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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

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  #1  
Old 08-15-2012, 12:45 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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What new tools can we use today to measure toe in at home for the BMW E39?

In another thread, we listed a handful of home alignment DIYs for measuring toe:
- Which of the dozen alignment specs are adjustable on the BMW E39?

I'm considering purchasing a tool to check my toe.

Googling, there are so many to choose from that I'd like someone with experience to help narrow down the choices to a manageable few.

Q: What toe measurement tool do you recommend?

EDIT: Let's keep the discussion focused on the tools that do the job.
(Later, in a different thread, we can add up the costs and run a comparison of whether the tools are worth it over a lifetime of alignments.)
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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; 08-15-2012 at 02:48 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2012, 01:01 AM
Deathdeelr Deathdeelr is offline
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We use a Tool Aid TA61600 at the job for quickie set-the-toe-and-let-it-go alignments. You'll need a flat surface to roll the car forward and back to get your measurements. The leveling chains are adjustable. I would think you'd have to cut them down to two or three links for it to work with the E39. With a little practice it's accurate enough to get a car set up for the drive to the alignment shop but I wouldn't use it as a substitute for a good laser alignment machine.
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2012, 07:13 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathdeelr View Post
We use a Tool Aid TA61600
I wasn't sure what you meant by 'chain links' until I saw the picture; apparently they hang down from the tire centerline for measurement purposes.

Googling, I find it for less than $100 here. It seems to have a range of 39"-60" between wheels.

Do you know if it gives 'individual' toe (for just one wheel) or just the combined toe between both wheels?

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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; 08-15-2012 at 07:17 AM.
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2012, 08:23 AM
Deathdeelr Deathdeelr is offline
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Only total toe.
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2012, 09:40 AM
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Topaz540i Topaz540i is offline
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The hardest part about it is you will be surprised how impossible it is to find a flat and level location at home or on the street. Most people's garages if poured correctly are tilted towards the door for drainage.
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  #6  
Old 08-15-2012, 11:06 AM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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For those who for whatever reason would rather spend a few hours DIY vs less than one hour with a competent Hunter tech, here are two great articles on DIY and tools:

http://www.renntrack.com/forums/show...ent-Basics-DIY

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/c...e/viewall.html

There are simple too many variables to make it worthwhile for most DIYers doing it the analog way.

Last edited by dvsgene; 08-15-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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  #7  
Old 08-15-2012, 12:12 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvsgene View Post
There are simple too many variables to make it worthwhile ...
I understand that argument... but we really can't even begin to make that argument until/unless we scope out two things:

a) The cost of 'lifetime' alignments for any particular tool owner (i.e., multiple vehicles)
b) The cost of 'adequate' tools (i.e., tools with enough accuracy to be useful)

This thread is about the latter, not the former (although, I agree, the comparison needs to be made eventually before the tool-buying decision is made).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvsgene View Post
here are two great articles on ... tools:
Nice find!

The first Home Alignment Basics DIY lists these $60 toe plates:


And, it also lists this "Smartstrings 4-wheel alignment kit" for $400 (which seems to measure more than just toe):


The second referenced wheel alignment DIY used only string, electrical conduit, and a ruler for what they called "very accurate toe measurements"! I'll assume that cost at about $25 for our later comparisons.



This is a great start.

Key questions are:

Q: What 'accuracy' do we typically need in our toe-checking tools?
Q: Do we need single-wheel measurements ... or can combined wheel-to-wheel measurements suffice?
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__________________
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; 08-15-2012 at 02:49 PM.
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