheel weights (1)

It's surprising we haven't seen any pictures of what the professionals use, since the ones who weight must use something.

But, anyway, a related weight question came up today as to how to load the suspension for torque adjustments:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > What's the recommended way to load suspension to torque bolts?
Quote:
Originally Posted by musa View Post
Hi,

I need to torque the rear suspension components (control arms, etc) bolts at normal ride height to prevent premature bushing wear. What is the recommended/safe way to load the suspension and still have access to all the bolts that I need to torque? The wheels need to be off as there's no way to access most of the bolts with a torque wrench even when the wheels are on ramps with plenty of space underneath the car. I've read a post where someone jacked up the rear carrier up to the point where the car started lifting to mimic the preloaded weight. Safe to do this?
Thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	bucket3.jpg
Views:	417
Size:	52.2 KB
ID:	442032  
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 05-25-2014 at 06:39 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-25-2014, 07:05 PM
JDeGraff89's Avatar
JDeGraff89 JDeGraff89 is online now
Otto Zwei-Punkt-Null
Location: Omaha, NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,294
Mein Auto: 12- 2002 530i Auto,
I used my mother.
__________________
Current: 12/16/2002 530i Auto Titangrau/Standardscwarz

R.I.P. Otto, 04/17/97 - 02/02/15 You'll be missed my drunken Bavarian friend.

"Owning one of these cars is much like owning a two year old child. It's annoying most of the time, but if anyone tries to take it from you'll kill them." J. Clarkson.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 12-18-2014, 04:37 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Fudman kindly posted a nice summary of how to change the permanent ride height of the E39, which I include below for reference...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 ride height
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
If done correctly, this will be expensive unless you DIY. Changing tire profiles on the same size rim will only get you part way there. While you achieve your appearance objectives, you also get improved handling. But the downside is reduced ride quality, lower gas mileage and speedo inaccuracy. The correct approach is to replace your springs. However, the stiffness of the springs has now increased and the stroke range for your struts has now changed. So you would have to change your struts too, to avoid bottoming out. If your car was due for a suspension refresh, then at least you can justify part of the cost as maintenance!
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-26-2015, 08:30 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
For the first time ever, we finally have pictures of what BMW uses for weights when performing an alignment:
> E46 (1999 - 2006) > Wheel Alignment Procedure Question
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkmann View Post
When I had the car checked the first time at my local Nissan shop, without the weights on, my front camber "before" readings were as follows: LF = -1 degree; RF = +0.3 degree (both out of spec).

At the dealer, with the weights on, the "before" readings are as follows: LF = -0.7 degree; RF = -0.5 degree (both in spec).

This is only a single data point, but it tends to support BMW's requirement to use the weights. I asked the shop to take some photos of the weights in the car. They are not the sharpest, but they are attached below.

Notice in the photos above, the 3 bags, which are each probably closely equivalent to a full five gallon portable container of water (at around 21 kg each).
Also notice that the BMW spec says the rear seat weight should go in the CENTER, while the dealership put them more conveniently at the edges (it may make no difference to ride height where the weight is placed):
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 02-26-2015 at 08:42 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 02-26-2015, 08:46 PM
98OrientBlue 98OrientBlue is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Bay Area, CA, US
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 130
Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 540i/6
BlueBee, I know this doesn't apply for alignment, but for the purposes of suspension rework, has anyone figured out the delta between empty ride height and loaded ride height in inches for the various suspensions (e.g. standard, m-sport, m-sport II)?

Say I change out my control arms and need to jack up my steering knuckle back to "normal height" before tightening the proper bolts. Can I just take my empty height and subtract a known amount, like 1 inch?
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 02-26-2015, 08:53 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by 98OrientBlue View Post
has anyone figured out the delta between empty ride height and loaded ride height in inches for the various suspensions
I don't know how much the ride height changes with the 600 pounds of weight but RDL tells us the 600 pounds gets us to the "midpoint" in the ride height range:


However, 500 pounds is a LOT of weight, and, 18.5 gallons of gasoline adds over 100 pounds more (i.e., 112 pounds); so, the ride height change might be appreciable with over 600 pounds of weight.

The answer might be in this canonical thread on why use the weights in the first place ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > The REAL Reason For Using Weights During Alignment (No, It's Not What You Think.)

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	suspension.jpg
Views:	182
Size:	194.8 KB
ID:	494740  
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 02-26-2015 at 09:12 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 02-27-2015, 08:51 AM
m735is m735is is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Hamburg, NY
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 123
Mein Auto: e23, e32, e34, e39
Personally I wonder why using some sort of a device to pull the weight of the car down a certain distance can't be used. Like a racketing strap hooked to the tow hooks or something to simulate the weight on the car.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 05-25-2015, 06:32 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Quote:
Originally Posted by m735is View Post
Personally I wonder why using some sort of a device to pull the weight of the car down a certain distance can't be used. Like a racketing strap hooked to the tow hooks or something to simulate the weight on the car.
Given that the point of the weight is to lower the car to a specified level, that makes sense, to me too.
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 05-25-2015, 06:42 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
In looking up to see if there were ways to lower the car with a tension strap, I ran into this similar thread (of mine) for the weights, which should be cross referenced, for one-stop shopping ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Does anyone have a picture of what BMW ballast looks like for weighted alignments?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Today I called up three local BMW dealerships to ascertain what they use for weight and some service managers replied they use "sand bags".
- > E39 (1997 - 2003) > The REAL Reason For Using Weights During Alignment (No, It's Not What You Think.)

I find that hard to believe, if for no other reason than sand could potentially make a mess.
I would think they'd use custom steel ballast, encased in cloth or plastic or rubber.
But, I really don't know what they use.

The reason I ask here is that we all need a good method of weighting the vehicle to the 500 pounds required in order to set the vehicle into the NLP position (which is the only position for which the specs are valid).

Our choice is either to pay the $200 to $250 dealer's price for a weighted alignment, or, to pay $100 for an alignment at an indy, where we bring our own weights.

As you already know, I successfully used 60 gallons of water (where every 6 gallons of water weighs 50 pounds), which is one clean method - but it requires borrowing up to 10 five-gallon jugs (overfilled to the brim).

I'm sure that oher clean methods of weighting the vehicle must exist.

To further our collective tribal knowledge, would someone kindly post a picture of what specific ballast BMW uses?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Just because the dealer is supposed to use ballast does not mean that the dealer actually uses ballast during an alignment. I really doubt that most dealers, just like tire shops, add ballast. Unless of course the obnoxious car owner is standing there asking about it! I have never, ever seen any car ballasted during alignment before my e39.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1+,

As you know, the book says weigh the car during alignment, the truth is dealer mechanics don't do it. I know for fact b/c a good friend is a mechanic at dealer. So much for the book.

I always align the car with full gas tank, and no extra weights.

For those who insist on weighing the car, it is very simple, with so many obese people in this country (hey we are an obese nation!), just flag down a few unemployed obese people (hint: go to your local McDonald's restaurant) and ask them to sit in the car during alignment, pay them $5/each, enough for a Big Mac, so they are ready for the next alignment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
The old bait n hook at McDonalds
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Today I called up three local BMW dealerships to ascertain what they use for weight and some service managers replied they use "sand bags".
- > E39 (1997 - 2003) > The REAL Reason For Using Weights During Alignment (No, It's Not What You Think.)

I find that hard to believe, if for no other reason than sand could potentially make a mess.
I would think they'd use custom steel ballast, encased in cloth or plastic or rubber.
But, I really don't know what they use.

The reason I ask here is that we all need a good method of weighting the vehicle to the 500 pounds required in order to set the vehicle into the NLP position (which is the only position for which the specs are valid).

Our choice is either to pay the $200 to $250 dealer's price for a weighted alignment, or, to pay $100 for an alignment at an indy, where we bring our own weights.

As you already know, I successfully used 60 gallons of water (where every 6 gallons of water weighs 50 pounds), which is one clean method - but it requires borrowing up to 10 five-gallon jugs (overfilled to the brim).

I'm sure that oher clean methods of weighting the vehicle must exist.

To further our collective tribal knowledge, would someone kindly post a picture of what specific ballast BMW uses?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
Just because the dealer is supposed to use ballast does not mean that the dealer actually uses ballast during an alignment. I really doubt that most dealers, just like tire shops, add ballast. Unless of course the obnoxious car owner is standing there asking about it! I have never, ever seen any car ballasted during alignment before my e39.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1+,

As you know, the book says weigh the car during alignment, the truth is dealer mechanics don't do it. I know for fact b/c a good friend is a mechanic at dealer. So much for the book.

I always align the car with full gas tank, and no extra weights.

For those who insist on weighing the car, it is very simple, with so many obese people in this country (hey we are an obese nation!), just flag down a few unemployed obese people (hint: go to your local McDonald's restaurant) and ask them to sit in the car during alignment, pay them $5/each, enough for a Big Mac, so they are ready for the next alignment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Actually, I almost always agree with both cn90 & Fudman (and others), when it come to making practical decisions such as these.

The record clearly shows, I myself have been known to disregard BMW "recommendations", as I do believe their clever M A R K E T I N G causes some people to, somehow believe that the BMW is inherently mystical. In fact, I've often said, "it's just a car", and it acts like any other car (for the most part) when it comes to pragmatic stuff like fluids and maintenance procedures.

Given that, we all know that the other cars get weighted with just a driver and full tank of gasoline (and you might notice therefore, that many other-car specs are therefore asymmetric, and that the BMW specs, at least for my vehicle, are symmetric).

However, given the stated logic for the 500 pounds of ballast, I'm not so sure that the mid-point NLP starting-point spec should be wholly disregarded without consideration of ride height and spring condition.

We've already seen at least three knowledgeable people state, for example, that the rear camber can change by as much as 1 with versus without weights. (1) (2) (3) (4).

And, we all know that precise alignment is for nought if the springs are worn (although I'm not sure the probability of that is high enough to matter).

I do know that my bimmer had -2.5 of rear camber with a full tank and 500 pounds of ballast, so I can just imagine what the camber would have been without that weight.

In summary, I have read probably a score or two threads and articles on the theory of adding the weights, and I'm pretty sure it's NOT for simulating (a) downforce at speed, nor for mimicking a (b) normal loading condition.

As RDL and Brett Anderson [mailto:brett_at_koalamotorsport.com] eloquently stated, I believe the purpose of the ballast is to set the vehicle ride height to a known point (which happens to be the midpoint, but that's irrelevant) at which the specs then become valid.

Having said that, I don't think we need to belabor the purpose here (simply because there is already a detailed thread for that purpose).

At the moment, I believe there is a reason for the ballast, but, even if there isn't a reason, I still would like to see a photo of what the actual ballast looks like, in operation.

So, back to our point, if anyone has a picture or diagram of the ballast in use, that would be very enlightening indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Hmm.... well, if they don't actually use the ballast, then we won't be able to see any photos of them using it!

For the record, I did call the three local dealerships, and all said they used ballast, albeit maybe they can't be believed...
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Hmmmm....
  • BMW of San Jose, aka Stevenscreek BMW (www.stevenscreekbmw.com)
    • 800-298-1501x2 (asked to speak to a service advisor)
    • The first service advisor didn't have a clue what I was asking!
    • So I called back, and the second service advisor unhesitatingly said they definitely use the weights.
    • PS: It costs $250 for an alignment with weights <== almost always, this dealership is the most expensive in the entire country!
  • BMW of Mountainview (http://www.bmwofmountainview.com)
    • 650-200-0149x1x2 (tried to speak to a service advisor)
    • Left a message as they didn't answer the phone
    • They didn't return the call, so I called back, and pressed "4" instead of "1": 650-200-0149x4
    • Asking for a service advisor, the one I got had no clue whether they use weights or not.
    • Calling back, pressing "4" again, I found out that it was the appointment personnel whom I had been speaking with.
    • So I got a "real" service advisor, who said they "add sandbags as needed", which I'll take to indicate they add the proper weight.
    • PS: It costs $190 for an alignment, with your money refunded if you don't need it
  • BMW of Fremont (www.bmwoffremont.com)
    • 510-224-4820x1 (asked to speak to a service advisor)
    • The service advisor unhesitatingly said they use the specified weights.
    • PS: It costs $190 for an alignment, with your money refunded if you don't need it

That's a valid argument.

From "my" reading of this wonderfully edifying thread (and a score of others), the driving-under-downforce (DUD?) theory is pretty much deprecated. So is the carrying-rocks-and-passengers (CRAP?) theory. The only theory that seems to logically hold water is the one so eloquently explaned by RDL, which is that the whole point is to weight (almost) all BMWs similarly so that the very specific midpoint called the "Normal Loaded Position" is reached.

Don't let the word "normal" or "loaded" mean anything to you with respect to how many rocks and passengers one normally carries as a load. In fact, we should give that specific midpoint-loading position a more technical name so people don't jump to conclusions. I think I'll call it the NLP, so that the word "normal" and "loading" are removed.

The way I understand it is that, at that midpoint-loading NLP (which, for most non-M bimmers can only be achieved with weight on good springs), all the alignment specifications are valid.

At any other point than that midpoint NLP, those alignment specs are no longer valid.
Can it really be that simple?
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-05-2015, 07:38 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
The question came up again today, over here, about what an alignment would look like, had weights been used:

> E39 (1997 - 2003) > My car's wheel alignment, 99 528i M suspension
Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
Its been 8 months/14k miles since my car had a 4-wheel alignment. We all know that the front caster and front camber specs are non adjustable. Front Toe is the only adjustable spec. So...
how do they get out of spec?
What makes the wheels get out of spec?
Why does it happen so soon and so easy?
Im posting the last 2 alignment print outs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
I do not know if they do a lot of bmw. I believe they dont weigh down the car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
In the canonical thread on alignment weights, I asked and I would still LOVE to have two golden printouts:
- The theory of alignment with weights (1)& pictures of 500# pound BMW prescribed DIY wheel alignment ride height weights (1)


It would be nice to have two printouts:
1. Alignment measurement report for a car without 640 pounds of weight
2. That same car, with the 640 pounds of additional weight

I would LOVE to see what that does to:
a. Front toe
b. Rear toe
c. Rear camber

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) & pictures of 500# pound BMW prescribed DIY wheel alignment ride height weights (1)
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-05-2015, 09:49 PM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
Rereading this thread, I just belatedly realized two important facts!
1. The ride height is the aiming factor; not the weight.
2. Therefore, the weight packs must be somewhat adjustable.

> E39 (1997 - 2003) > My car's wheel alignment, 99 528i M suspension
Quote:
It would be nice to have two printouts:
1. Alignment measurement report for a car without 640 pounds of weight
2. That same car, with the 640 pounds of additional weight

I would LOVE to see what that does to:
a. Front toe
b. Rear toe
c. Rear camber
Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
I would love to see that also. Too bad Shops dont want spend the time and effort to weigh down a car when the specs call for that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I just noticed an old graphic, which explains, at the right (in red below), that the proper alignment ride height is significantly different than the unweighted ride height.

The writer says just moving the seats matter, let alone adding up to 640 pounds to set the ride height.

Note that the ride height is apparently far more important than the specific amount of weight, which means the weights need to be adjustable, to some extent.

The writer did say that the M suspension is a little less prone to differences in ride height though (due to fewer models and stiffer springs).
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 06-05-2015 at 09:50 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-30-2015, 11:37 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 25,236
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 auto 130K
I just realized something, while helping out on the E46 forum today:
> E46 (1999 - 2006) > Alignment critique
Quote:
Originally Posted by greeneclipse View Post
Hey guys,


I redid the front and rear suspension, tie rods and powerflex rtabs over the winter.


Here's what the alignment looked like afterwards...tech said he couldn't get the rear toe within spec and felt the poly rtabs may have something to do with it. I'm not really buying it because the install is straight forward. No preload or offset pieces that need to be inserted in specific orientation ( right?)


Let me know what you guys think... Taking it to another place today before I get a new set of tires.

What I realized is that what BMW calls "normal ride height" is really a "nominal ride height" (as it's not at all "normal" to add up to 620 pounds to the bimmer).

Bear in mind, the weight and/or placement isn't the thing you're aiming for; what you're aiming for is the nominal ride height before starting.
__________________
Please read the suggested threads and add value, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
alignment, camber, caster, front wheel alignment, rear wheel alignmenta, toe, weight


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 11:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2015 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms