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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 03-26-2014, 12:21 PM
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Please post a PICTURE of what you use for BMW prescribed 500 pound alignment weights

The whole point of alignment weights is to get the ride height correct, but, it's hard to weight a bimmer since about 500 pounds are needed to position the ride height correctly.

Given that the ride height is crucial, the point of THIS thread is to have pictures of the weights actually used for alignment, so that all of us, in the future, can benefit from the ideas for our next alignment.

This comment by Fudman today got me thinking that we can pool our efforts to find something that we all already have, to use as 500 pound alignment weights:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Should I Attempt a Rear Alignment DIY
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
they wouldn't let me sit in the car like previous times. Since I don't have as many gas cans as BB, 100 lbs of gravel in the front seal wells was all I could do.
To help all of us, please post a picture of the weights you used when you had your E39 aligned, and, especially if you had the dealer do it.

For example, here is what one BMW owner used for his E28 alignment:


Please do NOT write that you had your vehicle aligned without weights, or that any particular shop or dealer uses or doesn't use weights, as we all know that most (but not all) dealers use weights and that most (but not all) independent shops don't use weights.

Since we like to do our DIYs correctly, the only point of THIS thread is to have pictures of the weights actually used for alignment purposes on your bimmer, so that all of us, in the future, can benefit from your ideas.

As usual, I'll show what I used for weights during my last alignment, but the key point of this thread is to find out what others used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I used 3 fully-filled 5-gallon gas cans in each front seat, plus a similar set of three in the rear, and a much smaller set in the center of the trunk.
With the jugs filled to the brim, that's more than 5 gallons of fresh water in each jug weighing about 8.3 pounds per gallon at room temperature, which comes to (roughly) about 45 pounds (give or take) per 5-gallon jug, which makes it roughly about 135 pounds in each seat and on the rear bench (with another fifty pounds in the center of the trunk).



See also:
- Which of the dozen alignment specs are adjustable on the BMW E39 (1) (pdf) & cn90's front (1) (2) and rear (1) wheel alignment DIYs & how to keep the steering wheel (SW) straight during home alignment (1) (2) & what tools measure rear camber at home (1) (2) and what tools measure front/rear toe at home (1) & what tools lock the steering wheel & brake pedal at home (1) & the theory of alignment with weights (1) or without adding weight (1) (2) (3) & philosophically why most people prefer to let a professional alignment shop align their suspension (1) & what expensive equipment is used at the stealer to align your suspension (1) (pdf) & Internet references for how to DIY caster, camber & toe 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) (29) (30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35) (36) (37) (38) (39) & BMW_E39_Alignment_Specs_and_Procedures.pdf
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Last edited by bluebee; 03-27-2014 at 06:04 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-26-2014, 07:57 PM
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Lol wow that is overkill.


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  #3  
Old 03-26-2014, 08:41 PM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:14 PM
StRaNgEdAyS StRaNgEdAyS is offline
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  #5  
Old 03-27-2014, 02:07 AM
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Bluebee, I admire your dedication to doing things according to correct procedure.
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  #6  
Old 03-27-2014, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 530i_simon View Post
Bluebee, I admire your dedication to doing things according to correct procedure.
Thanks.
Most people find SOMETHING handy to use for the 500 pounds of weight.

For example, this Porsche owner used what he called paver's stones (on blankets and wooden boards for weight distribution).


But, even with this detailed thread on the weighting, I can't find a PICTURE of the weights that the alignment shops use:
- The theory of E39 alignment with weights (1)

However, from that thread, we know exactly how much weight to use and where to put it:


And, we know precisely WHY the weight is important:


We just now need to know WHAT people actually use for weights (e.g., sandbags, stones, pavers, gravel, water, weightlifting discs, etc.).

I chose water jugs because they were easy to transport empty, and to fill at the alignment shop, but, most people won't have ten water jugs conveniently handy.

Sandbags seem easier, but potentially messy, and again, how many people keep 500 pounds of sand handy?

So the quest is to find out what OTHERS used, so, that we can all benefit from the ideas.
It would be particularly nice to have a picture of what the dealer uses for alignment weights.
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
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Last edited by bluebee; 03-27-2014 at 06:10 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2014, 08:05 AM
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  #8  
Old 03-27-2014, 08:12 PM
John in VA John in VA is offline
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One of our local indy chains uses gym dumbbells.

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  #9  
Old 03-28-2014, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in VA View Post
One of our local indy chains uses gym dumbbells.
This seems like a good idea.

Steel weights or shot bags might be the most efficient form of weight since they're cleaner than sand or paving stones, and certainly smaller than five-gallon jugs of water.

I don't have any of these, but if you're a weight lifter, would you let us know where we can suggest folks find about 500 pounds of the stuff inexpensively?

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  #10  
Old 04-02-2014, 04:54 AM
jpseagle jpseagle is offline
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My priority is no storage and no cost. I want to buy something then return it. (Hello, HomeDepot). I tried sand bags. Ok--but they leak a little and are not easy to carry. Better: salt bags used for adding mineral to water. Cleaner, smaller bags, with a tough plastic handle. Anyway you slice it, the weight takes effort. My local alignment shop (Custom Alignment) talked me out of using weights. They charge double.
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  #11  
Old 04-02-2014, 05:16 AM
StRaNgEdAyS StRaNgEdAyS is offline
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I used plastic lube buckets filled with old wheel weights. Cost us nothing (we were a GoodYear store) and takes but a minute to load in.
I can't believe so many places charge extra to provide good customer service.
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  #12  
Old 05-25-2014, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StRaNgEdAyS View Post
I used plastic lube buckets filled with old wheel weights.
Get those old lead weights now, as they are banned in some states already!
- NY law banning lead in wheel weights (1)

It's surprising we haven't seen any pictures of what the professionals use, since the ones who weight must use something.

But, anyway, a related weight question came up today as to how to load the suspension for torque adjustments:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > What's the recommended way to load suspension to torque bolts?
Quote:
Originally Posted by musa View Post
Hi,

I need to torque the rear suspension components (control arms, etc) bolts at normal ride height to prevent premature bushing wear. What is the recommended/safe way to load the suspension and still have access to all the bolts that I need to torque? The wheels need to be off as there's no way to access most of the bolts with a torque wrench even when the wheels are on ramps with plenty of space underneath the car. I've read a post where someone jacked up the rear carrier up to the point where the car started lifting to mimic the preloaded weight. Safe to do this?
Thanks!
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 05-25-2014 at 07:39 PM.
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  #13  
Old 05-25-2014, 08:05 PM
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  #14  
Old 12-18-2014, 05:37 AM
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Fudman kindly posted a nice summary of how to change the permanent ride height of the E39, which I include below for reference...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 ride height
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
If done correctly, this will be expensive unless you DIY. Changing tire profiles on the same size rim will only get you part way there. While you achieve your appearance objectives, you also get improved handling. But the downside is reduced ride quality, lower gas mileage and speedo inaccuracy. The correct approach is to replace your springs. However, the stiffness of the springs has now increased and the stroke range for your struts has now changed. So you would have to change your struts too, to avoid bottoming out. If your car was due for a suspension refresh, then at least you can justify part of the cost as maintenance!
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alignment, camber, caster, front wheel alignment, rear wheel alignmenta, toe, weight


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