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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:49 AM
525forlife 525forlife is offline
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DIY alignment

Okay I ran into a problem today, I went to go get my 525i aligned today and well they refused to align it because it's BMW? I tried calling around and it ends up all the shops around will not touch the alignment on a BMW because of the preload? There is a BMW dealer that will align it but it's almost 2hrs away and they won't align it til next week and I need it done by Sunday!..so my question is any tricks on how I can align it properly myself?
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2011, 09:53 AM
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Monsignor Monsignor is offline
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Uh, wut? What kind of retarded shops are in your area? It's a tie rod. Twist till straight. Not a DIY job unless you have the alignment tools to know when it's straight.

Anybody else get turned away by shops?
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  #3  
Old 08-12-2011, 10:09 AM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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I guess they don't have the weights to pre-load it and they are afraid the owner will complain if they get tire wear or it pulls. They probably don't want the liability if the owner is not satisfied.

To OP, aligning the toe is not a DIY. A half turn off of the tie rod can result in enough variation that the car may not track correctly.

Steve
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  #4  
Old 08-12-2011, 10:14 AM
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Monsignor Monsignor is offline
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3600lbs and 7" tires = less than half a turn off and the car, not "may not", but "WILL not"** track correctly.
Steve is right Git 'er dun right
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Last edited by Monsignor; 08-12-2011 at 10:19 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2011, 04:38 PM
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goosefoot33 goosefoot33 is offline
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I just did my whole suspension last weekend. Went to Sears promptly to have it aligned (I work there, only a few miles away). Got home, wheels are visibly crooked. Took it back and they said my steering box is binding (?) or some BS like that. I said OK, and waited a few days until a manager was working, took it back and said I want it aligned. At this point they said if they align it, the wheels may not track straight.

After a day, the manager said "We can't align it because the car has to be pre-loaded with weights", and I was refunded my $80. I wouldn't be surprised if they are one of the shops in the future that turns away a BMW in for an alignment...

This is the reason I will always get an alignment at my dealer- it is done right.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2011, 05:05 PM
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That 95 E34 guy is a good Mechanic. Trust him will ya...LOL...

Here is the dillio with E34 alignment. Without the pre-load, if the shop equipment is excellent, they can align it but it is hit or miss. They more than likely will get it to track straight and return to center after a turn, but your front tires will wear out fast on the inner tread.

Sorry I can not go deeper into why that is but my brain is worn out from a very busy day.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2011, 07:54 PM
SawheadE34 SawheadE34 is offline
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Your average german vehicle wants to be preloaded before aligning a vehicle. Full tank of gas, and usually enough weight to simulate a driver and passenger in some cases. So... no. Don't try to mess with your toe.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:17 PM
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To add to the above...

For the E34 you need 150 lb in each front seat, 150 in the center of the rear seat, 50 lb in the trunk and a full tank of gas.
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  #9  
Old 08-13-2011, 07:43 PM
Bossman963 Bossman963 is offline
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tie rods ens & upper control arms

Ok since were talking about the alignment of the 525- I was wondering if the 525 has any specific torque specs for the upper control arm and lower tie rod ends ?

Or just tighten until snug ?

thx in advance
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  #10  
Old 08-14-2011, 08:47 AM
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goosefoot33 goosefoot33 is offline
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Bossman- the torque settings are:

Upper CA (aka thrust arm): 68ft-lbs for thrust arm ball joint to steering arm, and 84ft-lbs for thrust arm to connecting crossmember (chassis)

Tie rod end: 28ft-lbs (both ends)

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  #11  
Old 08-14-2011, 09:36 AM
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Just carry a home gym in the trunk with weights so you can just load the car yourself. i ended up changing out my front suspenion a lil while back and had to adjust the tie rods myself to just get the wheels straight until i got to a shop. unfortunately i did not weight the car down when i brought it to my buddies valvoline but all seems well and drives fine. I'm not to worried sense i will be uninstalling this suspension and re installing another one again, so next time i will have a shop that is BMW spec do it..
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  #12  
Old 08-15-2011, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goosefoot33 View Post
I just did my whole suspension last weekend. Went to Sears promptly to have it aligned (I work there, only a few miles away). Got home, wheels are visibly crooked. Took it back and they said my steering box is binding (?) or some BS like that. I said OK, and waited a few days until a manager was working, took it back and said I want it aligned. At this point they said if they align it, the wheels may not track straight.

After a day, the manager said "We can't align it because the car has to be pre-loaded with weights", and I was refunded my $80. I wouldn't be surprised if they are one of the shops in the future that turns away a BMW in for an alignment...

This is the reason I will always get an alignment at my dealer- it is done right.
As appalling as this is it doesn't surprise me given that it is Sears. They are incompetent in every regard except bilking naive customers. Had the manager thought of weighting the car with perhaps.......some weight? A person perhaps? His dumb ass maybe?
There is only toe adjustment on E34s, I can do it with a GD piece of string.
F'in incredible.
OP; What the hell kind of shop is afraid of import cars these days? Was there some kid playing banjo in the tree outside?
Find an independant shop that regularly services older BMWs, avoid chain stores of any kind, tire, muffler, department or discount.

Regarding loading the vehicle; Load it as it is normally driven. If you drive alone put your weight or YOU in the front seat, typical fuel level and and simulate typical, if any, passenger load. It's not rocket science yet so many are intimidated. Beats me.
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Last edited by ross1; 08-15-2011 at 04:22 PM.
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  #13  
Old 08-15-2011, 04:22 PM
PavelK313 PavelK313 is offline
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Its actually pretty easy to do alignment yourself in the rear. Front can get difficult but not impossible to do.
I do my own alighnment cause no tire shops will work on my car.
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  #14  
Old 08-15-2011, 04:42 PM
wisbimmer20 wisbimmer20 is offline
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I've never heard of someone saying that can't align a car because it's a BMW. Don't bring your car to places like Sears or Wal Mart or Jiffy Lube or any of those kinds of places. Find a good, honest, independent mechanic/alignment shop who won't screw you over and will know what to do. The first rule of owning a BMW, unless it is new and you have it under warranty, is NEVER bring it to places listed above. Just because they are 'big names' does not mean they are competent, quite the opposite actually.
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Last edited by wisbimmer20; 08-15-2011 at 04:44 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-16-2011, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisbimmer20 View Post
Find a good, honest, independent mechanic/alignment shop who won't screw you over and will know what to do. The first rule of owning a BMW, unless it is new and you have it under warranty, is NEVER bring it to places listed above. Just because they are 'big names' does not mean they are competent, quite the opposite actually.
A big agree to that my friend. OR know what you are doing ;P BMW = hey, he must have money. let's take some.
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Owned/own:
1995 M3-cosmos black(E36)
1998 528I-schwartz black(E39)
1999 328IS-steel blue(E36)
1995 540IA-orient blue(E34) 5/6 speed swap soon.
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  #16  
Old 08-16-2011, 03:38 PM
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Nobody ever accused me of being wealthy for owning an E34
Now on the other hand, the Z....
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  #17  
Old 08-17-2011, 02:49 PM
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JC540I JC540I is offline
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Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
Nobody ever accused me of being wealthy for owning an E34
Now on the other hand, the Z....

lol well nor have i, more or so the clean dun up E36 and E39. The e34's are a select liking i suppose.
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"Straight roads are for fast cars, turns are for fast drivers." -Colin McRae

Owned/own:
1995 M3-cosmos black(E36)
1998 528I-schwartz black(E39)
1999 328IS-steel blue(E36)
1995 540IA-orient blue(E34) 5/6 speed swap soon.
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  #18  
Old 08-16-2012, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JC540I View Post
lol well nor have i, more or so the clean dun up E36 and E39. The e34's are a select liking i suppose.
This is in the E39 bestlinks ...

- The dozen BMW wheel alignment specs (1) and which are adjustable on the E39 (1) & cn90's front (1) and rear (1) home-alignment DIYs & how to keep the steering wheel (SW) straight (1) (2) & how to DIY caster, camber & toe (1) (2) 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) and how to make your own alignment tools (1) & the theory of alignment with (1) or without adding weight (1) (2) (3)
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by PavelK313 View Post
Its actually pretty easy to do alignment yourself in the rear. Front can get difficult but not impossible to do.
I do my own alighnment cause no tire shops will work on my car.
Wtf are you talking about, alignments without proper equipment are impossible. You'll get the wheels straight (or so you think) but you will still track and wear out parts of your front tires quickly.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:20 AM
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yea BMW is preloaded, you need a BMW alignment rack other wise you have to put 550lbs in the car to simulate weight of passengers fuel and cargo. As for doing it yourself I wouldn't attempt that...
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  #21  
Old 08-17-2012, 06:02 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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Funny, I had a similar response from a couple shops, so I did the toe settings at home. It is entirely do-able, just takes some patience.

One of the tricks is to be able to figure out the correct measurements. To convert into usable units you need to do an arc tangent conversion, which can be done online. You can not be the least bit sloppy with the calculations or you will end up with a problem.

Mine took me a couple tries in the garage before I got it. Perfectly centered BUT, my sloppy calculations and fat stringlines meant I dialed in about twice the amount of toe needed. I had .58 degrees and the correct setting is .3 degrees. On my 15 inch wheels the difference would be 1/16". Had I set it at 1/16" toe in, instead of 1/8", it would have been as good as the alignment shop. As it was I scrubbed some off the outside edges of the front tires before I found a shop to do it.

I had the alignment done without any wieght in the car, but a full tank of gas. The wieghting thing I completely understand when it comes to torquing the bushings down but, for setting toe I think it is a waste of time, there is no way it changes the toe. I had a Tires Plus do the work and it turned out great. Just tell the shop it is a simple toe adjustment and you aren't going to come back on them if the wieghting proves to be an issue. I was 1200 miles from home, so it was an easy sell. I told them if it came out wrong I would be back home before I noticed and it wouldn't be their problem.

Knowing what I know now, I would definately do it myself again, just a little more carefully.
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Last edited by snowsled7; 08-17-2012 at 06:06 AM.
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  #22  
Old 08-17-2012, 07:26 AM
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Monsignor Monsignor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowsled7 View Post
Funny, I had a similar response from a couple shops, so I did the toe settings at home. It is entirely do-able, just takes some patience.

One of the tricks is to be able to figure out the correct measurements. To convert into usable units you need to do an arc tangent conversion, which can be done online. You can not be the least bit sloppy with the calculations or you will end up with a problem.

Mine took me a couple tries in the garage before I got it. Perfectly centered BUT, my sloppy calculations and fat stringlines meant I dialed in about twice the amount of toe needed. I had .58 degrees and the correct setting is .3 degrees. On my 15 inch wheels the difference would be 1/16". Had I set it at 1/16" toe in, instead of 1/8", it would have been as good as the alignment shop. As it was I scrubbed some off the outside edges of the front tires before I found a shop to do it.

I had the alignment done without any wieght in the car, but a full tank of gas. The wieghting thing I completely understand when it comes to torquing the bushings down but, for setting toe I think it is a waste of time, there is no way it changes the toe. I had a Tires Plus do the work and it turned out great. Just tell the shop it is a simple toe adjustment and you aren't going to come back on them if the wieghting proves to be an issue. I was 1200 miles from home, so it was an easy sell. I told them if it came out wrong I would be back home before I noticed and it wouldn't be their problem.

Knowing what I know now, I would definately do it myself again, just a little more carefully.
Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!
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  #23  
Old 08-17-2012, 08:46 AM
rdc rdc is offline
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I went in my alignment shop with a full tank of gas. sat in car while being aligned and all has been good for 2 years. They used Hunter equipment with printouts before and after.

I use the car for commuting alone so the weight seems to work for me. YMMV.
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Last edited by rdc; 08-17-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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  #24  
Old 08-18-2012, 05:59 AM
snowsled7 snowsled7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!
I did get props from my neighbor for persitance I think I set it up at least six times

Just like the front end job, the second time will be much easier.
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