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 03-14-2011, 06:52 PM
03silverE39 03silverE39 is offline
Registered User
Location: San Diego, CA
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 96
Mein Auto: 2003 silver E39
Alignment w/out weights.....

So today I stopped by an indi shop to grab a battery for another car, while I was there I decided to ask them if they did alignments for BMW's. The tech said yes, so I asked if they would be using all the necessary weights that's needed to properly do the job on my e39. The guy told me that it's not necessary on the alignment machine that they have there, because it calculates and compensates for not having the weights in the car.

My question is. Is there such a machine, or was I being lied to?
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 03-14-2011, 07:04 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Back in Oaktown, Yay Area
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,247
Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6, '90 BMW k75s
Don't know, but off the top of my head, it sounds bogus.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-14-2011, 07:04 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,334
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
Search forum, it has been discussed in detail many many times.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-14-2011, 07:06 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
tappa tappa toit
Location: NY
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 4,676
Mein Auto: hoopty
The weights is for balance, not alignment.
__________________
mujjuman
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-14-2011, 07:35 PM
03silverE39 03silverE39 is offline
Registered User
Location: San Diego, CA
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 96
Mein Auto: 2003 silver E39
I've searched but didn't run into anything that mentioned wether or not there was a machine out there that is capable of doing alignment, toe, camber etc. without the weights. Maybe I'm not using the right keywords for the search.


@mujjman I'm not talking about the wieghts on the wheels, I'm talking about the weights on the seats inside the car
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-14-2011, 07:46 PM
02BMW530's Avatar
02BMW530 02BMW530 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: 45324
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,002
Mein Auto: 2002 530i
Unless I'm mistaken, weights are still used in alignments.

It sort of sounds like places that don't do sticky weights and static balance wheels instead - it compensates (mostly) for not doing it right, but not being done right means being done wrong.




Sent from my iPhone using BimmerApp
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-14-2011, 07:57 PM
champaign777's Avatar
champaign777 champaign777 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Champ
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,037
Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
lied
you need to put weight yourself
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-14-2011, 08:08 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,060
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
The weight in the car is used to compensate for the passenger and trunk loading. The total weight of the car will affect your camber adjustment. Most cars mfgs do not require the use of weights before alignment. Hence, it is not common practice to weight a car before aligning it. BMW recommends/requires weighting before alignment. I am unaware of an alignment machine that can compensate for vehicle weighting. While weighting the car before an alignment is probably not as critical as weighting your car (and being on your wheels) before torquing your control arm bushing bolts, your tech was probably incorrect to not use weights.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-14-2011, 08:13 PM
03silverE39 03silverE39 is offline
Registered User
Location: San Diego, CA
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 96
Mein Auto: 2003 silver E39
Thanks for the info. I haven't done the alignment yet, I'm still waiting for my Bilstein shocks to come in and my B&G springs. After I have those installed I'll go to a place that uses the required weights. Everything I've read has always mentioned using the weights and when the tech told me they had a machine that could compensate for the weights not being there I was a little skeptical and wanted to get everyones opinion on it. Again thank you.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-14-2011, 09:29 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,334
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
Couple things.

* 95% of vehicles out there specify alignment done without extra weights.
However, they specify full gas tank, tires at proper pressure, suspension components in decent shape (not worn). This way alignment is done faster w/o the need for weights.
My 1998 Volvo V70 and 2007 Honda Odyssey's alignment is done this way.

* BMW engineers, by the virtue of their meticulousness, want to be perfectionists. But they fail to see that life is not perfect.
They specify different weights for different models. Why? Because different age groups and income brackets buy different BMW models.
For example:
- M3, Z3 drivers are usually single. What do these guys do? They chase girls and play golf, so BMW specify that 2 x 68 kg in the front seats and 14 kg in the trunk (the weight of a golf bag). But BMW engineers forget that many Americans are obese these days, so 68 kg is for typical Frenchman not American, LMAO.
- E39 specifies 2 x 68 kg in the front seats, 1 x 68kg rear center seat, and 21kg in the trunk. Why? Because the E39 owners are probably ex-M3/Z3 owners. So when they get married, they get rid of the M3/Z3 and buy an E39. Oh the newly wed couple got rid of the golf bag too (no time to play), and start making babies, so the rear center weight is for the new teenager (here is my sarcasm). The 21kg in the trunk is for the luggage.

- Based on experience, the extra weights rarely change any specs up FRONT.
However the extra weights change the REAR camber a bit when loaded. Have you ever driven behind a BMW loaded with 5 adults? The Rear tires have a lot of negative camber.

- To add another twist to this issue, what happens if you load the E39 with 5 Japanese Sumos, LMAO?

- Anyway, if you are the sole driver 95% of the time then align the car with a sole driver + full gas tank.

- If you ask me what I do: then I will tell you that I align my many BMWs over 25 years with full gas tank and no extra weights. Personally I do not care what the BMW engineers say about this extra weights thingy because I think the issue is very very insignificant, i.e., not enough to lose sleep over.

- This chart shows you all this stuff I discussed above:






* This issue was discussed in these threads:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=394836

http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/9335585-1.html

Last edited by cn90; 03-14-2011 at 09:41 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-14-2011, 09:39 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Back in Oaktown, Yay Area
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,247
Mein Auto: 2001 540i/6, '90 BMW k75s
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
- M3, Z3 drivers are usually single. What do these guys do? They chase girls and play golf...
So that's what those things are for!

Nice, thoughtful discussion of the weight question, by the way.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-14-2011, 09:47 PM
02BMW530's Avatar
02BMW530 02BMW530 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: 45324
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,002
Mein Auto: 2002 530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdmac View Post
So that's what those things are for!

Nice, thoughtful discussion of the weight question, by the way.
Oddly enough, my 530i has a Velcro label showing how to stow golf clubs in the trunk...


Sent from my iPhone using BimmerApp
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-15-2011, 12:22 AM
bluebee's Avatar
bluebee bluebee is offline
Seek to understand,^Value
Location: San Jose, California
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 19,223
Mein Auto: 02 BMW 525i M54 automatic
So that every decent thread adds to our tribal knowledge, I've added cn90's suggested links to the bestlinks ...

- How to do a complete overhaul of your E39 rear suspension (1) (2) (3) (4) or just the rear subframe axle bushings (1) (2) or the rear upper control arm (1) or the rear shocks (1) & springs (1) & cv boots (1) & M5 sway bars (1) (2) with special tools for rear ball joint removal (1) & where to buy a rear ball joint press (1) (2) & what tools to use for the rear alignment (1) and how to do a reduced negative camber (1) or normal rear wheel alignment (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) & alignment with or without extra weight (1) (2) (3)
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-15-2011, 10:55 AM
MatWiz's Avatar
MatWiz MatWiz is offline
Psychology Reversalist
Location: NYC
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 15,352
Mein Auto: 528
Why weight?

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=527028

mw
__________________
MatWiz
"Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing." -Judy the Elf
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-15-2011, 09:07 PM
03silverE39 03silverE39 is offline
Registered User
Location: San Diego, CA
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 96
Mein Auto: 2003 silver E39
Thanks everyone for the replies. I'll have to look around for a shop that does it the correct way
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-15-2011, 09:36 PM
champaign777's Avatar
champaign777 champaign777 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Champ
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,037
Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
from my personal experience ( I did 5-6 alignments for my 2 E39 ) the best result i got with weight

maybe i like perfection but i always use weight when do alignment

work for me especially on a high speed ... as some post said "Beyond your expectation" haha

Last edited by champaign777; 03-15-2011 at 09:43 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 02-17-2012, 04:10 PM
mjbennett9 mjbennett9 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Grapevine, TX (DFW)
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 275
Mein Auto: 525i (E39)
[QUOTE=cn90;5918851]Couple things.

* 95% of vehicles out there specify alignment done without extra weights.
However, they specify full gas tank, tires at proper pressure, suspension components in decent shape (not worn). This way alignment is done faster w/o the need for weights.
My 1998 Volvo V70 and 2007 Honda Odyssey's alignment is done this way.

Hi,

Where do you get an alignment? I've gone to several shops like carx, a pepboys. Stopped at a few others too. All said they don't do BMW's because they need to have weights. I never heard such a thing but sure enough here we are talking about it. :-) They also said something about 3 axis and they don't have the special tools needed for a BMW. That part didn't sound right, but who knows. But there has to be a non-Indy shop that performs an alignment on an e39? Any one have any nationwide chains they know of that will do it?

I tried to install my front struts alone and chickened out. Got a guy off of craigslist to do it. Did ok job, but I was foolish to listen to him when he said an alignment after would not be needed. Within 5 days my mint tires were feathering on the outside (front only). Anyways, I need an alignment fast. Bummed about pepboys since I had a coupon, lol. But I made an appt. and gave them my car info and said nothing--till I got there. grrr. :-)

Michael

Last edited by mjbennett9; 02-17-2012 at 08:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 02-17-2012, 05:28 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,334
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 103K miles
Mike,

I align my car at home using plumb bob and straight lines etc.

Since you are in Indiana, PM "Mark@EAC" for advices re alignment shop.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 02-17-2012, 05:38 PM
doru's Avatar
doru doru is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Calgary
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,428
Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
Quote:
Originally Posted by 02BMW530 View Post
Oddly enough, my 530i has a Velcro label showing how to stow golf clubs in the trunk...


Sent from my iPhone using BimmerApp
Have that one too....

__________________
Looking for a DIY? Parts? Check this out, it might be your ticket
TMS underdrive pullies - Stewart WP - PSS9 - Beisan Vanos seals - Zimmerman cross-drilled & Akebono Euro - Deka 649 MF - 55w HID headlights - 35w HID foglights - Hualigan double din - ACS (rep) alu pedals - Euro central storage console - Breyton Magic Racing staggered wheels - M5 bumper - M5 steering wheel - Tint
Stable: e39, e53, e46 & Tribby
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 02-17-2012, 07:14 PM
beemakid's Avatar
beemakid beemakid is offline
RIP E46, hello E39
Location: wake forest
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 139
Mein Auto: 1999 540i
Weight is needed to achieve the proper ride height before the alignment can be carried out, unless it is an "M" car in which case it does not get any weight added to it.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 02-17-2012, 07:21 PM
mjbennett9 mjbennett9 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Grapevine, TX (DFW)
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 275
Mein Auto: 525i (E39)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Mike,

I align my car at home using plumb bob and straight lines etc.

Since you are in Indiana, PM "Mark@EAC" for advices re alignment shop.
Thank you. I'll reach out to him. Somethings like changing a spark plug or O2 sensor, etc. I can follow with pics. But I think an alignment at home would require me to see someone do it first. And I don't have my own garage, just unlevel ground at apartment.

Thanks again! :-)
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 02-18-2012, 08:32 PM
mifesto mifesto is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: NJ
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 223
Mein Auto: m3
yes weights are good but truth be told you will not notice a difference either way. cross balancing and adding weight and all that is really for racing, on street cars you wont notice a difference unless your so obese you throw off the balance of the car lol.

to simply put, race alignment procedure is to add weight to whatever seats you feel is "optimal" which for a race car is only driver seat. it is meant to give the most precise alignment/corner balancing possible. does this apply to street? OFCOURSE NOT!. so what, your gonna add weight for yourself and your girlfriend/wife? or if you like to golf, maybe you should add weight for that in the trunk! seriously, give me a break! dont sweat it for your relatively stock 530i that will probably never see the race track.

Last edited by mifesto; 02-18-2012 at 08:35 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 02-18-2012, 09:26 PM
mjbennett9 mjbennett9 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Grapevine, TX (DFW)
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 275
Mein Auto: 525i (E39)
Thanks. I'm not so much worried about the weights as I am having a very hard time finding shops that will align it. I'm told flat out no. They mention weights and that "special" BMW tools are needed. I went to an Indy shop today and paid $129 for it. tires were feathering and needed to do it. Heading to Boston in few weeks. :-)
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 02-19-2012, 03:27 PM
mjbennett9 mjbennett9 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Grapevine, TX (DFW)
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 275
Mein Auto: 525i (E39)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Mike,

I align my car at home using plumb bob and straight lines etc.

Since you are in Indiana, PM "Mark@EAC" for advices re alignment shop.
Hi cn90. You seem to have experience in many areas--question I'm hoping you have an answer to.

I did my fuel filter today, but before that, I did my diff oil change. Both went well, although the filter was "fun!" Not. :-) Anyway, I've attached some pics...notice the sheered off bolt. Is this something that would have been touched as part of a dealer wheel alignment? While I don't want to accuse, I was under the car about a month ago while working on wheel sensor issues and did not notice it. I've very anal about things that weren't noticable before like a new car scratch or door ding. So while it's possible it's been there since I bought used, I think it broke on its own or from the dealer. It was in the shop yesterday for the alignment. While the pic doesn't seem it. notice the circle around the bolt. It's missing a washer and it looks dark (circle). But that's the camera. In person, it's VERY shiny. That washer was there recently and now gone. even the bolt sheer looks shiny and new while the other bolt is dirty/rusty.

So, 1. would that bolt have been touched as part of dealer alignment, and 2. how dangereous does it look to drive? 3. what would happen if it came off? not sure what is major vs. minor things that break on a car. 4. Is it a big job to replace it? i.e. should I attempt it, or have mechanic/dealer do it? and lastly 5. am I going to need another wheel alignment? LOL, I hope not. :-)

Thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	0219121219a.jpg
Views:	365
Size:	123.1 KB
ID:	312908   Click image for larger version

Name:	0219121219.jpg
Views:	116
Size:	137.6 KB
ID:	312909   Click image for larger version

Name:	0219121219b.jpg
Views:	110
Size:	124.2 KB
ID:	312910  

Last edited by mjbennett9; 02-19-2012 at 03:31 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 02-19-2012, 09:50 PM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Ada Michigan
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 432
Mein Auto: 528i
I just hold a 6 foot trim piece along the front wheel running back to the middle of the car and measure the distance to the body. Then I go to the other side and make it match. If the wheel is off I adjust the ties equally, i.e. loosen 1/8th turn on the pass and lengthen 1/8th on the driver. Car goes straight, wheel is straight, no excessive wear on the tires. You're really splitting hairs if you think that there is some magical mystical calculation for the distance between the front wheels. Racers modify plow or push per track. Camber Caster are a whole nutha beast.

Maybe I'm lax because my car is in the twilight of it's life.
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 02:41 AM.


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