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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #26  
Old 08-02-2010, 11:49 AM
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The HACK The HACK is offline
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Originally Posted by blauner View Post
DSX - I thought I remember in one of your posts a while back talking about alignments, that BMW uses 'pins' so to say that fit inside the small holes in the rims of the tire just outside the lug nuts when they do their alignments? I recently, well about 2 months ago, put a set of KW V1x coilovers on my 335xi and got an alignment done by a very good local indy shop, but something still just doesnt feel just right, and I have been contemplating calling up my BMW shop to do it instead, but its a little over an hours drive. Your post earlier about having to hold the steering wheel slightly to the left to drive straight is dead on to my car right now, and it annoys me.

Also, if you have any advice, since I put the coilovers on my 335xi, I have it slightly lowered, probably about to what a sport package 335i is, and I autox the car. What type of alignment specs would you recommend for it? Just staying with the factory 335xi settings or going to a more aggresive profile since the car is lowered and I enjoy autoxing it way past its limits?
Since you're on coil-overs you are better off having the car corner-balanced before you do any sort of alignment. Corner balancing, if you are not aware of what it is, is adjusting the ride-height of each corner to achieve the effect of having the weight of the car equal when you add up the front left and rear right weight load, and the front right and rear left weight load. This will achieve common and equal load on both side when driven spiritedly. Once you have the car corner-balanced and ride height set, do not adjust the ride-height and have it aligned to a desired setting, whether it be for street comfort or out-right auto-crossing prowess.
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  #27  
Old 08-02-2010, 12:01 PM
sleepyx637 sleepyx637 is offline
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I know when done properly, the car is weighted to simulate occupants so the spring are somewhat loaded up when aligned to match actual use. A Goodyear garage was going to align my wheels on my M3 when I swapped rubber, but the computer they specifically told them not to attempt because of the specific BMW needs . They advised me to go to a dealer...who could not do it either! nice!
yeah, i've always wondered about the usefulness of that since 95% of the time, i'm in the car alone, so actual use would be just weights in the front driver's seat, no?
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  #28  
Old 08-02-2010, 12:15 PM
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yeah, i've always wondered about the usefulness of that since 95% of the time, i'm in the car alone, so actual use would be just weights in the front driver's seat, no?
My perspective is that BMW knows more about their cars and getting them to perform for the mass market than I do. Obviously, specific applications such as autoX and racing are a different matter that require specialist knowledge, but for the most part, if BMW says do it, I would probably do it.
[Apart from oil changes. I am happy to spend an extra $130 every alternate change (15K between intermediate changes) and be wrong!]

Hack is right about the corner weighting for coilovers to get the best performance out of your mod.
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  #29  
Old 08-02-2010, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ///M-ratedE90 View Post
I know when done properly, the car is weighted to simulate occupants so the spring are somewhat loaded up when aligned to match actual use. A Goodyear garage was going to align my wheels on my M3 when I swapped rubber, but the computer they specifically told them not to attempt because of the specific BMW needs . They advised me to go to a dealer...who could not do it either! nice!
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There is a first time for everything...
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Originally Posted by ///M-ratedE90 View Post
There is a first time for everything...
I wouldn't do your alignment either. Get you own machine.
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  #30  
Old 08-02-2010, 12:37 PM
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I wouldn't do your alignment either. Get you own machine.
Is "several" the new "twice"?
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  #31  
Old 08-02-2010, 03:33 PM
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I paid $200 at my local BMW service. I also had a $90 quote from a wheel shop but I couldn't trust them.
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  #32  
Old 08-02-2010, 11:16 PM
dodell66 dodell66 is offline
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whats an average price for a wheel alignment for a 3 series bmw? Thanks
I got a quote today from the local dealer I purchased my car through...$139.95. After seeing some of the other price quotes in this thread I feel like I'm getting off cheap.
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  #33  
Old 08-03-2010, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone. Called up my BMW dealer and they are running an alignment special right now for $120, so I jumped on it. Going to work on corner balancing it myself or at a local shop here, since when I asked my dealer if they corner balanced, I heard back "what is that," I didnt go much further...
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  #34  
Old 08-03-2010, 03:50 PM
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Any idea how long a good alignment should take? Dropped it off at the dealer and they called me within 90min to say it was done (and they replaced an electric window motor too). Seems like it was done awfully quickly.
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  #35  
Old 08-03-2010, 08:58 PM
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Any idea how long a good alignment should take? Dropped it off at the dealer and they called me within 90min to say it was done (and they replaced an electric window motor too). Seems like it was done awfully quickly.
I've always been quoted 2-3 hours...
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  #36  
Old 08-04-2010, 06:24 AM
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I've always been quoted 2-3 hours...
My techs do a BMW alignment in as little as half an hour if everything is good, to an hour and a half.
Basically, it depends on how many angles need to be reset, and which ones they are. Then it depends on how hard it is to make the adjustments, here in the salt belt adjusters tend to rust/corrode together.
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  #37  
Old 08-04-2010, 06:39 AM
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My techs do a BMW alignment in as little as half an hour if everything is good, to an hour and a half.
Basically, it depends on how many angles need to be reset, and which ones they are. Then it depends on how hard it is to make the adjustments, here in the salt belt adjusters tend to rust/corrode together.
Ah, but how long it takes and how much is charged are two different things...and never the twain shall meet...

I am definitely not using your shop now...even if I wasn't banned!
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  #38  
Old 08-04-2010, 07:49 AM
LawrenceSmith LawrenceSmith is offline
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Mine is at the dealer right now and I'm paying $160 for the alignment. They are installing my new tires (tirerack) as well but that's a separate charge (and far too high).

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  #39  
Old 08-12-2010, 01:52 PM
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I am getting my alignment done tomorrow. Corner balanced the car on Tuesday and am very happy with the results. Question is: I am thinking of asking for an extra ~0.5 degrees negative camber added to the fronts during alignment to help out a little with autocross. Does anyone think that would be a bad idea? I know its not much and wont be very noticable, but every little bit helps...I think stock calls for roughly -0.5 degrees, so I would be bumping it up to -1 degrees.
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  #40  
Old 08-12-2010, 03:31 PM
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If you don't get excessive wear on the inside edges you should be OK. I doubt you will have to throw the tires out due to wearing away the inside tread because AutoX is going to be harder on the outside edges. Give it a shot. And be sure to tell us how it goes and how your event was structured.
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  #41  
Old 08-12-2010, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
If you don't get excessive wear on the inside edges you should be OK. I doubt you will have to throw the tires out due to wearing away the inside tread because AutoX is going to be harder on the outside edges. Give it a shot. And be sure to tell us how it goes and how your event was structured.
Sure thing, I was thinking of even going to -1.5 degrees but am not so sure about that, so I settled at -1 degrees for now. After this weekends autox, I plan on writing up a big review on my KW V1's and how it has transformed the car after having them on for 3 months. I will have some good in car video of the race too. Thanks for all your help.
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  #42  
Old 08-12-2010, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by blauner View Post
Sure thing, I was thinking of even going to -1.5 degrees but am not so sure about that, so I settled at -1 degrees for now. After this weekends autox, I plan on writing up a big review on my KW V1's and how it has transformed the car after having them on for 3 months. I will have some good in car video of the race too. Thanks for all your help.
You'll make a wonderful automotive journalist. Take this from someone who's done his own fair share of freelance writing for this industry.

We almost always start with a pre-conceived notion. Like no matter how LITTLE difference you feel from part A to part B you must write something positive because that's what your "audience" expect to hear. So you start out looking for the good stuff, into any form of evaluation you've already got your mind made up that whatever it is you're writing about has already transformed the car.

I like how you think. If you need any references let me know.

By the way, honesty and objectivity does not get you far in this industry, that's why instead of my cush C&D chief editor job I'm here writing about how hot ScarJo is in IM2. By the way, if you THINK that your V1 has already made some magical transformation on the car before you actually take it out to any autocross...Guess what, all it's going to do is reaffirm that preconceived notion. Trust me.

Unless you're Emission of course. Hasn't seem to hurt his ability to earn a living writing for the industry...Being honest and objective and all.
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  #43  
Old 08-12-2010, 09:31 PM
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Or you could be honest and just exaggerate the metaphors. Like Jeremy Clarkson.

Have any of y'all seen those Hyundai Uncensored Test Drive videos? I'd love to star in one of those: "Wow, these brakes are absolute rubbish and the steering has nothing to do with the direction of travel!"
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  #44  
Old 08-13-2010, 06:59 AM
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blauner blauner is offline
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Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
You'll make a wonderful automotive journalist. Take this from someone who's done his own fair share of freelance writing for this industry.

We almost always start with a pre-conceived notion. Like no matter how LITTLE difference you feel from part A to part B you must write something positive because that's what your "audience" expect to hear. So you start out looking for the good stuff, into any form of evaluation you've already got your mind made up that whatever it is you're writing about has already transformed the car.

I like how you think. If you need any references let me know.

By the way, honesty and objectivity does not get you far in this industry, that's why instead of my cush C&D chief editor job I'm here writing about how hot ScarJo is in IM2. By the way, if you THINK that your V1 has already made some magical transformation on the car before you actually take it out to any autocross...Guess what, all it's going to do is reaffirm that preconceived notion. Trust me.

Unless you're Emission of course. Hasn't seem to hurt his ability to earn a living writing for the industry...Being honest and objective and all.
Well I have already autocrossed my car with the V1's for a weekend, but it was 2 days after I installed them and didnít have the time to really fine tune them. I didnít really know the car that much then either, so I am really looking forward to this weekends autox after having them on for 3 months. Plus, I donít think a real review should be a couple days after you make a change. I wanted to get to know my car again before I started throwing conclusions out there based on emotions and trying to positively justify spending all that money.

As far as becoming an automotive journalist, I would probably jump on the opportunity as long as I could keep my Engineering job. I would take it as a challenge, and I sure like a good challenge. I wouldn't even know where to begin though. Emission probably has the dream job of many on this board, and I donít think there are too many who wouldnít mind a small taste of it at a minimum.
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  #45  
Old 08-13-2010, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
Or you could be honest and just exaggerate the metaphors. Like Jeremy Clarkson.

Have any of y'all seen those Hyundai Uncensored Test Drive videos? I'd love to star in one of those: "Wow, these brakes are absolute rubbish and the steering has nothing to do with the direction of travel!"
My favorite is when the guy says he is ashamed that he purchased a Mercedes. I give Hyundai credit that they are making big improvements, but I dont know whether that is a good thing for Hyundai or a kick in the groin for Mercedes.
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  #46  
Old 08-15-2010, 07:58 PM
sleepyx637 sleepyx637 is offline
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DSXMachina, I would greatly appreciate some advice from you (or anyone else that can shed some light). I took my e92 335i in to the dealer for an alignment to try and correct the off-center steering wheel problem (last indy shop alignment left my steering wheel cocked to the left a little when going straight) (also, my car is completely stock, no accidents, and has 12K miles on suspension). The dealer did a four-wheel alignment and when I got it back, the steering wheel was cocked to the right when going straight. I took it back the next day and they spent about an hour or less adjusting it and told me that it should be good now. The SA said that both the technician and shop foreman drove it and thought it was okay.

I drove it for the past 4 days and it still feels like the steering wheel is cocked slightly to the right when going straight (I compare the paddle shifters to the lowest edge of the dashboard/guage display when driving and the right paddle shifter is often a little lower). Something else feels like it might be off too - when I try to move the steering wheel straight, the car feels like it goes left a little quicker than when I move the steering wheel to the right (although, this might be because the steering wheel is indeed off). Am I just crazy or is it possible that the dealership didnt get it centered on their second try? Also, since it took only an hour from the time I stepped in the door to the time I drove out, I'm assuming all they did was adjust the toe. Is there anything else that needs to be adjusted when centering the steering wheel? (i.e., should they have centered my steering wheel before performing any part of the alignment, such that they should perform that part of the alignment again?).

I stupidly did not ask them for a printout of my alignment specs when I went there, but I will definitely ask them for it this week and post up specs, and hopefully someone can tell me if everything else looks normal. I thought the dealer would take care of my alignment issue, but I'm starting to lose faith
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  #47  
Old 08-16-2010, 02:19 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Your alignment was not done correctly. The steering wheel should point straight ahead when you are on a flat surface going...ahem...straight ahead. It sounds like you are being a little critical but if it's more than a few degrees off then it isn't right.
As for steering effort, same deal. If it steers perceptibly different in one direction than the other then something is set wrong. There are a couple possibilities but me mentioning them won't mean much to you and certainly won't help the dealer 'correct' your car.

Setting 'toe' does NOT center your wheel. Toe can be dead on and the steering wheel could be way off. Or vise versa. When we set toe the wheel is locked in the dead ahead position first. 'Straight ahead' is done usually by eye, but the specs say to do it with a level placed across two common points on the wheel. The problem is that many dashboard shapes, and even how you perceive the dashboard depending on how you sit, can make it look like your wheel is straight when it is actually off. Using a level eliminates that variable but is not usually required. It might be required in your case to prove to the dealer that your wheel is off. Get a 2' level and steer so that your car is going straight. Now place the level left to right across the wheel at two points, for instance the spokes. Is the bubble in the middle?
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  #48  
Old 08-16-2010, 02:57 AM
sleepyx637 sleepyx637 is offline
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Thanks DSXMachina. A few more questions for you if you don't mind (and hopefully this will serve a guide for others in the future).

1) The steering wheel is probably only a couple degrees off -- just enough for me to tell if I try. Is a couple degrees off within the range of normal?

2) When you say the dashboard shape and how I sit can make the wheel look centered when it's actually off, I guess that implies that it can make the wheel look off when it's actually centered. This steering wheel issue is giving me a headache, so I think I'll go with your level idea. Are dealers supposed to use the level procedure to center the wheel as well?

3) Just to be clear, the proper procedure is to take a 48 inch level (or one long enough to span the steering wheel) and hold it up against two common points, like where the X's are, correct?



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  #49  
Old 08-16-2010, 03:06 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by sleepyx637 View Post
Thanks DSXMachina. A few more questions for you if you don't mind (and hopefully this will serve a guide for others in the future).

1) The steering wheel is probably only a couple degrees off -- just enough for me to tell if I try. Is a couple degrees off within the range of normal?

2) When you say the dashboard shape and how I sit can make the wheel look centered when it's actually off, I guess that implies that it can make the wheel look off when it's actually centered. This steering wheel issue is giving me a headache, so I think I'll go with your level idea. Are dealers supposed to use the level procedure to center the wheel as well?

3) Just to be clear, the proper procedure is to take a 48 inch level (or one long enough to span the steering wheel) and hold it up against two common points, like where the X's are, correct?
Hey, how'd you get the name "Sleepy" when you're up at 2 in the morning?
If the wheel is a couple degrees off I'd have to say that's in the range of normal.
Using a level is often called out by mfrs. to ensure that the wheel is straight ahead. It eliminates parralax and other errors. I don't know whether BMW requires it, but there is one thing for sure, the bubble doesn't lie.
You are correct about the procedure. Using those two points with a 24" level would be fine. A 48" level should be saved for laying brick. You don't want to be smashing out windows.

BTW, the wheel in your pic looks like it's a degree off to the right. Might just be from where I'm sitting though. Notice that the top of the main spoke is slightly misaligned in relation to the center of each one of the two gauges? The roundel looks level which indicates it's straight. See what I mean?

Last edited by DSXMachina; 08-16-2010 at 03:12 AM.
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  #50  
Old 08-16-2010, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Using a level is often called out by mfrs. to ensure that the wheel is straight ahead. It eliminates parralax and other errors. I don't know whether BMW requires it, but there is one thing for sure, the bubble doesn't lie.
Of course, doesn't this all assume that the car itself is on level ground to begin with? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if the car is parked on a 3 degree sideways incline, then with the bubble showing level, the steering wheel angle is going to be 3 degrees off, yes? In other words, using the level always makes sure the steering wheel is parallel to the earth, but that doesn't mean it will be parallel to the frame.
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