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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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  #26  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:18 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I forgot to mention that a modern alignment rack will have all alignment angles in a lookup table
Two problems with that, as you know:
1. They may have the wrong specs so it behooves us to know the right specs.
2. We need to watch them like a hawk because they may not care as much as we do

NOTE: I'm sure MIDAS lookup tables have the correct torque for the wheel lug bolts and the correct asymmetric front:rear tire pressure - but they still do it wrong, right in front of us - simply because most people either trust them (big mistake) or most people don't know the correct specifications.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
10 mm is 0.4"
Thanks for noticing. That means you're actually thinking when you see the specs! That's good, as we need to get this correct.
I just corrected the error in the written bullets in the prior post and in my paper Bentleys (which didn't even get it right once like the PDF Bentley at least did).
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
The rear axle specs are highlighted in this picture of the TIS screenshot.
Oh. My mistake.
I hadn't realized they were there all along. Thanks for highlighting in blue so that I could see it better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I assume that "alignment check" is the target value and "adjustment" is the range of adjustment for that particular angle, but haven't ever seen that explicitly defined.
Hmmmm....

Actually, guessing, I think rear "alignment check" in the TIS might be, perhaps, the "total toe" in the Bentley (the numbers are similar, but different)???
And, guessing again, I think rear "adjustment" in the TIS might be, perhaps, just the "camber" in the Bentley (as the target values are the same in both).
Given those assumptions, what would you change on this attempt to correct the spec?
  • Rear
    • Total toe = 0° 22' ± 4' (Bentley != TIS)
      • TIS specifies an "Alignment check" of -0° 16' ± 10'
    • Camber (difference between left/right maximum 15') = -2° 04' ± 5' (Bentley = TIS only if we assume the Bentley "Camber" is the same as the TIS "Adjustment")
To clarify the (rather important) questions:
Q1: Is the rear total toe 0° 22' ± 4' (Bentley) or -0° 16' ± 10' (TIS)?
Q2: Is the rear camber -2° 04' ± 5' (Bentley = TIS only if we assume Bentley "Camber" & TIS "Adjustment" refer to the same thing).

NOTE: I realize you said to trust the TIS over the Bentley, so, what I'm really asking is whether my attempt to rectify the nomenclature differences above is correct.
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Last edited by bluebee; 07-13-2013 at 12:08 PM.
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  #27  
Old 07-13-2013, 09:28 AM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
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JEEZ! Too much to read. Here's my input. I had EXCESSIVE wear on all four wheels. I replaced all three mount points, (thrust, control, ball), on the front as well as shocks. On the rear I replaced the ball joint and one arm (with joints in it). I aligned the car myself by monitoring the wear and checking with an 8 foot piece of trim. I'd set the wood flush with the car and measure the gap to the rocker panel. Since then I have had PERFECT wear on all four wheels. Identical wear all around. Car handles great and travels laser straight on the highway. No wobbles or pulling. No reacting to the crown of the road or ruts worn in the lane.

I'm a hack. I also haven't wasted any more money on tires and enjoy my car. Email me if you want any further help. marklooman at comcast.net
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  #28  
Old 07-13-2013, 10:24 AM
rdl rdl is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Two problems with that, as you know:
1. They may have the wrong specs so it behoves us to know the right specs.
2. We need to watch them like a hawk because they may not care as much as we do

NOTE: I'm sure MIDAS lookup tables have the correct torque for the wheel lug bolts and the correct asymmetric front:rear tire pressure - but they still do it wrong, right in front of us - simply because most people either trust them (big mistake) or most people don't know the correct specifications.

...
Actually, guessing, I think rear "alignment check" in the TIS might be, perhaps, the "total toe" in the Bentley (the numbers are similar, but different)???
And, guessing again, I think rear "adjustment" in the TIS might be, perhaps, just the "camber" in the Bentley (as the target values are the same in both).
Given those assumptions, what would you change on this attempt to correct the spec?
...
NOTE: I realize you said to trust the TIS over the Bentley, so, what I'm really asking is whether my attempt to rectify the nomenclature differences above is correct.
[/COLOR]
You're quite correct about MIDAS and similar corner cutters. I have to be pretty desperate to use such shops.
On the brighter side for alignment results, the rack generated printout that you should demand ought to list spec, before & after for each alignment angle. It's then easy to check spec on the alignment rack's printout versus the TIS values. If they don't line up it's easy enough to demand a redo. When MIDAS or similar such plough jockeys torque wheels or check tire pressure it isn't easy to verify what they used as a reference or what they actually did. On occations that I've been forced to use an unfamiliar shop I always stop just down the road and check pressures or retorque lugs (the permanent home for my torque wrench is the trunk) I've learned it's easier than trying to persuade them to do something they haven't ever done before.

I've used the TIS specs as I interpreted them. Happily the alignment rack at the shop I go to agrees with "my" version of TIS. I.e.
rear toe total: +16' +/- 10' (+ve is toe in)
rear camber: -2° 10' +/- 20'
I've got ~40k miles on the 530 with no tire wear issues and no tracking or handling quirks.
EDIT: I have the car weighted per BMW specs for alignments. I bought several months supply of water softener salt the first time. But then found that the shop keeps weights too for their BMW work.
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Last edited by rdl; 07-13-2013 at 10:30 AM.
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  #29  
Old 07-13-2013, 02:20 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
You're quite correct about MIDAS...
To me, installing tires "should" be a commodity - but - of course - we have to watch that they:
a) Mount on the rim based on the match-mount mark (or spin the bare rim on the Hunter machine)
b) Mount the tire based on the marked heavy spot of the tire
c) Pressurize the fronts less than the rear (although I don't load up the car, nor need the additional understeer so I keep all four around 33 to 35 psi)
d) Torque the five 17mm lug bolts in two stages, first to 60 ft lbs, then to 89 ft lbs (120 Nm ±10 Nm)
etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
the alignment rack at the shop I go to agrees with "my" version of TIS. I.e.
rear toe total: +16' +/- 10' (+ve is toe in)
rear camber: -2° 10' +/- 20'
Thanks for the clarification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I have the car weighted per BMW specs for alignments.
Given 1 pint per pound, I'd need about 500 pints of water to properly weight the bimmer.

At 8.35 pounds to a gallon, that would take about 60 gallons of fresh water:
- 18 gallons on the driver's seat (centered)
- 18 gallons on the passenger seat (centered)
- 18 gallons on the center of the rear bench
- 6 gallons centered in the trunk
Plus:
- A full tank of gas and normally inflated tires, as per BMW-recommended tire pressures (1) (2) (3)
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Last edited by bluebee; 07-13-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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  #30  
Old 07-13-2013, 07:39 PM
rdl rdl is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
...
Given 1 pint per pound, I'd need about 500 pints of water to properly weight the bimmer.

At 8.35 pounds to a gallon, that would take about 60 gallons of fresh water:
...
Bluebee
I don't weight the car with water! I've spent too much time and effort repairing vapour barriers to load the car up with water again.

Rather, I use bags of the type of salt used in water softeners. Around here at least the salt is sold in sturdy plastic bags at 20 kg per bag. So I cheat a bit and use 3 bags at each location spec'd for 68 kg per BMW. It's a convenient way to buy something dense, easy to handle and doesn't add to the storage burden.
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  #31  
Old 07-13-2013, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
I use bags of the type of salt used in water softeners
I randomly called three tire alignment shops today to ask what they use, and none use any weight, even for bimmers.
(Yes, I have read that the alignment machine may "compensate" for lack of weight - but - I am skeptical about that claim without further proof.)

EDIT: My tires came in, so it's time to have them installed - but - this whole match-mounting thing is confusing!

I hate being dumb, so, I just re-read the attached match-mounting PDF (see attached), legally, apparently, "high spot" must be marked on the tire by its manufacturer, while the "low spot" must be marked on the wheel by the wheel manufacturer. Theoretically, you match the two spots when mounting.

As for my tires, I just picked up mine from MIDAS and noticed they have BOTH the red and yellow dot.

RED = high point of radial runout
YELLOW = light point (with respect to weight balance)

Normally, for runout reasons (note not for imbalance reasons), the red dot (high point) on the is mounted next to the to valve stem on the wheel (assuming it was the wheel's lowest point of radial runout). But, apparently this isn't always the case, especially with styled wheels.

As a failsafe, apparently, you can align the yellow dot (light spot) next to the whee'ls valve stem (heavy spot).

And, it gets even more complicated from there. The sad thing is, this should all be obvious to the tire installer - but - I have yet to find one who cares!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf tire_match_mounting_and_custom_wheel_handling.pdf (365.3 KB, 19 views)
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Last edited by bluebee; 07-14-2013 at 05:41 PM.
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  #32  
Old 07-14-2013, 07:56 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I asked this in the other thread, but it also belongs (from a project standpoint) here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm confused - but I have an appointment tomorrow for my tires to be mounted - and - I'm confused where the dots should line up - so I reread the PDF in the first post -
and I read the Tire Rack PDF blow - and - well - I'm still confused!
- http://www.motor.com/article.asp?article_ID=1304
- http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=17

According to the PDF in the first post of this thread, wheel manufacturers are required to mark the "low spot" and tire manufacturers are required to mark the "high spot" (usually as a red dot).

On the back of the stock 16" BMW (BBS) rims, is this nick painted white, which I presume is the marked "low spot" (which, you may notice, is not at the valve stem):


Yet, on the tires, I see both a red dot and a yellow dot!

  • RED = high point of radial runout on the tire
  • YELLOW = light point (with respect to weight balance) on the tire
So, that makes FOUR separate spots, two on the wheel and two on the tire:
  1. Wheel valve stem
  2. Wheel white nick (presumably that's the low spot
  3. Tire red dot (presumably that's the high spot)
  4. Tire yellow dot (presumably that's the light point)
OK. Now what?
Q1: What two spots (of those four) should I tell the tire installer to line up?
Q2: Should they remove all these weights first?

Attached Files
File Type: pdf tire_rack_match_mounting.pdf (141.1 KB, 45 views)
File Type: pdf match_mounting.pdf (365.3 KB, 11 views)
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Last edited by bluebee; 07-14-2013 at 08:28 PM.
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  #33  
Old 07-15-2013, 04:02 PM
rdl rdl is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I asked this in the other thread, but it also belongs (from a project standpoint) here:
Bluebee
If you want optimum tire mounting and balance find a shop with the Hunter GSP9700 Road Force Balancer. Assuming the shop follows Hunter's procedures in full, (i.e. it's not MIDAS ) they will:
1) measure runout on wheels and tires as initially mounted
2) measure road force variation on all tires (due to variation in sidewall and belt stiffness over a full revolution)
3) if necessary, match tires to wheels and index each tire on each wheel for optimum runout, both radial & axial
4) balance each tire/wheel combination for perfect balance.
As you can see, using the Hunter GSP9700 the the match mounting markers become unnecessary, although it may be a good starting point to avoid the need for indexing. Around here shops with the Hunter charge $25 / tire for balancing (not original mounting) plus extra for tire swapping among wheels, if that is necessary.

If you don't go the Hunter route, have the high point on the tire matched to the valve stem. I've read a few places that BMW specs are to use the valve stem as the low point marker on the wheel. (asuming you have BMW wheels. If not I don't know what to suggest. The red mark in you picture doesn't look original to me, I'd ignore it) This will give the the best radial runout and any other imbalance can be taken care of with weights.
EDIT: it just occured to me - any chance that your wheels have been bent and someone has measured them & marked a high or low spot?

For reference, quoting from TIS:
Wheel runout: axial & radial 0.3 mm max
Mounted tire runout: 1.1 mm radial, 1.3 mm axial max
Maximum imbalance for each side (before balancing): 90 grams for clamp weights, 120 for stick on
Premissible residual imbalance after balancing: 4 grams
Elimination of imbalance: up to 60 g with one weight, or no more than 60 g with 2 weights.
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Last edited by rdl; 07-15-2013 at 04:05 PM.
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  #34  
Old 07-31-2013, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
find a shop with the Hunter GSP9700 Road Force Balancer
Thanks for the advice. I will have my wheels road-force balanced, but first I had the alignment done, as shown below.

Weighted ride height:
Note: This thread explains why we add weight to load the springs so as to set the bimmer to the "Normal Loaded Position"; this weight affects the numbers, I'm told, mostly camber & toe (by as much as 1
° per 250 pounds).

  • Normal Loaded Position (approximately 500 pounds of weight + 100 pounds of fuel):
    • The spec is 68 kg (150 pounds) in each centered front seat
      • I used 5.52 gallons of H2O x 3 five-gallon containers @ 8.35 pounds/gallon = 142 pounds in each seat
      • Note: An easy way to remember this is every 6 gallons of fresh water is almost exactly 50 pounds.
    • The spec is 68 kg (150 pounds) in the center of the rear bench
      • I used 5.52 gallons of H2O x 3 five-gallon containers @ 8.35 pounds/gallon = 142 pounds
    • The spec is 21 kg (46 1/3 pounds) in the center of the trunk
      • I used 5.52 gallons of H2O @ 8.35 pounds/gallon = 46 pounds
    • Full tank of gasoline (18 gallons x 6 pounds/gallon = ~112 pounds)
  • Front ride height (unfortunately the mechanic did not test this and I didn't think to bring a tape measure)
    • 23.3 inches ± 0.4 inches (592 mm ± 10mm )
    • Maximum variation between sides = ± 0.4 inches (± 10mm )
  • Rear ride height (unfortunately the mechanic did not test this and I didn't think to bring a tape measure)
    • 22.0 inches ± 0.4 inches (560 mm ± 10mm )
    • Maximum variation between sides = ± 0.4 inches (± 10mm)
Note: Ride height is measured from the bottom edge of the wheel rim (at the 6 o'clock position near the floor) to the bottom of the center of the fender arch with the springs compressed as shown above.

Front axle:
  • Front Toe:
    • Bently/TIS: Total toe = 0° 5' ± 10'
    • Machine: -0.02" to 0.06" each wheel to centerline
    • Before: Left = -0.07", Right = -0.04"
    • After: Left = -0.02", Right = -0.02"
  • Front Camber:
    • Bentley/TIS: Camber (difference between left/right maximum 40') = 0° -13' ± 30'
    • Machine: 0.3° to -0.7° with a difference between -0.7° to 0.7°
    • Before: Left = -0.8°, Right = -0.5° (delta = -0.3°)
    • After: Left = -0.8°, Right = -0.5° (delta = -0.3°)
  • Track
    • Bentley/TIS: (differential angle with 20° lock on inside wheel) = -1° 56' ± 30'
      • Note: TIS calls this the "toe angle difference with 20° lock on inside wheel")
  • Front Caster
    • Bentley/TIS: (difference between left/right maximum 30')
      • With ±10° wheel lock = 6° 28' ± 30'
      • With ±20° wheel lock = 6° 42' ± 30'
    • Machine: 7.0° to 6.0° each wheel, with a delta of -0.5° to 0.5°
    • Before: Left = 5.7°, Right = 5.8°, delta = 0.1°
    • After: Left = 5.7°, Right = 5.8°, delta = 0.0°
  • Front wheel displacement
    • Bentley/TIS: 0° ± 15'
      • Maximum wheel lock Inside wheel (approximate) = 42°
      • Maximum wheel lock Outside wheel (approximate) = 33.5°
Rear axle:
  • Rear Total Toe
    • Bentley: Total toe = 0° 22' ± 4' (Note: Bentley != TIS)
      • Note: TIS specifies an Alignment check = -0° 16' ± 10'
    • Machine: 0.05" to 0.22"
    • Before: -0.03"
    • After: 0.14"
  • Rear Wheel-to-Centerline Toe:
    • Machine: 0.03" to 0.11" for each wheel to centerline (delta of -0.40° to 0.40°)
    • Before: Left = 0.05", Right = -0.08", delta = 0.25°
    • After: Left = 0.06", Right = 0.08", delta = -0.05°
  • Rear Camber
    • Bentley/TIS: -2° 4' ± 5'
      • Bentley: Maximum difference between left/right = 15'
    • Machine: -1.8° to -2.5° with a delta of -0.3° to 0.3°
    • Before: Left = -2.5°, Right = -2.4°, delta = -0.1°
    • After: Left = -1.5°, Right = -1.5°, delta =0.0°
  • Geometrical axis deviation = 0° ± 12' (Bentley = TIS)
    • Note: See RDL below where we assume "geometric axis deviation" means the same thing as "thrust angle".
    • Machine: -0.20° to 0.20°
    • Before: 0.12°
    • After: -0.02°
Alignment Procedure:
After having the new tires mounted, I filled my fuel tank with 112 pounds of gasoline:
Note: The easy number to remember is 6 (i.e., 1 gallon of fuel is almost exactly 6 pounds).

Then, I put roughly 140 pounds in each front seat (roughly 17 gallons of water in each seat):
Note: The easy number to remember is 6 (i.e., 6 gallons of water is almost exactly 50 pounds).

And, another 140 pounds (another 17 gallons of water) in the center of the rear bench seat:

And 50 pounds (6 gallons of fresh water) in the center of the trunk:

The intent of the weight, I'm told, is to load the springs to a known standard ride height:

Then it was up on the lift for the steering, suspension, and alignment check:


We had no problem locking the brake pedal down:


The initial settings for the rear confirmed the excessive camber, and uneven toe:

Unfortunately, we couldn't get the eccentric to give us any less than 1.5° negative camber:


And then, he adjusted the rear toe:


Adjusting the rear toe was interesting in that it takes two hands at once:

So, now we at least have less rear camber and even rear toe:

Moving to the front, the biggest problem was one wheel had excessive toe out:

So first, he temporarily lowered the lift so we could put the steering wheel lock in place, but it wouldn't fit with all the cans, but the cans held the steering solid anyway:

And then he raised the lift and adjusted the front toe:


Until he got the front as good as he could get it (since camber isn't adjustable):
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Attached Files
File Type: pdf BMW_E36_E38_E39_Alignment_Specs_and_Procedures.pdf (177.6 KB, 14 views)
File Type: pdf BMW_suspension_systems_2003_all_models_including_E39.pdf (1.31 MB, 13 views)
File Type: pdf BMW_Wheel_Alignment_System.pdf (455.5 KB, 14 views)
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-08-2013 at 10:14 PM.
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  #35  
Old 08-01-2013, 03:54 AM
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OMG on the gas cans. Looks like a terrorist car bomb set up. Did they ask if they were filled with gas when you pulled in?

Good photos of the alignment, as usual.




.

Last edited by Flybot; 08-01-2013 at 03:55 AM.
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  #36  
Old 08-01-2013, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybot View Post
OMG on the gas cans. Looks like a terrorist car bomb set up. Did they ask if they were filled with gas when you pulled in?
It was kind of funny.

They guy who did the alignment knew exactly why I added the weight, but the receptionist just couldn't get it that I wanted to change my camber and add weight. She kept insisting it "wouldn't be safe" (as if she knew). She only acceded to my requests after talking to the guy who did the work - who didn't bat an eye simply saying it was just fine with him.

Even so, two mechanics from across the street came over to ask why all the gas cans (they had at first thought gasoline was in the containers).

The hardest part was when those mechanics tried to convince me that it was wrong to spread the weight around, and that I should just weigh down the driver's seat. I explained the weight had nothing to do with a driver being in the car, and when they didn't get it - I just told them to ask the guy who was doing the alignment. He simply told them "that's the way BMW does it", which was good enough for them to leave us alone.

Note: Regarding the rationale for the 500 pounds of weight, see the following references:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > The REAL Reason For Using Weights During Alignment (No, It's Not What You Think.)
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Using weights to preload suspension: no exception for E39 Sport Package

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
- All alignment specs are affected by weight, some more than others;
- Only three (3) alignment specs are generally "adjustable" on the E39;
1. rear camber (adjusted first - is greatly affected by weight)
2. rear toe (adjusted second - is not greatly affected by weight)
3. front toe (is adjusted last, after centering steering wheel, - is not greatly affected by weight)
As far as I can tell, the weight is to:
  1. Bring the vehicle to a known "Normal Loaded Position" (for which the specs are valid)
    • Camber will be affected greatly by the weight (as much as 1°)
    • Toe will also be affected to some extent
    • Other measures will be less effected
  2. Test the springs under load (replace if necessary, before performing an alignment)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybot View Post
Good photos of the alignment, as usual.
Thanks. I only had my cellphone, so the pictures aren't as sharp as they would have been with the SLR.

In the end, we accomplished the following:
a) The guy looked at my thrust arm bushings & said they looked good (can you really tell just by looking?)
b) He set the rear camber as close to zero as the eccentric would let him
c) The rear and front toe look perfect now

Unfortunately, he never measured the ride height (and I didn't bring a tape measure), so, all this may be for naught if the springs are weak.

The good news is that most of the vibration I was feeling from 40 to 80 mph was eliminated when the alignment was done (mostly from the toe out of the right side, I presume - but I couldn't say actually how).
The other good thing was I learned where the three locations are for setting rear caster, toe, and front toe!
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-04-2013 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
The guy looked at my thrust arm bushings & said they looked good (can you really tell just by looking?)
BB:
If the thrust arm bushings have not or are not leaking, they are good to go. It seems like your original alignment settings are part or all of the cause(s) for your excess tire wear. It will be interesting to see if the changes cure the problem. When I had my car aligned the last time, the guy let me sit in the driver's seat during the process. And I used a lot less weight than you did (300 in the front seats and 100 in the trunk). That's a LOT of gas cans!!
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:30 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
If the thrust arm bushings have not or are not leaking, they are good to go.
Thanks for confirming.

BTW, all this time I thought I was inspecting thrust arm bushings in the past, I was actually looking at the wrong bushings.
Here is where the mechanic said my thrust arm bushings are located (behind the black plastic boxes):


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
It seems like your original alignment settings are part or all of the cause(s) for your excess tire wear.
I must agree based on my observations. I'm actually surprised alignment caused vibration though.
This means probably that a LOT of vibration problems out there might actually be due to alignment.
So, vibration diagnostics are even more complicated than I had previously thought.

One caveat though is the fact that I had rotated the tires, so it will be harder to definitively correlate the excessive inner edge wear to the excessive camber and right-side toe out, but it makes sense that both those anomalies [c]ould cause inner edge tire wear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
the guy let me sit in the driver's seat during the process
That's interesting, if only because these threads intimate that the purpose of the weight is to set the ride height, and not to load the car with a realistic weight:
- The theory of alignment with (1) or without adding weight (1) (2) (3)

For the record, I added 490 pounds of
H2O , composed of the following (in addition to 112 pounds of fuel):
- Front driver seat = 5.52 gallons of H2O x 3 5-gal containers @ 8.35 pounds/gallon = 142 pounds
- Front passenger seat = 5.52 gallons of H2O x 3 5-gal containers @ 8.35 pounds/gallon = 142 pounds
- Rear seat, centered = 5.52 gallons of H2O x 3 5-gal containers @ 8.35 pounds/gallon = 142 pounds
- Trunk, centered = 5.52 gallons plus 2.2 gallons of H2O @ 8.35 pounds/gallon = 64 pounds
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-02-2013 at 11:29 AM.
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  #39  
Old 08-02-2013, 11:05 AM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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Educational as usual, BB.

Late to the party but as you found out the problem with the premature front inside wear was due to excessive toe out. But, I thought this was a known issue back in 2011 for you:

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...38#post6286338

Had the same issue when I replaced my tie rods and center link a few years back with my suspension overhaul and tried to get the original specs as close to previous just by counting the turns on the threads of the tie rods.

Within 100 miles, I had feathering on the inside because my "counting turns" resulted in a -.20deg front toe on each side. While specs should be +.12deg.

Given the excessive front toe out on your right side, you might want to check if the ball joints are still ok and/or if anything is bent. Especially, if you've hit a pothole on that side recently.

And you are correct, a whole lot of vibrations issues are caused by incorrect alignment and/or poor balancing.

With excessive toe out, the wheel is trying to pull away from the car while the rest of the car is trying to go straight. Hence, vibrations caused by the "fighting of the tires"

Last edited by dvsgene; 08-02-2013 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvsgene View Post
I thought this was a known issue back in 2011 for you
You are correct. The main difference is that the inside tire wear got a LOT WORSE over time!
One key problem was that I never could decipher these types of diagrams before watching the job being done:

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Last edited by bluebee; 08-02-2013 at 09:34 PM.
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  #41  
Old 08-03-2013, 07:07 PM
boyce 06 330 boyce 06 330 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmvE39/E53/Z32 View Post
Let me clarify my response: zero out toe on each corner, not JUST total toe since they can offset one another.
Contrary to most believes, a little camber (within BMW spec) would NOT kill the inner of your tires as fast as toe-in.
^This is spot on. Negative camber does not kill the inside edge of the tire, but would instead cause a gradual increase in wear from the outer edge to the inner edge, not drastic like you are seeing.

Your problem is almost certainly too much toe out on all four corners. BMW spec is for a little bit of toe-in on the fronts, which can cause premature outer edge wear on the front tires, but increases straight-line stability. I spec mine to as close to 0'0" on front toe as possible to decrease any outer edge wear.

EDIT: I'm a little late too the party... looks like your guy did a nice job... you should get very nice tire wear with those settings.

Last edited by boyce 06 330; 08-03-2013 at 07:19 PM.
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  #42  
Old 08-04-2013, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boyce 06 330 View Post
Negative camber does not kill the inside edge
Now that's interesting!

I understand what you're saying, and, I must concur in words what you can clearly see in the photos, that the inside edge was worn to the belts so sharply it was as if I had filed off the edge with a file.

The rear camber was a half degree too negative (at -2.4° and -2.5°); but there was also huge toe-out of the right side, of -0.09" on the front and -0.08" on the rear.

What would cause such a right-side only toe out anyway?
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Old 08-04-2013, 03:26 PM
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Bent suspension parts, sloppy ball joint, improper alignment as each wheel is toed individually.
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  #44  
Old 08-04-2013, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topaz540i View Post
Bent suspension parts, sloppy ball joint, improper alignment as each wheel is toed individually.
I can see how a ball joint can affect caster or camber, but can it possibly affect toe?

And, what specific suspension part can 'bend' so much as to affect the toe only on one side?
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  #45  
Old 08-04-2013, 05:42 PM
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Perhaps center tie rod has a loose ball joint on one end, passenger side outter tie rod bent or worn, inappropriate adjustment of w/e that arm is called on the splined shaft of the gear box to center link is called because it adjusts right to left turn in balance or the supporting arm or bush on the other side of the center link, a sagging thrust arm bushing will collapse under braking but typically cause vibration as well. theres really alot of potential stuff.

Pretty much anything but the upper smaller control arm because that one really only holds the camber steady.
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  #46  
Old 08-06-2013, 02:58 PM
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For the record, since I have never seen what "real" ballast looks like, and therefore, I had to come with my own idea of how to spread 500 pounds around in my vehicle, I just opened a separate thread, in the hopes that someone somewhere has a picture of the BMW ballast in operation during an alignment.
- Does anyone have a picture of what BMW ballast looks like for weighted alignments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post

Actually, I almost always agree with both cn90 & Fudman (and others), when it come to making practical decisions such as these.

The record clearly shows, I myself have been known to disregard BMW "recommendations", as I do believe their clever M A R K E T I N G causes some people to, somehow believe that the BMW is inherently mystical. In fact, I've often said, "it's just a car", and it acts like any other car (for the most part) when it comes to pragmatic stuff like fluids and maintenance procedures.

Given that, we all know that the other cars get weighted with just a driver and full tank of gasoline (and you might notice therefore, that many other-car specs are therefore asymmetric, and that the BMW specs, at least for my vehicle, are symmetric).

However, given the stated logic for the 500 pounds of ballast, I'm not so sure that the mid-point NLP starting-point spec should be wholly disregarded without consideration of ride height and spring condition.

We've already seen at least three knowledgeable people state, for example, that the rear camber can change by as much as 1° with versus without weights. (1) (2) (3) (4).

And, we all know that precise alignment is for nought if the springs are worn (although I'm not sure the probability of that is high enough to matter).

I do know that my bimmer had -2.5° of rear camber with a full tank and 500 pounds of ballast, so I can just imagine what the camber would have been without that weight.

In summary, I have read probably a score or two threads and articles on the theory of adding the weights, and I'm pretty sure it's NOT for simulating (a) downforce at speed, nor for mimicking a (b) normal loading condition.

As RDL and Brett Anderson [mailto:brett_at_koalamotorsport.com] eloquently stated, I believe the purpose of the ballast is to set the vehicle ride height to a known point (which happens to be the midpoint, but that's irrelevant) at which the specs then become valid.

Having said that, I don't think we need to belabor the purpose here (simply because there is already a detailed thread for that purpose).

At the moment, I believe there is a reason for the ballast, but, even if there isn't a reason, I still would like to see a photo of what the actual ballast looks like, in operation.

So, back to our point, if anyone has a picture or diagram of the ballast in use, that would be very enlightening indeed!
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  #47  
Old 08-06-2013, 08:52 PM
wildbimmer wildbimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
this is a followup thread to one of a couple years ago:
- curious what you think of my excessive tire wear (is it due to camber or toe-in?)


what can i have them do at the alignment shop to reduce my drastic e39 inside tire wear?



i haven't been on in a while due to personal issues - but, i can't hold off any longer on tires.

While all e39s have (rear) negative camber wear, i think a combination of extremely curved hilly roads coupled with my (rear) presumed negative rear camber is (apparently) excessively chewing up the inside edge of my front & rear tires in less than two years and less than 18k miles (even with sporadic rotation, including the spare).
  • tire size and rating: P225/55r16 99v 420/a/a
  • date installed: 9/1/2011 at 102,278 miles
  • worn to steel: 7/1/2013 at 119,778 miles
    • ~17,500 miles
maybe that's normal ... But ... I think that's excessive (for an a/a/420 tire) especially the sedate way i drive (i.e., although i do a lot of miles of steeply hilly twisting roads lately as i try to enjoy my life, i take them relatively slowly, and i really drive rather tamely, and, lately, i've had very few highway miles).

Googling for what would happen if i reduced rear camber to zero, i find this interesting tidbit regarding camber & reserved cornering:


I fit the latter description (sedate), and not the former (spirited); however, i do daily drive a lot lately on very steep (9% constant grade for miles) curvy roads, due to an extreme change in my situation. I think the extremely curved roads (taken at slow speeds of about 20 to 40 mph), including multiple hairpins, over the past year is a factor - as well as possible negative camber or toe issues (i need to measure mine).

In fact, all four tires (with rotation once or twice) are now worn to the steel on the inside edge, with the center and outside tread being relatively unscathed (and a similar thing happened to the last set, only not nearly as pronounced at the edges):
my old tires, two years ago:


my standard-suspension (16-inch stock wheels) 525i automatic has never been in an accident, since i've owned it, and it has never been in a collision to my knowledge prior to my owning it (i bought it when it was still under factory warranty).

I don't remember if i had it aligned two years ago, but i think i might not have done so (much to my current chagrin).

I'm wondering if the 2 degrees of negative rear camber of our e39s may be the sole culprit, but, as you know, front (nearly zero) camber isn't adjustable without the addition of camber plates:
- the dozen alignment specs and which are adjustable (1) & cn90's alignment diy (2) & one user's attempt at understanding normal camber tire wear & new tire selection (1)

flipping through section 320 in the paper bentley (steering and wheel alignment), i find the specifications for my 2002 525i standard suspension automatic on the chart on page 320-36:

front axle:
  • total toe = 0° 5' ± 10'
  • camber (difference between left/right maximum 40') = 0° -13' ± 30'
  • track (differential angle with 20° lock on inside wheel) = -1° 56' ± 30'
  • caster (difference between left/right maximum 30') = n/a
    • with ±10° wheel lock = 6° 28' ± 30'
    • with ±20° wheel lock = 6° 42' ± 30'
  • front wheel displacement = 0° ± 15'
    • inside wheel (approximate °) = 42°
    • outside wheel (approximate °) = 33.5°
rear axle:
  • total toe = 0° 22' ± 4'
  • camber (difference between left/right maximum 15') = -2° 04' ± 5'
  • geometric axis deviation = 0° ± 12'
as can be shown from the quote below, the front camber can only be adjusted with plates; but at least the rear can be adjusted.



Given that i drive sedately, around a lot of hilly slow-speed corners, and that my p225/55r16 99v 420/a/a tires were put on my sedan on 9/1/2011 at 102,278 miles, and they're all badly worn to the inside edge steel at the current odometer at 119,778 miles less than two years later, i ask:

my primary question:
q: Would lessening the rear negative camber (perhaps to zero for better tire wear) be all that detrimental to sedate handling on corners?

my secondary questions:
q: Do you know how to convert the toe spec above into inches or millimeters?
Q: Is the bentley correct that the front camber is -13' ± 30' ? [the slack seems huge at more than twice the setting? Should that actually be -13° ± 30'?]
q: Do you normally ask the alignment shop to replace the rear camber rear control arm mounting nut (as shown in the bentleys on page 320-33)?
my tertiary questions:
q: What is "front wheel displacement" anyway?
Q: What is "geometric axis deviation" (is that steering axis inclination)?
Q: Is it true wheel diameters do not matter for alignment specs (e.g., the bentleys list the specs irrespective of rim and tire size)?

Edit: The attached pictures explain a lot of the questions i had initially.
tire inflation is very important on tires. Over inflation will cause a problem like this and under inflation a different problem
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  #48  
Old 08-07-2013, 02:24 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Insanely amount of technical data here.
The basics of tire wear are worn components, which will throw out the alignment.

For the front wheels, there isn't much you can do, but make sure you have still good balljoints & bushings.

For the rear, you have the eccentric bolt & nut to adjust the camber, but it's with a twist:
Most people change the arms & sways, but leave the old wheel carrier ball joint in place, because it still "feels" OK (part #2 in the diagram below). It takes me exactly 45 min/side to change it, but I have the correct press for it.
My e39 went through 1 set of winter tires (I'm on the 2nd now) and 1 set of summer tires (I'm on the 2nd now) in 10 years. The wear is always even, and when the car was aligned, I always asked to set the wheels as straight as possible. I do an alignment every 3 years or so.

What happens, is that the guy who does the alignment for me tells me sometime "I can't straighten the wheel more than x.xx°, but there's no play"
That ball joint of the wheel carrier is under stress and if you are able to move the wheel, it means it's uber-worn.

I just changed that ball joint on the X5 and the e39, because my guy told me he can't straighten the wheels anymore. And they felt tight. Once the ball joints were out, you can wiggle the axle of the balljoint with the fingers very easy.

Here is the Bentley procedure on how to change them. the guy in the vid is doing them in 15 min/side tops, but he's a pro.



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Last edited by doru; 08-08-2013 at 08:23 AM.
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  #49  
Old 08-08-2013, 10:25 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
My e39 went through 1 set of winter tires (I'm on the 2nd now) and 1 set of summer tires (I'm on the 2nd now) in 10 years
Wow. I go through a complete set in two years!
You're doing something right; and I'm doing something wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
I always asked them to set the wheels as straight as possible.
I wish you had mentioned that trick BEFORE I had my bimmer aligned!

I see now that the rear toe is centered (at 0.07") exactly in the middle of the range (of 0.03" to 0.11").
Should I have instead asked for the STRAIGHTEST toe within spec instead? (of 0.03")?


For the fronts, it looks like the toe was already set near to the minimum possible:
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-08-2013 at 10:29 PM.
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  #50  
Old 12-19-2013, 11:26 PM
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For the record, my tires appear to be wearing evenly (finally!), so the alignment with weights must've worked (whether or not the weights had anything to do with the results, I can't say).

Anyway, I came here just now to update a reference to a thread on the purpose of the alignment weights ...
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Alignment w/out weights.....
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