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

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  #1  
Old 10-15-2012, 06:56 PM
computerwhiz1 computerwhiz1 is offline
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Should my car be slightly un-level?

I recently changed the rear springs of my car because the old ones had cracked. Today I noticed that the rear left side of the car is about 1/2 an inch higher than the rear right side of the car. I googled around and didn't find anything for certain although I did find some things about that the car was designed this way intentionally to account for the weight of the driver. Does anyone know anything about this? I'm just wondering if this is something normal, or if I should check out the rear suspension again.
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  #2  
Old 10-15-2012, 07:34 PM
GATORSHOES2 GATORSHOES2 is offline
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I noticed this problem when I got bigger rims, became slightly more noticeable.

I believe its the battery putting a little more weight onto one side. It's funny cause the guy who rolled my fenders had a G8 and his battery was in the trunk, the side with the battery sat lower.
Hope that helps.
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  #3  
Old 10-15-2012, 09:40 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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I'd be concerned that the springs are not both set properly. I'd want to doublecheck this.
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  #4  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:08 AM
computerwhiz1 computerwhiz1 is offline
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It worries me as we'll, so I am going to jack the back of the car up and make sure that the springs are seated right. I did check them when I out them in to make sure they were seating good but I could have missed something. Are there any typical noob mistakes hat would cause them not to seat right? When I did it I had a hard time getting them in as I didn't do it the official way and just tried to wedge the spring in there. If I have to do it the "right way" by disconnecting the half shafts, I will.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:39 AM
computerwhiz1 computerwhiz1 is offline
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One other thing to note is that I did replace the springs with used ones, but I don't think that should matter?
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  #6  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:47 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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Originally Posted by computerwhiz1 View Post
One other thing to note is that I did replace the springs with used ones, but I don't think that should matter?
Metal springs will fatigue over time and lose their "springiness." This could easily cause the uneven ride height. If I were you, I would replace the used springs with new ones.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:51 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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spring issue.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:57 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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Also... there are ride height specs in the Bentley Manual. I'm at work, so I can't reference it now, but it tells you, based on what suspension you have and wheel size, how high your car should be above the rim. If I recall, it says a 1cm differential between sides is acceptable.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:04 AM
computerwhiz1 computerwhiz1 is offline
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Ok, thanks a lot guys. I have a Bentley manual, so I will check that when I get home for the ride height specs. I will take another look at the springs to double check that they are seated right, but I am fairly sure they are so I think the age of the springs may just be causing one to have more springiness than the other (one could be much newer than the other one as I got them from a salvage yard). You said that 1cm difference is acceptable and I think the difference is probably within that range so if the springs are seated right I will probably just leave it and perhaps replace with new springs later on. Are there any adverse effects of having one side about 1-2cm higher than the other?
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2012, 04:03 PM
computerwhiz1 computerwhiz1 is offline
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I just got home and checked my ride height against what the Bentley manual says it should be. Measuring from the top of the wheel arch to the bottom of the rim (as the Bentley manual says) I got 58.2 cm (582 mm) for the right and 59.6 cm (596 mm) for the left. These measurements were taken with the car completely unloaded and the fuel tank about half full. The specs listed in the Bentley manual are for a normally loaded car and a full tank of fuel, so I expected mine to be a bit off. The question is are they too far off? The Bentley manual states that there is 100mm acceptable difference between sides and I come in right at 104mm difference so considering the potential error in measuring, I think I am ok. For reference the Bentley manual says both sides should be 542mm so I am about 43mm higher than the Bentley manual says is normal. Is this an expected difference for the lack of a loaded car? The Bentley says to have 150lbs in each front seat, 150lbs in the center of the rear seat, 46lbs in the trunk, and a full tank of fuel.
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan2263 View Post
Metal springs will fatigue over time and lose their "springiness." This could easily cause the uneven ride height. If I were you, I would replace the used springs with new ones.
I have seen numerous tests where stock springs are within 1% (on a spring dyno) at 150k miles. I would have serious doubts that his springs have loss any "spring". Especially here i n the south where we have no road salts to degrade them.
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