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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 04-26-2013, 10:01 AM
Hemorrhage Hemorrhage is offline
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Aligning A BMW

Is it true you have to align a BMW a different way than your typical Chrysler product?
I can't just ride it on the alignment machine and go?
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2013, 10:17 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is online now
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Correct, there is a different procedure.

The car should be weighted in various locations during the alignment. It's labor intensive. Rule of thumb: No matter where it's done, if you get a BMW alignment for under $125, it wasn't done correctly.
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  #3  
Old 04-26-2013, 10:56 AM
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Kilgore Trout Kilgore Trout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post
Correct, there is a different procedure.

The car should be weighted in various locations during the alignment. It's labor intensive. Rule of thumb: No matter where it's done, if you get a BMW alignment for under $125, it wasn't done correctly.
Most tire shops do use the weights. In fact, the last time I had my car aligned for $69 at a local tire shop, I sat there and watched for an hour or two and they put weights around every car that came in. Its a myth that is is procedure that is specific to BMWs.

I'm not saying that BMW vehicles are not tricky to align. I always bring mine to a dealer, in fact. But, its not just about weighting.

I also disagree that you have to pay $125 and up. Its just a matter of finding the right local shop to get it done correctly, at a reasonable price.
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  #4  
Old 04-26-2013, 02:01 PM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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A lot of places don't even weigh it down anymore, including some BMW dealerships. Apparently their equipment compensates for it.
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2013, 03:44 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemorrhage View Post
Is it true you have to align a BMW a different way than your typical Chrysler product?
I can't just ride it on the alignment machine and go?

You sure can....very close to what happens if you do the BMW Kinematic procedure.
.

Shucks, I've done a Bumpkin Alignment in my garage, but whatta PITA w/o a leveled rack + ball bearing plates! Even than, proper equipment makes it sooooooooooooo much easier and precise. Highly recommend the right hardware -- if you don't have have that and/or weights, can still do alignment OK.

It's just that....weights are that last 5%.


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Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 04-26-2013 at 03:47 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-26-2013, 04:02 PM
Hemorrhage Hemorrhage is offline
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Here's the thing..
I unbolted half of my K frame so I could try to install downpipes. It didn't work, so I scrapped the idea of installing downpipes because I didn't want to drop the entire K frame.
My car goes as straight as an arrow. The only thing is...the steering wheel is off-center by ~5 degrees or so.
That's all that needs fixed.

Edit: I'm guessing I didn't bolt the K frame in the exact position it came out...making me think that's the reason the steering wheel moved.
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2013, 05:34 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemorrhage View Post
Here's the thing..
I unbolted half of my K frame so I could try to install downpipes. It didn't work, so I scrapped the idea of installing downpipes because I didn't want to drop the entire K frame.
My car goes as straight as an arrow. The only thing is...the steering wheel is off-center by ~5 degrees or so.
That's all that needs fixed.

Edit: I'm guessing I didn't bolt the K frame in the exact position it came out...making me think that's the reason the steering wheel moved.
Bingo!
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  #8  
Old 04-26-2013, 05:36 PM
Hemorrhage Hemorrhage is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Bingo!
I wouldn't need weight in it for that, would I?

Another thing...
If I park the car with the steering wheel straight, the RF tire looks straight, and the LF tire looks toe out a little.
So, it's a weird situation.

Causing me to think that maybe the toe just needs adjusted.
Do you need weight in the car to get a proper toe adjustment?
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  #9  
Old 04-26-2013, 05:45 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
Most tire shops do use the weights. In fact, the last time I had my car aligned for $69 at a local tire shop, I sat there and watched for an hour or two and they put weights around every car that came in. Its a myth that is is procedure that is specific to BMWs.

I'm not saying that BMW vehicles are not tricky to align. I always bring mine to a dealer, in fact. But, its not just about weighting.

I also disagree that you have to pay $125 and up. Its just a matter of finding the right local shop to get it done correctly, at a reasonable price.
You mean to say that you actually saw weight bags amounting to 100 to 200 lbs positioned in various spots inside cars during these alignments?
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  #10  
Old 04-26-2013, 05:50 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemorrhage View Post
I wouldn't need weight in it for that, would I?

Another thing...
If I park the car with the steering wheel straight, the RF tire looks straight, and the LF tire looks toe out a little.
So, it's a weird situation.

Causing me to think that maybe the toe just needs adjusted.
Do you need weight in the car to get a proper toe adjustment?
Absolutely. But can you get close without weighting, yes you can.
For anyone who disagrees, what happens to your front wheels when the car is picked up off the ground? The camber goes way positive and the toe goes in. Similar (but opposite) changes occur to a lesser extent as the suspension is compressed, like when people get into the car. We're talking about a precision machine and we all know how the Germans are, meticulous to a fault.
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  #11  
Old 04-26-2013, 06:00 PM
gcreese gcreese is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptrcd003 View Post
A lot of places don't even weigh it down anymore, including some BMW dealerships. Apparently their equipment compensates for it.
This is what I was told at my dealership. They used to place weights in the car (I suppose to mimic it being loaded with people and luggage), but now the system they use makes up for that. The mechanic told me it shaves time off the alignment, since they aren't lugging weights back and forth.
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  #12  
Old 04-26-2013, 06:07 PM
fb88 fb88 is offline
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Do you guys do 4 wheel alignment each time the set of tires are replaced?
Do you do it after each winter season?

Last edited by fb88; 04-27-2013 at 06:26 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-26-2013, 06:49 PM
Hemorrhage Hemorrhage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Absolutely. But can you get close without weighting, yes you can.
For anyone who disagrees, what happens to your front wheels when the car is picked up off the ground? The camber goes way positive and the toe goes in. Similar (but opposite) changes occur to a lesser extent as the suspension is compressed, like when people get into the car. We're talking about a precision machine and we all know how the Germans are, meticulous to a fault.
It would only make sense.
If you align the car perfectly with no load in it, it'll all be green.
However, once you put 150lbs in the driver's set (my weight), the car is going to have more weight on the left...making it want to pull left.

Edit: However, wouldn't that slight amount be unnoticeable?
The parts rotate clockwise...making the car want to lean more towards the right.

By aligning it unloaded, and then adding a load in the left side by sitting it, shouldn't it be good?

Last edited by Hemorrhage; 04-26-2013 at 06:51 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-27-2013, 01:12 AM
blademan blademan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fb88 View Post
Do you guys do 4 wheel alignment each time the st of tires are replaced?...
Yes. And whenever the alignment feels wrong, pulling, off-center, etc.
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  #15  
Old 04-27-2013, 04:22 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by blademan View Post
Yes. And whenever the alignment feels wrong, pulling, off-center, etc.

Better:
  • $50 for toe plates & tape measures
  • iPhone w/carpenter's level app for camber

There. with wheels leveled, you can check alignment with pretty good accuracy, steering wheel centered.

If you're really cool, you do thrust angle with plumb bob, measures; marker. Shazam!
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  #16  
Old 04-27-2013, 02:48 PM
SpartanGA SpartanGA is offline
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my shop does charge extra for BMW and they want a full tank of gas before they will do it.
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  #17  
Old 04-27-2013, 05:26 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpartanGA View Post
my shop does charge extra for BMW and they want a full tank of gas before they will do it.

Why charge xtra? Maybe you mean 4 wheel instead of 2 wheel?

It's just thrust angle, camber; toe....same as other 4 wheel jobs.
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  #18  
Old 04-28-2013, 08:55 AM
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Kilgore Trout Kilgore Trout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
You mean to say that you actually saw weight bags amounting to 100 to 200 lbs positioned in various spots inside cars during these alignments?
I saw weight bags. I have no idea how much they weighed though.
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  #19  
Old 04-28-2013, 12:45 PM
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SilverX3 SilverX3 is online now
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Mine done three weeks ago

They didn't weigh

Just used laser to check alignment then adjust camber
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